“Razor bumps and razor burn are actually two different things,” explains Lara Kaiser, an aesthetician at Brooklyn’s Shen Beauty. “Razor burn is caused by friction against the skin when the skin is not prepped well enough, or the person shaved too aggressively.” Razor bumps, however, are basically ingrown hairs, and though they can appear anywhere you shave, they happen most often on delicate skin where the hairs are coarse — like the bikini line.
And if you’re one of the unlucky folks who’s particularly susceptible to that kind of irritation, take solace in the fact that you’re not alone. “Razor bumps are very common and can happen no matter what your landscaping method is and how thorough it is,” assures Ania Siemieniaka, the manager and owner of Freckle, a spa in Greenpoint. The good news is that there are quite a few products to prevent razor burn. Plus, that preemptive skin care will reduce your risk of getting razor bumps the next time you shave down there.
To find the best products that’ll keep your bikini line bump- and burn-free, I spoke with three aestheticians who remove body hair for a living and asked them to recommend their favorite products to prevent razor bumps and burns (along with some products you can use to help relieve some of the pain if you’re currently, unfortunately, suffering from them).
“Old razors can cause razor burn. Don’t shave with an old razor because when it’s pulling the hair, it’s irritating the skin. It is also recommended not to shave every day. The skin needs a break, so it’s best to shave once every three days.” —Stalina Glot, senior aesthetician, Haven Spa
“You can also keep the area exfoliated, like with a scrubby mitt or dry brush. That leaves less of a chance for the hairs to curl in on themselves, and exfoliates the area so there is nothing to clog pores, making them vulnerable to bacteria and inflammation. The scrubby mitt or dry brush can be from anywhere, they’re all about the same.” —Lara Kaiser, aesthetician, Shen Beauty
“Use a scrub to exfoliate the skin [before you shave], just avoid doing that the same day as shaving. For an exfoliating scrub, I recommend the Crystal Peel Microdermabrasion Exfoliating Soap Body Bar.” —Glot
“I absolutely love Skyn Iceland’s Nordic Skin Peel. It was designed for acneic skin, but it works wonders on your bikini bumps. And if you’re lazy — er, busy — this peel comes in pads for easy application. I mean, it doesn’t get better than that. I learned about this amazing stuff from Katie Jane Hughes, this brilliant British makeup gal with perfect skin. I got hooked, and after a while, I realized that it works really well on the bikini area, especially those sensitive types. Won’t dry your skin.” —Ania Siemieniaka, manager and owner, Freckle
“For the not-so-sensitive ones, we always recommend PFB Vanish. Its powerful combo of glycolic, salicylic, and lactic acids will reduce inflammation, kill bacteria, and exfoliate the skin (yes, ingrown-hair prevention right there). Our clients love it.” —Siemieniaka
“A great way to prevent razor burn is by keeping the skin around the bikini line really healthy, like with Fur Oil. This is an oil you apply for a few days before or after hair removal that is antiseptic and helps soften hair and hair regrowth. As far as I know, it’s about the only product on the market specifically for pubic hair. They make an oil, a stubble cream, and an ingrown concentrate that has a little scrubber for your finger in case you get an ingrown hair.” —Kaiser
“Use a special serum for razor bumps twice a day to fight and prevent future razor bumps. Serums are designed with low molecules that penetrate to the hair follicle and remove dead skin cells, pushing the hair up. For post-shave or wax serums, my favorites are Princereigns Ingrown Hair Serum, Fur Oil, and Whish Flawless Post Wax and Shave Serum.” —Glot
“Aloe is the best to calm the irritated skin. [And] using an antibacterial cream, such as Cortizone-10 will help calm the redness because of its healing formula.” —Glot
“For natural remedy lovers, I recommend tea-tree-oil compress. Tea-tree oil is extremely rich in antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that will help you get rid of redness and itchiness caused by razor bumps. Do not use it in its pure form, though. Mix a couple of drops of the oil in a few tablespoons of warm water, then use a cotton ball to apply onto affected areas or make a compress and leave it on for about ten minutes. For best results, I would do this twice a day.” —Siemieniaka
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