Ugly Bikini Line Problems and How to Solve 'Em

Ahh summertime...gorgeous months filled with pools, beaches, bikinis and...bikini line maintenance. On top of uncomfortable (and pricey!) waxing sessions, we also have to deal with skin irritation, ingrown hairs, and other unsightly side effects. Find out how to get a super-smooth bikini line with expert tips from Cindy Barshop, owner of Completely Bare spas, along with other at-home secrets for waxing and shaving.

Tips from a Professional...

Real Beauty: What's the best way to deal with a hairy bikini line?
Cindy Barshop: That depends on the type of hair you have. If it's very coarse and curly, a depilatory may be your best option as you'll reduce your chances of developing ingrowns later. Try: Nair Raspberry Raz Ma Tazz Lotion, which works in less than four minutes. For all other hair types, waxing and sugaring (which some people find less painful) are good options. Try: Marzena Liquid Wax or Sally Hansen Sugar Wax Hair Remover Kit. Just remember, don't wax right before your period when your skin is at its most sensitive. Shaving is a quick and easy solution, too. For the closest shave, apply a thick shaving gel, such as Skintimate Moisturizing Shave Gel, and use one hand to pull your skin taut while guiding the razor with the other hand.

RB: What should I do immediately after a bikini wax to reduce redness and irritation?
CB: Apply aloe or ice directly to the area, and make sure to wear loose cotton clothing. Also, beware of moisturizers since they can clog your pores and cause irritation.

RB: What should I do in between wax appointments when the hair is visible but it's too soon to wax?
CB: In between wax appointments you can pluck out dark hairs with tweezers or trim longer hairs with a scissor. To create the illusion of a flawless bikini line use a sunless tanner which will help the hair blend in with your skin. Also, I recommend using a growth inhibiting lotion (such as Completely Bare Completely Smooth) so your hair grows in slower and finer.

RB: How can I prevent ingrown hairs?
CB: If you shave or wax wait 24 hours to exfoliate the area then apply a product with salicylic acid (such as Completely Bare Bikini Bump Blaster) to prevent the hair from becoming trapped beneath the skin. To get rid of ingrown hairs forever, consider laser hair removal. By the third session 80 to 90 percent of your bumps will be terminated.

RB: Is laser hair removal safe for all skin types?
CB: Yes, this technology can be used to treat unwanted hair on all skin types, including dark-skinned individuals as well as those clients with tanned skin. For the best results, go to a spa that specializes in permanent hair removal to be sure that the technician customizes each session according to your skin color, hair density, and the area of the body being treated.

At-Home Hair Removal Tips

Best Option: Wax

"The hair in the bikini area tends to be coarse and thick, which is ideal for waxing. Plus, since the hair is pulled out from the root, it grows back thinner over time," says Katherine Goldman, owner of Strip Bar Wax in San Francisco.

Hair Removal Tip: Find Out Which Razors, Creams, and Waxes Work Best

Bikini Line: Expert Waxing Tips

Whether you have an appointment with a professional or you're going the DIY route, make sure that the hair is at least 1/4 inch long, says Goldman.

  • Avoid extreme heat or exercise for 24 hours postwax to prevent irritation. This includes sunbathing (a no-no regardless!), saunas, and hot tubs.
  • Do not shave between waxes, warns Goldman. Find out the trick to staying smooth between waxes.
Hair Removal Tip: Check Out the Best Methods for Smooth Legs, Underarms, and More

Bikini Line Runner-Up: Shaving

Shaving the bikini area can be a bit tricky, but it's a cheap, quick, and, most of all, painless alternative to waxing. It's also more convenient during the summer since you don't have to let your hair grow out very much between sessions.

Hair Removal Tip: 7 Must-Haves When Shaving

Bikini Line: Expert Shaving Tips
  • Make sure you soften the hair with warm water before you shave and use a moisture-rich shaving gel, according to the experts who make Venus razors.
  • It helps to pull the skin taut to create a level surface that's easier to maneuver. You should also shave in the direction that the hair grows to minimize itchy, red bumps.
  • If you're planning a day at the pool or beach, shave in the evening to avoid irritation from sun, salt, or chlorine.

What's your preferred hair-removal method for summer? Post your tricks for a pain-free experience below!

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Reprinted by Hearst Communications, Inc.