The complete guide to dealing with ‘down there hair’

First thing’s first, despite the title of this article there’s absolutely no need to do anything to your pubic hair unless you want to. There are zero health benefits to removing your lady fuzz – it simply comes down to personal preference. Some girls get rid of all of it, some give theirs a little trim now and then, and some let theirs grow wild and free. It’s entirely up to you, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

But if you do decide to do some landscape gardening, there are some things you need to know. Your pubic hair is usually coarser than your leg and underarm hair, and the area is likely to get hotter and sweatier than other parts of your body – all of which can affect which hair-removal method is right for you. Here are your options…

Shaving

Shaving is a cheap, fuss-free way of tidying up your lady garden, but to do the job right you’ll need a good set of tools including scissors, a decent razor and shaving gel or cream. If you’ve got sensitive skin you might want to invest in a post-shave balm, too.

Pros: Quick, easy and cheap.

Cons: Hair grows back in a couple of days, regrowth can be itchy as hell, razor rash isn’t pretty.

Pro-tip: Trim the public hair so it’s around 1-2mm long, then gently exfoliate the area before shaving to remove the top layer of dead skin cells. Apply a good layer of shaving cream then shave along with your body’s natural curves – a razor with a pivoting head is good for this. Change the blade after a few uses to keep bacteria at bay and ensure your shaves are as smooth as possible.

Depilatories

Depilatory creams work by breaking down the keratin structure of each hair, essentially dissolving the base of the hairs until they’re weak enough to be broken off when they’re wiped away. Apply the cream, wait, then rinse. Voila!

Pros: Easy to use and the results can last up to two weeks.

Cons: Usually quite smelly, sometimes a bit pricey and not everyone gets long-lasting results.

Pro-tip: Follow the instructions on the packaging carefully. You’re basically putting a whole heap of chemicals on your skin, and while they’ve obviously been safety-tested it’s always possible you might have a reaction. Also, if you’re getting rid of everything (and we mean everything), choose a cream specially formulated for the bikini area – not all creams are suitable for your most sensitive bits.

Epilators

An epilator is a handheld device that looks like an electric razor, but definitely isn’t. Instead of cutting the hair at the root, dozens of electronic tweezers on the device pluck each individual hair clean out of the skin.

Pros: Long-lasting results, if you’ve got your own it’s easy to do touch-ups whenever it suits you.

Cons: Painful, epilators can be expensive.

Pro-tip: We’re not going to beat around the bush (ha, bush), epilating your bikini line can be super painful and can result in quite a lot of irritation, so it’s not for the faint-hearted. We wouldn’t recommend buying one without trying epilating first, so you might want to borrow one from a mate or family member to start with (make sure you sanitise it before using it). Numb the area with ice before you start (freezer blocks work a treat) and pull the skin taught as you go. And take deep breaths!

Waxing

Everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to Kim Kardashian advocates the virtues of waxing, mainly because of its long-lasting results. It works like epilating, by removing the hair from the root. The main difference is that it’s a lot quicker – a few rips and you’re done. Plus, repeated waxing means the hair thins down over time, so it becomes more comfortable. There are a few options:

1. Specially-formulated waxing strips, which you simply apply to the area then remove.
2. Hot wax, which is applied in a thin layer over the area then pulled off with a strip of cloth.
3. Hot wax which is applied to the area and then pulled off directly once it’s cooled.

Pros: Long-lasting results, not too expensive, all over quickly if you get it done by a pro.

Cons: Can be painful, you’ll have to wait for regrowth before waxing again, messy if you’re doing it yourself.

Pro-tip: If you’re a first time waxer, definitely go to a salon. You don’t want to end up sitting in your bathroom with a crotch covered in wax, unable to finish the job yourself! If you’ve got a bit of waxing experience (maybe you’ve done your legs before), start off with ready-prepared waxing strips specially formulated for the bikini zone – they’re usually pretty failsafe. Whether you go to a salon or try DIY, pop an ibuprofen half an hour before waxing to help keep the discomfort to a minimum.

Laser hair removal

Laser is a newish type of hair removal that uses a strong beam of light to penetrate the skin to destroy the hair follicle. It sounds a bit terrifying but it’s relatively painless – it feels a bit like having a rubber band gently pinged against your skin. It works best on darker, coarse hair, and it takes a few sessions to properly kill the hair off (usually around six, depending on the amount of hair you want removed). Once it’s dead, though, it’s probably never coming back.

Pros: Almost permanent results.

Cons: Very pricey, not suitable for everyone.

Pro-tip: Before you commit to anything, go for a consultation with a reputable clinic – they’ll be able to tell you whether you’re a good candidate for laser. And remember, the results are usually permanent so think carefully before opting for a completely stripped-back Hollywood. You never know what bikini hair trends will make a comeback, so you might want to leave something to play with in the future.

Image: Kate Borrill

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