Hair removal sure can be tricky business, especially in the summertime when that hard sun and hot heat inspire us to trade in our jeans for shorts and sweaters for halter tops.

This change in temperature doesn’t just affect our fashion choices. It also brings about a major shift in routine when it comes to our body hair removal procedures.

Personally speaking, nine months out of the year, our own plan is relatively lax. We might let our legs and armpits grow hair for a week or two— who cares if they’re covered up, right?

But when summer comes along, we definitely start making shaving a daily habit, especially if we have a much-anticipated beach day planned.

And speaking of beach days, let’s take some time to discuss that hair that most of us absolutely, positively DON’T want peeking out of our swimsuit bottoms: the hair that grows along the bikini line. Sure, the coarse, curly hairs are relatively simple to shave away, but doing so can lead to nasty bumps, or worse, ingrown hairs. Definitely not cute!

Luckily, there are ways to prevent these bikini bumps and ingrown hairs at all steps of the hair removal process—before, during, and after you shave. Here are 9 of our top tips for maintaining a crystal clear bikini line.

  1. Prep your delicate skin BEFORE you start shaving

    The first step to achieving a smooth, bump-free bikini line is to lightly exfoliate before you even think of letting that razor hit your skin. For even better results, exfoliate with a soft cloth or all-natural, fine scrub about 10 minutes before you shave. Pat dry, THEN begin your hair removal process.

    If you have particularly sensitive skin down there, apply some moisture-packed oil, like Fur Oil, a few days before you shave. This specialized product works as a natural antiseptic to stop infection and can even soften coarse hair over time.

  2. Select your razor wisely

    Sometimes it can be dizzying to face all of those razors in the shaving aisle, but it’s important to maintain your focus when shopping for your hair removal tool! While everyone might have their preferences, going with a razor that has multiple blades is usually a safe bet. Bonus points if the razor includes a layer of moisturizing cream!

  3. Change out your blades frequently

    We know that those cartridges sure can get expensive, but using the same one for more than the recommended time period means dull blades, which can lead to ingrown hairs—or worse, rust, which can lead to infection.

  4. Always shave with the help of a cream

    This means no soap and water— and DEFINITELY no dry shaving. Yep, the idea of you doing that pretty much makes us cringe!

    When it comes to shaving creams, select a product that’s formulated for your skin type. For instance, if you have particularly dry, sensitive skin, skip out on creams that include heavy fragrances. For a cheap shaving cream dupe, go with a rich conditioner.

  5. Follow a proven bikini line-shaving method

    Yes, there is a RIGHT way to shave your bikini line— and no, it’s not shaving in all different directions and hoping for the best! Because this area is particularly susceptible to ingrown hairs and irritation, it’s important to nab all of the stray hairs in one pass, ideally with very short strokes in the same direction so that no one area is shaved twice. If your blade is, in fact, sharp enough, the chore should be finished in a matter of seconds.

  6. Rinse well and dry thoroughly

    Just because your bikini line is now as smooth as a baby’s bottom doesn’t mean it’s time to celebrate just yet. Post-shave, rinse the area thoroughly, and if you used a particularly thick cream, wash the area with a very gentle face or body cleanser to remove any excess product. Once you’re out of the shower, dry the area in light dabbing motions with a clean towel.

  7. Show your shaved skin some love

    Chances are your bikini line isn’t as clear as the rest of the freshly-shaven areas on the rest of your body, like your underarms or legs. This could be a sign of irritation which, in the worst cases, might amount to ingrown hairs.

    To stop this potentially bikini-ruining experience from happening, apply some soothing 100% aloe or a topical steroid to the area. If it’s particularly irritated, grab a cold compress and hold it to the area for about 10 minutes.

  8. Treat your bikini line to plenty of moisture

    Moisturizing should be part of your everyday beauty routine, not just your post-shaving one. For the best results, opt for a moisturizer that is all-natural, gentle, or, at the very least, fragrance-free. Great ingredients to look out for are vitamin E, jojoba oil, and, of course, aloe vera.

  9. Still experiencing irritation? Consider going electric

    If you’re still having trouble with that sensitive bikini line, it may be time for you to try out an electric razor. They retail for more cash than the disposable guys, but they last longer and are known to be much gentler on all areas of the body. Worth a shot!

What are your thoughts on these bikini line care tips? How do you maintain your smooth bikini line? Do you opt to leave your body hair as it is?

Sources: Women’s Health 
NY Mag