Bikini Hair Removal Best Methods – The Ultimate Guide
What do the Different Terms Mean?
There are a few different styles of pubic hair removal, with terms used in salons for waxing that may be unfamiliar:
If you want to deal with your bikini hair yourself, in the comfort of your own home, then shaving is probably the easiest method, but you need to be very careful!
You can get the closest shave using a razor, but it is easier and safer to use an electric shaver.
If you opt for a razor, you can reduce the risk of irritation and ingrown hair by making sure that you have a very sharp blade, you use plenty of lubrication i.e. sensitive shaving cream, and you shave in the direction of hair growth.
Whether using razor or shaver, you need to trim the hair as short as possible before shaving smooth.
Pros & Cons
Pros of Shaving
- At home - in comfort, in your own time, with no possible embarrassment
- Relatively quick and easy once you have mastered the technique
- Pain free
- No particular skill required and can be done anywhere - travelling etc.
- Inexpensive - in comparison to regular costly visits to a professional salon
- No need for long regrowth between shaves
Cons of Shaving
- Short lived results - you will have to shave very regularly, possibly even daily
- Regrowth can be stubbly and irritating
- There is risk of ingrown hairs, razor burn, cuts and nicks or irritation
- Ongoing cost, especially if using a razor then you need shaving cream/foam and to regularly replace blades
It is best to shave after a warm bath or shower, which relaxes the skin and softens the hair so that it is easier to cut.
Regular, very gentle exfoliation of the area along with the rest of your body will help free your skin from the build up of dead skin cells and bacteria.
You need to pick a comfortable place to sit with plenty of light and where you can position a mirror so that you can see properly what you are doing.
Trim the area first, either with sharp scissors (ideally with blunt ends for safety) and a comb or an electric trimmer fitted with a bikini comb designed for the purpose.
If you are using scissors, use the comb held against the skin to hold the hair up and trim to the comb.
Once the hair is as short as you can get it, you can proceed to shave it:
Apply a very generous amount of sensitive shaving cream and pull the skin taut with your spare hand.
Glide the blade across the skin in the direction of hair growth, gently and without pressing down, trying to avoid repeatedly going over the same area.
Rinse the blade continuously to avoid clogging and apply more cream as needed.
When you are finished, rinse the area thoroughly, pat dry gently and apply moisturizer to soothe the area, leaving for a few minutes to absorb before putting on clothes.
Loose clothing immediately afterwards is a good idea, if possible, and cotton undies will also help to keep irritation to a minimum.
You are almost certain to experience some irritation, especially after the first few times of shaving.
Itchiness as the hair grows back is very common, and can be alleviated by softening the hair with unscented, sensitive cream or conditioner and wearing loose cotton clothing, if possible.
Soreness and irritation, or razor burn can be reduced by making sure that your blade is very sharp and by not going over the same area too often.
Single blade razors are a good choice for the bikini area.
It may be a good idea to try using a shaving oil prior to applying shaving cream, to increase the glide.
Ingrown hairs are very common with shaving and tend to be more prevalent in this area as the hair is coarse and curly, so more inclined to grow sideways or back on itself.
Regular exfoliation helps to reduce the risk of ingrown hairs, as will shaving in the direction of hair growth.
Bikini Shaving Recommended Products
Five piece body and bikini groomer set, cordless and rechargeable, wet or dry use, includes storage bag - all you need at around $39.
Battery operated trimmer with 4 length settings at one end and replaceable 5 blade razor at the other with moisturizing strip - at £11 online.
Two packs of 3 (6 in all) disposable bikini shavers with purpose designed shape and small head for easier use, online at just $8.
Formulated for intimate, sensitive areas this 1oz bottle of shave oil helps eliminate risk of irritation and ingrown hair, up to 80 shaves, $10 online.
Depilatory creams are a good option if you want a pain-free way to keep your bikini-line in order, at home, and you don't want to go completely bald.
They use chemicals to break down the protein structure in the hair so that it is easily removed just below the surface of the skin, so slightly longer lasting than shaving.
Due to the harsh nature of these chemicals, you need to be very careful using them in the bikini area to keep them away from your most sensitive bits.
Pros & Cons
Pros of Depilatory Creams
- Pain free
- Do at home - easy to do, no skill required
- Convenient - no salon trips
- Relatively inexpensive - no costly visits to a professional salon
- Slightly longer lasting than shaving
- No need for long regrowth between use
- Low risk of ingrown hairs
Cons of Depilatory Creams
- Short lived results - slightly longer than shaving, but you will need to re-do regularly
- Odour - improved over the years but can be strong and unpleasant
- Harsh chemicals used - not suitable for total hair removal
- There is risk of allergic reaction - skin tests required
- Ongoing cost of regularly buying product
- Can be a bit messy
It is very important to read all the instructions provided carefully, paying close attention to precautions and warnings, and carry out a patch test on a small area of skin at least 24 hours prior to full use.
Ideally, I would recommend you put on an old pair of undies or bikini bottoms to protect your most intimate parts and then treat the areas of hair that you can see.
A layer of cream should be applied with the spatula provided in the direction of hair growth, thinly but thoroughly covering all the hair you are treating.
Leave the cream on for the required time given in the instructions, this could be anything from 3 - 10 minutes, but never exceed the maximum time stated.
Remove the cream gently, with the hair, in the opposite direction of hair growth.
Rinse thoroughly with cool water and pat dry.
The main risk of using depilatory creams is skin irritation from allergic reaction, which is why carrying out a patch test prior to use is very important.
The bikini area is sensitive, so use a cream that is designed for use on the area, and protect your intimate parts.
Leaving the cream on the skin for too long can cause serious chemical burns, which is why it is important not to leave for longer than the maximum recommended time.
Also, if you feel irritation while the cream is on, rinse off immediately with cold water as it is possible to develop an allergic reaction even if you have used the cream before with no issues.
We would advise that you leave at least 72 hours between sessions to reduce any risk of reaction and it is highly recommended that you wait at least 24 hours before sunbathing to avoid burning.
Depilatory Creams for Bikini Line Recommended Products
Sensitive formula with Aloe Vera, generous 13.52 oz size pump dispenser, for use all over the body including bikini line. Value for money at around $8.
1.7oz (50ml) tubes in a pack of 2 for just over $10 online - specially formulated for sensitive skin in the bikini area, with green tea to moisturize.
The easiest and best way to wax down below is to go to a salon and have it done professionally, where you can safely have anything from just bikini line to full Hollywood in the knowledge that you will have a good, clean job done with no strays.
However, regular salon waxing can be pretty costly over time and you may not feel comfortable baring all to a stranger, albeit a professional who is used to the sight!
In which case, there are plenty of options available for use at home and once you have mastered the technique, you should be able to achieve your desired results reasonably quickly.
Pros & Cons
Pros of Waxing Bikini Area
- Convenient - can be done at home in your own time
- Results longer lasting than shaving or depilatories
- Wax can be used for full Hollywood (completely bare) if desired
- No stubble - regrowth tends to become lighter/finer with regular waxing over time
Cons of Waxing Bikini Area
- Painful - specially at first, but should improve over time
- Risk of ingrown hairs
- Regrowth - need to let hair grow out for wax to adhere properly (at least ¼")
- Ongoing cost - regular purchase of products
- Tricky to see in certain areas - and need to master technique
There are various different waxes available but generally hot wax is preferred for bikini waxing.
However, if you are new to intimate waxing, you may find it easier to start with cold, pre-waxed strips, at least until you get used to the process.
I would also suggest that you start with just waxing your bikini line a couple of times and make sure that you are thoroughly competent and confident with the process before you attempt anything more drastic.
The short video below illustrated the process well:
It is advisable to avoid very tight fitting clothing for a day or so and wear cotton undies to reduce irritation.
You will most likely experience soreness, redness and possibly inflammation after waxing, especially if this is your first time.
The good news is that this should be short lived and if you become a regular waxer, the skin becomes more tolerant to the process and so these side effects are reduced.
You can ease this immediately by applying a cool compress and an alcohol free lotion e.g. witch hazel, to soothe the skin.
Avoid sunbathing, sunbeds, vigorous exercise and swimming, saunas etc. for the first 24 hours after waxing to reduce the risk of irritation or infection, and wear loose clothing to reduce irritation from friction.
A more annoying and longer lasting side effect can be ingrown hairs and pimples.
Following the advice above will help, together with regular exfoliation between waxing and the use of an ingrown hair inhibitor if required.
The most important thing is to make sure that you follow good hygiene practices and pay close attention to any precautions and warnings given in the instructions provided with your home waxing kit.
Bikini Waxing Recommended Products
Complete Hot wax kit includes adjustable heat wax warmer, 4 different flavors of wax beans and 10 wooden applicator sticks - all for around $34 online.
Kit includes 4.9 oz pot of microwaveable wax, two wooden spatulas, one wooden shaping stick, 3 post wax oil wipes and 4 bikini shape templates - all for $12.
An 8oz pot of wax that is heated in the microwave for convenience. Specially formulated for bikini area. Currently available online for just over $10.
Epilators are essentially multiple tweezers that pluck the hairs out from the root, as waxing does.
However, epilators are not recommended for full Brazilian or Hollywood styles, but can be safely use for the bikini line.
If you are choosing to use an epilator all over the body, choose one with an additional smaller epilation head attachment with less tweezers - specially for gentler and more precise bikini hair removal.
Pros & Cons
Pros of Epilating
- Convenient and easy to do at home, in your own time
- Cost effective - just the initial outlay required for purchasing a device
- Results longer lasting than shaving and depilatories
- Regrowth finer and lighter with regular use
- No mess
- Short hair removal - no need to grow hair out too long
Cons of Epilating
- Pain - as with waxing, especially for the first few times
- Ingrown hairs can be a side effect
- Only suitable for bikini line hair removal
Instructions vary slightly between devices so make sure that you read them thoroughly prior to use. These are a rough guide:
It is advised to wear undies so that you can safely epilate the hair that is visible.
Trim any very long hair down to around 3 - 5mm in length and take a warm shower or bath to open the pores and soften the skin.
Some epilators, such as the Panasonic ES-ED90-P (pictured left) can be used wet or dry, with or without cream/gel.
You may apply baby powder and rub in thoroughly to ensure the skin is perfectly dry and help the hair to stand up.
Hold the skin very taut with your spare hand and use the epilator at a 90° angle to the skin, without exerting pressure and avoiding going over the same area too many times.
Apply a soothing, non-alcohol based toner and exfoliate regularly between treatments.
The side effects of using an epilator are similar to those for waxing, as both methods pull the hair out from the root:
Avoiding swimming, hot baths and showers, saunas and jacuzzis for 24 hours will also reduce risk of infection.
Our Top Picks
Multifunctional epilator with 6 attachments including bikini epilator head, main epilator head, shaver attachment, trimmer and foot buffer. Great all in one product at $68.
Conveniently battery operated, this specifically designed 9 tweezer epilator is small and easy to use - great for sensitive areas such as bikini and underarm. Available online for $30.
The first thing you should know is that laser and IPL, although using similar technology, are not exactly the same. If you are interested to read more information about the differences between the two, see our article: How does laser hair removal differ from IPL?
The main thing to be aware of is that there is no published clinical data to suggest that either one produces better results than the other.
The second thing you should know is that lasers/IPL machines used in salons operate at higher power levels than those available for home use, producing better results more quickly.
Thirdly, laser/IPL is not suitable for everyone i.e. those with darker skin tones or anyone with light blonde, white, grey or red hair.
Your suitability can be discussed with the clinician at a salon.
Home devices are fitted with integral skin tone sensors for safety which disable them if it senses that the skin is too dark.
For more advice about your suitability read our article: IPL hair removal
Pros & Cons
Pros of Laser/IPL
- Permanent reduction in hair growth can be achieved over time
- Quick and easy to do and can be done at home
- No regrowth showing, you can shave the area between treatments
- Regrowing hair appears lighter/finer
- No risk of ingrown hairs
- Cost efficient, once initial outlay has been made, just the cost of replacement flash cartridges (if required)
Cons of Laser/IPL
- Expensive if using a salon and high initial outlay for a good home device
- Pain - there is an element of pain, similar to an elastic band snapping against the skin
- Takes time - you will need multiple treatments to see good results
- Results not guaranteed
- Not suitable for all skin and hair types and works best for dark hair and light skin
This is intended as an indicative guide to give you an idea of what to expect - you must, of course, read all the instructions with your device prior to use, paying particular attention to all safety warnings and precautions.
Your skin needs to be clean, completely dry and free from all cosmetics/deodorants etc., and shaved prior to treatment.
Carry out a patch test on a small area of skin prior to full treatment as per manufacturers instructions, to check for adverse reactions.
Use the skin tone sensor prior to every treatment.
There are generally different power settings and it is advisable to start with the lowest for the sensitive bikini area.
Wear suitable bikini bottoms or panties and treat the hair that you can see.
As you operate the device, pulses of light will flash at intervals. Each time a pulse of light flashes you should move the treatment head to the next area of skin, avoiding treating the same area more than once.
It is best to be methodical with this - moving across the skin in a grid-like fashion.
After treatment, avoid any perfumed products and do not have a hot shower or bath for 24 hours.
Side effects are generally mild and include red, puffy, slightly irritated or itchy skin, all of which will disappear quickly and can be eased with a soothing, non-alcohol lotion.
Applying a cool compress to the skin immediately after treatment can help to cool it and reduce irritation.
Our Top Picks
IPL device with 5 power settings. 2cm² treatment window ideal for small areas. 1500 light flashes in each cartridge (comes with 3 bonus cartridges). Two year warranty. Online for $228.
Electrolysis is the only truly permanent method of hair removal as it destroys the ability of the follicle to grow hair.
As it involves a very fine needle inserted into each follicle individually, you will need to attend a salon for professional treatment if you go for this option.
You also need to be aware that it will involve several sessions a period of time to achieve permanent hair removal in the area and is not a quick fix.
Pros & Cons
Pros of Electrolysis
- Permanent - highly effective in the bikini area and results, once achieved, are permanent
- No ingrown hair - and actually can treat any that you have
- Treats anyone - process works for all hair and skin types
Cons of Electrolysis
- Expensive - requires a number of trips to salon
- Time - treatment, although quicker than previously, is relatively slow as each hair is individually treated
- Pain - reduced with painkillers
Electrolysis involves the insertion of a fine probe into each follicle to the depth of the hair root. This is not painful, as the probe is the same width as the follicle and is not piercing the skin.
Electrical current is then applied to heat the root and damage the follicle so that the hair can be easily removed.
This part can be painful, resembling a tiny sting - a bit like tweezing. Bear in mind that the bikini area is sensitive and discuss pain relief such as a numbing cream, with your electrologist.
The video below shows the process in close up:
Side effects are usually short-lived, consisting of reddened, slightly puffy, sensitive skin.
Rarely, there can be longer lasting side effects such as changes to pigmentation in the skin (lighter or darker patches) or scarring, but any potential for these should be discussed at your first consultation.
Choosing an Electrologist
The decision to remove hair, however unwanted, is a big one and will involve investment from you in terms of both time and money.
It is very important, therefore, that you take the time to do your homework to find a reputable and well qualified electrologist for the job.
For advice on how to research this, together with tips on which questions you should be asking, see our article: 5 Steps to Finding the Best Electrologist in your area.