There are many hair removal options for the bikini area, but shaving tends to be the most popular given its affordability and ease. But it can result in irritating ingrown hairs and, at times, feels like the results barely last for a day. Learning how to remove pubic hair without shaving is therefore the solution.
The truth is that there are several other hair removal options for the bikini area than the humble razor. Your options are vast—ranging from depilatory creams to waxing and even at-home laser hair removal.
To that end, we spoke to skin experts about the best hair removal methods for the bikini area to get their advice to help you improve your at-home grooming routine even further.
Meet the experts on pubic hair removal
- Dr. Purvisha Patel is a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of Visha Skincare. She has explained why shaving the bikini area might not work for some people, and how the best alternative options work.
- Dr. Ailynne Marie Vergara-Wijangco is a clinical dermatologist and the owner of the VW Dermatology Clinic. She has also explained alternative options in more detail.
Should you avoid shaving pubic hair?
Shaving might be the preferred method for some people as, as mentioned, it's affordable, fast, and usually painless. But for those who are fed up with seeing adverse side effects of shaving, like redness or bumps, the struggle of hair removal for the bikini area is real.
“The bikini area has hair and skin that are exposed to a lot of warmth and moisture,” explains Dr. Purvisha Patel, dermatologist at Advanced Dermatology and Skin Cancer Associates and founder of Visha Skincare.
"Shaving in that area—especially for those with textured hair—can increase shaving bumps or ingrown hairs," Dr. Patel continues. "This is because the hair that is curly grows out, and then into the surrounding skin of the hair follicle."
For those with sensitive skin, particularly in this delicate area, shaving may cause irritation. Plus, the results of shaving your pubic area don't tend to last all too long—on average most women will see regrowth begin between 2-5 days after shaving. So it's worth considering how long other hair removal methods last. Overall, shaving is not the most useful choice, luckily, it isn’t the only option there is.
How to remove pubic hair without shaving
There are plenty of other hair removal methods out there, many of which Dr. Patel says are better solutions for the bikini line than a razor and shaving cream. You could try the following.
- Waxing or sugaring—Waxing is the process of applying hot wax to the skin and then ripping it off with a strip, removing the hair with it. It can be a painful process, but some women experience less pain with sugar wax. Sugaring is the same process as traditional waxing, only with a gentler product. Waxing is more permanent than shaving, and results should last around three-four weeks before regrowth begins.
- Hair removal creams—Depilatory creams dissolve hair on the surface of the skin, but they do not target the follicle. They require little effort on the user’s part after application, but results tend to last only around two-three days before regrowth begins. It’s important to use depilatory creams that target the bikini area specifically and never leave them on for longer than the instructions specify, due to the strong chemicals involves. Some products may not be suitable for sensitive skin.
- Laser hair removal—One of the best options for removing facial hair permanently (or close enough), it's also a great option for the bikini area. In this process, a professional uses a laser to damage the hair follicles that produce hair. It’s a semi-permanent option meant to remove existing hair and stop regrowth. Results can last for as long as a year a year, meaning it's a great low-maintenance option for hair removal in your pubic area. However, it's pricey and you'll need multiple sessions initially to get those results.
- Electrolysis—Similar to laser hair removal, electrolysis targets the hair follicles but uses an electrically charged probe to get under the follicle. The clinician then uses tweezers to remove the hairs. It’s typically more painful than laser hair removal (especially in such a sensitive area) and requires more sessions, but it is permanent.
Different skin types react to various hair removal methods uniquely, and it might take some trial and error to find the right method to remove pubic hair without shaving. That being said, our experts all agreed that one hair removal method is superior for the bikini line...
What is the best option for pubic hair removal?
“The best method is laser hair removal, as it stops the hair growth at the follicle, for longer-lasting results,” recommends Dr. Patel.
Unlike shaving, waxing, or using depilatory creams, laser hair removal does not need to be repeated every few days or weeks, helping you to avoid the incessant maintenance of your bikini area.
That being said, it’s not quite permanent. “I feel that laser hair removal should be called laser hair reduction, as the hair can come back over time,” Dr. Patel says. However, follow-up sessions could, and should, take care of that, and most people find that the hair that grows back is finer and sparser—which can't be said in the case of shaving.
What to look out for when removing hair in the bikini area
The experts we talked to agreed that, while laser hair removal is the best option—whether or not you're after hair removal options for dark skin in particular—it’s not without its risks. Dermatologists recommend that you see a trusted esthetician for your laser hair removal procedure, and keep an eye out for any adverse side effects afterwards.
“If you find that your bikini line doesn’t seem to be healing, or if you see blisters, oozing burns, or a possible infection, check in with your doctor as soon as possible,” Dr. Ailynne Marie Vergara-Wijangco, clinical dermatologist and owner of VW Dermatology Clinic, stresses.
Laser hair removal is an effective method, but it’s not for everyone. It is a more expensive option and the procedure can be uncomfortable. If you opt for at-home hair removal procedure like waxing, just make sure you’re taking the necessary precautions.
“When waxing your bikini line yourself, be very careful that the microwaved wax isn’t too hot before applying it,” advises Dr. Vergara-Wijangco. “One study showed that 38 people attempting to wax at home ended up with burns, often on their right hand from pulling the wax out of the microwave.” It is less risky to go and see a trained wax therapist.
If, on the other hand, you opt for a depilatory cream, be very careful when applying it to your bikini area, and be sure not to let the substance come into contact with your genitals.
Aleesha was Deputy Editor and Beauty & Fashion Editor for My Imperfect Life, where she headed up the beauty, fashion and eCommerce pages. Previously she was Shopping Writer at woman&home and gained an AOP awards nomination after working on their news team. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 and has since worked with a number of brands including, Women's Health, Stylist and Goodto. When she’s not testing all the new beauty & lifestyle products on the market, Aleesha spends her time soaking up the newest bestsellers and Netflix releases, watching everything Marvel, learning about different wines, attempting new languages and traveling as much as she can.