Shaving pubic hair: Avoiding razor burn and ingrown hairs

Dear Alice,

My boyfriend likes shaved pubes, but when I shave down there and the hair starts to grow back I get razor burn and ingrown hairs. How can I get rid of this?

Dear Reader,

Some people find that a shaved pubic area can increase sexual sensation and pleasure for one or both partners. Nothing ruins the silky-smooth feeling of shaved pubes, however, like nicks, cuts, and razor burn. To keep your down-there area irritation free, here are a few key steps you can take to prevent not-so-sexy (or comfortable!) side effects:

  • Start by giving your pubic hair a trim with scissors or electric clippers before getting into the shower or bath. This will help keep your hand-held razor sharp, protecting you from razor burn.
  • Try waiting until the end of your shower to shave. The heat and steam soften your hairs and open up your pores, making the shave closer.
  • Use shaving cream or gel, which will form a protective barrier between the razor and sensitive skin. Soap can dry out your skin and increase the possibility of irritation.
  • Use a brand new razor which can help prevent nicks and cuts. 

Beauty experts recommend shaving while standing in the shower, with one leg up on the side of the tub or shower wall. Shave in the direction of the hair. Remember to apply steady but gentle pressure with the razor. After each stroke of the blade, rinse off the razor and try reapplying shaving cream or gel. If the skin of a particular area is loose or very sensitive, you may want to try holding that area taut or out of the way so that it doesn't get caught by the razor.

After shaving, some experts recommend using a gentle astringent like witch hazel or hydrogen peroxide on the skin to prevent infection and ingrown hairs. Many aftershaves designed for men's faces contain alcohol and can sting the sensitive pubic area, so alcohol-free aloe vera gel can be a useful alternative to help soothe any irritation.

Some couples also enjoy shaving each other's pubic hair as an erotic activity. The key to enjoying this type of sex play is to treat each other's genitals delicately and carefully. Mutual shaving is an exercise in trust and communication, since the person wielding the razor isn't able to feel what may hurt and what may feel good to the person they are shaving.

By practicing and following the above steps, you should be able to enjoy an irritation-free shaved pubic region. If you continue to have irritation or problems with shaving your pubic hair, note that waxing may be a good alternative. See the Related Q&As for more info on this process.

Good luck!

Last updated Jun 10, 2015
Originally published Apr 28, 2006

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