Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Intimate Grooming Tips: From Brazilians to Manscaping
Intimate grooming, specifically the removal of pubic hair, has many levels from the untouched natural to completely bare. Lots of people are happy to leave things as is. Many others want to neaten things up, shape, or outright remove what’s there. Whether you go for a simple bikini or want to try a full Brazilian with perhaps some vajazzling, here are some tips to do it safely and with minimal discomfort.
You can start by picking a razor for intimate areas. They will have pivoting blades and moisturizing strips to protect the skin. You can even get personal groomers, electric trimmers, designed specifically for this area. Shaving does not last as long as waxing and can leave cuts and micro tears afterward. It is easy to do at home and has less discomfort than waxing. First trim the area so hair is not too long. Shower or soak first to soften hair. Do not use water that is too hot as it can irritate the skin, especially after shaving. Use a moisturizing shaving cream or foam instead of soap. This will provide more protection against irritation. You want to minimize the chance of razor burn. Men can use these same shaving techniques if they are looking to trim their pubic hair or even shave their testicles, as some men want to do.
Hold skin taught. Shave in the direction the hair grows and try not to go over the area too many times. The bikini area is sensitive (where your legs meet your pelvis and the outer labia) and you need to take even greater care once you get to the vulva. A Brazilian, where all or most of the pubic hair is removed, can be a challenge to remove. Aftercare is important too. Be kind to that area of your body at first and avoid overly tight clothing that doesn’t breathe. This can trigger ingrown hairs or encourage the growth of bacteria. Once the shaved skin has calmed, do a light exfoliation with a washcloth or soft brush to keep pores open and prevent ingrown hairs. You may find your skin is more sensitive when shaving during your period.
Waxing lasts longer than shaving but still has the same possibilities of ingrown hairs and micro tears. Waxing entails the application of heated wax with a stick applicator then the area is covered with a cloth strip that is then pulled. The hair sticks to the cloth and is pull directly out of the hair follicle. Hot wax can be uncomfortable but the discomfort is short lived and many find it’s worth it for the cleaner look and longer lasting hair removal. You can wax at home or at a salon. Waxing techniques are pretty much the same for men. Men can get as little or as much waxed as they like, even testicles are not off limits. Some just prefer a simple bikini wax to wear smaller bathing trunks or just to feel better groomed in front of their partner.
At Home Waxing
Home hot wax kits come with a jar of wax that can be warmed in the microwave or some larger kits come with their own warmer. You’ll also get the flat wooden sticks for application and hair removal strips. You may have to try several brands before you find the one that works for you. Do some research beforehand, especially if you have thicker coarser hair that’s more difficult to remove. There is also body sugaring which uses an ancient Egyptian method of sugar instead of wax. It’s been said to be a gentler waxing process and easier to remove than with wax. There are also wax strips you just warm with your hands but these may not work on stubborn areas.
Always test the temperature of the wax in a less sensitive area before applying, excessively hot wax on intimate areas can be damaging. Trim hair short before waxing. A shower beforehand can soften hair and taking some pain reliever 30 min beforehand can help minimize discomfort. A light dusting of baby powder on the area can keep moisture down and protect the skin. Apply wax in the direction of hair growth, apply a waxing strip and press down with strokes also in the same direction as hair growth. Pull quickly in the opposite direction. You will also hardly pull anything out if you go slowly. Pull any missed hairs out with tweezers. Waxing over the same spot repeatedly can damage skin. Make sure area is clean and dry when you’re done. Aftercare is important here too to prevent ingrown hairs. Let your skin recover for a day then use the same light exfoliation techniques described earlier. Just like shaving, a basic bikini should be easy with a little practice but an at home full Brazilian will take some effort.
If you want to forgo the do it yourself way then you need to have an in salon wax. Take time to research around. Not every aesthetician who can do a mean eyebrow waxing is trained to do bikini waxes much less Brazilians. Find a licensed aesthetician. I found going to ones who specialize in Brazilian waxes have the best techniques and the right supplies. You want to make sure the aesthetician doesn’t “double dip” the sticks, this means they don’t apply the wax with the applicator stick then dip it back in the wax after it’s touched skin. This can spread bacteria from skin onto the stick then into the hot wax. They should use a fresh stick for each application. Learning some terms before you go in can help you communicate better with your aesthetician. A basic bikini wax is the area around the panty line. A full bikini wax will go further in towards the labia, leaving a triangular area of pubic hair. A French bikini will go even further and leave just a landing strip size of pubic hair. Brazilian is hair completely removed from entire area including labia but may leave a small landing strip. Some places will have variations on this and include the inner and/or outer buttocks. Hollywood is complete hair removal.
Just like shaving, waxing can be more painful during your period. Taking a pain reliever 30 minutes beforehand can help with discomfort. Let your skin rest for a day then use the light exfoliation routine to prevent ingrown hairs. Aestheticians will recommend returning every 4-6 weeks, with 6 weeks being optimal. Less can increase the chance of irritation and ingrown hairs while hair ¼” shorter or less make it harder to remove. More means the hair will be back to its unruly state and not as easy to remove. Sticking to a routine of every 6 weeks will result in hair taking longer to grow back and be thinner when it does. Don’t shave between waxing as this will cut the hair off at the follicle rather than pulling it out returning the grow pattern to quick and coarse. There are also ingrown hair inhibitors you can purchase and apply to minimize the chances of an ingrown hair.
You can also try laser hair removal which is nearly permanent if not long lasting, it’s much more long lasting than waxing but significantly more expensive. The same goes with electrolysis. Be sure to use a licensed dermatologist, as there is risk of burns if done by an inexperienced person. Whatever you try always do your research, your prep time, follow directions if going DIY, and give yourself some good after care.
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