Health

How to Shave Pubic Hair Near Your Vagina

If the new coronavirus pandemic has obliterated your grooming routine, you’re not alone. Among many other quandaries, you might be grappling with how to shave your pubic hair these days—particularly if your usual grooming technique isn’t really possible while social distancing.

Now, obviously summer’s going to look a lot different this year than it normally does, but you might still find some safe opportunities to get into a swimsuit. If removing the hair around your vulva is usually part of that process for you, we get why you’re interested in figuring out how to shave down there.

Of course, no one is obligated to remove their pubic hair (or any other body hair), but if it’s part of your normal routine that makes you feel great, we’re not going to tell you to stop. We are, however, going to help you handle this DIY hair care situation as safely as possible. So, in case you’re interested in how to shave your pubic hair, we asked a dermatologist to give us the low-down on how to do it safely.

Why do you even have pubic hair?

It’s not entirely clear why people have pubic hair. When it comes to people with vaginas, there is some thought that it might provide protection against dirt entering the vagina, as well as against friction from exercise or sex, SELF previously reported. There is also the (unproven) theory that pubic hair carries pheromones that signal when you have reached reproductive maturity (and, in turn, possibly help you attract a partner to reproduce with). While the research on this is inconclusive at best, the fact is that most people begin to sprout pubic hair when they reach puberty, a phase marked by other hair growth—like armpit hair and facial hair—that can show up in different spots depending on a person’s sex, as well as muscle growth, breast development, a deepening voice, and acne, SELF previously reported.

Just because pubic hair is a natural part of human development doesn’t mean you’re obligated to keep it, just like various pubic hair removal trends don’t mean you’re obligated to groom it. Whether or not you decide to shave, wax, trim, or simply leave it be is entirely up to you. But since you’re reading this, you’re probably interested in doing…something to it. And, unlike getting a professional bikini wax or laser hair removal, shaving is something you can do from home.

The most important part of learning how to shave pubic hair: Know the risks.

At the risk of stating the obvious, shaving involves dragging a sharp object across your skin. So if you aren’t intentional about how you do it, you can increase the risk of irritation, cuts, ingrown hairs, and infection. To that end, you absolutely should not grab any old razor and get to work. Instead, make sure you have everything necessary to follow the steps we’re about to go through, even if it seems over the top. Hopefully, knowing that there are some risks involved will make following these steps feel more worth it. This is your precious vulva we’re talking about, so you need to learn how to shave near your vagina safely before just going to town.

As a baseline, you’re going to need body soap and water, a clean razor, shaving cream or gel, and a moisturizer to use when you’re finished. Keep reading for our product recommendations.

Here’s how to shave your pubic hair.

“There are certain steps that are important for shaving,” Gary Goldenberg, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital, tells SELF. Many of them are also key if you’re shaving other areas like your legs or face, he adds. Here’s what to do:

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