Since yesterday’s post on getting the perfect shave got such a glowing response I am following up with installment #2. I may even make seducing your healthy skin a weekly feature! (tell me your questions in the comments and I’ll write them down as topics for future posts!)
Yesterday we covered the importance of pre and post care, as well as shaving technique. Today I am going to be sharing some of my favorite products and tools, as well as how to prevent those annoying little buggers we affectionately call ingrown hairs.
But first, a note about shaving in general:
Shave if you want to, not because you think you have to.
Look at any good ol’ 1973 issue of playboy and you will see that it is only in the last 20-30 years that shaving ones lady parts has even been thought of as attractive. I’ve done it all from full Brazilian to full on bush. I think you decide what makes you feel hot. That said, a landing strip might be your favorite style, but in between you feel itchy, have bumps, and sometimes even scarring. So here you have three options:
- Continue your shaving routine and just deal with the bumps as best you can
- Get laser hair removal
- Choose to find your bush sexy no matter what
I used to cringe when I would greet a lover in a state of being unshorn. Then I realized, what am I, a fucking sheep? The only reason pubic hair styling and shaving is even attractive is because it has become the standard in pornography. Pornography does not dictate what is sexy in my world. And if I am with a partner for whom that is a deal breaker, a.) I need to seriously examine how that weasel ended up in my bed in the first place, b.) I need educate them about what sexy really is, because clearly they have been led astray.
Like all things with seduction – do what you feel, not what you’re told. (tweet it!)
That said, who doesn’t like a little fluff and buff now and then? Since yesterday’s post was all about technique, today I will share some of my favorite rituals for pre and post shave to get the best results from your shave, as well as alternatives to shaving if it is just truly not your jam.
I love to make my own scrub with just rough sea salt and a little bit of body wash. However, if you want to get all fancy, Bliss Hot Salt Scrub is seriously my favorite scrub on planet earth. I also love exfoliating gloves. Sometimes, I scrub my skin with first, then put on the gloves with a little body wash and scrub the product off with the gloves. (Everyone loves a twofer.)
Hands down my all time favorite is Dermalogica Close Shave Oil. It is different from any cream or gel, it is a silicone based oil that creates the perfect softening slip for your razor. It is clear so you can see where you are going when you shave areas with multiple directions, and you can also apply it after you shave to minimize irritation. Booyah.
My favorite razor on earth for legs and underarms is Schick Intuition
For the bikini line (unless you are doing a minimal shave) the Intuition becomes a little cumbersome, so I go with the classic Gillette Venus.
For legs, I recommend using a lotion, cream or oil that will seal in moisture and condition the skin. For underarms and bikini lines, irritation and ingrown hairs can become an issue, so check out the info below.
The Girlfriend’s Guide To Ingrowns
There are two types of hairs on the body:
- Vellus Hairs, which is the fine fuzz we find on places like the forearms and face
- Terminal Hairs, which are the thicker hairs found on the scalp, and in places like the bikini line, underarm, eyebrows and eyelashes.
Terminal hairs are the ones we most often seek to remove and are more prone to becoming ingrown.
What does ingrown really mean? Inside the hair follicle you have a sweat gland, an oil gland, dead skin cells and the hair. When we shave, we are cutting the hair at the follicle opening. What that means is that oil and dead skin cells can settle at the opening, causing the hair as it grows to curl back down into the follicle, becoming “ingrown”. Without any oxygen able to get inside the follicle, bacteria grows and we end up with what looks like (and essentially is) a pimple.
So, with that knowledge, the two things we want to eliminate are dead skin cells, oil and bacteria. Enter Salycilic Acid.
- Salycilic acid is an ingredient derived from willow bark that works in three ways. It is liophilic, meaning it dissolves oil (lipo: think oils and fats). It is a beta hydroxy acid which means it reduces dead skin cell buildup (acting like little pac-men to eat up debris). It is antibacterial.
- Look for a post-shaving product that contains 2% Salycilic Acid (anything less than does not give you the full range of benefits). I like Dermalogica Post Shave Balm People also rave about Tend Skin. I don’t shave frequently enough to have bumps, but if I did these would be the products on my shelf.
- Reducing inflammation is also important. Using a soothing product that contains ingredients like lavender, chamomile, calendula, licorice and aloe can help soothe the skin after a shave or wax. Calming down this inflammation prevents swelling of the follicle, which also prevents ingrown hairs.
- Avoid excessive friction on the area after shaving (i.e. might not be the best time to wear your full lace boyshort panties on a 100 degree day)
- Also, try not to “overshave”. The more often you shave the more prone you will be to irritation. This causes the follicle to swell making ingrown more likely to happen.
Some A’s to your Q’s about other methods of hair removal
Waxing rules. When done consistently it can thin out and reduce hair growth because you are repeatedly removing the hair from the root (which is why it hurts) rather than skimming it off the top. The same rules apply with waxing for aftercare, with a little more emphasis on reducing inflammation. Also, do not exfoliate heavily prior to or immediately following a wax.
Depilatory creams like Nair are highly alkaline substances that dissolve the hair and claim to go into the root, resulting in a smoother more long lasting result than shaving. I have never had good luck with these things and they burn like hell. Some people I know like them, personally I am not a fan.
I have never used one of these so I can’t speak from personal experience, but from the research I have done they work similar to waxing in that they remove the hair from the root, kind of like a lawnmower that tweezes. Let me know how that goes!
Laser Hair Removal
Works like a charm, if you’re white and rich! I’m not being political here. The thing with laser hair removal is that it works by picking up on pigment. Therefore people with light skin and dark hairs are the best candidates. Darker skin tones risk burns and hyperpigmentation (dark spots). This is a technology that is growing every day and I know there are new cool touch lasers on the market for darker skin tones. My advice is to seek a P-R-O-fessional for these types of services as they affect the skin more than just superficially.
Electrolysis works kind of like waxing or tweezing in the sense that it removes the hair at the root, but rather than just removing it it seeks to destroy the growth of the hair using electric current. Electrolysis is much less risky than laser hair removal but works over time, so sometimes the investment can be comparable as several sessions may be needed to achieve the desired result.
My heavens, it does feel good to be back in the skin care swing! What other questions do you have? Skin? Body? Makeup? Lay em’ on me! I think I feel a weekly feature coming on.