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If you’re a frequent shaver, then you know how prone pubic skin can be to irritation, ingrown hairs and a cactus-like regrowth sensation. I hoped that the professionals from the world of pole dancing, who are no strangers to frequent hair removal, would help me find ways to make my intimate grooming regimen a little more comfortable and effective.
A Portland, Oregon-based performer who goes by the stage name Samara Luv told me that her acumen lies in head-to-toe grooming (in addition to displaying incredible athleticism and navigating social stigmas surrounding stripping).
“Shaving is a ritual for me; I have to do it at least every other day,” Luv said.
Her shaving routine involves starting off with an electric razor, followed by exfoliation before using a traditional hand-held razor. According to Luv, this softens the stubble and lifts the hairs. She also stressed that shaving with running water and a cream are a must ― never dry shave.
“Shaving upwards against the grain always gives me ingrown hairs. Instead, shave downwards, then side to side,” Luv said. “You can even give yourself a landing strip. It seriously cuts down the time you spend shaving.”
Afterward, she recommends ensuring that your razor is completely clean and dry to preserve the sharpness and longevity of your blade, then opting to wear something loose-fitting or skipping on underwear entirely.
“If you’re looking to minimize hair growth or don’t want to shave every day, get waxed. After a while, your hair will grow thinner and thinner since ripping the hair out damages the follicle,” Luv added.
That being said, traditional strip or hard waxing might not be for everyone. A dancer and stripping community advocate who goes by her TikTok handle @behindtheheelz said that waxing sessions left her skin feeling stung and inflamed. For this reason she swears by sugar waxing instead, which you can learn a bit more about below.
The performer and TikTok creator also wanted to acknowledge that society’s relationship with pubic hair, and our desperate attempts to remove any signs of its existence from our bodies, can be problematic.
“In the dancing community, there may [be] some [feelings of] pressure to keep your bikini area baby-smooth, with no bumps or nicks — basically, for it to look airbrushed,” she said. “Every body is different, and no matter what it looks like, I can guarantee the clients do NOT care. It’s all about the confidence.”
If for you, confidence is found in being hair-free, keep scrolling to find what these dancers keep in their showers and bathroom cabinets to keep their skin happy and those pesky bumps at bay.
A highly rated wet-or-dry hypoallergenic electric shaver
Luv said that she starts out with an electric razor, moving downwards in the direction of hair growth. This cordless Panasonic electric shaver, which has over 39,000 five-star-ratings on Amazon, comes with a bikini trimmer attachment that works to remove multiple lengths of hair growth all at once. The hypoallergenic and stainless steel blades are gentle on sensitive skin and are built into a flexible pivoting head that effortlessly glides over contours of the body.
A lightweight pre-shave sugar scrub
"I’ve tried a million other exfoliants that are made for shaving, but this one prevents bumps and doesn’t irritate my skin," Luv said of Truly's Smooth Legend pre-shave sugar scrub, which she uses after her electric razor and just before a traditional one.
This fuchsia-hued scrub uses a blend of antioxidant-rich emollients, such as passion fruit and grape oil, to buff away dead skin cells and pore-clogging products while loosening hair follicles in order to reveal a fresh bright canvas that's prepped for the razor.
A nourishing shea butter-based shaving cream
When it comes to shaving cream, Heelz' go-to choice is the nourishing formulation of the widely popular Eos 24-Hour Moisture shave cream. According to her, this shea butter-based lotion keeps things super moisturized and impeccably smooth. This cream also contains shea oils for an added conditioning effect that works to protect against nicks and cuts, along with aloe to soothe and calm sensitive skin.
An easy-to-maneuver razor with four cartridges
"I only use razors from Dollar Shave Club. Their blades are smooth and easy to maneuver, and are the only blades I trust for my legs, underarms and, when needed, bikini area as well," Heelz told HuffPost.
The razors at Dollar Shave Club feature six stainless steel blades, a lubricating strip and a built-in precision top trimmer which means fewer strokes and less irritation. The company offers a number of different affordable starter kits and monthly subscription packages that can be catered to your specific shaving needs.
A bump-minimizing salicylic acid treatment
A dancer based in San Diego, California, who goes by the stage name Mary B, told me that although she now gets laser hair removal, she still treats her bikini area with salicylic acid two to three times a week to keep things exfoliated or, prior to laser, the day after shaving.
Topical's High Roller ingrown hair tonic is a lightweight serum formulated for use anywhere on the body, including the bikini area. It comes in a convenient roller applicator and features a nice infusion of salicylic acid that penetrates pores to target any bump-causing buildup. It also contains zinc, which can be helpful for minimizing skin irritation.
A lightweight and fragrance-free lotion for post shaving
B also recommended applying a moisturizer after shaving to prevent irritation and excessive dryness. This lightweight, fast-absorbing and fragrance-free moisturizer by CeraVe is arguably one of the most popular daily lotions on the market and can be a great after-shave treatment, especially if you have skin that has been burned by a razor. Its hero blend of three essential ceramides can repair skin barrier function while hyaluronic acid helps to seal in moisture.
An at-home sugar waxing kit
Often called hard strip wax's superior cousin, using sugar wax, also known as sugaring, is Heelz' favorite bikini grooming method for a few reasons, especially if you have sensitive skin.
"I love sugar waxing because though it varies by person, I typically can go a little over two weeks enjoying my wax, and on the third or fourth week decide if I would like to get my next one. I personally prefer because it’s gentler on my skin then regular waxing and overall, my hair growth has definitely minimized from before I started waxing to present," Heelz said.
This at-home sugar waxing starter kit by Sugardoh, a leading brand in sugaring, contains a jar with three months' worth of "wax." It also contains reusable applicator tools and six reusable strips.
A moisture-rich body wash that won't strip skin
According to Heel, keeping a hydrated canvas from start to finish is really important, however, being too lotion-ed up prior to work can be dangerous because it can hinder grip on the pole. Because of this, she washes with this shea-infused body wash from Olay "specifically because [it's] gentle on my skin and leaves me feeling clean and smooth, without worry of a dry knee or foot."
In addition to shea butter, this rich creamy wash contains blue lotus flower for added skin-conditioning power.
Seven travel packs of highly rated wet wipes that prevent chafing
As we all know, skin chafing and irritation have a long, sordid history together. To combat this, Luv says that she keeps a pack of baby wipes at work to wipe down the inside of her thighs to prevent chafing. Even if you're not at the strip club, having a pack of these wildly popular baby wipes handy can function much in the same way. They are formulated specifically with sensitive skin in mind and contain 99.9% water.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.