Unless you’re planning on undergoing a full-body laser hair removal treatment, ingrown hairs are going to be a fact of life. For those of you who are just as confused as I am as to what exactly an ingrown hair is, it is, essentially, a hair that has not grown to the surface of the skin, and instead, curls back into the follicle and grows under the skin. This can happen when a thick layer of dead skin remains on the surface of the body, leaving the hair nowhere to go but back down. The result of this is unseemly red bumps, or what everyone refers to as “razor bumps.” As annoying as they are, they’re also totally preventable and easy to get rid of once you have them. Here are some things you can do to prevent and remove them altogether:
1. Invest in a good exfoliating pad. Any bikini waxer will tell you (mine does all the time) that the only way to prevent ingrown hair in the long run is to exfoliate your skin. Since the main cause of ingrowns is a thick layer of dead skin, exfoliation is the ideal solution. I’d recommend Soften Her–you can obviously use any exfoliating glove of your choosing, but this is the only product that’s worked for me. Not only does it exfoliate the dead skin, but it also softens your stubble over time. Really, it’s a win-win. A $11.99 pack comes with three pads that last for two months each, so you don’t have to worry about replacing your exfoliant all the time. Shop the product here.
2. Make sure you’re using a fresh blade when you shave. When you use a dull blade, not only are you risking not removing all of the hair, but you’re also opening yourself up to the possibility of serious skin irritation and/or nicking yourself. You’ll save yourself a lot of trouble in the long run if you switch out your blade once a week or more, depending on how often you shave.
3. Tweeze before shaving. This one is annoying, and honestly, I avoid doing it when I can, but sometimes you have to bite the bullet. You can check for ingrowns before shaving and, making sure that your tweezers are VERY clean, lift out any ingrowns you have. I would only do this with the nagging, persistent ones, though. Don’t irritate your skin any more than is absolutely necessary.
4. Use an epilator instead of a razor. I have a friend who has never actually used razor in her entire life. She’s only ever used an epilator on her arms and legs, and her skin has always been so smooth it’s almost unfair. Epilators do the work of 50+ tweezers at once, pulling the hair out from the root rather than cutting it short like shaving does, so it makes sense that the hair would grow in naturally from the root again. Think about it: you don’t really ever get any ingrown hairs on your eyebrows when you tweeze them, right? Fair warning: some epilators can be really loud, and the noise isn’t exactly a friendly one, but once you get past that, they’re totally worth it.
For more tips, check out: the best hair removal products, the two-second folding trick that’ll save you space and how to style your rings like a blogger