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By: Aly Walansky

Gillette Venus partnered with Aly Walansky to write this article.
This article also appears on her website, A Little Aly Tude.

We don’t know about you – but no matter how many times we get them, pre-bikini wax apprehension is akin to dental visits in their shudder factor.
However, as we get closer to summer (and bikini season) many of us are opting for pre-beach Brazilian waxes. Brazilians are a whole other ball of wax – pun totally intended – for those of us used to the immediacy and ease of shaving.
Personally, my biggest issue when waxing is dealing with the regrowth time between waxes. The whole reason we get bikini waxes is to be perfectly hairless during bikini season – and then we have a month between waxing appointments!

Shave the distance Shave the distance

It’s a bit of a myth that if you wax, you shouldn’t shave between appointments, as your hair may grow back coarser.  The truth is, it’s all an illusion: Hair can seem thicker or coarser when it grows back because the hair has been cut and has a blunt end, compared with the rounded tip of a new hair (which is what you get when you remove hair by the root, i.e. with waxing, sugaring or tweezing). It’s not literally a different textured hair though!

Depending on hair re-growth, I’ve seen my own waxing results last between three to six weeks with hair growth being light the first week and increasing the third and fourth week. This can be problematic if you have a hot date or a beach date scheduled for around two weeks post-wax! That’s where my shaving touch-ups come in.

I’d never survive without shaving with my Venus Embrace, between waxing appointments. You’ll want to wait about 2 weeks before your first appointment and stop shaving approximately 10 days before you’re your next waxing appointment because hair needs to be approximately 1/8 to 1/4 inch long for a clean wax (longer for coarser hair that has never been waxed).  This will – depending on your hair growth patterns – probably mean waxing about once a month.

With 10-14 days growth on each side, you’ll have what is needed for a clean pull for your aesthetician (and an easier wax experience for yourself!). Avoid the temptation to cut it any closer than this (pun totally intended, again!) – you want to allow the wax have a good grip on the hair and be released from the root, rather than just the hair above the skin being removed. (Because, ouch.)

The benefits of the shave The benefits of the shave

Aside from maintaining the clean bikini area throughout the month, there are inherent skin benefits in shaving. “Ingrown hairs are in part due to dead skin that covers over hairs, often leading to an inflammatory reaction in the skin.  Exfoliating the dead skin, in the bikini area, for example, is a necessary part to helping to prevent these ingrown hairs.  Shaving with a sharp razor that is suitable for sensitive skin is a good way to exfoliate this region between waxing and will help prevent these painful ingrown hairs from forming,” shares Dr. Jody Levine, Venus Dermatologist. Shaving doesn’t just make our skin smooth because of the hair removal – by also exfoliating it’s like a facial for our lady parts! The last thing we want are ingrown hairs, which are often accompanied by bumps and irritation – the antithesis of a clean and perfect bikini line.

How to shave How to shave

Many of us have been shaving since we were teens, but that doesn’t mean we still don’t get those annoying nicks and scrapes. When we’re dealing with the bikini area, that’s completely unacceptable.   Since you are a waxer, your hair shouldn’t be very long. In the event it is, try to trim the hair to about ¼ with scissors before getting in the shower. This will help you get a clean shave and avoid hairs getting stuck in your blade once you begin shaving. As much as I love my hot showers, it’s best to go lukewarm – the hot water will drag the moisture out of your skin. Dry skin is far more likely to get irritated.  No matter how much of a rush you may be in, never skip rinsing the blade after each pass of the razor. There’s going to be increasing levels of hair and skin caught in your blade, and this can reduce the quality of your shave. Shower as normal and then shave at the end, that’s when your skin and hair will be at its softest. And, whenever possible, shave with the grain. The grain is simply the direction your hair appears to be growing in. If you need to go back against the grain to get a closer shave, you can do so – gently. But make the initial pass in the “right” direction. When I was younger and didn’t know any better, I’d sometimes attempt to “dry” shave outside of the shower – this was a rookie mistake. This is a great way to clog up your perfectly good razor with dead skin cells and end up with ingrown hairs and razor bumps. If you aren’t near a shower and desperately need the shave to be right then – it happens! – Take a warm, wet washcloth and leave it in the area for a few minutes before proceeding.

Your razor Your razor

Make sure to change your blade as directed.  A dull blade can lead to nicks. And even though you are used to waxing and may not have a razor sitting around, get one. AS tempting as it may be –my mom did it all the time with my dad’s! – Never borrow your guy's razor. His hair is coarser and will dull a blade. A razor like Gillette Venus Embrace has five, sharp blades for close shaving, plus the smooth glide you get from the ribbon of moisture can be your very best friend when shaving tricky areas like the bikini.

After the shave After the shave

When finished shaving -- just as whenever you get out of the shower -- never skimp on the body oils or lotions.  Even baby oil is great if your skin has a tendency toward dryness. The method of moisturizing you do is up to you – as is your hair removal routine – but avoiding irritation and dryness always leads to best results!

About the Author

About the Author

Aly Walansky
Aly Walansky created A Little Alytude on SheKnows.com in 2006, as one of the first well-known beauty and style blogs on the Internet. Over time, it became a foremost source for advice, tips, reviews, and commentary across the lifestyle genre. Her writing can be seen across the Internet and in several print publications. She contributes regularly to SheKnows.com, xoJane,  HowAboutWe,  Life & Beauty, Latest Hairstyles, Celebuzz, DailyMakeover.com, The Fashion Spot, New Beauty magazine, Bella NYC magazine, and many more. While she is well-known for her beauty and style writing — New Beauty magazine rated her one of the top four beauty bloggers on the web in their Winter 2010 issue and Star magazine rated her the hottest blogger on the Internet in 2011 — she’s rather diversified in the blogosphere. She’s been hired to live-blog from locations ranging from the Miss America pageant to the Emmy Awards. In 2013, Media Kitty featured her, declaring her among the best and brightest in travel and lifestyles journalists. Aly’s roots exist — pun intended! — in the realm of beauty and style as she is quoted in countless publications on a weekly basis, and has appeared as a beauty expert on the FOX network and various radio programs. But her focus is far wider. She’s also a popular travel and food writer and has traveled across the globe in the name of culinary, historical, and spa journalism. Aly currently resides in New York City.

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