[Updated July, 2020] Shaving the pubic region has benefits…and risks. You can manage at least some of the risk by using a razor with only one blade–and proper technique.
Before You Start: Philosophic And Cultural Considerations
Pubic hair is useful for lubrication and comfort. Before you begin it may be appropriate to ask yourself do I really need to do this?
Particularly in the case of shaving the pubic region bare, there are good reasons for not doing it. Itching, allergic reactions, and rashes can be an annoyance. But beyond that, the pubic area can harbor bacteria. When you shave the pubic area you risk bacteria getting into tiny nicks and cuts. That could cause anything from a minor infection to something very serious.
On the other hand it makes a less welcoming environment to body lice. And it’s a factor in some religions and cultures.
Some General Suggestions
Shaving is shaving, no matter what you’re shaving. So basic principles of shaving apply:
- The area to be shaved should be clean;
- The area to be shaved should be well-hydrated;
- The hair should be reduced in stages rather than trying to eliminate it all at once;
- The best results from a shave stroke come when the skin is flattened (not necessarily stretched);
- Moisturize and protect the area after shaving.
Consider grooming from the bottom up: if you want to groom your pubic region start with the bottom of the scrotum and move upward from there.
Dedicate whatever gear you use for grooming the pubic region for that use only. Don’t “multitask” with products that might harbor bacteria that could migrate to another part of the body.
If you’re doing this for the first time there’s going to be a fairly significant time investment involved, so be sure to carve out at least an hour of time so you’re not rushed.
How To Shave “Down There”
First Reduction – Trimming
The first step is to reduce the hair down to a level that is appropriate for shaving. Trimming by itself does have some aesthetic qualities too–you can appear bigger down there.
Ideally you want to use a trimmer that can be used in either wet or dry environments.
Position yourself (standing or sitting) over an unfolded newspaper, a large towel, or something else to catch trimmings and take a comfortable stance. If you have never trimmed before and the hair is pretty long, use a comb attachment to reduce the hair to a manageable level: turn on the trimmer and gently move it against the direction of hair growth with the comb tips pointing forward. Then remove the comb and “float” the trimmer over the area (without actually touching the skin if possible).
If it would help to carefully pull the skin taught to flatten the area but be careful not to over-stretch the skin: pubic hairs are coarser and curlier so it’s easier for the hair to curl back into the skin and cause an ingrown hair. Shoot for stubble about 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch long if you can (but don’t be too concerned if you don’t get down to that level on the first attempt).
If you have decided to go smooth (are you really sure you want to do that?) more preparation will be required. Cleaning then soaking in a hot, steamy bath or shower for at least five minutes (ten would be better) is mandatory.
Consider the position you will shave in: standing, sitting, and laying down. Sitting (either in the bathtub or on a waterproof chair in the shower) is by far the easiest position for many but as with all things shaving “your mileage may vary.”
Some people use traditional shave kit for lather (i.e. a brush and lathering cream or soap) and really enjoy it. But as mentioned earlier if you decide to do this buy a separate set of products just for the groin region.
Most people use more “modern” shave lubricants–gels, oils, or creams–that are transparent so they can better see what they’re shaving. Just don’t use something from a pressurized can.
Using A Razor
[Note: Amazon and OneBlade links are affiliate.]
You may be tempted to use a regular, mass market, multi-blade razor with a pivot head. However the “lift and cut” technology of modern multi-blade cartridges will make ingrown hairs and razor burn much more likely. Use a razor with a single blade (particularly a mild one such as a Feather AS-D2 or a Vikings Blade The Godfather; or an adjustable razor “dialed down” to a mild setting). If you want to take the extra security that a pivoting razor head affords consider something like the OneBlade, Gillette Guard (AKA Treo), or the Gillette SkinGuard (which actually has two blades but it does not use the “lift and cut” idea).
Related Post: Single Blade Razors With A Pivot?
Carefully stretch the area you are shaving with one hand just enough to provide a flat surface for the blade’s edge while you shave with the other hand. A mirror would be useful here. Shave in whatever direction feels most comfortable to you–unlike shaving the face do not worry too much about the “grain” of the stubble.
It is generally suggested to shave from the sides of the scrotum towards the center then move up the shaft.
The key here is to work slowly and carefully. If you miss a spot, just let it go and get to it next time.
After you are finished shaving, rinse the area with warm (not hot) water. It might be worth re-washing the area with an antibacterial soap if you’re worried about how badly you just shaved.
Then dry off with a clean towel using patting motions–don’t rub the area.
Once you’re dry you will need to apply a gentle aftershave product to sooth and protect the area. There are actually several aftershave products specifically made for the groin but really any good aftershave balm will be fine.
Depending on the level of hair reduction you have achieved and want to maintain, you may have to do additional body grooming anywhere from a couple times a week to once every few weeks. It depends on you and your goals.