Manscaping – an activity which would once have been met with mockery, has become not only socially acceptable, but sexy.
If you’ve decided to trim the hedge that grows south of the equator, keep reading. We’ll help you safely navigate that delicate terrain, avoiding injury and irritation.
Is Shaving the Pubic Area Safe?
Yes – but only as long as the appropriate tools are used, with caution, common sense and correct technique. The goal is to remove hair around your private parts, without getting razor bumps or itching.
Failing to abide by the above can result in scrapes, nicks, cuts and even abscesses. Don’t believe us? Just ask the medical journal, Urology, which reported a five-fold increase in manscaping injuries severe enough to warrant an emergency room visit. Obviously, shaving your balls without having to display your handy-work to a room full of doctors would be the ideal situation – this guide is here to help!
Manscaping the Right way, in Seven Easy Steps
1. Select an appropriate tool, and don’t use it for anything else.
For occasional trimming, good-quality scissors (with short- to medium-length blades, for safety and accuracy) will suffice. To keep hair at a predetermined length, use an electric trimmer or clipper with an adjustable blade or guard – though you’d be best served by a dedicated, adjustable body groomer, designed for the sole purpose of trimming pubic and other body hair.
For a completely shaven look, again, opt for a body groomer that cuts close, a high quality electric shaver, or a multi-blade cartridge razor with a swiveling head.
Whatever your tool of choice, reserve it solely for manscaping. What goes below, stays below, and vice versa. The groin harbours yeast and bacteria not found elsewhere on the body. Using a grooming tool that comes into close contact with the groin can spread microorganisms, increasing the risk of jock itch, ringworm and other unpleasant skin conditions.
2. Thin out the shrubbery.
If it’s your first time shaving your pubic area – or it’s been a while – chances are that the hair is long, curly and dense. Just as you wouldn’t attack a six month-old beard with a razor, neither should you attempt to shave pubic hair that’s grown for more than a couple of weeks.
Doing so can result in painful pulling, itching, irritation and ingrown hair. Instead, take those hairs down to size with an electric trimmer or clipper. Trim hair to about 1/16 of an inch, then proceed with a razor, or simply maintain your desired length through regular grooming.
3. Prepare for take-off.
Don’t attempt to manscape dry pubic hair. Rather, shave after showering. Heat and moisture soften skin, open pores, break down oil and dirt, and make hair easier to remove. Water also acts as a natural pre-lubricant, reducing the likelihood of catching and tugging. When it’s time to shave, use a high-quality, alcohol-free shaving gel or cream—ideally one which contains aloe vera or vitamin E, to prevent irritation.
4. Go with the grain.
Shave using smooth, even strokes, in the same direction in which your pubic hair grows. Going against the grain can leave unsightly stubble, necessitating more passes, and irritating skin. If shaving with the grain alone provides an unsatisfactory result, you may follow up with an across or against the grain motion, but avoid shaving with excess pressure.
5. Don’t get too ballsy.
Shaving the upper groin area is relatively easy – it’s once you go farther below the beltline that things get challenging. Skin is softer, more mobile, and may gather in folds. The scrotum (and what it contains) is particularly delicate, and without proper technique, can be easily cut. And the nature of those areas – warm, moist and dark – make them an attractive breeding ground for bacteria, which, while normally harmless, can easily pass through even small lacerations. The result can range from minor irritation to serious infections, such as an abscess, cellulitis, or gangrene.
Fortunately, such mishaps can be avoided. Keep your hands clean, and wash your pubic area prior to shaving or grooming. Use your dominant hand to control your grooming tool, and your other hand to pull loose skin taut. That will smooth out things out, and allow you to shave more carefully and precisely. To accurately assess your work, stand over a handheld mirror in a well-illuminated room.
Tip: never shave between your bum cheeks, as shaving this sensitive buttcrack area could lead to nasty ingrown hairs and irritation.
6. Be prepared for accidents.
Even the most practiced manscaper can slip up. If it happens to you, stay calm. Thoroughly wash the affected area with gentle soap and warm water, and disinfect it with rubbing alcohol. If the cut is only skin deep, staunch it with damp paper towels or toilet paper, allowing the blood to clot. In the case of a larger cut, or one that continue to bleed after fifteen minutes, contact your doctor, or go to the emergency room. Stitches may be required.
7. Make it moist.
The delicate, sensitive nature of the groin area, and the curliness inherent to pubic hair, often means that you’ll experience an itching sensation immediately after shaving. This goes away with time, but can be prevented by applying moisturizer. Look for two ingredients in particular: Aloe (which soothes) and camphor (which numbs and refreshes).
If redness and itching persist, folliculitis (inflamed hair follicles), or a fungal or bacterial infection could be to blame. Though you may be tempted to reach for hydrocortisone cream, hydrocortisone may actually contribute to, or worsen, folliculitis. Speak with your dermatologist for expert advice.