The Best Ways to Remove Your Pubic Hair

Whether you like your pubic area bare or just want to tidy up, how you remove pubic hair is totally up to you.

Everyone has pubic hair, yet many people work hard to get rid of it with methods like waxing, shaving, or trimming. A 2017 survey said that 76% of people reported grooming their pubic area. However, more than a quarter of these people also said they experienced cuts, burns, or rashes.

Removing your pubic hair is totally your choice, but not all methods are created equal. Some methods may increase your risk of injury and infection, and others may provide better long-term results.

A close-up of a beautician waxing a bikini line

CasarsaGuru / Getty Images

"The more thorough the technique, the higher the risk for injury," says Katharine White, MD, an OB-GYN at Boston University School of Medicine. "Clipping is going to be less risky than shaving, and shaving is less risky than waxing."

So before you grab the hot wax or your razor, here are some of the best ways to remove your pubic hair. 

Trimming

Trimming unruly pubic hairs with scissors is your safest and easiest option. But, this method won't actually remove pubic hair. It just cuts long pubic hairs into shorter, more uniform hairs for a groomed look. 

It's unlikely you'll injure yourself trimming your pubic hair, but cutting your genitals is possible. Dr. White suggests using a mirror and ensuring you always see the tips of the scissors while trimming. You're also less likely to injure yourself if you trim while standing.

Tweezing

Tweezing your pubes can be time-consuming and painful, but it's generally a low-risk way to get rid of a few stray hairs around your underwear line. This method plucks hair out at the root and can slow hair growth by 2 to 12 weeks.

But tweezing can be dangerous for your skin if you miss your hair during plucking and accidentally pluck at your skin. You also risk infection, ingrown hairs, and skin discoloration from damaging the skin.

Shaving

Shaving is an easy and pain-free way to remove pubic hair, but it’s temporary because the razor cuts hair from the surface of your skin, so it doesn't actually alter hair growth time. The hair will grow back after a few days.

But even though it's easy, you can still cut yourself while shaving, which can increase your risk of skin infections and irritation. Shaving also increases your risk of painful bumps caused by ingrown hairs or razor burn.

To help avoid irritation, use a shave gel or cream on wet skin and shave in the direction your hair grows. Dr. White also advises replacing your razor often, since nicks on old blades can snag and cut the skin.

Pubic Hair Removal Cream (AKA Depilatories)

Hair removal creams, or depilatories, use chemicals to dissolve hair from the skin's surface in about 3 to 15 minutes. After it dissolves the hair, you wipe away the cream and excess hair with soap and water. This method is typically painless and easy to use. But just like shaving, your pubic hair will grow back in a few days.

Dr. White notes that pubic hair removal creams are on the safer end of the hair removal spectrum, but you always want to test it on a patch of your skin to ensure you don't have an allergic reaction. It is possible to have an allergic reaction to hair removal creams and end up with an itchy, irritated skin rash. It’s almost important to not leave the depilatory on for too long which can cause a chemical burn.

An important thing to note is that depilatories can be less effective on dark, coarse hair – which is the kind of hair that is most common in the pubic area.

Waxing

A bikini wax or Brazilian wax uses hot wax to pull pubic hair completely out from the root. It's the most effective temporary way to remove pubic hair, and you'll be hair-free for two to six weeks. However, waxing is notoriously painful, and there are some safety concerns if you visit an inexperienced salon or a spa. 

For example, it can be hard to know if the wax is actually clean — you should make sure any wax being used is just for you. Hot wax actually creates the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, but some inexperienced aestheticians may "double dip" the wooden sticks used to apply wax, which inserts more bacteria, hairs, and skin cells into the pot of wax from you and other clients.

Even the cleanest wax can also cause skin damage and burns, especially if you DIY it and accidentally overheat it. Waxing also opens the hair follicle, making it the most likely option to lead to ingrown hairs. It also increases your risk of folliculitis — an infection of the hair follicles that causes inflamed red bumps. If you have sensitive skin, waxing can also irritate your skin or cause an allergic reaction.

Laser Pubic Hair Removal

Laser hair removal can lead to a permanent reduction in pubic hair over time. By converting light energy to heat, laser treatments vaporize hair and damage the hair follicle beneath the skin to prevent hair growth. This method usually guarantees you’ll be hair-free for months or years, but it can take more than six treatments for lasting results. When hair does grow back, most people often find they have less hair or it's a lighter color.

This method works best on people with dark hair and light skin since the laser targets dark pigment. The actual procedure can also be uncomfortable and sometimes have similar pain levels to waxing, but a numbing gel is used to help reduce pain. 

Dr. White notes that laser hair removal is just as safe as a depilatory. The most common side effects are skin irritation and discomfort. Rare side effects can include blistering and changes in skin pigmentation.

Electrolysis

Electrolysis permanently removes unwanted hairs. During electrolysis, a fine needle injects an electric current into each hair follicle. This damages the follicle and prevents future hair growth. Since hair grows in cycles, you'll be hair-free after several sessions. Electrolysis works on all hair types and may be a better alternative to laser hair removal for light-colored pubic hair. However, electrolysis is only reasonable for small areas since it targets hair by the individual follicle.

During and after treatment, you might temporarily experience some slight skin reddening. Some people also say the procedure is painful, or they feel stinging as each hair is zapped.

If you visit an inexperienced electrolysis operator, there is a risk of skin and blood infections from dirty probes, burns, or raised scars (aka keloids) if you have darker skin. But overall, the procedure is considered safe if you visit a skilled operator. 

A Quick Review

Whether you like your pubic area bare or just want to tidy up, how you remove pubic hair is totally up to you. The best pubic hair method for you will depend on your pain tolerance, budget, and how long you want to be hair-free. 

Temporary methods like shaving can help you remove hair for a few days quickly and painlessly, but you risk irritation like razor burn. Using a hair removal cream will last just about as long as shaving. Waxing is more painful and has more infection risks, but it will last for weeks. Electrolysis is your best option for permanent hair removal, but it can be expensive. For semi-permanent results, laser hair removal can also help you remove pubic hair for a hefty price. 

You can also opt to do occasional grooming with trimming or tweezing to avoid going completely bare. 

While there are some purported benefits and noted risks to grooming or not grooming pubic hair, ultimately, how you attend to your pubic region is up to you. "Whether one chooses to shave or not should be a personal decision," says Dr. Shepherd. "Ultimately, the decision should be based on how one feels about themselves and what feels comfortable." 

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  6. American Academy of Dermatology. Laser hair removal: FAQs.

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