If you’re not about the hair-removal life, I’ve got massive amounts of respect for you. That said, I personally love the way smooth, hairless skin feels, but learning how to prevent red bumps from shaving and waxing is probably the biggest downside. That’s why I enlisted the help of Hibba Kapil, founder of Hibba Beauty Studio in New York City, to figure out this frustrating (yet common) beauty dilemma. They offer tons of different beauty spa treatments there, including wax and hair removal, so Kapil can offer all sorts of insight on the biggest hair removal mistakes that people make, as well as the best ways to minimize red bumps and ingrown hairs after the fact.
The first thing that Kapil shared with me: while they're certainly annoying, minor skin irritations are usually very normal. Oftentimes, they’re just your skin’s reaction to hot temperatures, follicle irritation, or slight pain. Still, hairless skin isn’t all that satisfying — nor does it look particularly happy — when red bumps rise up in place of stubble, so with the right skin-prepping steps, tools, and soothing moisturizers, you can avoid red bumps altogether. Here are a few of Hibba Kapil’s top tips, so your hair removal routine can be as bump-free as possible.
1Keep Razors Extra Sharp To Avoid Bumps
“Red bumps after shaving happen for couple of reasons,” says Kapil. “A common reason is that the razor is old and has made the sensitive skin rough.” You could switch out your disposable razors every few days, or you could invest in a Razor Saver, which allows you to sharpen any kind of blade so that it’s just like new. This remarkable technology cleans and straightens out blades, so they’re as sharp as the day you opened the package.
2Prep The Skin To So It’s Clean And Ready
When it comes to essential prepping steps before waxing, Kapil says that it’s important to “make sure that skin is not oily.” If it is, wax has trouble adhering to the hair and won’t be nearly as effective or efficient as it should be. This Satin Smooth preparation cleanser helps to clean and prepare your skin for a comfortable wax. It opens the pores so that hair is easier to remove, and it helps to control post-wax irritation and redness.
3Moisturize With Aloe Vera Is Key
According to Kapil, “Not using proper moisturizing cream can definitely worsen bumps,” and she therefore suggests using an unscented moisturizer alongside aloe. This Earth Science Unscented Almond Aloe Moisturizer has incredible natural ingredients that soften skin and deeply hydrate it, but the addition of aloe vera and the lack of synthetic scents keeps skin smooth, calm, and bump-free. “Moisturizing will make a world of wonder and is key!” says Kapil.
4Try This Natural Hydrocortisone Equivalent
“Waxing bumps should be more temporary [than shaving] and are usually caused by shock on the skin from pulling the strip off,”says Kapil. “The bumps from waxing that happen right away should subside in few minutes, but if they persist, apply hydrocortisone cream.” If you’re super sensitive, however, Wild Thera Eczaskin Balm is basically the natural version. It’s got tons of calming and healing ingredients like chamomile and lavender, which help to fight bacteria and alleviate irritations without toxins or odors.
5Soothe Bumps And Irritations With Baby Oil
Baby oil is another unexpected way to soothe bumps and irritations after hair removal, according to Kapil. Burt's Bees baby oil is awesome for this type of thing, because it’s made from 100 percent natural ingredients that work alongside even the most sensitive skin. Natural plant oils nourish, heal, and hydrate skin, it smells clean and fresh, and it absorbs quickly without any greasy residue.
6Sanitize Your Tools Regularly To Avoid Infection
“Disinfecting your tools and skin with alcohol wipes is very important,” says Kapil. Otherwise, bacteria spreads and causes infections, and these are the worst types of little red bumps. Another option is to soak your tools and razor blades in this William Marvy Disinfectant Jar, which is made from durable and classy stainless steel, glass, and a non-slip bottom. It’s great for everything from tweezers to manicure tools, and it looks great on any bathroom counter.
7Test Out The Holy Grail Of Coconut Oils
When it comes to natural ingredients that help with bumps, Kapil says “Coconut oil is a life saver. It even helps with avoiding getting any dark spots and marks from the irritation.” Pretty much the holy grail of coconut oils, Kapuluan raw organic coconut oil is minimally processed, cold-pressed, entirely raw, and certified organic, meaning that all of its skin-healing and softening qualities are still intact. It’s also antibacterial to stop infections, and people are saying things like, “No need to overspend on fancy face creams — this is the best and does it all.”
8Cotton Boyshorts Are Your Best Friend Post-Waxing
While you might want to throw on any old thing after hair removal, Kapil advises that you choose carefully. “Make sure to wear loose clothing [right after],” as constricting fabrics and scratching can make skin irritations even worse. “Cotton boy shorts are your best friend to avoid irritation,”says Kapil. In addition to being entirely organic and very breathable, these Hanky Panky cotton boyshorts have lace around the legs and waist to give you a little more stretch. People say they’re insanely soft, comfortable, and won’t ride up right after a wax.
9Soothe Redness With Ice Packs
“Ice packs are amazing for major redness,” says Kapil, and this set of six Thrive gel packs is great for both hot and cold therapy. Because it’s made with innovative gel technology, it’s flexible to conform to any part of the body. It’s also small enough to use along your bikini line or face without inconvenience,and one side is lined with fabric to make the cold a little more comfortable.
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