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If you've ever experienced irritation in the form of bumps or ingrown hairs along your bikini line, your moisturizer (or lack thereof) could be to blame. The best moisturizers for the bikini area should contain a gentle exfoliant and lightweight hydrating ingredients to keep the delicate skin there soothed. "Ideally, I recommend using whatever after-care products you use post-waxing the bikini area since they are formulated specifically for that part of your body," advises waxing expert Angelica Sele. While that moisturizer doesn't necessarily need to be different from your go-to body lotion, Sele stresses that you want to make sure you're not using anything too heavy that could clog your pores.
Angelica Sele is a California-based esthetician specializing in waxing services and facials. After earning her esthetician license in 2011, Sele began developing her own business, Angelica B Beauty, with "the goal to support all women in the pursuit of feeling their best." Today, Angelica B Beauty Skin Clinic is located in San Diego and offers clinical facials, lash lifts, and waxing and tanning services.
What To Look For In A Moisturizer For The Bikini Area
"The bikini area is often ignored from a care perspective, but remember it's a high-touch region from things like the choice of your hair removal [method], underwear, and exercise," Sele says, adding, that because of this, the area is prone to bumps, irritation, and pigmentation. Some of Sele's favorite ingredients for a bikini area moisturizer include:
- Grapeseed oil: "It's a quickly absorbing, nourishing oil that is suitable for all skin types and deeply hydrates and soothes the skin without clogging pores," says Sele, who notes that oils in general also help keep your pubic hair healthy (and less likely to break during waxing).
- Tea tree oil: "It's antimicrobial and will eliminate any bacteria that may cause ingrowns."
- Lactic acid: "Chemical exfoliants like lactic acid help with skin cell turnover, scarring, and ingrowns," Sele says of the gentle alpha-hydroxy acid.
One ingredient you'll want to avoid, according to Sele, is coconut oil. "This has become super popular, but it's best suited for body areas that are thicker-skinned," she says. "Any moisturizer that is too thick can clog pores and exacerbate issues with ingrown hairs, bumps, and irritation."
How To Care For The Bikini Area
If you wax or shave, Sele notes that it's important to use a physical exfoliant like a konjac body sponge to prep the area. If you're waxing, Sele says your hair should be at least half an inch in length (i.e., two or more weeks’ worth of hair growth) for the hair to be removed properly. "Do not apply lotion to the skin prior to your waxing session and discontinue any aggressive skin care products [like] Retin-A, Accutane, or any type of acne prescription." Post-wax, Sele says to avoid applying any lotion for 12 hours, and to steer clear of swimming and exercise for 24 hours to keep the area clean and bacteria-free. For those who prefer to shave, Sele says a high-quality razor and shaving products are essential when it comes to reducing post-shave irritation. "Because you're shaving more frequently than waxing, post-care products are even more important," she stresses.
Shop The Best Moisturizers For The Bikini Area
In a hurry? Here are the best moisturizers for the bikini area:
1. The Overall Best Moisturizer For The Bikini Area: Fur Oil
2. Runner Up: Lady Suite Rejuvenating Botanical Oil
3. Best Moisturizer With Lactic Acid: CeraVe SA Lotion
4. Best Moisturizer With Tea Tree Oil: DERMA E Tea Tree And Vitamin E Relief Cream
5. Best Pre- & Post-Shave Moisturizer: Alleyoop Smooth Operator
1. Expert’s Pick: The Overall Best Moisturizer For The Bikini Area
"This combo of lightweight oils smells amazing and was one of the first products specifically formulated for sensitive areas like the pubic region," Sele says of Fur Oil, which is one of her favorite products for the bikini area. "The key ingredients include grapeseed oil and jojoba oil, which have amazing moisturizing properties," she explains, adding, "It's also very quick-drying."
Relevant Review: "I am very prone to razor burn [and] ingrown hairs and this stuff is a lifesaver! I can shave every day and not get any bumps or blemishes. Definitely worth the money, and you don't have to use that much."
Type: Oil Key Ingredients: Grapeseed Oil, Jojoba Seed Oil, Tea Tree Leaf Oil, Clary Sage Oil Size: 0.5oz Cruelty-Free: Yes
2. Expert’s Pick: Runner Up
Another one of Sele's favorite moisturizers — although it’s a bit more expensive — Lady Suite’s Rejuvenating Botanical Oil was developed to soothe the sensitive skin surrounding your pubic area without disrupting your pH balance. It's also multi-purpose. "This rich blend of oils is super versatile," says Sele. "It can be used wherever you shave or wax or get irritation, including the underarms and legs." The oil was designed to be used on skin post-pregnancy and post-hair removal, and targets everything from dryness and chafing to itchiness, ingrown hairs, and razor bumps.
Relevant Review: "I use this after my Brazilian wax, and I have noticed glowing skin down there and haven't experienced ingrown hairs! Totally worth the money. I use about five drops, so I'm sure this will last me a while."
Type: Oil Key Ingredients: Sunflower Seed Oil, Jojoba Seed Oil, Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Sesame Seed Oil, Vitamin E Size: 1oz Cruelty-Free: Yes
3. Best Bump-Reducing Cream For The Bikini Area
If you prefer to use one moisturizer for your entire body, keep in mind Sele's advice that it should contain a chemical exfoliant and lightweight hydrators. CeraVe’s best-selling SA Cream combines salicylic and lactic acids to eliminate bumps through the process of chemical exfoliation. To keep your skin feeling smooth and nourished, the formula also contains hyaluronic acid and encapsulated ceramides that are released over time to prolong their ability to keep your skin's protective barrier strong. This is great for treating body acne and keratosis pilaris, too.
Relevant Review: "I have some bumps on my upper shoulder area and [I] get razor bumps when I shave my bikini area. I figured I [would] try [this] to see if it would help since nothing else seemed to be working. I was surprised that it actually worked and moisturized my skin as well. […] I noticed that I haven't been getting razor bumps since I started using it."
Type: Cream Key Ingredients: Salicylic Acid, Lactic Acid, Hyaluronic Acid, Ceramides, Niacinamide Size: 12oz Cruelty-Free: No
4. Best Tea Tree Cream For The Bikini Area
Another all-over body cream that can be used to moisturize and soothe your bikini area, DERMA E’s Tea Tree & Vitamin E Relief Cream is a doctor-developed product. The moisturizer uses antimicrobial tea tree oil, allantoin, and aloe vera to help calm skin and prevent irritation. Though it's rich in moisturizing ingredients like safflower seed oil, sweet almond oil, and avocado oil, the creamy formula sinks in quickly and feels lightweight when applied in a thin layer.
Relevant Review: "Love this product […] prevents infections (after shaving the bikini area) and moisturizes without overdoing it. I mix it with a dollop of a nicer smelling [cream] as I do not like the smell of tea tree oil."
Type: Cream Key Ingredients: Safflower Seed Oil, Tea Tree Leaf Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Avocado Oil, Vitamin E, Pro-vitamin B5, Allantoin, Aloe Vera Gel Extract Size: 4oz Cruelty-Free: Yes
5. Best Smoothing & Stubble-Softening Lotion
If you prefer a lighter lotion to a richer cream, Alleyoop's Smooth Operator can be used before you shave, after you shave, and every day in between to keep your skin smooth and bump-free while also softening stubble. It’s formulated with tea tree oil, witch hazel, and oat kernel extract to soothe signs of irritation ranging from redness and inflammation to itchiness. Glycolic acid helps with exfoliation to further reduce the risk of developing bumps and ingrown hairs, and you'll also find multiple lightweight oils in here, like jojoba seed and moringa seed.
Relevant Review: "This lotion smells amazing! It's super creamy and hydrating […] perfect for when you [have] just shaved and need to add moisture. I've noticed my ingrown hairs/razor bumps have diminished."
Type: Lotion Key Ingredients: Glycolic Acid, Jojoba Seed Oil, Tea Tree Oil, Witch Hazel, Oat Kernel Extract, Vitamin E, Moringa Seed Oil Size: 3.4oz Cruelty-Free: Yes
Angelica Sele, waxing specialist and founder, Angelica B Beauty
Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: a Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties, by C. F. Carson, K. A. Hammer, and T. V. Riley; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1360273/