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 light moisturizing ingredients to soothe delicate skin. “Ideally recommend using any skincare products you use after waxing the bikini area, as they are formulated specifically for that part of your body,” advises hair removal expert Angelica Sele. While this moisturizer doesn’t have to be any different from your body lotion, Sele points out 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 beautician’s license in 2011, Sele began developing her own business, Angelica B Beauty, with “the goal of helping all women feel their best.” Today, Angelica B Beauty Skin Clinic is located in San Diego and offers clinical facials, eyelash enhancements, and waxing and tanning services.
What to Look for in a Bikini Area Moisturizer
“The bikini area is often overlooked from a skincare perspective, but remember it’s an area that’s heavily impacted by things like your hair removal choice. [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 nourishing, fast-absorbing oil that’s suitable for all skin types and deeply hydrates and soothes the skin without clogging pores,” says Sele, who notes that oils in general help also to keep your pubic hair healthy (and less likely to break during waxing).
- Tea Tree Oil: “It’s antimicrobial and will kill any bacteria that may cause flare-ups.”
- Lactic Acid: “Chemical exfoliants like lactic acid help with skin cell renewal, scarring, and swelling,” Sele says of mild alpha hydroxy acid.
One ingredient you’ll want to avoid, according to Sele, is coconut oil. “It’s become super popular, but it’s best suited to areas of the body that have thicker skin,” she says. “Any moisturizer that’s too heavy can clog pores and exacerbate problems with ingrown hairs, bumps, and irritation.”
How to take care of the bikini zone
If you wax or shave, Sele notes that it’s important to use a physical exfoliator like a konjac body sponge to prep the area. If you wax, Sele says your hair needs to be at least half an inch in length (meaning two weeks or more of hair growth) for the hair to wax properly. “Do not apply lotion to the skin before your hair removal session and stop any harsh skincare products [like] Retin-A, Accutane, or any other type of prescription acne.” After waxing, Sele says to avoid applying lotion for 12 hours and avoid swimming and exercising 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 key to reducing post-shave irritation, she points out.
Shop the best moisturizers for the bikini area
Press? Here are the best moisturizers for the bikini area:
1. The best overall moisturizer for the bikini area: fur oil
2. Finalist: Lady Suite Rejuvenating Botanical Oil
3. Best Lactic Acid Moisturizer: CeraVe SA Lotion
4. Best Tea Tree Oil Moisturizer: DERMA E Relief Cream With Tea Tree And Vitamin E
5. Best before and after shave moisturizer: Alleoop Smooth Operator
1. Expert’s Pick: The Best Moisturizer for the Bikini Area
“This combination of lightweight oils smells amazing and was one of the first products specially formulated for sensitive areas like the pubic area,” Sele says of Fur Oil, which is one of her favorite products for the bikini area. “Key ingredients include grapeseed oil and jojoba oil, which have amazing moisturizing properties,” she explains, adding, “It also dries really quickly.”
Relevant notice: “I’m very prone to razor burn. [and] ingrown hairs and this stuff is a lifesaver! I can shave every day without bumps or blemishes. It’s definitely worth it, 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 Cut: 0.5oz Cruelty Free: Yes
2. Choice of expert: finalist
Another of Sele’s favorite moisturizers – albeit a bit more expensive – Lady Suite Rejuvenating Botanical Oil has been developed to soothe the sensitive skin surrounding your pubic area without upsetting your pH balance. It’s also versatile. “This rich blend of oils is super versatile,” says Sele. “It can be used anywhere you shave, wax or chafe, including underarms and legs.” The oil was designed for use on the skin after pregnancy and after waxing, and targets everything from dryness and irritation to itching, ingrown hairs and razor bumps.
Relevant notice: “I use it after my Brazilian waxing, and I noticed glowing skin there and I didn’t have any ingrown hairs! It’s totally worth it. I use about five drops, so I’m sure that it will last me a while.”
Type: Oil Key ingredients: Sunflower seed oil, jojoba seed oil, meadowfoam seed oil, sesame seed oil, vitamin E Cut: 1 ounce Cruelty Free: Yes
3. Best bump cream for the bikini area
If you prefer to use a full-body moisturizer, keep in mind Sele’s advice that it should contain a chemical exfoliant and light moisturizers. CeraVe’s best-selling SA cream combines salicylic and lactic acids to eliminate bumps through the process of chemical exfoliation. To keep your skin soft and nourished, the formula also contains encapsulated hyaluronic acid and ceramides which are released over time to prolong their ability to maintain your skin’s protective barrier. It’s also great for treating body acne and keratosis pilaris.
Relevant notice: “I have a few bumps on my upper shoulders and [I] get razor bumps when i shave my bikini area. i thought that i [would] try [this] to see if that would help since nothing else seemed to work. I was surprised that it works and hydrates my skin as well. […] I have noticed that I have had no razor bumps since I started using it.”
Type: Cream Key ingredients: Salicylic acid, lactic acid, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, niacinamide Cut: 12 ounces Cruelty Free: Nope
4. Best tea tree cream for bikini area
Another full-body cream that can be used to hydrate 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 calm skin and prevent irritation. Although rich in moisturizing ingredients like Safflower Seed Oil, Sweet Almond Oil and Avocado Oil, the creamy formula sinks in quickly and feels weightless when applied thinly.
Relevant notice: “I love this product […] prevents infections (after shaving the bikini area) and hydrates without overdoing it. I mix it with a dollop of a nicer smell [cream] because I don’t 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 Cut: 4 oz Cruelty Free: Yes
5. Best smoothing and softening lotion
If you prefer a lighter lotion to a richer cream, Alleyoop Smooth Operator can be used before shaving, after shaving, and every day in between to keep your skin smooth and bump-free while 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 itching. Glycolic acid helps with exfoliation to further reduce the risk of developing bumps and ingrown hairs, and you’ll also find several lightweight oils here, like jojoba seed and moringa seed.
Relevant notice: “This lotion smells great! It’s super creamy and moisturizing […] perfect for when you [have] just shaved and need to add some moisture. I have noticed that 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 Cut: 3.4oz Cruelty Free: Yes
Angelica Sele, Waxing Specialist and Founder, Angelica B Beauty
Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil: review of antimicrobial and other medicinal properties, by CF Carson, KA Hammer and TV Riley; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1360273/