How To Neglect Your Bikini Line Without Looking Like An Animal

by Melissa Kirsch
Originally Published: 
An illustration of two women in a black and white striped bikini and a polka dot bikini bottom

The first time I got waxed, I had a miscommunication with the aesthetician, and instead of the modest bikini line grooming I thought I’d requested, I walked out with what a friend described as “full baby.”

I was conflicted: While hairlessness did indeed feel cleaner, I was not into the disturbing sensation that I was changing my own diaper every time I wiped myself. While I didn’t have to worry about brushland creeping out from the sides of my underwear and bathing suit, I felt strange and out of balance when I looked in the mirror and it was all skin from the neck down. Somehow that thatch of hair was integral to my silhouette. It was part of my body’s map and without it, my torso was like a town where the 100-year-old gazebo gets torn down overnight and the next day everyone’s like “What’s different here?”

© Max Penn/flickr

Over the years I’ve mixed it up. I’ve mostly gone for modest, just-the-perimeter grooming, but I’ve also opted for Brazilian waxes on purpose. I’ve flipped over so they can get the inner cheeks (not unpleasant, to my surprise). I’ve kicked my leg up on the wall to facilitate hair removal so intimate I think they waxed my pancreas. I have absolutely no opinions about what women “should” do with their own situations aside from the obvious: They should do whatever the hell they want and no one else—whether partners, friends, celebrities, porn, women’s magazines—need get involved.

Of course, bathing suit season is inflicting itself on us once again, and so with it, heaps of people who want to tell you that sugaring is better than regular wax, that you shouldn’t ever shave because it’s dangerous, or that you shouldn’t ever wax because it’s not feminist, or that you have to do something before your beach vacation or you’ll look like an animal. I am here to tell you that I have not contributed one cent to the booming hair removal economy this year, not because of my political leanings, but because I am lazy. I have also been to the beach and my (copious, black, Eastern European) hair has not been visible.

With a few easy tricks you too can save yourself the time, money and stress once devoted to hair removal and spend your summer doing what really matters, namely sunbathing on your roof coated from tip to toe in baby oil, Zinka and Sun-In.

Trick No. 1: Get Some Clippers

I have the Lady Remington version. It’s lavender, but it’s still basically an old man’s beard clipper. I put it on the closest setting and shear off all the tangly madness. It takes about five minutes and it’s impossible to hurt yourself, and you end up with a much more tidy arrangement that won’t exceed the boundaries your bottoms.

Trick No. 2: Shave, But Only On Your Legs And Only If You Need To


My people are pale-skinned and dark-haired, so my inner thighs are a little brambly. I shave my lower legs year ’round, and in the summer, I use shaving cream and a regular razor on my thighs, because it doesn’t matter how well you shear your privates in Trick No. 1 if you have a pelt growing down your legs. I do not shave any higher than the part of the thigh that wouldn’t be there if I were Photoshopped to have a thigh gap, because I have found nothing but bumps and itching await if I take a razor to the sensitive bits. I use a Gillette Atra razor, several steps up from the disposable Bic with which I massacred myself during a home-grooming incident in eighth grade.

Trick No. 3: Get a Swimsuit With Retro-Cut Bottoms

© Lands’ End

I wear very primly cut bathing suit bottoms because I think they’re more comfortable and more flattering on me, but they have the added bonus of not revealing any hair in that inner thigh/vulva crease area. I don’t have a little skirt bottom, but I think they’re adorable and obviously even more effective.

Trick No. 4: Cover Up Elegantly

Are you one of those people who ties a gauzy scarf around her hips at the pool à la a Bain de Soleil commercial? Do you have a devil-may-care pareo or sarong or other classy thing that ties at the hip and conveniently shrouds your crotch? Do you have one of those terry cloth rompers I secretly covet? What about those ubiquitous V-neck beach cover-ups that sometimes have gemstone appliqués and come down to the middle of your thigh? Lands’ End even has swim capris with a built-in skirt.

© Violetville Vintage

Hell, if people are wearing adorable Betty Page 1950s pin-up numbers on the beach, why shouldn’t we all go full vintage in a full-coverage Victorian bathing costume with bloomers? It sure beats spending upwards of $40 on a painful procedure that only lasts a month or so, or taking matters into your own hands with Nair or stovetop melt-your-own wax—and covering up has the added bonus of preventing sun damage.

If even these hair-obscuring tricks sound like too much trouble to you, then I encourage you to just head into the wild au naturel. I actually think it looks fine and am sort of confused as to why I feel like I have to hide my hair at all. If you need proof, even waxers are getting in on the trend—the full-bush Brazilian is all the rage this year.

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