- 6 Tricks for How to Shave Your Bikini Area
- 1. Don’t Skip Pre-Shave Prep
- 2. Invest in the Right Razor
- 3. Make Exfoliating a Priority
- 4. Apply an Unscented Cleanser In Place of Shaving Cream
- 5. Avoid Unnecessary Friction
- 6. Follow Up with a Soothing Moisturizer
- Top tips include:
- MOST READ IN FABULOUS
- SPIN DOCTOR
- CHEER ALL YEAR
- GOING TO THE MC-GYM
- UNSEEN SUSSEX
- How To Care For Your Hair Down There
- keeping things *fresh*
- trimming the hedges
- accidents happen ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
- got an ingrown?
- Women strip down to embrace their beauty ahead of swimsuit season
- This Swimsuit Cut Is Too Damn High
6 Tricks for How to Shave Your Bikini Area
We all know that waxing is the quickest way to deal with pubic hair. (Unless you prefer the natural look, which is having a moment.) Problem is, for many women, putting up with the pain of waxing–not to mention forking over $60 to $75 at every appointment–just isn’t worth the end result. Luckily, shaving can be just as effective when it comes to pubic hair removal.
Here’s everything you should know about how to prep your skin, the best way to moisturize after shaving, and how to get rid of razor bumps.
1. Don’t Skip Pre-Shave Prep
If you haven’t shaved in a while or this is your first time, it will be easier on your razor if you trim your pubic hair with scissors first. (Shoot for a quarter inch long.) But whether you’re new to the hair removal game or you shave every day, soaking your skin beforehand is the best way to prevent razor burn along your bikini line. “Shaving toward the end of your shower or bath allows hair to soften,” says Rachel Nazarian, M.D., a dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City. And softer hair will result in a closer, smoother, less irritating shave.
2. Invest in the Right Razor
Avoid using a razor with too many blades, because that can be too harsh on your vulva–especially if you shave daily, says Dr. Nazarian. A good rule of thumb: Use two different razors, one for your pubic area and a separate one for your legs and underarms.
For your arms, legs, and basically anything else, you’ll want something with more blades that can contour around spots like your knees and ankles. Try the Venus Extra Smooth Sensitive 5-Blade Razor with SkinElixir lubastrips for added moisture and smooth skin (Buy It, $8 for a razor handle with two blade refills, target.com)
Additionally, don’t wait for the razor to rust to replace it. “Since blades tend to dull after a few uses, toss them out by the fourth shave—or even earlier if you see buildup of dirt or dead skin on your razor,” says Dr. Nazarian. This is where replaceable razors come in handy.
3. Make Exfoliating a Priority
Instead of focusing on how to get rid of razor bumps, prioritize exfoliation to prevent them from forming in the first place. While shaving is its own form of exfoliation, dead skin and dirt can build up on the blades of your razor as you shave, which wears them out and increases the chances of nicking. “Exfoliating with a soft scrub or cloth is a great way to gently clean the skin before shaving, and will extend the life of your blades,” says Dr. Nazarian. Just make sure to limit exfoliation to once a week because overdoing it can irritate sensitive skin, particularly in the winter months. (Related: How to Decode Skin Conditions, Rashes, and Bumps On Your Vagina)
4. Apply an Unscented Cleanser In Place of Shaving Cream
“Using heavily perfumed shaving creams can irritate your sensitive areas,” says Dr. Nazarian. So it’s best to substitute those products for unscented, moisturizing cleansers like a CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser (Buy It, $12, target.com or Cetaphil Hydrating Facial Cleanser (Buy It, $9, target.com). Unlike popular pre-shave products (think: Skintimate shave gels), these won’t foam. “But they do offer a smooth, easy surface for the razor, as well as prevent over-drying or irritation,” says Dr. Nazarian.
5. Avoid Unnecessary Friction
While shaving against the direction of hair growth gives a closer shave, it can also cause sensitive skin to flare up. “Ideally, to avoid tugging on the hair, the razor should follow the direction of hair growth while trying to minimize the number of strokes,” says Dr. Nazarian. By shaving down with the hair growth, you prevent razor burn as well as ingrown hairs, she explains. Another major cause of razor burn is pressing too hard with the razor. Your blade should glide over the hairs, so if you feel a lot of resistance and pulling, you’re pressing too hard. (Related: Tips for How to Care for the Skin Around Your Bikini Area)
6. Follow Up with a Soothing Moisturizer
“Applying a light, perfume-free, alcohol-free moisturizer immediately after showering can help soothe skin and hair follicles that might be inflamed from the shaving process,” says Dr. Nazarian. And since lotions and topical creams are absorbed more effectively after bathing, it’s best to use lotion that contains colloidal oatmeal, which naturally calms irritated skin.
Wondering how to get rid of shaving bumps that have already appeared? Start using an oil to get rid of razor bumps after shaving. Fur Ingrown Concentrate (Buy It, $28, furyou.com) and Bliss Your Situation Oil (Buy It, $17, blissworld.com) are both made for getting rid of razor bumps on the bikini area and contain tea tree oil, which has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties.
- By Marie Gartee
KEEPING a bump-free bikini line can be tricky.
From razor-burn to ingrown hairs, hair removal certainly has its pitfalls – but there are a few tips and tricks to prevent an angry bikini line.
2 A stripper has revealed the best ways to avoid razor burns when grooming your bikini lineCredit: Getty – Contributor
Jacqueline Francis, author of “Striptastic!”, knows a thing or two about keeping bump free and told Cosmopolitan her top tips for a super-smooth finish.
However, she said it’s important to bear in mind that even stripper’s don’t have a “perfect” bikini line – as the majority apply concealer to the awkward area, according to Jacqueline.
Top tips include:
Use conditioner instead of shaving gel
Apply conditioner to your bikini line for silky skin post-shave.
2 Making sure you don’t shave against your hair growth will help to maintain a smooth finishCredit: Getty – Contributor
Shave with the hair growth
Once your conditioner is on, shave in the directions of the hair growth – not against it.
For a closer shave you will need to go against the grain, but this will cause some irritation.
Use a sharp razor
Dull razors can drag over your hairs, making the hair removal process longer and more irritating to your skin.
Make sure you use a clean, sharp razor for the best results.
Use witch hazel post-shave
Witch hazel can help keep any unsightly bumps at bay.
Try gently patting witch hazel on any areas you’ve shaved when you get out the shower.
Apply a little coconut oil on your bikini line
Moisturised skin is less likely to become irritated.
Try using a small amount of coconut oil on your freshly-shaven bikini line to keep things extra-smooth.
Previously, we spoke to a beauty expert who revealed the one thing you should NEVER do when it comes to removing your pubic hair.
We also reported on a woman’s horror after her male pal, 30, revealed he’s NEVER seen pubic hair “on a chick” before.
Phillip Schofield tests out hair removal device on This Morning
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I need some help with a dilemma.
I am a single mum who takes my kids to the local swimming pool. Every time I go there there’s another mum – who I suspect is also single – who doesn’t seem to realise there is a LOT of lady hair poking out the back of her swimmers and down the back of her legs.
Should I tell her? I would want to know if that was the case. And if so, how do I tell her?
Pubic hair dilemmas are our favourite kind of dilemmas.
This question was submitted by a listener of our bi-weekly podcast Mamamia Out Loud, and for once we were in furious agreement.
DO NOT TELL YOUR ACQUAINTANCE ABOUT HER PUBIC HAIR SITUATION IT’S UNNECESSARY AND CONFRONTING FOR EVERYONE.
This is for many reasons.
First, it is possible, if not likely, that the woman in question, let’s call her Ellen, knows her pubes are on show. What if she wants to let them out into the world? What if they wanted to meet you? See the sun? Feel the air on its shaft? Her pubes certainly aren’t hurting anyone.
… Unless they’re racist pubes. Are they racist pubes? Homophobic pubes? Predatory pubes?
And by telling her she has a pube situation, you’re essentially saying, ‘Excuse me, Ellen, yes hi, just wanted to let you know you’re upsetting everyone with your bum hair and you no longer have permission to be at the pool. Bye now!’ And we don’t want that for Ellen. Because we like Ellen.
Second, say she doesn’t know about her bum pubes. In that case, she will certainly get quite a shock when you tell her. She might feel embarrassed or ashamed, and it’s not like she can do anything about it at that very moment unless you hand her a razor out of your handbag and smile, supportively, while she performs a bum shave in a public toilet. Then, her butt hair will go all over the floor, which is a mess for the cleaners but also other patrons. Do you want to be walking around barefoot on bum hair? Do you?
Third, and most importantly, you know the saying: If a tree falls in a desert and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
Yes, well, if a bum pube pokes out of one’s swimming costume, but one never knows that the bum pube pokes out, THEN DID A BUM PUBE EVER TRULY POKE OUT? (Yes). But that’s not the point. The point is… wouldn’t we all want to live a life without a conversation with an acquaintance about curly pubes growing down our legs?
“AH!” those in disagreement yell. “BUT isn’t it a sisterly act? To let a woman know? I’d hope someone would tell me if my bum pubes were out of control. I can’t see them for myself, unless I stand upside down in a full length mirror!”
Shaved, trimmed, left alone, waxed out of existence or Vajazzled, we are both fascinated and utterly repelled by what women do and don’t do with their hair “down there”. Everyone, it seems, has an opinion about pubic hair – and it’s always that what someone else is doing is a little weird.
Earlier this week, Instagram deleted the account of Australian magazine Sticks and Stones after it posted a picture of two women in bathing suits with (apparently natural) pubic hair sticking out on the sides. In 2013, the social media platform did the same thing to Canadian photographer Petra Collins when she put up a photo of her unaltered bikini line. (Neither photograph displayed anything approaching actual nudity – just pubes poking out the edges of underwear.)
Instagram is hardly alone. The television show The Bachelor has been accused of putting a black bar over a woman’s pubic hair, and earlier this year a painting was removed from a London exhibition because it was deemed “pornographic” for displaying a woman’s pubic hair.
So when did the hair at the high tide line become more shocking than a nipple?
Even as social media sites, television shows and museums are censoring any minute display of women’s pubic hair, a natural look is making a comeback. Last year American Apparel featured mannequins with full bushes in a store window and The New York Times Style section claimed “a fuller look is creeping back”. The Guardian even called 2014 “the year of the bush!”.
Lest you worry that bikini waxers will be going out of business by the handful, they too are changing with the times: you can now purchase a “full bush Brazilian” which involves “removing all hair from the labia and butt crack while leaving the top untouched”. (That sounds to me like a vaginal mullet – “business in the front, party in the back”.)
So is the stray pube censorship part of a pubic hair backlash? Or just the standard misogynist disdain for anything on a woman that hasn’t been properly shaved, trimmed, nipped and tucked? Despite the fact that visible pubic hair is being taken up as a social media cause along the lines of #FreeTheNipple, I’m not holding out hope that it will end the way that women’s bodies are sexualized or controversialized.
Because even within feminism, we still find ourselves deriding other women’s body hair choices as somehow unfeminist – judging women’s extremely private choices about their body. But let she who hasn’t waxed throw the first stone! While some people have it out over whether a full bush beats a shaved one (and which is best for feminism) I’ll look forward to the day that our poor over-debated pubic hairs are given a break and left to their own devices – whether barely there or poking out the sides of our bathing suits.
How To Care For Your Hair Down There
By Mia Abrahams
Curly, straight, long, short, trimmed, wild, waxed, plucked, shaved, bedazzled, or left alone – there are a whole lot of things we can choose to do (or not do) with our pubic and body hair.
Whether we wax it all off or let it grow out — people always seem to have an opinion about it, which is, when you think about it, kinda weird. Imagine having an opinion about someone’s decision to wear their hair the way people get into comments when a gal on Instagram has a pic with visible armpit hair. “OMG, look at the way you’re wearing your hair in a LOW PONYTAIL! EWW!!” Anyway, it’s kinda hard to keep up with what’s #trending in the world of body hair to begin with. Pubes are in! No, they’re out! No, they’re back in! But whichever way the wind currently blows, let’s keep in mind that you can do whatever the hell you want with your body hair.
You might be surprised to hear that pubic hair serves not just one, but multiple purposes: It provides a cushion against friction, wicks away sweat and discharge, and protects bacteria from irritating the skin and entering the urethra (where urine exits the body). Pubic hair basically acts as your first line of defense against bacteria and irritation during sex. Also, a recent study suggested that altering your pubes, whether by waxing or shaving, could increase your risk of contracting an STD by 80% (Although, of course, the best way to prevent STDs is to practice safe sex, not to stop shaving – nice try tho).
No matter the current state of your pubes, here are a couple of tips and tricks to keep your sensitive areas safe and happy!
keeping things *fresh*
As we’ve spoken about before on the blog, your vagina is a self-cleaning machine, so there’s very little that you need to do to keep your pubes clean besides using a little soap and water (and don’t forget to keep those suds outside – anything inside can mess up your pH).
trimming the hedges
First and foremost, be careful down there, y’all – shaving any part of your body can be dangerous if you don’t take the proper approach! Start by giving the hair a trim, exfoliating with a loofah, and then go crazy with the shaving cream. It’s ideal to shave towards the direction of your hair follicles as best you can to avoid ingrowns. After you’re done, moisturize with a fragrance-free lotion, and avoid super hot showers or baths — those might seriously irritate your pores. Most importantly, go slowly and be careful (aka, not in a rush after 1.5 glasses of rosé in between after-work drinks, and that birthday thing you’re already late for).
Pro-tips: *Never* dry shave, don’t use dull blades, and take a mirror into the bathroom so you can see what the hell is going on down there.
accidents happen ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
If you do nick yourself, apply gentle pressure to stop the bleeding, and follow up with something like Aquaphor or hydrogen peroxide to prevent the cut from getting infected. Stay away from the areas down there that *don’t* have hair — the skin there can be super sensitive and prone to becoming irritated and inflamed. Of course, if something feels not quite right after you shave, giving your gyno a visit can’t hurt just in case something else is going on.
got an ingrown?
Whether you’re waxing or shaving, ingrowns are a real pain (on your V, your legs, and anywhere else they show up). An ingrown hair down there happens when your pubic hair grows back into the skin, instead of up and out of the surface. The body responds by thinking it’s a foreign object. (Cue some not-so-great swelling, redness, and itching.)
If you’re suffering from ingrown hairs, make exfoliation part of your shower-time routine — and definitely try to lay off the hair removal from that area, at least while the ingrowns are real angry. There are a bunch of oils and creams you can use try to reduce ingrowns (a few gals in the office swear by Fur Oil – let me know your faves in the comments). Plucking the hair out with (clean, please!) tweezers is fine if part of the hair is above your skin, but if not, resist the temptation to go digging — doing so can cause some pretty nasty infections that are not worth the instant gratification. Wearing cotton undies until your bikini area settles down can also do wonders for *breathability*.
So tell me, what are your hair care tips for down there! Natural ingrown remedies you swear by? Removal tricks we need to know? Share your secrets with us in the comments!
Dear People Who Design Swimsuits for Women,
When I wear swimsuits supposedly designed for women, I sense that you have neglected to account for a certain female body part. That body part would be my vagina.
By “vagina,” I mostly mean what grows down there: pubic hair, that indomitable underdog. Pubic hair is like no other kind of hair. It’s not like the benign fuzz that grows on arms, nor the coarse stuff that sprouts up and down legs. It has joie de vivre. Left to its own devices, it does not color inside the lines. Pubic hair is no bullshit.
Could pubic hair possibly be news to you? Unless you are an elfin 7-year-old who has never heard of, let alone begun to experience, puberty, you have to know about pubes. You must. Yet by the look of most swimsuits with that trademark steep path cut up the side the hip, it’s as if you’ve decided it would be cool to present to all grown women this demonic little conundrum: Either make the pubes disappear, ladies, or display them boldly for all the world to see.
I’ve done both. Neither is good. I want new options.
Please don’t suggest a swimsuit with a skirt. That is an insult to my dignity. I was once a competitive swimmer. I could cover the length of a pool in seconds doing butterfly, which if you’ve ever seen it is a super convoluted way to move through the water. It requires more upper body strength than the entire fashion industry has combined.
Consider my self-respect. Even if my two children did not have the decency to be born until they were each the size of the average dorm room fridge, and even if this was the cause of an unpleasant bladder thing, the details of which I’ll go ahead and not share, I still have my pride! Plus, I like to do this crazy thing in a swimsuit called “swimming.” I jump in water that is deeper than me and paddle my arms and kick my legs and the movement of water rushing by feels revitalizing in both a physical and spiritual sense. I don’t need a piece of swim “skirt” getting all fancy with my fallopians.
Do not think for a second it will make anything better to call it a “sarong.” That word improves nothing.
I’ll admit, I’ve become a woman “of a certain age” — the kind who, come to think of it, is a little like pubes themselves, by which I mean no bullshit. I’m tired of posturing as hairless. Razors can’t hack it, and waxing? Sorry, it’s less the pain than the moral implications of spending money that way. (Okay, it’s the pain.) And yet, when I just say “screw it” and buy one of your swimsuits, and the pubes pop out, I can then no longer make eye contact with other human beings.
Believe me, it’s not because of shame. (All right, a little bit. Yes, it is.) It’s because every single person I encounter — from my sweet-as-pie father-in-law to my new mom friend — is staring at my nether region. The shock…of seeing…wow…that — waving free in the open air. Some people may think, Cover up! Others think, Run for cover. It’s coming to get me! Others think, Wow, BOLD, or simply, Why even bother wearing a swimsuit? Needless to say, I’m left imagining what people are imagining. What’s unquestionable though, and hard to ignore, is how obviously they are staring straight at my ladytown.
In sum, all I’m asking for is a swimsuit that does its due diligence downtown without going all granny on me. Throw me a smidgen more suit in the V-zone so that my business can be my business. So that I can swim without making a choice between razor burn or shame. Men get to do that, right? Oh wait, I wasn’t gonna go there. Whoops…went there.
If, in the end, you care nothing for the desires of women, try thinking of the other bottom line — the one associated with mad coinage. Your clientele includes, oh, just all adult women everywhere who are not yet ready for swimsuit skirts. Trust me. It’s a lot of people.
Swimmer Seeking Coverage
They’re at it again!
After showing female body hair in a groundbreaking campaign last year, razor brand Billie is back with another video celebrating women in their au naturel state. And this time around, they’re taking things one step further to focus on pubic hair.
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Like many razor ads, the brand’s new video portrays a group of women rocking their summer finest at the beach and by the pool. But then you realize the models are sporting pubic hair in a range of lengths.
Billie is defying beauty standards with its new ad, which shows women rocking their pubic hair at the beach.Courtesy of Billie
Titled “Red, White, and You Do You,” the video comes on the one-year anniversary of its game-changing Project Body Hair campaign, tackling the idea that a beach body always equals a hair-free body.
“To celebrate our one-year anniversary of Project Body Hair and the beginning of summer, we wanted to challenge the notion of being ‘summer ready.’ A lot of women feel the pressure to remove their body hair when they’re wearing a bathing suit so we felt like it was the perfect time to get out there and say ‘no matter what you choose, you’re already summer ready,'” Billie co-founder Georgina Gooley told TODAY Style.
Pubic hair in various lengths is on display in the video.Courtesy of Billie
While some women shudder at the thought of an unkempt bikini line, Billie wants to encourage consumers to embrace their body hair in all its forms, including pubic hair.
“Historically, women’s razor brands have portrayed body hair as ‘socially problematic.’ In an attempt to sell more razors, they instilled shame around having women’s body hair. For the last 100 years, the idea of women’s body hair was so taboo that we have been seeing commercials where razors shave completely hairless skin, and the entire shaving category refused to show it,” Gooley said.
The video comes as a follow up to the Billie campaign from last year.Courtesy of Billie
The brand partnered with Ashley Armitage, who also directed the original Project Body Hair, for the video, and she was excited to spread such a body positive message for a second time.
“I’m thrilled to partner with Billie again to continue to normalize and celebrate body hair. This summer, we want people to stress less about their appearance and spend more time feeling confident and having fun outdoors. It’s your body, it’s your hair, and it’s your choice,” she told TODAY Style.
Hair-free isn’t always the ideal choice, according to Billie.Courtesy of Billie
As far as the brand is aware, this is the first time a women’s razor company has shown real female pubic hair in its advertising. And Gooley hopes Billie’s work continues to inspire women to be comfortable in their own skin — body hair or no body hair.
“By showing body hair and speaking candidly about it, our hope is that women aren’t judged for having or removing body hair. It’s a personal choice that nobody should have to explain or apologize for,” she said.
Women strip down to embrace their beauty ahead of swimsuit season
May 30, 201705:32
This Swimsuit Cut Is Too Damn High
Nicki Minaj saved my summer—or so, I thought.
After she and Beyoncé released their “Feeling Myself” video, a slew of fashion articles jumped on the fact that both of the style icon songstresses were wearing one-piece bathing suits in it.
My heart sang when I saw people far more fashionable than I heralding the one-piece bathing suit as a swimwear trend for summer 2015—or at the very least a viably stylish option.
However, as I clicked through the images of this summer’s selection of one-pieces, I increasingly realized they were all perilously narrow at the crotch. Specifically, the American Apparel “Malibu” one-piece that Minaj wore indicated that I would need to be prepared to bear the most intimate part of me—and conform to stringent pubic hair-appropriate maintenance.
The painful process of going, shall we say, bald eagle is a must to wear one of the high-cut one-pieces, at least if one wants to follow the societal and Instagram rules that pubic hair is not permitted to be seen by the human eye.
Ergo my heart sank. Painful and expensive trips to salons flooded my mind, and I was back to my original bathing suit conundrum.
While the one-piece once offered extra protection for those of us who felt a bit self-conscious at the beach, it is now the newest way to show off your shape—which means it adds to the usual summer pressure to have the “right” shape.
Tabloids are featuring extremely sexy and stylish one-piece clad supermodels and starlets. Chanel Iman’s monokini highlights her toned body even more than a bikini could.
Sofia Vergara’s Agent Provocateur ensemble could barely be called a one-piece as it zigged-and-zagged across her famous curves.
Kim Kardashian’s white one-piece selfie in October 2013 was one of her most viral images—second only, perhaps, to her ass-baring cover for Paper.
These one-piece suits end up revealing more flesh than many bikinis. The security bought by a one-piece is absent. Instead, they have become yet another example of how celebrities are increasingly putting their bodies on display rather than the outfit: the physique, not the garment, is what pulls the ensemble together.
The one-suit poses a catch-22 for younger women. The unitard swimwear is known for “covering a multitude of sins.” If you’re self-conscious, the extra material acts like a shield. The emotional comfort well makes up for the fact that it makes it highly difficult to go to the bathroom (a digression worthy of its own article. Trust me).
At the same time, the one-piece has often been deemed matronly, dowdy, and decidedly square. As a result, I bought into the bikini—literally. It’s the one bathing suit I have purchased since the summer of 2010.
I caved for a few reasons. When you walk into department stores, like Lord and Taylor and Century 21, there is generally dramatically more variety in color, patterns, and cuts with two-pieces.
And with that variety comes greater coverage options: You can actually find ones that spare you too much bikini line maintenance—and firmly cover your rear-end. You can also mix and match different tops that highlight your bust or hold the girls firm.
“I think most young women like a bikini. That’s traditionally the glamorous thing, isn’t it?,” Sarah Kennedy, style editor at the New York Observer and author of The Swimsuit: A History of Twentieth Century Fashion, told The Daily Beast. “One-piece swimsuits were often stuck with school swimming and sensibility, so when you’re a teenager, as soon as you can get the risky stuff and make your own choices, you go against what you’ve had in the past.”
But Kennedy is actually a big believer in the one-piece and is a fan of what she also sees as a growing one-piece trend. “There are some amazing one-pieces. They are so glamorous and so different. I think any woman’s body can look great in a one-piece,” she said. Kennedy specifically cited the cut-out styles of one-pieces. “There are some really adventurous designs. They’re so exciting and unusual,” she said.
With the super thigh-high-cut ones, Kennedy did pause her acclaim. “That is a huge amount of pressure. I would say to any woman, you’ve got to use your judgment. I would never wear those. They’re, uh, dangerous,” she said.
There is certainly a method behind the madness of the design. It isn’t just to inadvertently profit waxing salons and the razor industry.
“The high cut exposes a woman’s leg and thigh to the max, elongating the silhouette while showing off her natural and beautiful contours,” said Debbie Attard, a swimwear designer at American Apparel, to The Daily Beast in an email. “A swim garment like our Malibu or High Cut One-Piece has the ability to complement a variety of body types. Even if a woman doesn’t want to show her midriff, she can still feel vivacious in an enticing one-piece.”
But does this barely-there one-piece actually flatter every body type, or just one as perfectly bodacious as Minaj’s or Beyoncé’s?
I ventured to my local American Apparel to engage in one of my all-time least-favorite activities: trying on swimwear. I grabbed the same Malibu cut that Minaj wears in “Feeling Myself” in two different sizes. While I physically fit into the smaller one, I was initially horrified at how much my derriere hung out of the suit. This was an unintended consequence of the high-cut I had not considered: Be prepared to show a lot of butt, not just crotch.
Nevertheless, the lengthening effect on my front was intriguing. I looked taller and leaner, and that effect was lost when I tried on the larger size. You have to double-down and commit to the form-fitting look to get the positive influence of the high-cut.
It suffices to say that this certainly pushed me out of my bathing suit comfort zone, not least of which because the “safety guard” along the crotch felt perilously near my flesh.
While I wasn’t in a state of camel-toe standing in a dressing room, I feared a strong wave could easily knock the suit out of alignment and lead to some uncomfortable scrunching. My hip bones were plainly apparent, and a scar from a surgery I had when I was 8 was visible. That doesn’t bother me, but I hadn’t noticed it ever before with other bathing suits.
Also, because the advantage of the high-cut one-piece is the lengthening at the hip, my eye kept fixating on the dramatic bikini line. I felt I would need to take extra care to not have even the tiniest razor bumps visible.
American Apparel would likely argue that fear stemmed from my own self-consciousness. Despite the company’s long and controversial history, American Apparel has tried to combat the stigma around female pubic hair, even featuring mannequins bearing the bush.
“Waxing or shaving for swim season is a personal choice that will vary from woman to woman. The most important thing is to feel comfortable and confident—whether it’s bare or with hair, she should always do what she thinks is right for her and makes her feel good,” Attard responded when asked about whether a woman should wax or shave for the swimsuit season.
The flesh on display with one-pieces mirrors the flesh on display on the red carpet. The Daily Beast’s Allison McNearney noted this trend at this year’s Met Gala when a bevy of celebrities wore “nearly nude” gowns, sheer but for a few well-placed gems or cut-outs. “We’ve reached a moment where women are regaining control of their bodies and their right to display them however they want,” she wrote for this publication. “It’s both an invitation to look and a statement that looking is not permission to objectify.”
But what is a beach-going gal to do if she doesn’t want to be as bold as Beyoncé or J-Lo at the Met? Maybe just suck it up and embrace her body.
I snapped a few selfies in that Malibu one-piece—as a reference for writing this article. While my grandmother said the swimsuit looked it was the “wrong size,” a little bit of me is enchanted by the way it hugs one’s body and forces you, the wearer, to embrace your shape.
“I would have to say that women have to stop thinking about any garment as ‘hiding a multitude of sins.’ In my view, every woman’s body is beautiful to her. Women have to stop thinking about what’s going to hide this or that,” said Kennedy. “It doesn’t matter if bits hang out. I think that’s sexy.”
Preach it, sister.