Welcome to Get Into It, assistant editor Nadia Ebrahim’s monthly beauty column where she guides us through the sometimes-overwhelming-but-always-exciting maze of hair, skin-care, and makeup launches. This week, she reviews a treatment oil and exfoliating scrub to help ingrown hairs and hyperpigmentation in the bikini area.
Why we’re getting into it: You do you, whether it’s removing all, some, or none of your hair, sometimes grooming down there can be tricky business. My choice is to shave and it has its downsides: from razor bumps to ingrown hairs to hyperpigmentation caused by hair removal, for the longest time I thought these were things I had to put up with. That’s until I started using Bushbalm.
Since its launch in 2016 (and an appearance on Dragon’s Den last year), the Ottawa-based skincare brand has been making products designed to take care of areas of the body that may need some extra TLC like the bikini line, underarms, and butt. This month, I gave the Instagram-beloved Nude Oil and Bermuda Exfoliating Scrub a try on my bikini area.
The Nude Oil is formulated with 0.75% concentrated tea tree oil (note: tea tree oil's undiluted form shouldn’t be used on skin as it can cause irritation) to target ingrown hairs and razor burn. “Tea tree oil is a healer and helps soothe and calm redness,” Rachel Kerr, Bushbalm’s director of brand and marketing tells me. While tea tree oil won’t stop ingrown hairs from forming (exfoliating is your best friend for that, but more on that later) it’s packed with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties to heal irritated skin and smooth bumps. Bushbalm’s Nude Oil is also formulated with jojoba oil to help soften hair, which prevents ingrowns from forming, while copaiba oil works to even the appearance of dark spots.
It’s recommended to apply the Nude Oil daily within two minutes of getting out of the shower because that’s when skin is most absorbent. Within a week of use, I noticed my razor bumps had disappeared and my bikini area had significantly less irritation after a shave. I haven’t used the product long enough to see a major difference with my hyperpigmentation, so if that’s your priority, I’d check out their Bermuda Oil, which is formulated with a higher concentration of copaiba oil plus lemon essential oil to break up melanin pigments that cause dark spots and uneven skin tone.
Word of advice: If you're looking to target ingrowns, razor burns, and hyperpigmentation, don't pile on these products at once. Like the face, the bikini is a sensitive area and needs time to adjust to active ingredients. Kerr recommends starting with the Nude Oil and once the irritation has calmed, try switching over to Bermuda Oil to target the hyperpigmentation. Another approach you could take is using the Nude Oil one day and swapping to Bermuda Oil as a spot treatment the next, keeping up with alternating daily use of both oils. If you’re someone who rocks a full bush, these products will soften your hair and skin without clogging pores.
Doing all this is a great start, but the real MVP is exfoliating. Exfoliating helps to buff away dead skin, reduces the chance of ingrowns, and, again, help with hyperpigmentation. There are two types of exfoliants: physical and chemical. Physical exfoliants use small grains to actually scrub skin while chemical exfoliants use active ingredients such as alpha hydroxy acids (like glycolic acid) and beta hydroxy acids (like salicylic acid) to break the bonds that hold skin cells together.
Chemical exfoliants can be used on the bikini, but because this is a sensitive area, remember to check if the product is safe to do so (we’ve rounded up some trusted options below). Bushbalm’s Bermuda Dark Spot Exfoliating Scrub is a physical exfoliant made with a sugar base to provide gentle exfoliation and also features the aforementioned lemon essential oil.
I exfoliated between two to three times a week in the shower as recommended, rubbing a small handful in a circular motion. (Remember, this product is meant for external use only.) My favourite part was how the scrub melted down to a buttery texture leaving my bikini area feeling super moisturized thanks to the jojoba oil which mimics the body’s natural ability to produce sebum.
Bottom line: These products work (and they look good while doing it). The Nude Oil fits nicely in the palm of your hand and dispenses just the right amount every time. Each bottle contains about 200 pumps, so if you use two pumps for your bikini area daily, one bottle should last for about three months. For $36, I think this is great value. The Bermuda Dark Spot Exfoliating Scrub is something I’ve come to look forward to using in the shower and also has an approachable price tag of $30. I also like how these products are versatile enough to use all over the body.
But if you want some options, here are more oils handpicked by the Refinery29 Canada team:
Interested in chemical exfoliants? Check out these products:
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