During bikini season, nobody wants to deal with red, splotchy bumps caused by shaving. But the good news is that these bumps, aka pseudofolliculitis barbae, can be avoided. If you're looking for smooth skin with irritation-free results, we've got the answers. Check them out when you .
- Before breaking out the razor, wash skin with a gentle antibacterial soap to keep germs at bay, exfoliating with a washcloth to create a smooth surface.
- Before shaving, rinse or soak in warm water for several minutes to soften the hair.
- Next, apply a conditioning shaving gel or cream to the area, such as Skintimate Moisturizing Shave Gel in Soothing Lavender  ($3.50) or Bikini Zone Anti-Irritation Shave Gel  ($4.30).
- It should go without saying, but dull blades make for bumpy results. Always use a sharp razor. I like Gillette Venus Divine Razor For Women  ($11).
- Shaving tips: While you can shave in the opposite direction of hair growth, if you are prone to ingrowns, go with the grain. Try not to go over the same area multiple times or shave each day, as this can cause unnecessary irritation. Also, rinse the razor after each swipe to prevent clogging, and pull the skin taut to get a nice, close shave.
- Splash on some cool water when you are done, and pat dry with a towel. For added protection against bumps, apply a postshaving product to reduce inflammation, like Tend Skin  ($16) or Bikini Zone Anti-Bumps, Medicated Bikini Pads  ($8).
What are your favorite tips?