How Olympic Swimmers Shave Down There & Everywhere

How Olympic Swimmers Shave Down There & Everywhere

It has been said that shaving any part of the body exposed to water can improve a swimmer’s performance. Shaving body hair is a ritual for most swimmers that is done before a big meet. The goal is to reduce drag and enhance performance both mentally and physically. The average female swimmer has probably shaved five times more than both you or I, making them what we believe to be shaving experts. Let’s dive in!

Why do swimmers shave their bodies? 

The difference between an Olympic gold and silver is often a fraction of a second. Shaving body hair gained popularity in 1956 when Australian Olympic superstars shaved all their body hair and captured gold medals. The rest of the swimming community has followed this pre competition ritual ever since. Olympic swimmers shave their whole bodies in order to reduce drag, increase their feel for the water. Shaving prepares athletes not only physically but mentally. The psychological readiness paired with shaving is one of the final steps to be prepared for elite level athletic performance. 

Swimmers Shaving Routine

What is a shave down? 

Swimmers maintain their bikini line and underarms on a weekly basis as they are practically living in a swimsuit 12 months a year. Shaving down is saved for the competitions where athletes are expected to perform their best. Such as the Olympic Games or World Championships. Generally this occurs only 1-2 times a year. The full shave down includes, legs, arms, bikini line, underarms, and facial hair for men. Once the hair and a layer of dead skin cells are removed swimmers feel lighter, smoother and more confident in the pool. Swimmers save this exhilarating feeling for events they are expected to perform their best. 

What are the Mental Benefits of Shaving? 

The mental benefits of shaving are just as important as the physical benefits of a shave down. The feeling of unlocking a new layer of fresh skin ready for competition provides athletes with an all new level of preparation and confidence. Confidence is the last ingredient to contributing to the best performance. 

Why don’t swimmer’s wax?

Razors remove dead skin cells whereas, waxing only removes the body hair. Removing body hair and uncovering a new layer of skin leads to heightened senses of the water, allowing the athlete to have stronger pull, ultimately leading them to faster swimming.   

Do men shave differently than women? 

Male swimmers shave down in the same way a female swimmer does. However, a male swimmer has a bit more work cut out for them due to having more body hair. Male swimmers start their shave down with a trimmer to remove the bulk of the hair, before shaving. Using a trimmer also helps to reduce cuts and irritation. 

The shaving routine used by Olympian Bailey Andison. 

Taking care of your skin before and after is essential to achieve the perfect smooth shave. Implementing a pre and post care shave routine will contribute to more smooth healthy glowing skin in and out of the pool. 

Why do swimmers shave

Step 1: Clean and soak your skin 

Take a warm bath or shower to cleanse and soak the skin’s rough patches. Ensure you are using a gentle pH-balanced cleanser that won’t further irritate or dry out your skin. 

What is a pH balanced shower cleanser?
pH stands for potential for hydrogen. The pH level of the skin refers to how acidic or alkaline the skin is on a scale from 1-14. On the pH scale, 7 is neutral, below 7 is acidic (0 being the most acidic), and above 7 is alkaline (14 being the most alkaline). When the pH balance is too alkaline, one may experience acne, dryness, accelerated aging (fine lines and wrinkles). This can lead to conditions like eczema. When the pH balance is too acidic, one may experience inflammation and irritation. This effect is similar to what would happen if you put a harsh chemical peel on your skin; the skin becomes “burnt”, sensitive, irritated, and prone to breakouts.
Quote from Katie Deloof Olympic Swimmer on Shaving

Step 2: Exfoliate Often 

Use the Nude Exfoliating Body Scrub 2-3 times a week in the shower to remove dead skin cells and soften the skin. Exfoliating is important for healthy skin. This step will sweep away dead skin cells, dirt, and bacteria from the surface of the skin to reveal a fresh, healthy, and supple layer of new skin. There are also studies that show that consistent body exfoliation can slow down the aging process by boosting collagen production throughout the entire body (if you're interested you can learn more here).

Step 3: Moisturize daily 

Apply a moisturizing oil daily right after the showering as this is when your skin is most absorbent. Be sure to moisturize daily whether you are shaving or not. Maintaining moisture will lead to a much easier, smoother, shave. 


Use your favorite hydrating shaving cream, or soap to soften the skin. Make sure you razor blade is sharp to ensure a clean smooth shave. Using a dull razor blade can lead to more irritation. Apply long steady strokes with light pressure with your razor. 

Apply oil 

Right after the shower when your skin is most absorbent make sure you gently rub some Nude Ingrown Hair Oil onto your armpits. It's especially important to do this after shaving. This oil will help improve the look of razor burn, ingrown hairs, redness and any other irritations you may experience when removing body hair. We asked Baily Anderson, female Canadian Olympic Swimmer what she loves most about Bushbalm Ingrown Hair Oil and she said “Being a swimmer and being in tight bathing suit this oil gives me confidence and makes me feel comfortable whenever I go on the pool deck”. 

Shave with Bushbalm, Swim with confidence!