If you’re anything like us, you feel like shaving your legs is a complete pain in the neck. You may have been doing it for decades now and it’s still a total hassle — one that sometimes results in irritated skin and cuts at that. Just because it should be one of the more simple parts of skin care (meets hair care) doesn’t mean it is. But by learning proper leg shaving tips, you can make this part of your beauty regimen a more enjoyable experience with a more successful outcome. Much like removing facial hair, knowing how to shave your legs simply requires mastering a few basic steps.
To achieve a super smooth shave — without itchy legs or razor bumps — read on and follow our best tips for shaving your legs. You’ll thank us later.
1. Never Dry Shave
If you’re on the quest to learn how to shave your legs the right way, your first step should be hopping into the tub or shower. That means no more attempting to dry shave since this can scratch your skin and make it feel rough.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), before picking up a razor, you should wet your skin and hair to help soften it. By doing this, you rid your body of excess oil and dead skin cells that can potentially clog your pores — which is something you want to avoid.
Editor’s tip: Need to shave on the go? Look for an all-in-one travel razor that comes with a built-in lather so you can keep it moving without skipping this important step.
Exfoliation is the key to a clean, smooth shave. When your skin is exfoliated, shaving will be easier and more effective, as your razor will be able to get to the root of your hair and give you the closest shave possible. Just be sure to use an exfoliator or scrub designed to be used on your body.
3. Save Shaving For Last
Going off of our last tip, save shaving for the last step in your shower routine. Go about washing your hair with shampoo, applying a hair mask and the rest of your in-shower products before even reaching for your razor. This will give your skin plenty of time to soften.
4. Lather Up
Shaving your legs while your skin is wet is the way to go. But before you get to work, follow this step: After getting your skin wet in the shower, the AAD recommends applying a shaving cream or gel. This helps prevent you from cutting your skin while you’re shaving your legs. And if you are someone who has very dry or sensitive skin, make sure to reach for a shaving cream that is designed to be used on your skin type.
5. Use The Right Products
Don’t have a shaving cream or gel on hand? No problem! There are a multitude of alternatives that you definitely have at home that you can use in a pinch — such as body oil, body wash and even conditioner. Each has ultra-soothing properties, which will allow your razor to glide smoothly against your skin.
6. Grab a Fresh Razor
It’s time to toss that razor that’s been sitting in your bathroom for quite a while — go ahead and grab a new one. The AAD recommends using a disposable razor or one with a disposable blade, making sure to replace the razor or blades often. According to the AAD, you should throw away disposable razors after five to seven shaves, as this can help minimize irritation caused by dull blades. Consider stocking up on a pack of razors so that you always have a new one on hand when you need a replacement.
7. Follow Directions
How you go about shaving your legs is crucial in getting the job done correctly and efficiently. The age-old question is should you glide your razor in the direction that the hair grows or in the opposite direction? When it comes to how to shave your legs, the AAD advises shaving in the direction that your hair grows. Going against the grain tugs the hair and can lead to increased risk of ingrown hairs, nicks and irritation.
8. Be Gentle
The AAD says you shouldn’t press too hard with your razor, as this can leave you with irritated skin. Being gentle is key — especially when you’re using a fresh razor!
9. Take Your Time
As with many things in life, when shaving, slow and steady wins the race. While you may be tempted to spend as little time as possible shaving your legs, it’s important to take your time because rushing can lead to nicks and an uneven shave (think about those tough angles around the ankles). Make more time for shaving by multitasking in the shower. Some ways you can do this include applying a hair mask or face mask before shaving and rinsing off once you’re done.
If you're prone to itchy legs after shaving, moisturizing is an essential step, especially post-shave. After all, you don’t want to put in all that effort just for your legs to be dry and ashy. Apply a hydrating body lotion or body butter to give your freshly shaved skin the moisture it needs.
11. Store Your Razor In A Safe Place
You may not realize it, but storing your razor properly plays a big role in how successful you are at shaving your legs. According to the AAD, you should keep your razor in a dry space — not in the shower like many people do for convenience — and in an upright position in order to help keep bacteria from forming on the blades. Trust us, you don’t want to risk a nasty infection.
12. Give Your Legs A Break
While you may be tempted to shave your legs every day, you should try to give them a break from your razor. Similar to what happens when you exfoliate too often, shaving too frequently can irritate your skin. And honestly, your legs will still look smooth if you opt to shave every other day.
Edited by Sophie Dweck, Photography: Chaunte Vaughn, Associate Creative Director: Melissa San Vicente-Landestoy, Art Director: Hannah Packer, Associate Creative Producer: Becca Solovay, Associate Content Director: Shalwah Evans, Makeup Artist: Jonet Williamson, Hair Stylist: Akihisa Yamaguchi, Wardrobe Stylist: Alexis Badiyi, Digital Tech: Erik Dalzen, Photo Assistant: Sam Kang, Model: London Knight
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