If you love a relatively hairless body like I do, that means you’ll perform some means of hair removal on your legs, armpits – and other unmentionable places – at least once per day.
Of course, one of the cheapest and easiest ways to do away with those unsightly hairs is to shave them off, but before you grab a razor and go to town, follow these 25 shaving tips to help the process go smoothly:
1. Exfoliate first to lift the hairs and prepare for a better shave
Exfoliating before shaving is one important preparation step that can help get rid of dead skin cells so they won’t gunk up your razor and hinder a close shave. You can even use portable sonic face cleansing brushes to exfoliate your legs and get a good scrub before taking a razor to your gams.
2. Redefine the meaning of the word shave: try other means of getting hairless legs and pits
Simply because we were raised with the idea that the only way to get rid of hair was via razors or Nair, we can change that logic. Explore other hair removal options, like waxing or threading.
3. Buy a fresh razor after three uses
If you decide to go the disposable razor route, remember to “dispose” of them as often as you can, aiming to use each one for no more than three shaves.
4. Use hair conditioner as a replacement for shaving cream when in a pinch
Slather dollops of hair conditioner or other supple lotions you have on hand onto your body to keep the razor sliding smoothly.
5. Shave downward, then upwards
We’ve heard it time and time again: Shave with the grain. But honestly, who really does that? Most of us jump in the tub or shower and shave our legs in an upward direction. That’s fine for those who don’t have sensitive skin. For those that do, experts suggest shaving downward first and then upward – if the upward direction close shave doesn’t cause problems.
6. Take it easy when using a fresh, sharp blade
When you begin buying all those new razors, make sure to use a gentle hand with a sharp blade in order to prevent nicks and cuts.
7. Challenge the experts: try a dry shave to see how your skin reacts
You’ll also hear the mantra often: Never shave dry skin! My mother, however, used to shave her underarms when they were completely dry, and her pits looked cleaner than mine. The lesson is that different methods might work for different people, so don’t be afraid to try things that pundits claim don’t work.
8. Never slide a blade sideways against your skin
While the direction of upward or downward shaving causes controversy, there’s one thing you shouldn’t do with a razor, and that’s slide it sideways across your skin. That is, unless you want painful cuts.
9. Steer clear of sores and wounds
Ensure you shave around any existing scars that haven’t yet healed in order to prevent further injury.
10. Bend those knees to get a close shave
Sitting down in the bathtub and bending your knees is one way to stretch out your skin and get a smoother shave around all those patella nooks and crannies.
11. Keep the plastic cover on your razors when not in use
There’s a reason that razors come equipped with those protective covers atop each one. Keeping them in place when you’re not using the razors can help keep the blades free from debris that would interfere with a shave.
12. Don’t be afraid to try shaving products designed for men
If you check sites like Amazon or Ulta, you’ll see that men have some pretty cool shaving products, with thick creams and such. Even though these treatments might be designed for beards, they can work well for women, too.
13. Keep it simple, shaving sisters: try five blades for less pulling and tugging
Single blades are old school, so we’ve heard. These days, you’ll find “curve-hugging” five-bladed razors for women that could seriously help smooth out your next shave.
14. Go old-school on your legs: Try a safety razor
Savvy Housekeeping reports that using safety razors not only can save you money on blades, but they can help prevent ingrown hairs and razor rash.
15. Do it daily, or as often as your hair growth dictates
The more often you shave, the better you’ll become at shaving your specific curves and nuances. Shaving is an art whereby practice makes perfect.
16. Treat dark armpits with natural ingredients
Cucumbers, potato slices and lemon juice rubbed on armpits that have been darkened due to shaving can help to naturally lighten the area. Or you can choose to stop shaving your pits – which can cause thick hair beneath the skin – and begin waxing them to pull out hair from the roots.
17. Use after-shaving treatments
Treat shaving irritation with after-shave solutions like baby oil, cold compresses, aloe vera gel and honey.
18. Create homemade shaving creams
In the same way you can use sugar to exfoliate your legs and body, a homemade shaving cream can be made with ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil and essential oils like jojoba, rosemary or peppermint.
19. Put shaving supplies everywhere
Make it easy and stock up on razors and refill cartridges so you can have them available at the ready. I tend to keep razors in all my bathrooms as well as my gym bag – and sometimes in my purse, just to have them there when I need them.
20. Go beyond the underarm
Instead of shaving the small area literally under your arm, glide your razor higher and lower beyond the armpit if hair is growing in that area as well.
21. Pull your skin
As long as it doesn’t irritate your skin, attempt to pull looser or flappy skin taut in order to help the blade move across it easier.
22. Use short strokes
Especially when shaving tight and awkward areas like the knees, use careful short strokes to help avoid slicing yourself.
23. Try razors with moisturizing strips
As an extra step of moisturizing, utilize razors that come equipped with aloe strips atop the blade for more protection from razor burn.
24. Ditch the soap for shaving!
Soap can be way too drying to use as a daily shaving solution, so only use it as a last resort – or if it’s specifically designed as a lathering soap for shaving.
25. Go for the gusto and try something permanent
If you’re really ready to do away with certain problems that come with shaving, such as razor bumps, ingrown hairs, plus darkened and irritated skin – try laser hair removal. Sure, it might cost quite a bit; however, diligent users report that laser hair removal can make your skin smoother, more even in tone and softer. It can take time and money to get the treatments done, but so does shaving.
Featured photo credit: Mel Poole via unsplash.com
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