The Right Way to Shave

Make those legs baby smooth for days… leave behind the cuts and make shaving fun…

I’d bet a lot of money that no one in the world has ever uttered the phrase, “I love shaving my legs!” If you have, cool. And if you don’t shave your legs, more power to ya. But the vast majority of us who have regularly been removing hair from our lower extremities for years have a love-hate relationship with the practice (emphasis on the hate).

But maybe it’s so contentious because we’ve been going about it all wrong. Maybe there’s a better way to shave your legs, one that could simultaneously leave your legs baby smooth for days, not leave behind any cuts or ingrown hairs, and, dare I say it, make shaving fun?

Soften.

Taking your time in a warm shower shouldn’t be hard, but just a reminder to really take advantage of that soothing water and steam if you’re going to shave your legs. Not only will you be super relaxed, but that time in the warm water will soften hair and cause the follicles to swell and open, all of which make for a much closer shave.

Exfoliate. 

Remember that required shop class you took in high school and all the sandpaper you ran through, prepping wood to build your parents a birdhouse? Sanding was tedious, yes, but it was also necessary to make sure the wood didn’t give you splinters, and also so it was smooth and primed to receive paint. In this long-winded metaphor, think of your legs as the wood and a body scrub as the sandpaper: To get a super-close shave, you need to remove any skin obstacles the razor might come up against in its quest.

I’m guessing you already own an exfoliator for your face, and that’s great, but the skin on your face is different from that on your legs. Facial skin is thinner and more sensitive, so while that trusty exfoliator you use once a week is perfect for your delicate mug, you’ll need something with a bit more heft for your legs.

Living LibationsGinger Body Scrub is like a pumice stone for your legs, thanks to the fact that it actually includes bits of pumice stone, and Haconut’s Original Body Scrub is a great option for sensitive skin since the exfoliating agents (coconut shell powder, organic coconut palm sugar and coconut flakes) are gentler than many other body scrubs. And the Himalayan Body Buff from Osmia Organics is a seriously luxe way to soothe and soften your legs thanks to its blend of essential oils. Just be careful to only use this pre-shave as the Himalayan pink sea salt (master exfoliator) can cause some unpleasant burning on open pores.

Choose your tools wisely.

The countless commercials for conventional razors you’ve seen have undoubtedly instilled a belief that the more blades a razor has, the better it is. That blade quantity directly correlates to shave quality. But it’s all a big old lie.

Truth time? The more blades a razor has, the more damage it can do: Ingrown hairs, cuts and general irritation are all thanks to multiple blades that pull hair and cut them below skin level. Skin is delicate, and aggressively scraping so many blades against it over and over again will lead to issues.

So when it comes to picking a razor, opt for simplicity and quality. Why use six mediocre blades in a crappy pink plastic handle when fewer great blades in gorgeous hardware can do the job much better?

For your best shave, opt for something like the Charlotte Razor from Oui Shave. Not only is the two-blade razor great for all skin and hair types (yes, your leg hair has a type, too!), it gets the hair in one pass (no razor burn!), it won’t get gunked up easily, and it’s also heavier than your average disposable razor.

Why does weight matter? Well, the heavier the razor, the closer to the skin it gets, and the closer to the skin it gets, the closer the shave, and the closer the shave, the longer those smooth legs will last. Plus, you’re not actually supposed to apply pressure when shaving, and the weighted handle offers some serious help in that department.

Oil > Cream.

Just like with blade quantity, we’ve all been brainwashed to believe shaving cream is the ultimate in smooth legs. I mean, it even has the word “shaving” in its name. But if you’ve been reading any self-care content lately, you know that anything cream is SO 2015—it’s all about oil right now, and shaving is no exception.

By using an oil instead of something foamy, you provide your skin with a protective barrier from the blade that also offers a closer, smoother shave. Oil also acts as a moisturizer in a way shaving cream doesn’t, creating a well-moisturized surface for the razor to glide over without tugging at the skin whereas foams are often packed with toxins, chemicals and drying agents.

While you can use something like coconut oil, a better option would be something like Oui Shave’s Neroli or Santal Shave Oil, both of which are specifically designed to offer the closest, smoothest, most moisturizing shave possible. Packed with vitamins A and C to improve skin’s tone and texture, and omega fatty acids 3, 6 and 9 to rejuvenate skin, these shave oils need to be in your shower ASAP.

(And for those of us too lazy to moisturize post-shower, the oil you use in this step will stick around as a great long-lasting moisturizer.)

Take your time.

Everyone remembers the first time they cut themselves really badly while shaving. That moment you feel the razor move against your skin in the wrong way, when you can see the skin pale right before the blood comes to the surface, then flow in a seemingly endless torrent down your leg. I still have a visible scar just above my right ankle from my first serious shaving gash, and while I’d like to say it serves as a constant reminder to be more careful when pressing a sharp blade to my skin, that would be a lie.

But I’m here to tell you that it’s worth it to take your time. As someone who rushes through shaving her legs and ends up with bits of toilet paper stuck to niks all over my legs, let me serve as a cautionary tale. Take your time! Not only will you spare your gams, you’ll be less likely to miss any areas (is there anything worse than getting out of the shower to realize you left an entire hairy strip of leg behind?) and you’ll save a ton on bandages.

Moisturize. 

Alright, you’ve safely emerged from the shower or bath with smooth, cut-free legs…bravo! But you’re not done just yet. Even though you took all the right steps (and you likely can’t see it), shaving still leaves the skin and hair follicles a bit inflamed. After all, you’ve tugged the hair against the grain with a sharp object, so you’ll want to make sure to moisturize. Yes, the shave oil you just used will go a long way in keeping your legs hydrated, but adding an extra layer certainly won’t hurt.

Your best bet here is a coconut oil like Kapuluan’s cold pressed version. Not only will it calm aggravated skin, it’s also naturally anti-viral, antifungal and antibacterial, so any microscopic cuts to the skin will be safe from lingering bacteria. And if you keep the oil in the shower, the warmth and steam will ensure it’s soft enough to use right after you’re done bathing, which is the perfect time to apply since the skin on your legs will be soft and damp, making them much more susceptible to the moisturizing powers of coconut oil.

+ Want to learn more beauty hacks? Check out other tips from Allie here

Comments

  1. I swear by coconut oil for all my shaving expeditions! The blades glide smoothly, my legs are instantly moisturised and smooth, and sleek and amazing.
    Great article all in all :)

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