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Razor Sharp Smarts

Tips for a Healthy, Smooth Shave

If you’ve been hiding prickly legs under thick tights all winter, it might be time to sharpen up your shaving skills for summertime swimsuits. Here are a few tips for a healthy, smooth shave.

Are you a fan of disposables or are electric razors your thing? Either way, there are some mistakes you might be making when sudsing up in the shower.

Wait a while.

Whether you’re in the shower or bath, wait a while before you start shaving. The warm water and steam will soften hair and open up follicles. Experts recommend soaking for about two to three minutes prior to starting your shave, so shampoo and condition or do a face mask pre-shave.

Don’t skip cream or gel.

Opting for just soap and water can lead to bloody nicks and cuts – soap doesn’t create the lubrication a razor needs to glide across skin. To really get a close, effective, and cut-free shave, invest in a good shaving cream or gel that’ll leave your legs smooth and moisturized. And take your skin type into consideration – if it’s sensitive, steer clear of products with fragrances and alcohol. If you have dry skin, spring for a moisturizing cream or gel (cream usually has added moisturizing qualities when compared to gel). If you run out, just use conditioner, which will work the same.

Pick the right razor for you.

All razors aren’t the same. It might be tempting to reach for the cheapest one, but to get optimal results, consider what razor will work best for you. Just like choosing a shave cream, consider your skin type. Is it dry? Purchase a razor with moisturizing strips. Is your skin extra-sensitive? There are razors formulated for that too.

woman shaving her legs

Be mindful of your pattern.

You’ve probably always been told to shave “against the grain,” meaning go in the opposite direction of hair growth. But a smart move is to first do a simple shave down your leg, in the same direction of growth. This will reduce the chance of skin irritation and cuts, and will give skin time to become warm and lubricated. Then do a once-over in the opposite direction of growth for a super-close shave.

Don’t get attached to your blade.

Once your blade has gotten you through about 10 shaves, it’s time to switch it out. Hanging on to a past-its-prime razor can lead to infections, and dull blades can lead to ingrown hairs.

Keep your strokes short.

If you thought shaving from ankle to knee was the goal, you’re not alone. But smaller strokes are actually more effective. While you’re shaving, let the razor do the work – pressing down too hard can irritate skin, and the need to press down hard for a smooth shave is an indicator that it’s time to change your blade.

Always exfoliate.

illustration of pink disposable razor

Not only does exfoliation make your skin silky smooth, it can also help guard against bumpy, red ingrown hairs and razor burn. Exfoliate often with either a loofa or an exfoliating scrub to slough away dead skin and to bring hair completely out of the follicle. An added advantage is that shaving also exfoliates skin by taking loose dead cells off along with hair.

Lotion up after you dry off.

Applying an alcohol-free moisturizing lotion after your shower will help legs stay sleek and smooth, and will also give your skin a nice glisten.

Banish ingrown hairs

An ingrown hair is one that fails to break the skin’s surface, and instead stays inside of its follicle, growing underneath the skin. Caused by excess dead skin cells or just the hair’s growth angle, ingrown hairs can be unsightly and painful. Prevent them by using sharp, never dull, razors and exfoliating areas you shave often. If that fails, try to remedy the bump by using a benzoyl peroxide wash, an antibiotic lotion, or a mild hydrocortisone cream, plus a warm wash rag to help the hair come to the surface.

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