11 Surprising Mistakes You’re Making While Shaving…And How to Fix Them
Shaving is one of those things that—on the outside—seems self-explanatory, but in reality is pretty easy to mess up. Even if you’ve been shaving for over a decade to date, you never want to get too comfortable with the ritual since burns, nicks, cuts, and ingrown hairs can happen to even the most seasoned razor handlers. Still, your chances of slipping up can be avoided when you follow the proper shaving protocol and avoid rookie mistakes. Ahead, 11 common shaving blunders to avoid in order to get the most out of your shave.
MISTAKE #1: YOU’RE NOT EXFOLIATING FIRST
Answer us this: Before whipping out your razor, are you taking the time to exfoliate your skin’s surface and remove any built up dead skin cells? Hopefully the answer is yes. Failure to do so can lead to clogged blades and an uneven shave.
What to Do: Before shaving, apply Kiehl’s Gently Exfoliating Body Scrub onto target body areas in gentle, circular motions. Not only does the formula help slough away dead skin cells on the skin’s surface, it can also help leave skin feeling smooth and silky soft.
MISTAKE #2: YOU’RE SHAVING AS SOON AS YOU STEP INTO THE SHOWER
We get it: Shaving isn’t that fun. Most people want to get it over with as soon as possible while showering. Bad idea. Shaving immediately upon entering the shower may not give you the closest shave.
What to Do: Leave the shaving part of your shower for last. Wet skin and hair with warm water to help soften your skin and ensure a closer, easier shave. If you are shaving by a sink, apply lukewarm water onto your skin for three minutes before lathering up.
MISTAKE #3: YOU’RE NEGLECTING TO USE SHAVE CREAM/GEL
Speaking of lathering up, make sure you do so with shave cream or gel. Shaving creams and gels are designed to not only hydrate the skin, but also to help your blade glide across your skin without tugging or pulling. Without them, you may increase the risk of razor burn, cuts, and irritation.
What to Do: If you have sensitive skin, try Kiehl’s Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream-Blue Eagle. Avoid using popular shaving cream substitutes—think: bar soap or hair conditioner—as they may not provide enough lubrication. And for the love of everything skin care, do not—we repeat—do not shave dry. Ouch!
MISTAKE #4: YOU’RE USING A DIRTY RAZOR
While the shower may seem like the most logical place to allow your razor to hang out, the dark and damp conditions can lead to bacteria and mold growth on your blade. That filth can then transfer onto your skin and you can just imagine all the horrific (and quite frankly, gross) things that can transpire as a result.
What to Do: After you shave, rinse your razor well with water, pat it dry and store it in a dry, well-ventilated area. You’ll thank us later.
MISTAKE #5: YOU’RE NOT REPLACING YOUR RAZOR BLADE OFTEN
We get it: Razor blades can get costly. But that’s not a reason to hold on to them past their prime. Dull and rusty blades are not only ineffective, but a surefire way to get nicks and cuts. Old blades can also harbor bacteria, which may lead to infections.
What to Do: The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends changing your razor blade after five to seven uses. If you feel like your blade is tugging at your skin, toss it right away. Better safe than sorry, right?
MISTAKE #6: YOU’RE SHAVING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION
The jury’s still out on the best direction to shave. Some say “going against the grain” leads to a closer shave, but it could result in the possibility of razor burn, cuts, and ingrown hairs.
What to Do: The AAD recommends shaving in the direction that the hair grows. This can help reduce irritation, especially on the face.
MISTAKE #7: YOU’RE SKIPPING MOISTURIZER AFTERWARDS
The post-shave ritual deserves its due diligence. Neglecting to apply moisturizer after shaving isn’t doing your skin any favors.
What to Do: Conclude your shaving routine with a heaping amount of body cream or lotion with hydrating emollients. Bonus points if it’s specially formulated for use after shaving. If you shaved your face as well, make sure to follow up with a separate facial moisturizer or a soothing after-shave balm, such as Vichy Homme After Shave.
MISTAKE #8: YOU’RE RUSHING THROUGH IT
Everyone’s got better things to do than remove their unwanted facial and body hair. It’s understandable to want to rush through shaving and move on with life, but that can almost guarantee (similarly unwanted) nicks and cuts.
What to Do: Don’t be sloppy. Take the time to adequately rinse off your blade between strokes. The faster you move, the more likely you are to apply too much pressure and dig into the skin. For the best results, think of shaving as a marathon rather than a sprint.
MISTAKE #9: YOU’RE USING BRUTE FORCE
Let’s be clear: Shaving is no time to show off your strength. Bearing the razor against your skin with intense pressure can maximize your risk of uncomfortable nicks and cuts.
What to Do: Don’t press too hard! Shave using a light touch with careful, smooth, and even strokes. Leave the brute force for the punching bag at the gym.
MISTAKE #10: YOU’RE SHARING YOUR RAZOR
Sharing is caring, but not when it comes to your razor. Foreign oils can transfer from your skin to the next and vice versa, which can potentially cause a negative reaction. It’s also pretty unhygienic.
What to Do: When it comes to your razor, it’s OK to be a little selfish. Whether it’s your S.O., boyfriend, partner, or best friend who is asking to use your razor, kindly provide them with their own instead of lending them yours. You (and your skin) will be happy with that decision—trust us!
MISTAKE #11: YOU’RE OVER-SHAVING ONE AREA
While shaving, some of us have a tendency to target one area—like the armpits for instance—with repeated strokes. The truth is, gliding your blade across the same spot over and over again can leave your skin feeling dry, sore, and even irritated.
What to Do: Break the bad habit! Be more efficient and only shave when and where necessary. Avoid gliding your blade over a previously-shaven area repeatedly. Instead, be mindful of your strokes so that they only slightly overlap, if at all. Remember: If you miss a spot, you can catch it on the next pass. Chances are few people will notice it but you.
Want more shaving tips? Check out our five-step guide on how to shave the right way, here!