Hair Removal Basics: How to Shave the Right Way
A Step-by-Step Guide to Shaving
It may seem as simple as gliding a razor over your skin, but shaving is actually a little more complex than that. If you want to avoid razor bumps and burn, stop getting cuts and nicks, and finally achieve smooth shave, be sure to follow these tips for how to shave the right way.
When you’ve been shaving multiple times a week since puberty first hit, it can be easy to figure that you’re practically a pro. I mean, practice makes perfect, right? But that’s not necessarily the case. In fact, it’s possible you aren’t even . Yes, there is a right—and a wrong—way to shave! It’s not nearly as simple as splashing some water onto your skin and wielding a razor in your hand—although, wouldn’t that be nice. Instead, there are a series of steps you should follow in order to get a smooth shave, sans nicks and irritation. Don’t worry, we won’t leave you to wonder whether you’ve got this shaving thing all wrong. We’re breaking down all the steps, below. Read them through, then hop into the shower for your closest, cut-free shave.
Shaving Step #1 Soften Your Skin
It’s just like your mother told you, patience is a virtue. While getting your shaving routine over and done with as soon as you start bathing may seem smart, you’ll actually be better off if you wait a little longer. Shaving straight away means your skin and hair haven’t had time to soften, which is only a step above dry shaving. Ouch. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), taking a shower or bath is one of the best ways to soften the hair. Perfect, you were already doing that! All you’ll want to do differently is leave shaving for the end of your shower. By the time you’ve finished washing your hair and suds-ing up your skin, you should be all set to start shaving.
Shaving Step #2: Coat Skin with Shaving Cream
Just as water is an absolute must in the shaving equation, the same goes for shaving cream. There may be other products just sitting in your shower that seem like appropriate alternatives, but if you’re debating using conditioner or regular old soap to lather up, let us kindly suggest you don’t. Sticking with a product that’s purpose is to make shaving easier, like a shaving cream or gel, will help ensure you don’t end up with any cuts. Even the AAD recommends using one!
Shaving Step #3: Reach for a Fresh Razor
That razor that’s been sitting in your shower for months already? It’s time to say goodbye. Trust us, razors aren’t something that get better with age—they’re not wine. Toss it in the trash, then grab a fresh one. The longer you use the same blade, the duller it becomes, which means it won’t even be doing a quality job. Sounds like you shouldn’t have any issue parting with those dingy old blades. The AAD suggests changing blades or throwing away disposable razors after every 5 to 7 shaves, which can help minimize irritation.
Shaving Step #4: Go with the Grain
Being a follower isn’t always considered a good thing, but when it comes to shaving, it’s the way to go. Somewhere along the way, someone may have taught you to shave against the grain to catch every last hair, but you’re more likely to end up with irritated skin and ingrown hairs when you shave this way. Rather than risk it, the AAD says to shave in the direction that the hair grows. While you’re at it, try not to go over the same areas again and again. That’s a bit too much for a single spot to take.
Shaving Step #5: Take It Slow
Go ahead and practice patience again. You may want to get shaving over and done with, but racing towards the finish line won’t get you anywhere good. Shaving too quickly, or pressing too hard, can cause cuts and irritation. On days when you don’t have much time, skip shaving—we swear you’ll survive—and leave it for a day when you can go at a more leisurely pace.
Shaving Step #6: Always Moisturize Afterwards
Your job isn’t done as soon as you step out of the shower. Think about it this way: Shaving is a form of physical exfoliation—just like using a body scrub—and what should always follow exfoliation? Moisturizing, of course. Before drying off, leave your towel alone for a minute and apply a hydrating body lotion like the La Roche-Posay Lipikar Lotion to damp skin. Silky, smooth skin, here you come.