7 Common Leg-Shaving Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Between razor bumps, ingrown hairs and overall irritation, the path to soft and smooth legs is anything but simple. But with the right tips and tricks, it’s an attainable reality. We consulted with two board-certified dermatologists, Dr. Dendy Engelman, and Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson for the lowdown on seven common mistakes people make when shaving their legs and how you can avoid them.
Don’t Skip Shaving Cream or Gel
“Dry shaving is more likely to lead to razor burn, cuts and ingrown hairs,” says Dr. Robinson.
How to fix it: “If you’re not shaving with shaving cream or gel , you should at least shave with water,” says Dr. Engelman. This could help to reduce the chances of irritation that might occur when dry shaving. For a shaving cream, try a gentle formula like the Thayers Gentlemen’s Witch Hazel Shave Cream with aloe vera for the face, or the Bille Shave Cream for your legs and other areas.
Don’t Switch Directions When Shaving
According to Dr. Engelman, “If you shave in many different directions, you increase the chances of razor bumps, irritation and even ingrown hairs because of the angle the hair was shaved off.”
How to fix it: You can shave in the direction that your hair grows for a safer shave or you can shave against the grain for a closer shave. While the latter option does give a more precise finish, know that shaving against the grain tugs at the hair, which pulls it away from the skin before cutting it off and can then lead to an increased risk of irritation and ingrown hairs, explains Dr. Robinson.
Don’t Use an Old Blade
“A dull razor is more likely to cut you than a new, sharper razor,” says Dr. Engelman. Not to mention, according to Dr. Robinson, using a dull blade tugs at the hair follicle, causing inflammation and increasing the chances of razor bumps. What she finds most concerning, however, is the bacteria and dead skin cells that fester in an old razor.
How to fix it: Change your blade every three to five uses and store it in an open, dry area after every use.
Don’t Skimp on Moisture Pre- or Post-Shave
If you’re experiencing irritation post-shave, it probably has to do with the lack of moisture in your skin before shaving. “It’s important to condition your skin before shaving to soften the hair and the hair follicle, so that when a razor goes across the skin, there is less irritation,” says Dr. Engelman.
How to fix it: Moisturize using an oil-free, non-comedogenic and fragrance-free moisturizer like the CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion to keep the pores open and clean.
Don’t Exfoliate After You Shave
Shaving in and of itself is a form of exfoliation, so there’s no need to use a separate exfoliator. Plus, this can cause irritation.
How to fix it: Exfoliate right before you hit the shower to remove any dirt and dead skin cells from the skin’s surface, which will help the hair come out to skin that is as clean as possible. Exfoliating before also helps keep pores from getting clogged, explains Dr. Robinson.
Don’t Shave as Soon as You Get in the Shower
It’s important to give your body hair the chance to soften up in the warm water before reaching for the razor.
How to fix it: Shave towards the end of your shower. Pro tip: “Apply your hair conditioner or hair mask to your hair and shave while it sinks in to kill two birds with one stone,” says Dr. Robinson.
Don’t Skip Necessary Post-Shave Care
What you do after you shave is important if you want to maintain smooth skin post-shave.
How to fix it: “Applying oil or lotion on wet skin will allow the product to lock in moisture by trapping some of the water on the skin,” says Dr. Engelman. Keeping your skin moisturized in between shaves will help your hair remain flexible and will ensure an easier removal process and better results the next time you shave. We love to use Fur Oil, which is made with grapeseed oil, jojoba oil and tea tree oil.