Remember your first time...Shaving?

I remember the first time shaving and how light, airy, incredibly smooth and "free" my legs felt. It was a good feeling, and it felt good to have super-smooth skin. Here's how you can re-create the feeling while avoiding razor rash, bumps, nicks, cuts and razor burn.

Why?

People do it for all different reasons, aesthetic, religious, athletic, and it can be a way to adapt to the seasons. Some people go hairy in winter, only to tidy up in the spring and summer by removing the hair from their legs and bikini area (the women, of course). Some folks won't ever shave at all. It's a real time-saver. Not to mention water conservation and all the money they save by not having to buy all those supplies! On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are people who take it all off, they are for the most part, hairless.

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Shaving tips for women

While most of us shave our legs (well, the women, at least!), doing so on your arms might not be a good idea. It's probably better to opt for a different method of hair removal, or have the hair bleached at a salon if you don't like the hair on your arms. Most men shave the hair on their faces. Women should not. There are proper methods for facial hair removal in women, such as waxing. 


When is the Best Shaving Time?

If you normally shave just after waking up, try waiting about 20 minutes or so. Your skin tends to be be puffy when you first wake up and allowing that swelling to go down will make for a smoother outcome and the hairs will be closer to the skin's surface, making them easier to remove.

The Implement

Electric, ceramic, double-edge, straight, disposable... Name your poison. Just don't share it with anyone. I'll repeat that. Don't share your razors, this can spread skin infections. Try out different razors (like the Dollar Shave Club) to find out which one you like best. A straight razor is not recommended for removing body hair! Men, if you get razor bumps, try switching to a single-blade razor. If you plan on shaving while in the shower or bath, be sure that whatever tool you use is OK to use in that environment (i.e., waterproof if it's electric). Safety first! Moisturizing strips, "fins" and other options on razors are always good to have. They'll usually do a better job than ones without all the bells and whistles. Replace the blade cartridges often to ensure a good close job with no nicks or cuts.

Get it Wet

Your barber or hairstylist cuts your hair when it's wet or damp, right? It's the same concept here. It's easier when the hairs are wet. Men may benefit from washing their face beforehand by using a cleanser formulated for men's skin (not soap, it's too drying). This will remove any excess dirt, dead skin cells and oils which may clog certain razors. Wet hair reduces wear and tear on the blade and it stands up better. If you wait until the end of your bath or shower to shave, you'll find that it makes for a better experience because skin is more supple and the hairs softer. You can try using some hair conditioner to help soften the hair first if it's really coarse. Just let it sit for a bit, then rinse thoroughly with water.

Slather the Lather

It's nearly essential for a good end result to use either a shave cream or gel. Something that is especially formulated for this purpose, and the thicker the better. It will help you avoid razor burn (red, raw skin, irritation, or bumps). Soap will do in a pinch, but it can often just dry the skin and make it prone to nicks, cuts and bumps. Remember, hair conditioner can be used instead of soap if you're out of the other stuff. It will also help to moisturize your skin and it usually smells pretty good too!

If you are using a hair removal device that's compatible with gel, apply the gel and let it sit for a few minutes. This has numerous benefits. It will help to soften/condition the hair and and lock moisture in it. It also helps keep the hair erect and will reduce friction.

Men might opt for using oil. While the oil makes it easier to define sideburns, goatees and other patterns because you can see exactly what you're doing, it's harder to see where you have already been, and you won't want to cause skin irritation by going over the same spot repeatedly.

Men's Shaving Tips

image © Frenk And Danielle Kaufmann | Dreamstime.com


Take it Off

Some people shave the hair in the direction in which it grows (usually this is downward). This is what's recommended for disposable razors. You might find, though, that you get a better result if you go in the opposite direction of the hair growth. This will vary from person to person. Be sure to take the time to wet and/or soak the skin and apply shave cream or gel, or you may end up with razor burn, razor bumps and ingrown hairs. I once had an ingrown hair right by my belly button. Ingrown hairs form when hair, growing back after being cut, fails to grow out of the follicle. Mine was just under the surface of the skin and it was pretty long. Weird, I know. I was able to extract it with tweezers.


Press down on the skin with one hand and pull the skin straight and taut. With the other hand, glide the razor across your skin. If you find yourself applying a fair amount of pressure to the razor, this may signal that the blade needs changing, or disposal if it's a disposable razor. Slower is better, especially with a disposable razor.

Different parts of the body will require different strokes. Use upward strokes in the bikini area and legs. Try downward strokes on your armpits.

At this point, is there shaving cream or gel on the areas you have not done yet? If not, why not? This is good practice, and it especially helps in the cases of coarser hair - save those areas for last - when the cream or gel has time to work it's magic.

Rinse the blade often! Hairs get stuck in the razor quite easily and need to be removed before they clog it completely.

Don't keep going over the same area. This applies to the sensitive bikini area, especially. Use caution in the areas of the knees and ankles, as there's a better chance for cuts in these areas if you work too quickly there.

Skincare

Don't leave the bathroom until you have applied some sort of moisturizer to your now hairless legs and other body parts. Preferably something unscented, that way if you have sensitive skin you won't have any issues with skin irritation. Aloe Vera products are good for this.

Men might want to try an after-shave product on their faces. Avoid the ones that are alcohol-based. To reduce irritation caused by stubble in between shaving, you can try a lotion formulated for dry skin. Again, preferably unscented. This may help keep you from itching due to stubble, and it will soften the hair follicles so that next time, you might notice that the hair is finer than it was before. There are also specially made "bikini line" lotions and creams on the market that you can try and see how they work for you.

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