Virtually every woman has been there: in an effort to look dressed up, the dreaded razor comes out…only to leave behind stray hairs, angry red bumps, or ashy skin. Or, perhaps, at the start of bikini season, the razor makes an appearance, only to cause discomfort and irritation while going over more difficult areas such as the knees, ankles, and shins. While these shaving issues seem to just be the name of the game, there are several remedies (listed below) designed to forever eradicate the dreaded shave.
Wait…There Are Different Ways to Shave Legs?
Although shaving may seem fairly straightforward, there are many different ways to shave your legs. The delivery may vary (standard razor, moisturizing razor, electric razor, etc.), as well as the methods (using coconut oil, cream, exfoliating scrub, etc.) Each type of shearing unwanted hair is geared toward a type of skin or ease of use. Although each gets the job done, some will have more success based on skin type and the amount of time set aside for shaving.
Why Do Different Skin Types Need Different Shaving Methods?
As anyone with sensitive skin can attest, using razors can be incredibly painful and difficult. While women with tougher skin may be able to get by going dry or shaving every day, many men and women with sensitive skin find that removing hair more than once or twice per week results in painful bumps or angry rashes.
In the same vein, women with tough skin may find their legs growing ashy or in desperate need of exfoliation after shaving. These women would do well to employ the use of an exfoliating scrub before or after shaving, at least once per month. Women with dry, sensitive skin may need to employ both a soothing oil (such as coconut oil), and use an exfoliating scrub.
First Up: Razor Bumps
Nothing puts a damper on freshly-shaven legs quite like razor bumps. Sure, the hair is gone—but a multitude of angry red bumps take its place. Although razor bumps are more prevalent in individuals with sensitive skin, anyone can fall victim to the unsightly rash. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to avoid the pain and frustration. These include:
- Only shaving clean skin
- Using oil or shaving cream
- Using a clean, still-sharp razor
- Moving with, not against, the hair grain
If these tips are not enough to prevent razor burn, there are measures you can take to minimize the pain and appearance of bumps. If bumps persist, apply warmth to the area, then cover with aloe vera and a moisturizing lotion. This will ease the pain associated with razor bumps, and will help the bumps heal and subside.
How to Shave Using Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is an excellent shaving companion, as it is not only a moisturizing agent, but also has antifungal and antibacterial properties. Because it increases the moisture in your skin and discourages the growth of fungus and bacteria, it is often an effective means of avoiding razor burn and other rashes brought on by shaving. It is best used at the end of a warm/hot shower. To use, apply a substantial amount to the area to be shaved, taking the time to rub it in thoroughly. Once the oil has sunk into skin somewhat, begin your shave. At the end, notice the difference in your legs; some oil is left behind, moisturizing your legs and making the area feel softer and smoother.
How to Shave Using Exfoliating Scrubs
Exfoliating scrubs make excellent shaving companions, as they kill two birds with one stone: they pull up dead skin cells, allowing a razor to slough away dirt and debris, and they clean out pores, reducing the risk of razor bumps and infections. Although there are numerous exfoliating scrubs out there, simple do-it-yourself at-home scrubs using oil and sugar/salt typically work best.
To shave alongside an exfoliating scrub, first wash legs and allow a warm shower to soften the hair strand. One hair is soft, apply the scrub, rubbing in small circles. After scrub is covering the area to be shaved, shave as usual. The blades will become gummed up with the scrub quickly, so be sure to rinse out the head between each swipe. After you have completed the area, rinse off skin and go over once again with the razor. The first pass is to remove scrub, hair, and dead skin, while the second pass removes any hair strands obscured by excess dirt and debris.
What Should Be Avoided While Shaving?
Although shaving is generally a safe endeavor, it does carry some risks if proper precautions are not taken. When shaving, always take care to check your razors before use. If a razor appears dull or discolored, it should be discarded immediately and replaced. Shaving with a dull razor (or without exfoliating) may result in ingrown hair. If your razor contains even a hint of rust, it is no longer safe to use; a single cut could expose rust to your system, potentially resulting in illness. Rusted razors should also be immediately discarded and replaced.
Caution should also be exercised when using shaving products. Because any new product can cause allergies, a small patch test should be conducted when using a new product. Using a new product that prompts an allergic reaction, coupled with the potential for a cut, could result in an unpleasant infection. While shaving is generally safe, some simple precautions should be taken before shaving any area, including the legs.
Shaving—the Age-Old Pain
Body hair on women is considered quite abhorrent in the western world—particularly when that hair is gracing the svelte lines of a woman’s legs. Unfortunately, many women find shaving an unpleasant experience due to dry, flaky skin, razor bumps, or general discomfort. However, there are many things that can be done to make shaving not only tolerable, but even enjoyable. Employing scrubs and oils while shaving can make shaving feel like a pampering treatment rather than a chore, providing smooth, silky skin year-round instead of a necessary evil as the summer sun makes its appearance.