Save your skin and make your shave last longer by avoiding these razor mistakes.
Knowing how to shave your legs might be one of those pearls of wisdom you seem to have been born with. But just because shaving your legs feels like second nature, you may be hurting your skin by making a few mistakes or skipping a few key steps along the way. If you’re someone who chooses to shave their legs, armpits, and more, continue reading to learn all the ins and outs of this hair removal method from a few dermatologists.
1. Forcing yourself to shave with a “women’s” razor.
Do women really need a different razor to shave their legs than a man uses to shave? Nope. Unless you’ve found a favorite razor brand you want stick with, you don’t need a pink razor, a specialty razor, or one infused with anything for a great shave. In fact, you can use the same brand men use.
However, if you do want to get something a bit more customized for your legs, Jennifer Herrmann, MD, a dermatologist for Venus, says there are a number of razors out there specifically designed to “architecturally match a woman’s curves and contours.”
2. Sharing a razor with someone.
You can absolutely use the same brand if it works for you both, but Sandy Skotnicki, MD, the founding director of the Bay Dermatology Centre and an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, warns you shouldn’t actually share one razor with your partner (or anyone, for that matter). “When a woman uses her partner’s razor, it will get dull, and then it’s not so great for the man's more delicate face,” she says. Sharing this grooming tool is also an easy way to swap germs and bacteria—not something you want when trying to get clean and smooth.
3. Shaving on dry skin.
In a pinch, is it bad to shave with dry legs? To put it bluntly, Dr. Skotnicki says yes, it’s a bad idea to shave dry legs. When you’re ready to shave, Dr. Skotnicki suggests starting with a shaving lotion to assist the blade over your skin. And try not to shave over the same area multiple times, she warns.
Dr. Herrmann adds that shaving dry legs will “increase the risk of irritation, ingrown hairs, and itching. But she also offers this little hack: “If you don’t have access to water and must shave, try applying soap or hair conditioner to the legs before going over them with a razor to reduce friction and help prevent injury.”
4. Forgetting to exfoliate and moisturize post-shave.
Even if you use a moisturizing shave lotion, cream, or gel, you should moisturize immediately after showering. “Shaving can disrupt the skin's barrier by physically removing some of the top layer of statue corneum,” Dr. Skotnicki says. To stay silky smooth as long as possible, Dr. Herrmann recommends finding “good, fragrance-free moisturizing cream or oil containing barrier enhancers, such as ceramides.”
Besides keeping freshly shaved skin hydrated, consider exfoliating your skin too. Dr. Skotnicki says it may be a good idea to use a dry brush to exfoliate the skin every two to three days to help unblock potential ingrown hairs that are starting to form from shaving.
5. Shaving at the beginning of your shower or bath.
According to Dr. Skotnicki, it may be smart to save shaving for the end of your shower, when your skin is warmer, your pores have opened, and your leg hair is softer.
6. Storing razors in the shower.
Want your razor to last? “Remove it from the shower and store it in a dry place,” she says. “This prevents rust and bacteria from harboring in the blades and increases the shelf life. If the blade becomes dull or rusty, it’s definitely time to toss it.”
7. Waiting too long to replace the blades.
Dr. Skotnicki actually says there’s no hard-and-fast rule when it comes to replacing your razors—it all depends on how often you shave.
Morgan Timmone, a senior scientist with Venus’s research and development team, recommends keeping track of how often you shave, where you shave, and physical traits like hair thickness. “All of these things can change how long your razor lasts, so it’s different for everybody,” she says. “The best indicator is feel. When the blades start to feel dull or uncomfortable, that’s a sign that it’s time to change. This usually happens after five to 10 shaves.”