Whether you've been shaving your legs for years or are hoping to start your very own hair removal quest, knowing how to shave your legs like a pro will most definitely come in handy. After all, even if you've already been shaving for over a decade, there's a very good chance that you're going about it all wrong. The proof? If you notice nicks and razor burn, or can never quite achieve the smoothness that you're hoping for.
Luckily for us, a couple dermatologists who work on behalf of two of the world's biggest razor brands are here to help. Ahead, uncover all their tips for shaving your way to your smoothest legs yet.
How to shave your legs in 7 easy steps:
1. Exfoliate your legs. Before even picking up your razor, board-certified dermatologist Joyce Park, M.D., on behalf of Schick Hydro Silk, says to exfoliate your legs. This will prevent any dead skin cells from clogging your razor blades, which could potentially lead to nicks and razor burn if left unattended. Since that's never the goal, consider adding a gentle body scrub to your shaving routine.
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2. Always use a clean, sharp razor. As convenient as it may be to use the same razor over and over again, doing so can lead to painful nicks and razor burn. "When razors become dull, it increases the chances of developing irritation and razor burn," explains board-certified dermatologist Lindsey Zubritsky, M.D., on behalf of Venus. With this in mind, consider getting a reusable razor with changeable blades, or opt for disposable razors that can be replaced every few shaves.
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3. Never shave on dry skin. Some people will try to tell you that shaving on dry skin is A-OK so long as you use a creamy shaving product. Dr. Zubritsky, however, says otherwise. "Always shave when your skin is wet," she urges. "Shaving on dry skin is a recipe for disaster!"
4. Use a shave gel or cream. In order to prevent said disaster, in addition to shaving legs while wet, Dr. Park says to always apply a shaving product as well. "Doing so will provide lubrication [for your razor to glide across your skin] and prevent nicks and ingrown hairs," she explains.
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5. Shave in the direction of hair growth. For the closest shave possible, Dr. Park says to go in the natural direction of your hair growth and to rinse your razor between each stroke. If you don't rinse, then your blades won't be able to shave as closely to the skin.
6. Resist the urge to rush. While shaving in the direction of your hair, Dr. Zubritsky recommends using long, slow, steady strokes. This is the number-one way to prevent accidental nicks while shaving.
7. Follow up with moisturizer. Once you finish shaving, Dr. Zubritsky says to always follow up with moisturizer while skin is still damp. "Shaving leads to exfoliation, which can dry skin out," she says. "Therefore, replacing moisture immediately after your shave is vital to maintaining smooth, hydrated skin." While any moisturizer will help, those formulated with shea butter are particularly nourishing.
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One more tip:
Now that you know how to shave your legs like a pro, you may feel inclined to follow up every single day to keep your legs ultra-smooth, but if you have sensitive skin, don't. "Shaving consecutive days in a row can irritate sensitive skin, so giving yourself a day or two in between shaves can help prevent added irritation," Dr. Park says.
That said, if you don't have sensitive skin and you do have fast-growing leg hair, Dr. Zubritsky says that you can shave at your leisure. "However, if razor burn, skin irritation, or nicks do occur, I recommend waiting until these have healed up to return to your normal shaving routine," she adds.