Photo: Anna Bizon / www.123rf.com
Get the best shave of your life with these handy tips. After all, you’ve worked hard to tone those muscles and you don’t want your gams marred by unsightly ingrown hairs and razor bumps!
1. Avoid shaving in the early morning
There are two things that affect the quality of the shave you get in the mornings: water retention, and feeling too cold. Even in Singapore, things can be a little chilly when rise and step into the shower. Having goosebumps along your legs makes it difficult to get a smooth shave without shaving across the goosebumps, which in turn can lead to razor bumps and ingrowns as well as an uneven shave.
Also, puffiness from water retention can mean you aren’t shaving the hairs as closely to the skin as you normally would, leaving you to feel stubble on your legs within a day.
2. Exfoliate beforehand
It’s not just about what happens when you shave, the before and after habits are just as key. Keeping up with your exfoliation routine is what gets rid of dead and flaking skin before you shave, so that hairs don’t end up growing into the surface layer of dead skin. It also works to lift the hairs you wish to shave (some might already be ingrown or covered by dead skin cells) and preps your skin for the smoothest possible shave.
3. Avoid shaving at the start of your shower
Again, it’s an issue of time. Waiting till the end of a warm shower to shave means the hairs are going to be much softer and easier to shave, which is easier on the skin as well. The warmth and steam also opens your pores, making it easier to get a close shave. And like avoiding morning shaves, cold showers are going to give you goosebumps which you should never shave over.
4. Change your razor regularly
It’s easy to forget simple things like changing your toothbrush every three months or replacing razor blades when they’ve started to become blunt. Sometimes we can’t help it, especially if we’ve run out of spare blades and forgotten to stock up on new ones. But that doesn’t change the fact that nothing gives you a smoother and closer shave than a brand new set of blades.
It also stands to reason that a better quality razor will always be kinder to your skin than a cheap disposable one. The benefits you get from a sharp razor are well worth the price tag, especially if you have more sensitive skin or are prone to razor bumps. Sharper blades make for a quicker and smoother shave. Blunt blades require more passes of the razor to get rid of the hair, and are prone to snagging, making ingrown hairs more likely as well as skin irritation.
Photo: Wang SHIH-WEi / www.123rf.com
5. Rinse your razor with hot water between strokes
There’s something satisfying about shaving in long perfect lines that cut through all the shaving foam, but you might find that the razor ends up missing some hairs and that you’ve got to go over the same area a few times. This is often because of the shaved hairs getting stuck in your razor and clogging up the blades.
The trick to getting the best shave with the least amount of razor burn is shaving in shorter strokes and making sure to rinse the blade in between passes. Rinsing the blade with warm or hot water will also help warm up the skin as you shave, giving your razor a much smoother glide.
6. Use proper shaving gels
Shaving cream or gel isn’t just a superfluous product marketed to get you to spend more money. Shaving with plain water is a complete no-no to begin with, and most body soaps are too drying on your skin and don’t provide enough of a protective slip between the razor and your skin. Investing in a shaving gel or cream will give you a great layer of lather that improves the quality of your shave, with some formulas even being designed for sensitive skin. You can use a thicker hair conditioner in a pinch as it has enough glide to it, but avoid body soaps and shampoos.
7. Moisturise your skin after
Moisturising your legs after you shave them can help prevent ingrown hairs and skin irritation. Avoid fragrances or sprays containing alcohol immediately as the astringent can sting on sensitive shaved skin, but a gentle moisturiser shouldn’t give you any issues. Besides, no one wants to have dry scaly skin on their legs!
Post-shaving, your skin can become dry which makes it more likely to get irritated, leading to more redness or ingrown hairs. A light body lotion is a great way to keep your skin soft and moisturised to reduce irritation and dryness. If you have more sensitive skin, something with anti-inflammatory ingredients like coconut oil or aloe vera will be good for you.
A version of this article originally appeared on www.herworldplus.com.