shave

You learned how to shave your legs eons ago, but over the years you’ve probably taken on some bad habits to cheat your way through the system. After all, let’s be honest: Shaving is a total drag. We don’t want to spend any more time on it than necessary, but cutting corners can lead to ingrown hairs, razor burn, not to mention skin that looks a tad… reptilian.

When it comes down to it, how to shave your legs requires taking a few steps back to drawing board. Shall we?

Step 1: Stay a While

It’s tempting to shave your legs the second you hop in the shower with your let’s-just-get-this-over-with face on, but you should actually wait about 15 minutes before you get started. The warm water will soften the hairs and open up your follicles, making the process much easier on your skin.

Step 2: Exfoliate

Thanks to the first step, this gives you time to exfoliate your legs. Doing so removes the dead skin and raises hairs, giving you a closer shave and less chance of ingrown hairs, which are as icky as they are painful.

Step 3: Lather Up

After learning how to shave your legs, it all goes downhill from there. That’s when we start in with the dry shaving, shaving with bar soap, and using a dull razor. Shame. On. Us. We might think lathering up with soap in a pinch is no biggie, but soap is uber-drying to the skin, leaving you more prone to nicks and cuts. Shave gel is specially made to create a smooth surface the razor can glide across. In a pinch, you can use your hair conditioner, or you can make your own shave gel.

Step 4: Check Your Razor

Before getting started, make sure your razor is in tip-top shape to prevent skin irritation.

Step 5: Take Two Passes

When learning how to shave your legs, did you know you’re supposed to take two passes? (I only ask because I had no idea.) On your first pass, you’re to shave in the direction your hair grows, and then go “against the grain” with your second pass. Once the hairs are shorter, going against the direction of hair growth is much safer for your skin.

Step 6: Rinse Between Strokes

Rinsing your razor between strokes keeps the blades clean, sharp and moist. It also removes the hairs and excess soap that will get in the way as you continue.

Step 7: Rinse Thoroughly

Once you’re done shaving, rinse your legs thoroughly with warm water. This helps to get rid of the excess shave gel, dead skin and hairs.

Step 8: Exfoliate (Optional)

I tend to only use this step on the weekends when I feel like indulging, but it’s totally worth the extra oomph: Gently exfoliating after you’ve shaved makes your skin feel that much silkier.

Step 9: Pat Your Legs Dry

Especially when we’re in a rush, we tend to dry ourselves off by rubbing our skin with a towel, which can cause skin irritation. Pat your legs dry instead to maintain your hard work.

Step 10: Moisturize

Bust out your favorite moisturizer to finish off your flauntworthy legs, and you’re officially good to go.

Since learning how to shave your legs, which shaving shortcuts do you fall victim to most?

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Image: rachel ak