By Melanie K. Nelson
Summer is in full swing and that means sundresses, shorts and tank tops. As fun as summer trends are, they also require us to pay extra attention to some things that usually don’t get much thought. That’s right ladies, it’s time to talk about shaving!
Step 1: Pick
The first step to smooth skin is to select your method and the proper tools. In the world of hair removal you have some options, most commonly: waxing, razors, and lasers. Let’s leave the waxing for the professionals, and the lasers for the scientists and let’s focus on shaving!
Set yourself up for success with the perfect arsenal of tools. Different people have different skin needs when it comes to razors. For those of you with especially dry skin, look for hydrating moisture strips and shaving cream specifically for dry skin. If you have sensitive skin, look for natural products with minimal fragrances.
Additionally, there are some 2-in-1 types razors that are perfect for targeting specific needs. If you don’t like dealing with too many products or if you are traveling, Schick® Intuition® Tropical Splash is a razor and shaving cream all in one. If you want to be able to both trim and shave, you can steal your man’s trimmers OR for an option that will cause less fights, Schick® Quattro for Women® TrimStyle™ is a razor on one side and a trimmer on the other specifically designed for women. Add a yummy scented shaving cream like Skintimate® Limited Edition Signature Scents™ Strawberry Tangerine Twist™ or Skintimate® Limited Edition Signature Scents™ Raspberry Rain® and you will have all the tools necessary to begin!
Step 2: Prep
In order to get the perfect shave, there are a few things that you can do to prepare. First and foremost, exfoliate! Exfoliating before you shave removes dead skin cells that keep you from getting that close shave that you covet and can also clog your razors. Exfoliating can also reduce your chances of getting ingrown hairs.
While there are hundreds of great exfoliating scrubs that you can buy at the stores, it is so easy to make one! Just go into the kitchen and grab some brown sugar, a little course ground sea salt, a squeeze of honey, a dash of lemon juice and a bit of olive oil. Mix these together and you get a scrub that cleans, moisturizes, exfoliates and smells yummy! The best part is that you get to control each element of the scrub. Want more moisture? Back off the lemon juice and let the honey and olive oil do their thing. Want a gentler scrub? Drop out the sea salt completely and just use brown sugar. Again, everybody’s skin is different, play around to create you perfect scrub.
Next treat yourself to a pre-shave soak. Aside from just being a good excuse for a little you-time (think candles and a face mask!) it will also reduce your skins puffiness and soften the hair. This again will lead to less irritation and a closer shave. If you choose to exfoliate after your soak, be gentle! Your skin will be much softer and if you scrub too hard your skin can feel raw.
Step 3: Perform
Now it’s finally time to get rid of that hair! First and foremost, never shave dry skin. Shaving cream helps moisturize skin and reduce cuts. As tempting as it might be when you find you are all out of shaving cream, don’t use shower gel! Most shower gels have a lot of fragrance or alcohol, both of which can cause drying and irritation to the newly shaved skin. In a pinch, use a little hair conditioner!
Even though people will often tell you to shave in the direction of the hair growth, I’m going to recommend the opposite! Shaving against the growth direction gives you a much closer shave, which means getting to wait longer in between shaves. Using this method might increase chances of nicks, so slow down and be a little bit more careful. Finally, when it comes to your underarms, don’t be afraid to shave side to side, or diagonally! Since hair in this area grows in all sorts of crazy directions, straying from the traditional up and down path will get you the closest shave.
Step 4: Post
Finally we have some post-shave advice! Always apply a moisturizer to towel dried legs after you are finished shaving. Even if you use a moisturizing shaving cream, you skin will quickly dry out if left un-moisturized. Try to avoid using moisturizers with strong perfumes as these may irritate freshly-shaven skin. Natural products like pure Vitamin E oil, coconut oil or Shea butter are usually safe bets.
Sometimes no matter how careful you are you still get those painful little bumps and irritated skin. If you end up a victim of razor burn, no worries. I have some solutions for you! Head back to the kitchen but this time grab some sour cream and strawberries. I know it sounds strange, but bear with me on this one. Sour cream has many soothing and nourishing qualities, and the coolness will feel good against the irritated skin. Strawberries work as a natural antiseptic so by mashing them into the sour cream (about 2 for every 1 teaspoon of sour cream) you get a cream that soothes and treats! Spread the mixture on your skin and let sit for about 10 minutes before washing it off. If you’re hesitant about rubbing sour cream on your skin (I’m talking to you, vegans!), a few drops of tea tree oil mixed with vegetable oil work the same way.
Last but certainly not least, change your razors on a regular basis. Old razors can get dull which can lead to nicks and cuts. Also, do not leave your razor in the shower since hot, moist air only leads to rust and bacteria.
Now go put on a cute sundress and show off those smooth, gorgeous legs!