Shaving is an everyday ritual for many of us, but it’s crazy how often we manage to get it ALL wrong. If you typically jump in the shower, grab any old razor, and get the job done as quickly as possible; chances are you’ll be familiar with shaving rashes. Yes, we’re talking about those annoying little red bumps that arise post-shave, that are painful, itchy, and basically just the exact opposite of what you were trying to achieve – sexy, smooth skin! So, to help you avoid shaving rashes without fail, here are our foolproof shaving tips:
Step 1: Exfoliate
Exfoliating before you shave will help remove any dead skin that’s clogging your pores and lying on top of your skin, enabling you to achieve a closer shave. Avoid exfoliating after, as your skin will be sensitive, and this could irritate it further. The Thankyou Botanical Geranium & Rosewood Coffee Scrub, $15, is ideal as it’ll gently buff away dead skin while the essential oils will soften and prep the hair for removal.
Step 2: Soak
Before you apply shaving cream, let your skin soak for approximately three minutes in warm water. This will hydrate and soften the hair, which will make it easier to remove.
Step 3: Lubricate!
Rule number one: Always use shaving cream! And no, body wash isn’t shaving cream, so you shouldn’t substitute one for the other, as it’ll only increase the probability of redness and irritation – you wouldn’t use shower gel as shampoo, would you? Shaving cream is specifically designed to reduce friction and allow for an easier and closer shave, leaving your skin silky smooth (rather than red and angry). Oh, and avoid using soap at all costs: it’ll seriously dry out your skin and strip it of its natural oils. Instead, try the Eos ultra moisturizing shave cream, $4, which contains shea butter, vitamin C, E, and aloe vera to soothe and replenish the skin.
Step 4: Aim
By aim, we mean shave in the right direction – we started with one-word steps, and we’re seeing it through! And actually, the right direction isn’t always up: The correct direction to shave is dependent on the area of the body you’re shaving. On your legs, you should shave in the opposite direction of the hair growth for the closest possible cut. For below the knee, this is usually up, but on the thighs, it can be at a 90-degree angle around your leg. Shaving against the hair growth will also ensure that your legs remain hair-free for longer, as you’re cutting the hair at the base. If your blade is sharp, this shouldn’t cause any irritation.
However, on your bikini line, as the skin is more sensitive, you can actually shave in the direction of the hair growth. On delicate areas, it’s also important not to apply too much pressure; again if you’re using a good razor, it should glide and cut the hair, without having to work too hard. We recommend changing razors every month. Keep reading for our full guide on face shaving!
Step 5: Soothe
At the end of your shave (if you can handle icy temperatures) rinse your skin with a blast of cold water. This will close the pore, lowering the risk of irritation.
Rule 1: Find a good razor
Source: Flamingo, Oui, Billie
A good quality razor is key to avoiding razor rash. Look for a razor with four or more blades to reduce the likelihood of breaking the skin. Razors with maneuverable heads are great as they’ll move and adjust to the shape of the body, which is perfect for those trickier areas like your knees or ankles. In these areas, make sure your skin’s taught before shaving. We’d also recommend using stainless steel razors as they last longer, so it’s better for the environment. These are the razor brands that are currently changing the game, and we’re obsessed!
- Flamingo Razor, $9: This razor is so pretty, it’s Insta-worthy! The five blade razor is weighted to prevent slipping and allow for a smoother shave.
- Oui The Rose Hod Single-Blade Razor, $75: While we wouldn’t typically recommend a one-blade razor, this isn’t just a cheap option from your local drugstore. This weighted and balanced razor enables you to apply the right amount of pressure, for a seamless shave.
- Billie Razor, $9: This razor has five blades that are encased in aloe vera soap, to show your skin some love while achieving an extra close shave. The starter pack includes a Billie handle, the mag(net)ic holder and two razors for only $9, which is insane! After that, you can restock with blade cartridges.
Don’t forget to store your razor in a dry place, not the shower! This will help your blade to last longer and will prevent bacteria build-up.
Rule 2: Don’t skip the aftercare
Aftercare is essential. While we’d typically suggest moisturizing within five minutes of showering to lock in moisture, post-shave you should let the skin rest. Wait for twenty minutes and then apply a soothing lotion. The Billie Dry-Bye Body Lotion, $12, is infused with grapeseed, shea butter, chamomile, and aloe vera to soothe any irritation while hydrating the skin. Aloe Vera gel will also work wonders to soothe and hydrate.
How to shave your face:
Okay, so while we realize that the idea of shaving your face is kinda terrifying, we swear once you start you’ll never look back. It’ll help rid your face of any dead skin that’s blocking your pores or making your skin look dull. Plus, it helps remove any peach fuzz, allowing for more flawless makeup application. Here’s how you do it:
Begin by washing your face, ensuring it’s completely dry before you start shaving. There’s no need to exfoliate before because the process acts as an intense exfoliation. Instead, simply cleanse to make sure your skin is clean. Then using a straight razor, which you can buy on Amazon, $4, pull your skin up towards your eyes so that the skin is taught. Then using small strokes, with the blade at a 45-degree angle, slowly glide the blade downwards (in the same direction of the hair growth). Do this for the entire bottom half of your face, and the same for your forehead; be careful of your brows and be very light handed – you don’t need a lot of pressure. Check out this post for ALL the dos and don’ts on face shaving.
Extra tips for your bikini line…
A former dancer and active Reddit user shared her shaving secrets, and the internet went wild. Let’s just say she had a few, less orthodox methods, that apparently, really work! Firstly, she preps her hair with baby oil to soften the hair and skin – we’re totally on board with this! Then post-shave, she applies rubbing alcohol to kill bacteria – sounds a little risky, but okay. We’d probably skip this step and instead use an astringent toner, like the Kiehl’s Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion, $15, as it’s more gentle on the skin. Then, she uses a deodorant (we’d opt for a roll-on) on her bikini line to avoid chaffing – intriguing!
How to treat an ingrown hair
In the event of an ingrown hair, don’t panic! Instead, be proactive and follow our step-by-step guide. If you do get a shaving rash, just follow step one and three, and skip step two and four. It’s also probably best to stop shaving for a couple of days to let your skin settle.
Step 1: Apply a warm washcloth to the affected area. This will soften the skin and open up the pore.
Step 2: Gently exfoliate using a chemical exfoliator. This will help remove any dead skin that’s clogging your pores and trapping the hair follicle. The Shobha Ingrown Relief Lotion, $22, is a great as it features glycolic acid (an AHA) to exfoliate, chamomile to soothe, and glycerin to moisturize, which will also help prevent future bumps from forming. The Bliss Ingrown Hair Eliminating Peeling Pads, $22, contain salicylic and glycolic acid to remove any dead skin debris and excess oil that’s congesting the pore.
Step 3: Apply a small drop of tea tree oil to nourish and soften the skin. Tea tree is also anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, so it’ll reduce swelling and help kill any bacteria in the skin.
Step 4: If a hair is exposed, use a sterile pair of tweezers to extract it. If it’s buried deep within the skin, do not pull it out! Wait until the hair appears and then try to remove it.
If you CBA to shave and prefer to opt for the au naturel vibe, check out these 7 celebs who do the same.