We've been shaving for so long, we may have picked up some bad habits along the way
Shaving. It’s a routine, hum-drum part of most women’s lives from their teenage years (unless you’re a right-on, anti-shaving, hair-embracer – in which case, we salute you). Whether you shave, wax, epilate, thread, pluck, bleach, use hair removal cream, or laser your body hair (and, breathe) – or even a combination of a few - it’s a chore that can be very time consuming.
Out of all the hair removal methods, shaving is the most popular because it’s easy, inexpensive and painless. So unless you’re a champion of a more au natural look, then you probably reach for a razor once a week, maybe even every day.
We may be well versed in the art of shaving, but to ensure the process is as pleasant as possible, it's worth noting these tips.
So, what are the golden rules of shaving?
1. Find the perfect razor
There are different razors for different jobs, and it’s worth spending that little bit extra on a razor that won’t cut you or go blunt after one use. Some razors are specially designed to make shaving those difficult areas less frustrating. Nathalie Eleni, Venus beauty ambassador recommends the Venus Swirl (£11.99) as ‘it features a FlexiBall, a pivoting ball which works with the contours of your body so you can reach those tricky areas such as knees and ankles’.
2. Ditch disposables
Disposable razors may be convenient and cheap, but they often go blunt after a couple of uses and can damage the skin. Ditch the bad habit of buying razors in bulk and treat your skin to more luxurious blades.
3. Technique is key
Nathalie also tells us that technique is key to a great shave: 'shaving technique is important, but there’s more to achieving soft, smooth, hair-free skin than a few strokes with a razor. For the smoothest shave you will need to shave against the direction of hair growth, which means in an upward direction on the legs. Hairs on the underarm grow in random directions so for a truly clean shave I suggest working a variety of directions.'
4. Shave like you have a beard
Take some beauty advice from your boyfriend (really) and rinse your razor in-between each stroke, just as men do when shaving their beards. This avoids dead skin and hairs clogging up the blades and is more hygienic.
WATCH: On The Go Beauty Hacks
5. Gently does it
When you’re in a rush to remove your body hair – say it’s surprisingly sunny that day and you want to wear a skirt, or you’re heading out on a date and can see a dark shadow of prickles in your armpit – it is important that you don’t harshly tug the razor over your skin. Shaving is great because it’s so quick, but the knack is to be gentle to get better results. 'When shaving any area of your body, use a light touch, exerting as little pressure as possible' says Nathalie.
6. Hair conditioner works as well as shaving cream
Conditioner, like shaving cream, is moisturising and thick and will result in a smoother shave, whereas soap will dry out your skin. It’s also already in the cupboard, bingo.
7. Leave shaving until last
When showering or bathing, leave shaving until last. This way the heat from the hot water and the steam will open up the skin’s pores and soften the hair, making the shave easier and smoother.
8. Shave late in the day
It's also said that shaving first thing in the morning does not result in the smoothest shave, as your body swells overnight and partially hides the hairs you’re wanting to remove. Try shaving in the evening and see if this makes a difference for you.
9. Trim down there before you shave
When shaving your nether region, trim the hair before to avoid hair tangling and tugging in the razor. It will make it easier to shave the tricky places and create a smoother finish.
10. Don’t lather down there post-shave
Don’t use heavy scented lotions on your intimate areas after shaving because the skin will be more sensitive than usual, and the last thing you want is a red puffy mess down there.
11. Exfoliate like there is no tomorrow
Exfoliation is a great habit to get into. Not only does it remove dead skin cells, making your skin smooth and radiant, it is imperative if you want to avoid getting ingrown hairs. You can use exfoliating gloves or in-shower body scrubs to polish the skin. And despite the myths, exfoliation actually helps to bring out a tan – honestly.
WATCH: On The Go Beauty Hacks
12. What about ingrown hairs?
If keeping up with hair growth isn’t annoying enough as it is, there’s also the issue of ingrown hairs. If you have coarse or curly hair you may be prone to ingrown hairs all over your body.
13. What is the cause of ingrown hairs?
Ingrown hairs are caused when a hair has grown out of the follicle then has curled back inwards, sometimes not even penetrating the skin’s surface, creating a red pimple-like bump. They are usually caused by the hair follicle being clogged with dead skin cells.
They occur most often in areas that are tricky to shave, such as the armpits and pubic area, especially as these areas are often restricted by tight clothing and aren’t given room to breathe.
14. How do you deal with ingrown hairs?
Ingrown hairs may be tempting to pick, especially when you can see the trapped hair under the skin, but it’s best to leave an ingrown hair to go away on its own (and continue to exfoliate).
15. Prevention is the best cure
To prevent hairs from becoming ingrown you should exfoliate in circular motions to get rid of dead skin cells and promote healthy regrowth.
16. What to do after you shave
You should rinse the shaven area with cool water to close up those pores again, pat the area dry, and apply an abundance of your favourite moisturiser to keep the area smoother for longer.
17. Don’t shave before the beach
If you’re heading to the beach it’s good to note that sea water is likely to bring recently shaven areas up in a rash, as blades create microscopic abrasions which can become irritated by the salt. So, it’s best shave the night before you are due to take the plunge.
18. Replace your razors regularly
Changing your razor regularly is an important rule when shaving, as old razors can cause infections and burns. Nathalie says, ‘shave with a fresh blade. Fresh blades provide a closer, smoother, more comfortable shave and can help prevent cuts and irritation. Women should replace blades at the first sign of dullness or discomfort, and because hair growth can vary dramatically depending on the person, you are the best judge. On average, women replace blades after about 10 shaves.’
19. Shaving does not make hair thicker
The myth that has us all think twice about shaving our body needs to be busted. According to Top 10 Dermatology Myths Dispelled, although it may seem that hair grows back darker and thicker because it has a blunt tip, the actual hair itself is exactly the same.
Check out our top shaving products that will help you achieve that perfect shave
More beauty tips and tricks: