How to Shave Your Legs (a Step-by-Step Guide for Men)
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There are many reasons why women and men may want to remove hair on their legs, forearms, armpits, etc. Some do it simply to feel good. Swimmers do it to glide better through the water. The most important thing is that you do what you think is right for you and follow some simple guidelines and easy-to-follow steps for the best results.
Quick Facts about Body Hair
- You do not get denser hair growth from shaving, the hairs only get a flat tip when they grow back.
- Shaving is kinder to the skin and associated with less risk of irritation than waxing and other hair removals.
- Do not squeeze pimples you might get after shaving – this can create scars or aggravate the rash.
What do I Need?
1. Safety Razor
Choose a razor with a so-called “closed comb”, these are the kindest to your skin. Some people prefer razors with long handles for legs and other body shavings. A good razor in this category is the Merkur 23c. If in doubt, we recommend the Merkur 34c, a short handle, durable safety razor which is easily available online.
2. Double-edge Safety Razor Blades
With a classic safety razor, you are not locked into one type of razor blade but can customize the razor to your hair growth. Since body hair is usually softer and thinner than beard hair, we recommend starting with gentle blades such as Derby Extra or Shark.
3. Shaving Brush
For leg shaving, we recommend a shaving brush with soft bristles, such as synthetic Black Fiber. The most expensive and best shaving brushes have bristles called Silvertip. These make faster and fine lather but are a bit “overkill” if you only want to shave your legs.
4. Shaving Cream or Soap
Choose between soft cream in a tube or bowl or a solid puck of shaving soap. The cream is a little faster to lather up, but a soap lasts longer. The lather they make is the same. We recommend Proraso shaving cream for sensitive skin to start with.
Shaving exfoliates the skin, so it is advisable to sterilize afterward to avoid rashes. Alum is a natural disinfectant that also causes the blood vessels to constrict – completely without perfume. Can also be used as an antiperspirant.
6. Body Lotion
All shaving dries out the skin and removes the outer skin cells. Therefore, you should add moisture at the end of your shaving session with a good body lotion. As a bonus, it will be far easier to shave the next time.
This Is How You Do It
- Let the skin cool down – Most people shave body hair in the shower. Take the shower first and then allow the skin to cool for a few minutes before taking out the shaving gear. This allows the skin to fully hydrate and will avoid skin irritation.
- Soften the skin before shaving – Dry skin gets a slight rash from shaving. Moisten the shaving brush and lather up a small amount of moisture-retaining shaving soap or cream. The brush will also lift the hair so that shaving is easier. If you have particularly sensitive skin, you can massage it with shaving oil before the lather for extra protection and lubrication.
- Find the direction of the growth – Start by guiding the razor with short strokes along the direction of growth. For most people, the hair grows from the knee towards the ankle on the calf. In some cases it is worth trying something a bit different – you might get a better result by shaving against the grain.
- Gentle pressure – Let the weight of the safety razor do the work. This is different from multi-blade razors, which have to be pressed against the skin! The less pressure, the less chance of irritation.
- Keep the correct angle – Hold the razor at approx. A 30-degree angle between the skin and handle to begin with. With a little experience, you can vary this a little. A steep angle is milder, while a shallow angle gives a closer shave.
- Rinse with cold water – Wash off the shaving lather residue with cold water and dry with a completely clean towel. Soap residues can dry out the skin and make it feel tight. The cold water also causes the blood vessels in the skin to constrict.
- Disinfect the area – Shaving exfoliates the skin thoroughly. This means that the outer layer of the skin (Epidermis), as well as dead skin cells, are gone and the skin is vulnerable, therefore it must be cleansed to avoid rashes. Use either an alum block or a neutral aftershave.
- Add moisture – The best moisturizer is a body lotion that does not contain petroleum-based ingredients or sulfates as these can irritate the skin and in the worst-case trigger an allergic reaction. If you have sensitive skin, you should also choose a lotion without alcohol-based perfume.
- Do not leave the razor in the shower – Even though the double-edge razor blades in most cases are made of stainless steel, they become dull from constantly being damp in the shower. The moisture makes them uneven along the edge so that they lose their sharpness much faster than intended.
- Change the blades often – Many people use razor blades (cartridges or disposable) from the grocery store for far too long since they are so expensive. Traditional safety razor blades are both affordable and recyclable, so replace them as soon as you feel them start tugging. For most people, a safety razor blade last 10 shaves of the legs. Feel free to wash the safety razor with a detergent when changing blades.
The Benefits for a Guy of Shaving the Legs with a Safety Razor
A traditional double-edged razor and a classic shaving brush are more gentle, cheaper, and more environmentally friendly than a disposable/ cartridge razor. The safety razor has a comb that protects the skin against the safety razor blade and is no scarier to handle than what you may have used before. In addition, women do not have to pay the “pink tax”, i.e. the price surcharge the cosmetics giants throw at products for women without the function of the product being any different.
Classic shaving with a traditional safety razor has only one blade that passes over the skin. According to dermatologists, this drastically reduces the risk of ingrown hairs and rashes, since the hairs are cut at the surface of the skin.
Multi-blade razors (cartridges and disposable razors), on the other hand, pull each hair up before cutting it so that the remaining strand of hair ends up back in the hair follicle. Thus, there is a far greater chance that it grows crooked and creates irritation, something you will see as “red bumps”. In addition, you can use a pure shaving soap that does not contain parabens, petroleum products, and the like.
One 8-pack refill of Gillette Venus razor blades costs around $18 in the online store, i.e. more than $2 per razor blade. A regular 5-pack of traditional razor blades, on the other hand, costs only $4 (and much less if bought in bulk) – this is less than$1 per blade. The mileage per razor blade is about the same.
You also save money on the cream: If you pay $10 for a canister of shaving gel or foam that lasts 40 shaves, the foam costs $0.40 per shave. A tube of Proraso shaving cream cost $10 and lasts 300 shaves when used with a brush, i.e. $0.033 per shave.
Multi-blade cartridges consist of plastic, rubber, and steel and cannot be recycled. Instead, they go straight to the landfill, are burned with associated emissions, or, in some countries, are dumped into the sea. Traditional safety razor blades, on the other hand, consist only of steel and are recycled as metal. They are melted down into new steel to become manhole covers, bicycles, and frying pans with minimal consequences for the environment.
Shaving foam canisters also contain propellants that must be drained from each container and incinerated. By using an environmentally friendly shaving soap in recyclable packaging, you help to take care of the environment.