Perfectly Shaven Legs


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Most of us have been shaving our legs since we were teenagers. You’d think by now we’d have perfected how to achieve perfectly smooth legs, but alas this isn’t the case for many of us. Lots can go wrong and there are a key details we overlook. It may be a relief to know that there are things you can do to make shaving so much easier on your skin.

Although there isn’t a best way and each person has their shaving tricks and preferences, there are some major things you can consider adding to your routine to avoid red bumps, stubble, razor abrasion, and those dreaded nicks.

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Perfectly Shaved Legs (and Underarms)

Yes, shaving can be as easy as just stroking your leg with a razor but there really is more to it. The list below includes some surprisingly simple steps you can do to get a smooth, non-irritating shave. We certainly don't want you to follow the problematic advice about shaving that we see running rampant on the Internet!  

1. DON'T shave your legs when you first get in the shower. Warm water will soften your skin and make shaving your legs and underarms far easier. Do everything else first and save the shaving part for the end.

2. Please DON'T exfoliate with a scrub or loofah! We can't stress this enough. Abrasively scrubbing at your skin tears its surface, increasing risk of redness and a painful shave. It also makes skin feel dry and coarse. There are far better, gentler ways to exfoliate that also hydrate and completely alleviate flaky, bumpy, and rough-feeling skin.

3. DO exfoliate your legs every day with a moisturizing body lotion that contains 2% BHA or 10% AHA. From the first time you use a leave-on, completely non-abrasive, skin-smoothing AHA or BHA exfoliant, you will be amazed at the difference. Everything about shaving will be easier and you will love how your legs feel in between shaves, too!

4. DON'T use soap to shave your legs. We know just grabbing the bar of soap to lather up seems fast and easy, but it's drying and causes the razor to drag over skin. Instead of soap, use your shampoo or conditioner; the results will be sooooo much smoother and your skin will be far less dry, especially in cold winter or arid climates.

5. You don't need a separate shaving product for your legs. Like we said, your shampoo or conditioner will do wonders and save buying another product and crowding your shower ledge with yet another container. If you do opt for a separate shave product, it must not contain irritating ingredients. No menthol, mint, eucalyptus, citruses, fragrance, or other skin sensitizing, redness-causing ingredients!

6. Experiment with longer versus shorter strokes. Longer strokes, especially when you start at the ankle, can cause nicks if you're not careful. Longer strokes go faster but shorter strokes can be more efficient. The major thing to watch for is drag, which is hard on skin and doesn't get all the hair.

7. Rinse your razor between strokes just like guys do. Gunk in your razor gets in the way of a close shave.

8. Find the best razor. Finding the right razor isn't easy and disposable versions are the worst. There are so many options and because they're expensive, this is really one that takes experimenting. A soft grip and a triple or quadruple blade is really worth trying—they do a much more efficient job.

9. Replace blades frequently. We all know a new razor blade is far riskier for nicks, but a dull blade doesn't shave as well. Each time you put on a new blade, be sure to use the lightest pressure and glide it over the leg.    

10. DON'T use moisturizer with fragrance of any kind, synthetic or natural. If you've ever applied fragranced moisturizers over freshly shaven skin, you already know how much it can hurt! It's also hurting your skin even if you haven't just shaved. Fragrance free is one of the kindest things you can do for your skin anywhere on your face or body.

11. Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen! Sun damage isn't pretty on your body or face. Every part of your skin's healthy appearance is impaired if you aren't wearing sunscreen on the parts of your body that will see daylight. Failing to apply a broad spectrum sunscreen on legs when we are wearing shorts or skirts can lead to premature signs of aging and even skin cancer.

12. Stopping red bumps. All the steps we mentioned above will greatly minimize, even virtually eliminate, any risk of abrasion that can lead to red bumps. Further help can be found from a smoothing, protective body oil that leaves the skin nourished and soothed but not greasy. This step is the key to beautifully glowing legs.

We'll close this topic with a bit of myth-busting: Contrary to what many believe, shaving does not change the hair's texture, color, or affect how often you need to shave. Those factors occur internally due to your inherited genetic traits and the way you shave your legs. Shaving itself has zero impact!

The Best Skin of Your Life Starts Here: The same type of in-depth research used to create this article is also used to formulate Paula’s Choice Skincare products. You’ll find products for all skin types and a range of concerns, from acne and sensitive skin to wrinkles, pores, and sun damage. With Paula’s Choice Skincare, you can get (and keep) the best skin of your life! Learn more at Shop Paula's Choice.

Research used for this information

About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and helping you solve your skincare frustrations with research-supported expert advice—so you'll have the facts you need to take the best possible care of your skin.

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