Short skirts and cute rompers mean one thing: It’s officially time to start shaving your legs on the regular again. But after months of hiding them under long pants, your shave game (not to mention your razor) is probs a little rusty and there’s a good chance you’re making one of these common blunders. Here are the seven mistakes everyone makes and exactly how to fix them.
Mistake #1: Not cleaning before shaving.
Think about it: You’re about to take a sharp razor to your skin — you want that surface to be seriously clean and smooth. The first step of every shave should be washing with soap to prep your skin, says New York City dermatologist Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, a clinical instructor at Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine. “Wetting the skin and hair with warm water and gentle soap softens the hair and skin [underneath],” she explains.
Mistake #2: Using a man’s razor.
Using your guy’s razor is as cringe-worthy as using his toothbrush. Beyond the ick factor, you need a razor that’s designed to hug the big and little curves of your body. “The ideal razor is easy to handle and carefully shaves over bony prominences on our ankles and knees,” says Dr. Levin, who recommends Schick Hydro Silk Razor which is made with five curve-sensing blades to follow the shape of a woman’s body. Plus, it has a built-in serum that’s formulated with shea butter for lasting hydration up to two hours after shaving.
Mistake #3: Not using shaving cream or gel.
“When you think about it, men would never shave without a shave prep, and that’s for a reason,” says Dr. Levin. When you skip shaving cream or gel (or worse, shave dry), you put yourself at risk for dreaded irritation. Keep a bottle of shaving gel like Skintimate Signature Scents Moisturizing Shave Gel in Raspberry Rain in your shower. The formula contains vitamin E and olive butter to moisturize your legs and enable your razor to glide ever so smoothly.
Mistake #4: Pressing too hard on your skin.
It might seem like the harder you press, the closer the shave, but that’s actually not true. “Firm pressure can cause trauma to the skin,” warns Dr. Levin. “A light touch does the job and newer blades are more flexible, which allows them to better glide over the different contours of the body.” Translation: Less is more.
Mistake #5: Shaving with soap or body wash.
It’s easy to see why soap or body wash might seem interchangeable with cream or gel since you suds up both of them all over your limbs. But the truth is soap and body wash work against your shave. “Soap ingredients are designed to surround dirt and oils to remove them from the skin, while shaving cream has hydrating ingredients and slippery agents that help decrease force, so the blade doesn’t have to work as hard,” says Dr. Levin.
Mistake #6: Leaving your razor on the shower ledge.
This is def not OK. When you leave your razor on a ledge in your bathroom or somewhere that it will get constantly doused, you’re asking for trouble. You should hang your razor somewhere in the shower that is the least exposed to water. “The water exposure can make it dull faster, and it’s just not clean,” says Dr. Levin. “You’re bathing your razor in a pool of water that just sits there.” Gross.
Mistake #7: Not changing the blade often enough.
“You know a razor needs to be changed when hair starts catching in it,” says Dr. Levin. Dull blades are more likely to cause irritation because you have to run over the area multiple times to get a close shave. “The problem is most of us are lazy, and by the time we realize the blade is dull, we either don’t have extra refill cartridges or they’re tucked away in a cabinet across the bathroom,” Dr. Levin says. Her trick: Hang a refill pack like Schick Hydro Silk Shower Hanging Refills in your shower. It has waterproof packaging and a handy hanger, so you always have a replacement on hand.
Photographer: Alexei Hay; Model: Maggie Laine IMG Models; Hair: Gianluca Mandelli; Makeup: Miguel Lledo; Stylist: Anna Katsanis; Prop Stylist: Vanessa Barrantes; Location: The Standard Hotel, Highline