Ultimate Hair Removal Guide Pt. 1: Shaving

While I love summer, I often think that the time I save by reducing my daily makeup is more than made up for the amount of time I spend worrying about the various hair removal duties I absolutely must perform. Unless you're willing to sweat it out in some jeans in 90+ degree weather (and I'm not, sorry), there is no hiding those legs. And since we often find ourselves at the beach or pool, we have a whole other issue to deal with, don't we?

Shaving is without a doubt the most popular hair removal technique there is. It became popular in the 1940s when stockings were becoming a thing of the past due to the war, and while stockings and pantyhose come and go in fashion, removing the hair on your legs hasn't.

The difference between manual razors and electric razors

There are a wide variety of razors out there to choose from, but your first choice is going to be the type of razor you choose. Most women use manual razors, but there are some excellent electric razors on the market these days as well, some that can be used in wet or dry situations. If you are looking for the closest possible shave, try a manual razor first. Electric razors are quick and easy but are not known for giving you the closest possible shave. However, if convenience is more important, try an electric.

Electric razors come in all shapes and sizes, wet and dry, dry only, and just about everything in between. When using an electric razor, I generally prefer a dry razor, as water makes the skin swell slightly, making it harder to get a close shave.

Manual razors are also widely varied, from disposable cartridges to disposable razors. You can choose from a single blade or choose a razor head with five blades - all depending on what you need. If you suffer from ingrown hairs, consider a single blade. If ingrown hairs don't trouble you, you'll find the multiple blade razor heads to be excellent.

So, disposable or reusable?

Purely a matter of personal choice. However, my personal experience has led me to the conclusion that I have far less irritation when I use a resusable razor. Also, while disposable razors seem cheap in the short term, you are actually paying more. Plus, it's far more ecologically friendly to use one of the "systems" (i.e. razor that you purchase cartridge heads for). Disposable razors create far more waste. That being said, I will still occasionally take a disposable along on travel.

Okay, I've picked my razor. Now what?

Put down that bar of soap right now. And promise yourself that you'll never use soap to shave again. It's drying on your skin, and it isn't doing you any favors. Soap doesn't have any slip - ingredients to help your razor guide smoothly across your skin to reduce irritation and nicks. Good shaving creams and gels include additives to increase slip and protect your skin.

Okay. I'm ready to shave. Any tips?

Of course. The closest shave occurs when you shave against the hair growth. On the legs, this usually means starting at the ankle and pulling the razor up. After each swipe with the razor, rinse the blade to remove debris. No need to press hard on the razor - that will just cause irritation. If you need extra skin protection, consider putting a drop of olive oil on your razor blade before each swipe. It's time consuming, but can help prevent ingrown hairs due to lack of the aforementioned slip.

Do you have any product recommendations?

Don't I always? Here is my list:

  • Razor systems: Gillette Venus Spa Breeze: this has a good shave cream built right into the head. Good if you don't like a million products cluttering up your shower. Also available as a disposable.
  • Disposable razors: Preserve Recyclable Razor can be used either as a system or as a disposable, and it's completely recyclable.
  • Electric razors: Panasonic Close Curves is wet or dry, although I prefer to use it dry before the shower. For bikini line and ladybits, the Ultimate Personal Shaver system is ideal and darn near perfect. Look for an indepth review on this soon.
  • Shaving cream: Ambrosia by Lush Cosmetics is hands down the best shaving cream I have ever used. If you suffer at all from ingrown hairs or razor burn, you owe it to yourself to try Serious Shave Cream by Glytone.
  • Ingrown hair prevention and treatment: Bikini Kitty's Everyday Magic Spray is an exfoliating spray that will both prevent and help treat ingrown hair. Used with a soft bristle brush, you can't go wrong with this amazing system. Tend Skin liquid is also an excellent product, as well as the GiGi No Bump Treatment RX found at Sallys.

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Meredith Edwards-Cornwall is the founder of online lifestyle websites RetrodivasBeauty.com and RetrodivasCloset.com. She is also known as @retrodiva on Twitter. She specializes in drinking large amounts of espresso, shopping, and enjoying social media. In all of her free time she writes for StyleBakeryMom.com twice a week, and does various other freelance gigs involving writing, designing, and generally being awesome. While she believes that success is indeed a job in New York, she currently resides in Virginia Beach, Virginia with her husband, two children, and two cats and has hung on to her day job.
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