Since 94% of all women shave at least some part of their body, learning the correct way to shave with the right products can do wonders for your skin (and your wallet). Most women spend hours every week shaving their legs, underarms, bikini line and bikini areas while spending a significant amount of money on products designed to make the shaving process smoother. But the products — and the process — you use can make a huge difference.
Shaving any part of your skin can be challenging, since each area presents its own set of problems; Legs can be difficult around the knees and ankles, while underarms are particularly tricky — with their odd angles, lack of visibility and growth of hair in multiple directions — and don’t even get us started on the bikini area. Despite these challenges, we all know that a botched shaving job can lead to irritated skin in very awkward places! Even without any serious nicks or scrapes, razor burn, bumps, rashes and irritation are so real. This holds especially true for bikini and underarm areas, where the skin is extra sensitive and delicate.
So what’s the best, and least painful way to go about this unpleasant but necessary task?
We’ve tried and tested just about every lotion, potion and technique out there, so we’ve got your back. Here, in no particular order, are 24 of the best tips to make shaving less AHHH, and more ahhhhhhhh…
1. Exfoliate For A Great Shave.
Always, always exfoliate your skin before shaving, or once a week at the very minimum. Exfoliating removes dead skin cells that might be matting down hair and blocking your razor’s path. Plus, it fluffs up and exposes new, smaller hairs. Bikini Soft Pre-Shave Scrubs work brilliantly for this because you can regulate the intensity with the amount of water you use, since the primary exfoliant is the salt or sugar crystals which dissipate with water. Experiment with all three to see which works best for you.
2. Steal From Your Skincare Routine.
Some of the products you already use on your face can help you get a more effective shave once you’re in the shower. Before you even pick up your razor, use your favorite facial scrub (we like Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser) to slough away dead skin under your arms. Then use your benzoyl peroxide cleanser to wash away any deodorant residue and banish any lingering B.O. This will help eliminate odor-causing bacteria.
3. Swap Your Shaving Cream For Shaving Oil.
Because the skin under your arms is so sensitive, it’s important to use a shaving oil that moisturizes when shaving—not a regular soap or body wash, which can dry out your skin. Prep each armpit with a shaving oil like Bikini Soft Smooth Shave Oil which is packed with Jojoba oil, Argan oil and vitamin E and you’ll feel the difference. Pro tip: when you do this, remember to clean your razor more frequently. Oil allows for a closer shave, which means more sediment build-up in your razor.
4. Moisturizing Prep is Key.
Using shave oil really does give you the closest shave. It improves your razor’s glide, reduces the chance of nicks and cuts, and soothes and softens your skin. It’s actually a barbershop secret, but why shouldn’t we borrow from the boys?! Plus, the translucency of oil lets you see what you’re doing, which is a lifesaver for trouble spots like underarms.
5. Choose a Razor with the Correct Number of Blades.
Did you know that you can only cut hair 2 to 3 times per shave session? Razors with more than 4 blades (the norm these days) don’t actually give a closer shave, but can lead to irritation because the 5th and 6th blades begin to scrape away the upper layers of your skin. Ouch! Sound familiar? Try using a razor with less blades, and prepping your skin with Bikini Soft Shave Oil. The enhanced glide along with less blades will leave your skin feeling less ouch and more ahhhh.
6. Shave in the Right Directions.
While the hair on your legs tends to grow in one direction, the hair under your arms grows every which way. To get the job done we recommend first shaving downwards, followed by sideways, and then in an upwards direction — re-applying shave oil between every two passes. A couple of drops of oil re-applied between passes provides a new protective, moisturizing barrier for skin. Try it, and get ready for epic levels of smooth.
7. Steer Clear of Sores and Cuts.
This is a given, but ensure that you shave around any existing sores or cuts that haven’t healed yet in order to prevent skin infections. There’s nothing sexy about Staph!
8. Bend Those Knees.
Sitting down in the bathtub and bending your knees is one way to stretch out your skin and get a smoother shave around those tricky nooks and crannies — and avoid the all-too-common ouch! of a nick.
9. Improve Your Shaving Visibility.
Get a better shave — especially in tricky areas — by improving your sightline using a translucent, all-natural shaving oil. It helps you see exactly where you’re shaving and avoid finding that one crazy patch of hairs you missed later!
10. Pull Your Skin Taut.
Without irritating your skin, attempt to pull it taut to help the blade glide across it more easily — giving you a closer shave.
11. Use Short, Simple Strokes.
Longer strokes don’t always make for a better shave. This is a common misconception, but for the best results, shave in smaller strokes without pushing too hard. Especially when shaving tight and awkward areas like knees, careful short strokes help avoid nicks. A smaller one or two blade razor can also give you more control. If you constantly have to go over an area more than once, chances are that your razor is dull and needs to be changed.
12. Don’t Neglect Your Thighs.
Most women skip the thigh area, but to get those gams super smooth, shave all the way around your thighs as well. Why should calves get all the glory?
13. Be Gentle.
After shaving, don’t exfoliate—and avoid using washcloths or loofahs for 24 hours. The tugging at newly shaven skin can cause major irritation and even lead to redness and bumps. Yikes!
14. Do it in the Shower.
The moisture in the shower softens hair making it easier to shave—but don’t wait too long. Ideally, you’ll want to begin shaving after 3-4 minutes, when the benefit of the water’s moisture is optimal. After about ten minutes, the heat of the shower can make your skin swell, preventing the close shave that you want.
15. Focus the Water Stream on The Area You’re Shaving.
If you’re used to shaving with creams, soaps, gels or lotions, this may seem counterintuitive! But Bikini Soft Pre-Shave Oil absorbs into skin, keeping it moisturized and staying put under the shower — in fact the water serves as extra lubrication. #TheMoreYouKnow
16. Clean Your Razor and Store it Outside of the Shower.
It’s so important to store your razor in a dry place between uses. If it stays moist, say hello to staph-causing bacteria and rust-causing oxidation —which leads to dullness and drag. No thanks! Pro tip: Adding oil (we recommend Bikini Soft Razor Saver After-Shave Oil) to the razor’s edge after cleaning will also prevent oxidation and extend its life by up to 3x.
17. Follow Directions.
Shaving underarms and bikini areas can be tricky because the hairs don’t grow in just one direction. The secret is to shave in a “T” shape as well as diagonally. Start at the top and then shave down through the middle of your underarm. After two passes, reapply a few drops of Bikini Soft Smooth Shave Oil. Then shave across the whole underarm from one side to the other. Then reapply a few drops of Bikini Soft and shave diagonally. It helps to pull the skin so it’s as taut as possible. Reapplying the shave oil after each pass prevents irritation, razor rash, bumps, and dryness.
18. Check the Ingredients in Your After-Shave Products.
If you often get irritation during or after shaving (especially underarms or bikini area), despite what you might think, the problem might not be razor burn. It might actually be the shaving cream, deodorant or antiperspirant you’re using. Many after-shave products contain alcohol, chemicals or fragrances that can cause a contact allergy or irritation. Not to toot our own horn, but Bikini Soft Smooth Shave Oil is made from 100% natural ingredients that won’t irritate skin. Try it and feel the difference.
19. Your Clothes Can Affect Your Shave.
If you have sensitive skin, tight shirts made of materials that don’t breathe well can trap sweat, promote bacterial growth and lead to irritated underarms, legs and bikini area. Looser clothes made of natural fibers like cotton are your post-shave BFF.
20. Find the Best Shaving Products for You.
Like any beauty product, it’s always good to know what works for your skin. If you have sensitive or dry skin prone to irritation, stay away from products that contain alcohol or soap. Next time you reach for your razor, try an all natural shave oil (like our Bikini Soft Smooth Shave Oil). It works better than creams, gels, or lotions — and it’s hypoallergenic and soothing, so won’t irritate skin.
21. Keep Shaving Supplies Everywhere.
Never be stuck with stubble again! Put razors and shaving oil in all of your bathrooms as well as your gym bag and purse, so they’re always close at hand. Our Bikini Soft travel kit includes a one ounce bottle of shave oil and a two blade razor in an adorable bubble zip bag. Perfectly compact for when you’re on-the-go.
22. Shave At Night.
When you shave, the blade does some damage to your skin by opening up thousands of tiny microscopic cuts. Not to worry; these don’t cause any serious damage, and they heal quickly. The problems start when you immediately apply a chemical to the area, or the area becomes sweaty. The chemicals, fragrances and other ingredients in your deodorant or antiperspirant get into those tiny cuts by plugging up the pores under your arms so you don’t sweat. Sweat can irritate the area, too, because bacteria thrive in a moist, dark environment. If you shave at night, right before bed, you’re unlikely to be running around. Less sweat right after shaving means fewer bacteria getting into cuts, which equals less chance of irritation. By the time morning comes around, your skin will have healed.
23. Hitting the Beach? Shave the Night Before.
Choosing when to shave is just as important as how you shave. This mindset applies to our legs too. If you run your razor under your arms right before you head to the beach or the pool, you’re setting yourself up for itching, burning and chafing—which get only more painful when you add sun, sand, and sweat to the mix. Make sure to shave the night before any trips to the beach to allow your skin time to repair, recover, and heal any razor burn overnight.
24. Do it Daily.
The more often you shave, the better you’ll become at shaving your specific curves and those tricky areas. Like anything, practice makes perfect. And let’s be honest, when your skin feels silky smooth, you feel sexy. So shave every day — using an all natural shaving oil to protect skin from irritation of course.