Shaving was the first method of hair removal I tried, & I’ve been doing it almost exclusively for well over a year now. I’ve found it to be the most convenient, safest, quickest & of course painless way to remove hair from my legs, hands, armpits & even bikini line. Last month I wrote a blog post detailing How to Shave for the First Time & it garnered quite a great response on social media.
But it also made me aware of just how many myths surround the process. Most of these are just old wives’ tales, with no basis in the reality, so today I’m going to attempt to debunk one of the most common ones – the belief that pressing hard or repeatedly with a razor will give you a closer shave.
Many people still associate shaving with men only, even though it is such a great way to remove body hair too, on both genders! Recently women shaving their face has become quite the rage on YouTube, but it’s not something I’ve tried yet.
It’s incredibly easy to shave, & it’s become second nature for me to just do it every other day while in the shower. In case you missed it, I did write a beginner’s guide to shaving, aimed at anyone who might be wanting to try shaving for the first time.
My Shaving Apparatus
I did cover the equipment I use to shave in my previous post, but it’s worth repeating. The only thing you really need is a razor. Any razor. I’ve used all kinds, from regular men’s razors to cheap disposables. I currently use the Gillette Venus razor – it’s looks good, is affordably priced & each cartridge will last you a very long time. The razor is designed for women using it on their bodies, so I think the grip works exceptionally well at preventing slippage, even if you’re all soapy & shaving in a hurry. I also always have a stock of cartridges (blades) on hands, even though one of them lasts me around two months. Finally after years of shaving with soap (bad idea) or conditioner (okay, but not ideal) I’ve incorporated the Satin Care shave gel in my routine. This smells amazing, the foam works as a sort of a ‘guide’ so I don’t miss a spot, & it moisturizes my legs too, so they’re never left dry or patchy. I think most women who shave don’t think to use a gel, but it makes such a big difference! If you’re just starting out, you can buy all three products at a discounted rate in the Gillette Venus Shaving Kit.
Let’s Bust Some Myths
One of the primary shaving related concerns I’ve heard is whether shaving will cause excessive dryness, itchiness, red bumps or ingrown hair. The short answer, is definitely a big NO but there are a few best practises you can follow & things you can keep in mind.
Firstly, please never ever dry shave. You won’t get a close shave, but more importantly this can damage your skin & give rise to ingrown hair. Even if you’re in a hurry, make sure you moisten your hands / legs properly then shave. It’s best done in the shower, because warm water / steam can open up your pores & give an overall smoother shave.
Ingrown Hair can arise after any form of hair removal, whether you shave, epilate or wax. The one small thing you can do, to banish them for good? Exfoliate! I do it around twice a week, usually on days that I’m not shaving. If you shave daily, you can exfoliate just before shaving. Preferably avoid doing it on freshly shaved skin. Just being particular, using a good scrub or exfoliating gloves will banish those ingrown hair for good.
Now to the main / headlining myth- pressing harder or repeatedly will give you a closer shave. This couldn’t be further from the truth, rather it could be damaging to your skin in the long run.
You ideally want to do shorter strokes, as they will help with a close shave. You also should be applying a medium amount of pressure – so the razor is properly coming in contact with your skin, but not pressing down too hard. Pressing harder will just give you bumps & razor burn! Places like your legs are the easiest to shave, but on areas that aren’t exactly ‘even’ such as knees, wrists, knuckles & even underarms, go a bit slower to avoid getting any nicks.
If you have quick hair growth, you can easily shave daily, but you definitely don’t want to be shaving with multiple strokes in the same area. Repeatedly running a razor over the same stretch of skin can again cause razor burns or ingrown hair. One stroke should be more than enough per area. It’s important that you aren’t shaving with a dull blade. Cheaper disposable razors tend to have blades that go dull the fastest, & one thing I love about the Gillette Venus is the little blue patch just above the blade area. Not only does it help in moisturizing your skin, but when the deep blue patch turns pale blue, it’s an indicator that you need to change the cartridge. So that feature helps me know that I haven’t been using a dull cartridge.
Just shaving in the right way & making sure I exfoliate & moisturize regularly ensures that my legs are smooth & hair free without pain or damage. The best part is I can do this in my home or when I’m travelling without having to search for a beauty parlor or faff around with messy hot wax. It’s the best! x