A Close Shave

tips on shaving legsI have always shaved my legs. In fact, apart from one messy experiment as a teenager with some vile-smelling hair-removal cream, I have never tried any other method of hair-removal. To me, the advantages of shaving are obvious – it’s quick, it’s easy, it’s affordable, it’s (mostly!) painless, you can do it wherever you are, and you don’t need any special equipment.

Detractors say the hair grows back more thickly and densely than before, but in fact it just seems that way because hair which has been shaved has a blunt, darker tip instead of the natural tapered end. As to the problem of quick regrowth and ugly stubble, there’s no reason why you can’t shave your legs every day as long as you pay attention to the maintenance and aftercare of your skin. In fact, daily shaving can help skin look and feel smoother by exfoliating the top layer of dead cells. Nicks and cuts are certainly a risk, particularly if you’re too hasty or your blade is worn or you don’t lather your legs properly first, but taking care and taking your time should minimise self-mutilation of this sort.

So – how to get the smoothest shave? Choosing the right razor is the obvious first step, and there’s quite a bewildering array of them out there. A disposable razor such as Bic Lady 5 in a pack, R9.95 is great for convenience and speed, while a refillable one is more eco-friendly and can allow you to try out different blades. A great refillable razor is Venus Breeze, R129.95. The more blades there are in one cartridge, the more hairs get cut and the smoother the shave – the blades will individually adjust to the curves of your leg. A pivoting razor head makes it easier to reach those awkward bits like the back of your knees, and the handle should feel comfortable and easy to hold and offer good grip. You may need to experiment a bit to find the razor that’s right for you – and then there are all those pretty colours to choose from too!

It’s really important to prepare your skin by wetting it thoroughly in warm water for at least three minutes to soften the hair, and then to use shaving cream or gel – ordinary soap is too harsh and drying. A soothing shaving cream is Venus Satin Care, R34.75. Some people swear by razors with a gel pad attached, while others find them messy and awkward – again, it’s a personal choice. Start shaving from the ankle upwards, and wash the blade after every stroke to prevent clogging.

If you do cut yourself, rinse the area with cold water and dab the wound with a styptic pencil (which restricts the flow of blood) or a piece of tissue. For “razor bumps” or ingrown hairs resulting from shaving, you can apply an effective home remedy made from one or two aspirin dissolved in a quarter cup of water with a touch of glycerine. Or try the MiN New York SOLUTION2, R295.

When you’re done, rinse your legs, pat them dry, and apply a good moisturiser to reduce the chance of irritation and keep skin soft. And step out in style with radiant, look-at-me legs!

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