From the right prep to the best tools, here’s your expert’s guide for achieving a closer and longer-lasting shave
When it comes to quick and convenient hair removal, shaving is by far the most popular choice for the majority of us. However, from cuts to nicks, ingrown hairs to dry skin, the route to smooth and silky legs and underarms is full of potential obstacles. With the summer now here, our razors are in greater demand than ever, so what can we do to avoid these common razor pitfalls? Here are the shaving tips and ultimate dos and don’ts you need to know about.
Do use a good quality razor
A well-crafted razor is invaluable when it comes to achieving a cleaner, smoother and safer shave, so it's well worth investing in one that provides quality and quantity in equal measure. Our current favourite? The Dorco Eve 6 razor , £4.55. An expert in razor innovation with over 60 years of expertise, the brand's first UK razor for women is something rather special to see in action. Featuring six blades split into an innovative ‘double 3 blade’ design, a flexible pivoting head and a non-slip ergonomic rubber handle, it clings closely to individual contours to capture every hair, to offer great control and grip as well as helping avoid annoying cuts and scrapes around kneecaps and ankles too.
It even has a clever brush finger to massage skin and raise hair follicles for a closer shave plus, its moisturising band with aloe, vitamin E and lavender helps to calm, protect and condition in one fell swoop - and all for under £5. Genius. Buy yours here.
Do exfoliate beforehand
For the smoothest of canvases, give skin a pre-shave polish by using a body scrub. “Exfoliating the skin before shaving really helps by removing the dead skin cells that build up around the entrance of the follicles,” explains Rachel Cross , a hair removal expert with 27 years of experience. “It will also help to make the shave feel more comfortable.” When should you scrub up? “Do it the day before shaving if possible. I recommend exfoliating scrubs that are rubbed over by hand and then rinsed away as they are more hygienic than loofahs or mitts.” Trilogy Exfoliating Body Balm , £24.50, buffs as well as it smoothes in our experience while Sanctuary Body Scrub , £6.50, makes for a fitting budget-friendly alternative.
Don’t go overboard with shaving gel
When it comes to aiding a frictionless shave, gel or foam can be a fuzzy leg’s best friend. However, to keep the relationship running as smoothly as possible, quantity is key. “I would apply a thin layer of gel so you can see where you are shaving,” advises Rachel as a first port of call. If you need more, ensure the amount of lather built up is directly proportional to the length of the hairs. “If hairs are long, then a slightly thicker layer may be required so as to make the shave as comfortable as possible. Apply gel against the direction of growth as this will help to lift the hair up.”
Don’t do it dry
We’ve all been there - you’re running late and the temptation to shave waterless is proving hard to resist. However, this could prove problematic for particular skin types if done frequently. "Dry shaving can be quick and convenient but is not recommended on dry or sensitive skin. It can feel uncomfortable, leave skin irritated and cause a shaving rash," cautions Rachel. "Shave during a bath or shower as the skin will become softened and follicles more open by the warmth of the water.”
Do create a taut surface
For a closer shave, keeping skin tight will help ensure no follicle is forgotten. “For underarms, lift your arm up and use your fingertips to stretch the skin so it's taut,” advises Rachel. The same goes for legs too for more comprehensive coverage.
Do use short and slow strokes
...to keep cuts to a minimum. Taking precautions technique and time-wise will keep your shave nick-free. “Use slower, shorter strokes especially around ankles, knees or intimate areas,” advises Rachel. “Don't apply so much gel that you can’t see what you are doing and take your time. Rinse the blade with each stroke to avoid buildup of hair and gel on the blade too.”
Do (and sometimes don’t) go against the grain
Choosing a direction for your razor to follow depends on two main factors. Firstly, where you’re shaving and secondly, whether you’re susceptible to ingrown hairs. “For the closest shave, I would go against the direction of the hair,” recommends Rachel. “For sensitive skin or those prone to ingrown hairs, shave in the same direction as the hair.” She adds, “Shaving against the direction cuts the hair just below the skin surface and can therefore cause the hairs to get caught under the skin.”
What should you do if you’ve spotted a few ingrown hairs lurking around? Your strategy depends on the severity. “Most ingrown hairs will disappear on their own,” explains Rachel. “Some can be removed with a sterile needle or tweezers. However, in cases of lumps or infections from ingrown hairs, it will be necessary to see your GP or doctor.”
Do be speedy with your aftercare
Frequent shaving can leave skin feeling drier than usual, so to keep legs soft as well as smooth, don’t delay popping on your post-shower cream or oil of choice. “Apply straight after shaving as this will help to relieve irritation as well as help cool and moisturise the area,” says Rachel. For underarms, adopt a similar approach. “Apply an aftershave product if possible and avoid deodorant straight after,” she says, as the skin can often be extra sensitive and/or irritated.
Our favourite hydrating pick-me-ups include Sanctuary Spa Wet Skin Moisture Miracle , £8, for a super fast in-shower option (read our review here) , Clinique Deep Comfort Body Moisture , £20, for dry skin types and Ambre Solaire After Sun 24h Moisturising Soothing Gel , £7, for parched holiday skin.
Don’t use a blunt blade
The number one nemesis of a close shave? A blunt blade. Increasing the risk of cuts and the time it takes to achieve a smooth finish, keeping supplies replenished is pivotal. However in spite of this, most of us are probably too busy to replace our blades as often as we should. Help is at hand though courtesy of Dorco's practical and cost-friendly subscription boxes. Costing just £1 for the first month and £5.45 thereafter, the Dorco Eve 6 kit includes 4 cartridges and a handle (with your first order), with the option to have a new set delivered to your door every one, two, three, four, five or six months. Taking the stress out of shaving, it’s one of the best beauty bargains we’ve seen in a very long time.
And finally...don’t shave your face (if you're a woman)
Remember how shaving your face became a ‘thing’ a couple of years ago? Well thankfully, that trend has passed, with experts having collectively recoiled at the idea. “Shaving is a quick, cheap and easy form of hair removal however, I would NOT recommend shaving facial hair or eyebrows (if you're a woman),” says Rachel. “Shaving cuts off the natural fine tapered end of the hair leaving a blunt end that can feel sharp to the touch.” Other shaving ‘not’-spots include areas that are broken, infected or sunburned, over moles and places affected by eczema, psoriasis or folliculitis.
As long as these provisos are followed, a professional looking shave could be closer than you think.
Written in partnership with Dorco .