Shaving doesn't have to suck: Our Best Tips and Tricks from Head to Toe
We all shave in one form or another. But do you remember when you first learned how to shave?
When you picked up your mom's razor and hopped in the shower to take your first swipe at it.
Let’s be honest, everything is a bit confusing in the beginning. It doesn’t matter if you’re learning how to shave your face, legs, armpits, or any other part of your body.
Shaving can be easy for some people and a complete nightmare for others.
The real problem comes when shaving becomes just another part of the routine.
After all, some people shave every single day, so it becomes a common part of each shower.
When it does, we don’t think about it anymore. We just vigorously run the razor over our skin and hope for the best. Then we go about our day. Although you might be a little late for work after trying to stop bleeding from an accidental cut.
Shaving cuts never seem to stop bleeding.
Unfortunately, when you’re on autopilot, you tend to make mistakes, miss areas, or pick up bad habits.
Take this for instance:
On my wedding day, one of my bridesmaids ran off giggling to get a razor because she had entirely forgotten to shave one of her armpits. Yep, just one of them.
Even if you don’t miss a spot, you might still be fighting a plague of ingrown hairs, angry red bumps, or cuts that never seem to stop bleeding.
But here comes the good news:
They’re easier to avoid than you might think. You just need to revert to the days when you actually thought about what you were doing.
Today is the day to say goodbye to all that you know because we have plenty of tips, tricks, and handy tools to re-introduce you to shaving.
All you have to do is take advantage of them for baby-smooth skin.
The History of Shaving
It seems like there shouldn’t be much to this whole shaving thing. People started shaving when they started wearing more revealing clothing, right?
There’s a much longer history to shaving than most people think. It’s been around since the beginning of time. Even before we had razors.
Cavemen, Egyptians, Europeans, and more. They used stones, flints, knives, and depilatory creams.
Although the hair removal creams they whipped up back in the day were made with things like arsenic, quicklime, and starch.
Most people would use sharp objects to trim everything down as we do with razors. They would also rub it away with a rock, or use tweezers make out of shells.
Why did they bother?
Fashion, of course.
Egyptians made it a fashion trend first, as far as we know.
It probably started out as function more than fashion because it’s so hot in Egypt. Plus, soap wasn’t widely available, and there was no easy way to get rid of lice.
So, they would shave their hair and wear wigs instead. They still wanted to have something covering their heads because the sun was brutal. In fact, a wig doubled as a sign of status and sun protection.
More than that:
They would shave their entire bodies because they thought it was unclean and disgusting to have hair. If you had hair, it was also a sign of your low status and personal neglect.
So in a way, you could make a way bigger statement with your hair back in ancient Egypt than you ever could nowadays. Who knew?
Over the years, we came up with better methods of hair removal. It was a good thing too because WWII created nylon shortages. So there was more reason than ever to begin shaving on the regular.
Plus, television began setting the stage for fashion trends that women followed religiously.
But it didn't become a huge deal until:
The late 1940s when new bathing suits and bikinis became all the rage.
Not only did women have to worry about the basic areas, like their legs, they also had to start worrying about more private areas. Such as the bikini area or their armpits.
From there were we've evolved to safer hair removal creams, waxing, threading, and more.
But the razor remains king of the shave.
Getting to the roots of hair growth
It may be a little easier to understand how to shave or remove hair in general if you know where the hair comes from.
It’s a myth that hair grows from the ends.
It’s also a myth that hair will grow back darker or thicker.
If you believed both of these myths, there’s no shame. It’s only a few of the many rumors we hear when we are growing up. It’s definitely not easy to weed them all out when everyone tells you the same thing.
That said, hair is more like grass:
It grows from the roots. So it will keep growing at the same rate, even if you get a trim. You will just be getting rid of dead ends.
The truth is:
Different methods of hair removal last for different lengths of time because it affects the hair or the follicle in various ways.
THE HAIR GOES THROUGH FOUR STAGES:
The Anagen stage (the growth stage)
Where the hair begins to form at the root.
The Catagen stage (transition phase)
When the hair pokes through the surface of the skin and the follicle shrinks to detach from the hair.
The Telogen (resting stage)
When the hair is done growing and is resting in the follicle for around three months.
The Exogen (the new hair phase)
The hair falls out, and a new hair begins to grow.
Shaving just takes off the part of the hair that is poking through the skin. Not the base of the hair. It will continue to grow and comes back quickly. Creating stubble, almost instantly.
On the other
Other methods target deeper than the surface of your skin. Waxing or tweezing will pull out the hair, so they take longer to grow back.
And not only that:
Laser hair removal targets the very root of the hair. In a few sessions, you can destroy the follicles ability to grow another hair. But, don't get your hopes up -- it doesn’t work for everyone.
Why People Shave
These days people exercise so much more freedom when it comes to body hair.
We all learn how to shave at one point.
Men sport various forms of beards, and they always have.
Although, when it comes to shaving, it’s more function than fashion. They shave their faces to keep their appearance clean and professional.
They let their beards grow to appear more rugged.
However, they can brush off masculine beauty standards without as much as a second thought or negative backlash.
On the flip side:
Women have a much longer history with shaving.
Women have been expected to shave for so long now that there is a stigma if you don’t shave. That can apply to your legs and armpits.
Yet with the growth of certain industries, there are strong opinions in more private areas as well.
But let's be honest:
Many people shave because they’re worried about what other people will think of them. It’s understandable, we all want to fit in.
But, some people just want smooth legs. It’s a confidence boost and a comforting part of their routine. They want to.
There’s nothing wrong with that.
There's also nothing wrong with skipping out. You should choose when and if you want to shave.
Either way, it will serve you well to know the basics of how to shave properly. So, if you do decide to shave it won’t be a painful experience.
The pros and cons of shaving
You may wonder:
Is shaving worth the trouble?
Well, it all depends.
For certain athletes, shaving can be beneficial because it can make them more aerodynamic or make it a bit easier to don their athletic wear.
Beyond that, it can be beneficial to shave for anyone because it will help you exfoliate and get rid of dead skin cells. It can help make your skin smooth and healthy.
Plus, your pores won’t get clogged as often, and it will be much easier to apply moisturizer.
Many people assume that shaving causes ingrown hairs.
And we'll be honest:
That may be true, but it isn’t the only reason you can get them. Hair falls out regularly, so you can get ingrown hairs naturally. And you're more susceptible to them in certain areas anyway, especially where your clothing rubs against your body.
Let's be frank:
Many people have mixed feelings about shaving pubic hair. It's a notorious area for ingrown hairs and can be the most uncomfortable part of your body to shave.
But, the hair can also be long and annoying!
So, trim it instead, if it bothers you.
For women, the hair acts as protection against bacteria that can cause UTI’s and other infections. (designer_start) Please pop this out: Shaving can do more harm than good if you aren’t being safe and smart about using clean razors. (designer_end)
Everything You Need to Know to Learn How to Shave
Learning how to shave isn’t complicated. The aftermath of shaving can be much more brutal than the action of removing the hair.
The most important step is:
Having the right tools handy and keeping everything clean and fresh.
There are a few rules to follow along the way, but you’ll pick them up in no time at all.
Everything about shaving is common sense, so it becomes second nature.
How to shave different parts of your body
The real trick here is learning how to shave different areas. It’s fairly self-explanatory, but it’s also nice to have a guide if you’re just starting out.
If it’s your first time learning how to shave a new area, that could be a huge help.
Maybe you’ve shaved your legs or face before but have questions about your armpits.
Since you've been shaving for so long, you might nowt ask the question because you feel like you should already know the answer.
I always had a problem asking questions about even the simplest tasks. In the end, I always figured it out. But I also took the longest and most complicated route to solving my problem or answering my question.
It certainly wasn’t the smartest way to go about most things.
Remember this: The only stupid question is the question not asked.
Shaving Different Areas of Your Body
While it’s normally more of a men's thing to shave facial hair, women have been picking up the habit as well. So this advice is for everyone.
Shave with the grain if you’re using a razor. But you will get a better shave overall if you opt for an electric razor.
Shaving your arms is more of a personal preference. However, the process is very similar to your legs.
In other words, shave against the grain, unless you have sensitive skin. It will give you a closer shave.
The hair in your armpits grows in several different directions. Your best bet, for the closest shave, is to shave in multiple directions.
For your legs, you should start shaving at the ankles and work towards your knees, going against the grain. Again, if you have sensitive skin, you might want to go with the grain. It all depends on what you’re comfortable with.
Shaving your nether regions really depends on whether you’re a man or a woman. It’s a complicated business that is hard to explain.
Either way, it is something you should approach with a fresh razor and a mirror. Try shaving with the grain. It might not give the cleanest shave at first, but starting small will be your best decision. It can get ugly if you rush things. Real ugly. Shaving down under is absolutely optional, and you might want to skip it and trim the hair down instead. It might serve your purpose just as well and cause a lot less trouble.
No matter what, you have to will have to trim the hair as short as possible before using a razor. Otherwise, you’ll be in for a painful experience.
FINGERS AND TOES
Yes, some people even need to shave their fingers and toes. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, especially if it makes you feel more comfortable. It also takes two seconds.
All you have to do is shave against the grain with a fresh razor and watch out for hairs on the sides that you might miss.
Beware of your knuckles, they aren’t fun when they’re healing.
Prepping your skin for a good shave
A hot shower is the best way to prepare to shave.
Your skin will thank you.
It’s a great idea because the heat will open your pores, the hair will soften, and your skin will be clean and ready to go. The combination will reduce your chance of getting razor burn or ingrown hairs.
And not only that:
You're already in the shower so you'll be able to rinse away shaving cream without a mess.
Dry shaving is a huge mistake for most people. Plus, a shower will help you make sure your skin is clean and free from bacteria. So you’ll be killing two birds with one stone by hopping in the shower.
It’s worth it, even if you need to toss your hair up and make it quick.
Materials You Need to Shave
There are different shaving tools for men and women. The array of possibilities is pretty hard to cover, but we’re here to embrace the basics. If you’re just learning how to shave, that’s all you’re going to need to know.
For now, anyway.
However, we will be covering other hair removal methods towards the end of the post if you’re interested in checking that out.
You've got options, people, and we don't want to leave you in the dark.
Shaving with a razor is quick, affordable, easy to do, and allows you to cover large areas. So, it is the best place to start.
Different types of razors
The men in my husbands family were introduced to multiple-blade disposable razors when we were living with my inlaws. His mom would only buy the super cheap single blade razors.
So, my 5-blade razors were a prized possession.
It was obvious that they were all using my razor when it was going dull at lightning speed. So, I would hide them between showers to keep things sanitary.
As a result, my brother-in-law started buying the same women's brand. He liked them so much more than the men's razors he had tried so far.
So, here's the lesson:
Feel free to wander out of your section and check out what the other team as to offer. The chances are it might be the exact same thing...just not pink or purple.
(Designer_start: an infographic that is split into different razors for men and women. Pictures of the razors would be helpful on the infographic, to show them what each kind looks like.)
Meant for one-use or a few uses. When you’re finished with them, you can throw out the entire razor.
Similar to disposable razors in the way that they're only meant for a few uses, depending on the brand and quality. But instead of throwing away the entire razor, you can replace the head, or cartridge, and keep the handle.
The original razor that used to be in everyone's homes. They're also the most environmentally friendly disposable razors. In this case, you'll replace the blades by taking the head of the razor apart. You keep the whole razor and only dispose of the blades.
These are a big help when it comes to men’s faces and women’s bikini lines. They save a lot of time and run less risk of cutting you, especially when you just want to tidy things up. So you can’t use them in the shower, but you don’t really need to for a clean shave.
Men are the primary owners of the straight razor. Think barber shop. It's only for the most skilled user. There's a much higher risk of cutting yourself. And they’re called “cut-throat razors” for a reason.
Caring for a razor
When it comes to caring for a razor, it depends on the type of razor you're using. (designer_start) Please highlight this: Disposable razors, cartridge razors, and safety razors need to be changed regularly. (designer_end) They are invented to be low-maintenance. All you have to do is toss the whole blade or replace a small piece.
The cheaper disposable razors should only be used for single-use or very few uses. They should be tossed after no more than three shaves. So they would normally work great for a weekend vacation.
Honestly, I should probably have a talk with my mother-in-law about that. She thinks she can use them for eternity.
Cartridge razors can often be used around five times, or for a single week.
Safety razors can be used for about 5 to 10 shaves.
Electric razors do have blades that can be replaced. But since they work differently than most others, you can typically go four to five months before replacing the blades.
Talk about convenient!
But they are also an awkward shape, so they can’t be used for every purpose. And since they're meant for smaller jobs, like facial hair, they should work perfectly for a long time.
Shaving cream vs. soap
There’s nothing wrong with using soap if your skin can handle it. Soap is the only thing I use throughout the summer, but my skin is more sensitive in the winter.
It’s one of the easiest things to use when you’re already washing up.
But here's the thing:
There are advantages to using shaving creams or gels.
Real shaving cream usually comes in a container, not a can. It needs to whip into a lather like you would see in a barbershop. It’s moisturizing and helps lift the hair up to get a better shave. A shaving gel is similar in nature but, depending on the brand, it may contain alcohol which dries out your skin.
Ready for a shocker?
The shaving foam in a can that everyone seems to use is actually the least beneficial. It tends to push the hair down and contains alcohol. So it won’t moisturize your skin because other ingredients are also working to dry out your skin.
Though, most people use it more than anything because it does the trick and is widely available. So they don’t explore any other options.
(designer_start) Please pop this out: Keep in mind that there is no right and wrong, you need to choose what works best for you. (designer_end)
That might mean soap, shaving cream, foam, or gel. It doesn’t matter. But you should be aware of the other options if you do tend to have issues with razor burn and irritated skin.
How to Shave in Any Scenario
While we've already covered the idea of which direction you should be shaving, we haven’t covered the various steps for shaving. And if you’re going to learn how to shave, you need to be prepared for your personal shaving scenario.
It isn’t exactly a one-size-fits-all routine.
For these routines, we'll be focusing on the primary shaving tools that most people have. Namely, disposable or cartridge razors.
How to shave your body: step by step
Time to hop in a nice hot shower.
It will open your pores and soften the hair for a close shave. Plus your body will be clean, and you will be prepped to banish any pesky hair.
Apply shaving cream or lather up soap.
It's best to do this in sections, so it doesn’t slide off your body while you’re working on one area.
Rinse the razor between strokes.
You will be removing hair and dead skin that can build up and clog your razor. So you’ll be starting out strong and going downhill from there.
Take your time.
We all want to whiz through a shower and swipe away the frustrating hair as fast as possible. That's when you need to remember, speed shaving only leads to mistakes. S,o if you’re going to shave, do it right. Slow and steady wins the race...and there are fewer cuts along the way.
Exfoliate while you’re at it.
Scrubbing away every now and then will help you avoid ingrown hairs. It isn’t foolproof, but it will help. You don’t have to do this every time you shower, but you should do it about twice a week.
Moisturize after your shower.
Since you’ve removed the troublesome hair and dead skin, it’s time to slather yourself in some lotion. Make sure to pick a thick moisturizer that doesn’t contain alcohol for optimal moisturization.
How to shave your face: step by step
Wash your face.
This is an extra beneficial step because you’ll regularly wash your face which can also help with acne. More importantly, you'll be cleaning your skin to avoid the spread of bacteria into any cuts.
Apply shaving cream.
This is only a necessary step if you're using a “normal” razor. It isn't required if you're using an electric razor.
Shave your face with the grain.
The hair can be very coarse on your face if you're a man. So you should be shaving with the grain to avoid irritation. Start at the top of your facial hair and drag the razor down toward your jawline.
Shave your neck with the grain as well.
So you will be moving from the bottom of your neck and move up toward your jawline.
Make sure you rinse the razor between strokes.
Another thing about having coarse facial hair is the fact that it can clog up the razor with every stroke. So make sure you rinse every time to keep things running smoothly.
Wash off the razor and check for missed spots.
At this point, you will think you’re done, but when you remove the cream, you might find some stragglers. Just wet your razor and clean them up.
While most people think aftershave will merely help you smell lovely, it actually has antiseptic properties. So this will be another defense against infected cuts or pores.
Dealing with the Downfalls of Shaving
The main downfall to shaving is razor burn and ingrown hairs. The best method to getting rid of them is to avoid them, to begin with...but I suppose that’s obvious.
If you have them and you need to get rid of them, you might have to wait it out. Most ingrown hairs will take care of themselves.
What they do is this:
They act more like pimples than anything else. Your body will push them out because it senses something is wrong, sending white blood cells to the area to fix the problem.
That will essentially turn the ingrown hair into a pimple. When it's popped, the hair should also pop out, which is when you can tweeze the problem away.
Don’t pick at your ingrown hairs.
Even if you can see the hair right below the surface, you can avoid extra damage by leaving it alone.
However, you could use an antiseptic and hot compress if it's very painful, or in an uncomfortable area. That will help open your pore and bring the problem to the surface.
Razor burn is the bane of my winter existence because my skin becomes more sensitive. Razor burn feels like a rug-burn, and it’s not what we'd call a fun time.
To avoid this fate, make sure you use shaving cream and never dry shave. Electric razors shouldn’t have the same effect on your skin, but other methods won’t have the same luxury.
Other Hair Removal Methods
There are plenty of hair removal options on the market. The key is finding the best choice for your hair removal needs.
But be warned:
Many of them might be traumatizing for the first time hair removal. Although, if you’re here looking for new tips and tricks, one of these might be just the thing you’re looking for.
In many cases, waxing is more effective because it will last longer. So if you usually have issues with razor burn when shaving, consider waxing.
Here's how it works:
It will pull the hairs out, so they will have to go through a full cycle of regrowth. However, it can cause problems of its own, especially ingrown hairs.
You might have noticed this method of hair removal in the mall or a beauty salon. It's meant for eyebrows and facial hair more than your body.
And while it's useful for any area of your body, it's also very time consuming and painful. So, if you’re interested in pulling out the hair on a larger area, waxing is a much better choice. (designer_start) Insert an arrow to the gif above. (designer_end)
Hair removal creams
Nair is something that most of us try at one point or another. It smells terrible, and it’s not the best for quick removal. You need to give it time to break down the hairs.
On the good side:
It's entirely painless, as long as you don’t have any allergies to the ingredients.
If you’re interested in this type of removal, make sure you get the right product for each area of your body. They have different hair removal creams for your face, body, and intimate regions.
Laser hair removal
If you want to rid yourself of hair in a certain area for good, this is the choice for you. It's by far the most expensive but also the most effective.
And you'll need a few sessions to get rid of any hair for good.
Keep in mind:
It only works on dark hair because the laser has to be able to target the hair follicle. So if the hair is too light, it won’t pick up the hair. Make sure to do some thorough research before you make your decision on this hair removal option.
It would be most helpful to get a consultation with a professional.
Time to Feel Fresher than Ever with a Clean Shave
Learning how to shave is easy.
Just slow down and take your time because:
The most shaving mistakes and problems come from speed shaving, not paying attention, and not taking care of your skin.
And you need to take care of your skin. After all, it's your largest organ.
That's not all:
We also want to remind you that you don’t need to shave to fit into beauty standards. If you are shaving it should make you feel clean and refreshed.
But you already knew that. Right?
Overall, shaving is part of a routine, and as long as you're following these simple tips, it'll be no big deal.
So, get shaving! Or don't. It's ultimately up to you.
Do you have a long history of shaving or you a newbie? Have any tips to share? Let us know in the comments!