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Ladies: How to Get The Perfect Shave

While shaving is considered a key part of the female primping and pampering routine for most of the Western world, it isn't usually a relaxing or fun activity for women who do it everyday. If asked to choose a personal care practice we would never have to do again, a majority of women would probably pick shaving.

Shaving your legs can be a drag for a variety of reasons. Common complaints include skin irritation, missed spots (darn that area behind my knee!), and quick hair regrowth. If you shave your underarms too, you have these challenges and more. While all of these are valid problems, most can be cleared up with a few simple modifications to your shaving routine. Many of us have been using the same shaving technique since we were young teens, and may not realize there are better ways to perform this beauty task.

With some basic tips and a little practice, you should be able to get a smooth, skin friendly shave that will be worthy of your shortest skirt. It's OK if your technique is a little rusty, as long as your razor isn't!


Basic Tools

The most important part of your shaving routine is of course your razor. While you might be tempted to buy a large bag of cheap, disposable, discount store shavers, they will likely yield poor results. They can be hard to handle, rough on delicate skin, and not sharp enough to do the job. If getting a nice smooth shave is important, you should invest in good triple blade women's shavers. There are a variety of these available at pharmacies; the brand you choose is entirely up to you. Some excellent choices include the Gillette Venus and the Bic Soleil. Look for extras like easy grip handles and moisturizing blades. While these shavers may cost a few dollars more, they are mostly worth it, and they last much longer than the cheapest brands.

Your tub or shower is one of your key shaving tools. Warm water helps soften hair and open pores so you can get the closest shave possible. Shaving in the tub tends to be easiest because you don't have to do as much fancy maneuvering to reach your legs or other areas, but with practice, it's possible to do a quick stand-up shave that looks and feels just fine. Be sure to have a no-slip shower mat in place before trying to shave in the shower. If you have issues with balance or flexibility, having shower grips or a shower chair can make the shaving process a lot safer and easier for you.

Shaving cream or gel is an extra you might want to look into. It helps the razor to glide easily over the skin and helps protect against nicks and razor burn. It also gives you a visual aid to help you determine where you have already shaved and what areas still need to be done. You might not need shaving cream if you use a rich, creamy body wash and a razor with a moisturizing blade, but whatever you do, never shave dry or with a drying soap.


Technique

First, you might want to exfoliate. Exfoliating rids you of dead skin and prepares the area to be shaved. You don't have to do this every time you shave, but it's a good idea to do it if you haven't shaved in a while. To exfoliate, use a loofah or a gentle exfoliating body scrub.

Be sure your skin has had a good soak. Many women prefer to shave at the end of a shower or bath so that their skin has had a chance to enjoy the effects of the water.

Start with a nice sharp razor. This is especially important if you have a formidable amount of hair to get rid of. When your razor is sharp, you can shave with a light touch and avoid skin irritation.

For legs, start at your ankle and shave in long, gentle strokes in an upward motion. Make your way around the leg until all areas are done. You can run a hand quickly over your leg to make sure there are no hairy spots left. Don't forget your feet. Women often don't want to think about the possibility of stray hairs on feet and toes, but they definitely happen. Always be gentle when shaving this area; the skin of your feet is thin and can easily get nicked.

Shaving your underarms can be a bit tricky because the hair there grows in a pretty random, wild fashion. You have to make sure to shave thoroughly and in all directions. To make shaving your underarms easier, pull the skin taut by raising the arm high.


Clogged razors don't work very well. Be sure to clear accumulated hair and shaving cream from the razor as you go. How frequently you have to do this depends on the amount of hair you're removing. Always rinse the hair and shaving cream completely off.

Aftercare

When you get out of the tub or shower, pat yourself dry with a soft clean towel. Rubbing hard will lead to red, irritated skin. Moisturizing your legs right after shaving will help lock in moisture and give you the smooth results you're looking for. Some skin creams can sting and inflame newly shaven areas. To avoid this, you can wait an hour or so after shaving to apply moisturizer. If you want to moisturize right out of the tub, be sure the skin product you use is very mild and not heavily scented. Many women report good results with baby oil or Eucerin cream.

Shave lumps and ingrown hairs don't often affect legs. They usually occur in sweat-prone areas like the underarm. Wherever annoying shaving side effects strike you, you can reduce the occurrence with a medicated, anti-bump shave gel or crème.

Underarm stubble can drive a girl crazy! You can reduce shaving irritation in this spot with a medicated powder, like Gold Bond.