We’ve all been there: you finally found a flattering bikini, and you’re 100-percent beach ready . . . until you realize you nicked a cut or got some major razor burn from your last shave. That’s why we’ve rounded up tricks and tips to avoid awkward and embarrassing razor mishaps. You’ll stay fuzz-free longer and feel even more confident in your own skin.
1. Never dry shave! When we’re in a rush, dry shaving can be so tempting (no drying off, no mess), but we’ve learned to beware of this “time saver.” When your skin is wet, it is softer and less likely to flake. Since shaving is a natural exfoliant, dragging a razor over dry skin puts you at risk for cuts and nicks and also clogs up your razor.
2. Keep your razor dry. While storing your razor in the shower is convenient, keeping it somewhere warm and wet can cause the blades to rust, which can leave you with a painful red rash. To extend the life of your razor, make sure it’s thoroughly dry once you’re done using it. Give it a quick blast with your blow-dryer and stash it in your vanity so you can shave without fear of an itchy and unsightly aftermath.
3. Exfoliate first. When you wait to exfoliate until after shaving, you are at risk for some major skin irritation. Scrubbing before you whip out the razor helps prep your skin for a smoother shave and will keep it from getting angry and red.
4. Skip soap. When our shaving cream runs out halfway through the job, we’re guilty of turning to soap as our shave savior. And while it’s great for cleaning the body, the big bubbles and slippery residue can prevent your razor from doing the work it was meant to do. If you want a shave that’s smooth and spotless, stick to traditional shaving creams or gels (though conditioner can work if it’s really an emergency).
5. Don’t over do it! To avoid razor burn, keep your shave short and sweet. While missed hairs are a major annoyance, running your razor over the same area for too long leads to irritated skin. Use a foaming shaving cream to help you keep an eye out for spots you may have missed.
6. Move in the right direction. When it comes to shaving, direction matters; dragging your blade the wrong way is a serious no-no that leads to a rougher shave and seriously irritated skin. Underarm hairs grow in from all angles, so be sure to run the razor different directions. Since leg hairs grow downward, start from your ankle or knee and shave in upward strokes. The exception: if your skin is extrasensitive, consider shaving in the direction of hair growth instead of against it. While you may not get as close of a shave, you’ll save your skin from unnecessary irritation.
7. Rinse your razor. On those days when you hop in the shower for a quick shave, it’s easy to get into a rhythm. When you’re in a rush, it’s easy to forget that the secret to a close shave is keeping your razor squeaky clean. Rinse off the blades in between strokes to ensure that a clogged razor won’t cause cuts or prevent you from nabbing every stubborn hair.
8. Change your razor. Dull, old razors give you a poor shave, but did you know that they also build up scum and bacteria that can cause a seriously painful rash? If you’re trying to squeeze every last swipe out of your razor, you could be setting yourself up for a skin disaster. As a rule of thumb, change a disposable razor after three uses and the head of a razor after six.