Shaving your legs for the first time can seem daunting, but we promise it’s not as bad as you think! Let us start off by saying there’s no ‘right’ time to start shaving your legs. Shaving is a personal decision and you can do it whenever you choose. If your leg hair is starting to bother you, it doesn’t matter if you’re 6 or 16; you can get rid of it if it’s what you want.
How to shave your legs correctly – our best advice
Chances are if you’re reading this, you’re at a point where you feel you want to start shaving. We’re here to give you some of the basic do’s and don’ts of shaving so your first experience is as smooth as your legs will eventually be.
- Exfoliate the day before you shave. Exfoliation is good for getting rid of dead skin cells and improving the brightness of your skin. It also fights off ingrown hairs – hairs that have bent back over and are trapped under the skin – a common issue people face after shaving!
- Use gel or foam. A gel or foam provides the best glide for your razor and will minimize cuts. If you only have body wash, you can use that (gel or foam is still preferred), but stay away from using bar soap.
- Shave with or against the grain. A lot of experts say you should shave in the direction your hair grows in order to prevent irritation. In the case of your calf, this would mean starting at the top and shaving downwards. I personally always shave against the grain and start at my ankle, moving upwards. I’ve never had issues with irritation and I find I get a closer shave this way, but everyone is different – try both and see what works best for you.
- Change your blade regularly. A dull blade can lead to a bad shave and more cuts. The best way to tell your razor is getting dull is when hair starts getting caught in the blade. If you can’t tell, aim to change your blade every 5-10 shaves.
- Be gentle. You don’t have to press hard to get rid of the hair, it’s only going to cause you to cut your skin and lead to further irritation. Just glide the blade across your skin lightly and you’re good to go!
- Dry shave. Do! Not! Dry! Shave! I promise you any amount of stubble or hair will look better than your blotchy, irritated skin after a dry shave. There’s a reason people shave in the shower – you need your hairs to be softened and this can only be done with water and some kind of foam or gel. If you’re in a rush, stick your leg in the sink and make sure to wet it and apply shaving gel – it’s worth the extra minute, trust me!
- Use scented body lotion. I love Bath and Body Works just as much as the next person, but avoid using it immediately after shaving. The perfume in the lotion can irritate your skin and case redness or rashes.
- Shave every day. Freshly shaved skin feels amazing, and you may be tempted to never let the feeling go away, but shaving stubble or barely-there hair can cause irritation and leave your skin feeling itchy and uncomfortable.
- Shave at the beginning of your shower. It’s best to shave near the end of your shower, because this gives your hair more time to soften under the warm water, resulting in a closer, smoother shave.
- Feel pressure to shave. Do you like your hair? Keep it! There's no rule that says you have to shave. Do whatever makes you most comfortable and don’t worry about what other people think – it’s your body!
Leg shaving FAQs
Can you shave your legs with tanning lotion on?
If you’re planning on using tanning lotion, aim to shave your legs the day before. Waiting a day lowers the risk of the tanning lotion irritating your skin. If you shave after applying tanning lotion, you might accidentally remove some of the tanner, resulting in a splotchy application.
How long do shaved legs last?
When you shave, it only removes the hair at the very surface so it can grow back relatively quickly depending on the person. On average, if you want to keep your legs smooth, you may need to shave every 2-3 days. If you want to wait longer between shaves but still have smooth legs, look into other hair removal methods (mentioned below).
Why do runners shave their legs?
Some athletes shave their legs – but this has little to do with beauty and more to do with improving the aerodynamics of their bodies. Runners, cyclists and even swimmers commonly shave their legs to try and increase their speed.
Is shaving good for your legs?
There is no harm in shaving your legs – provided you take care to minimize irritation and cuts. After a few tries, you will discover for yourself what works for you. Go gentle the first time and be sure to use gel or shaving foam.
If using a razor still seems absolutely terrifying, there are other options. Creams like Nair can be applied like a lotion, left on for a few minutes then washed off. I personally did this for a few months before I started using a razor, but I will warn you, the cream smells a bit like rotten eggs. Alternatively, if you have a high pain tolerance, you can always look into waxing. It lasts about 2-3 weeks longer than shaving and your hair will grow back thinner with each wax.
Girls often start growing hair on their legs as children, but as you hit puberty – possibly around the time of your first period – you may start to notice it becoming coarser and darker. What you do (or don’t do) about it is up to you. For your period, at least, you can be prepared – try our leakproof bikini for effective, comfortable protection.