How Do I Get A Close Shave Without Cutting Myself?

We'll let you know when we find out! We kid, we kid... shaving can be a challenge, though. After a lot of research, we've found the secrets are:

1) Keeping your skin wet while you shave to reduce razor drag, which is what leads to nicks, burns, and bumps. Having water on your skin means you have something between your skin and the razor.

2) If you can create an extremely thin barrier with something a little more viscous than water, so it "sticks" to your skin, that's also an excellent idea. This is what shaving cream is supposed to do, but low density oils like olive and—weirdly enough, canola—are maybe even a better option because they coat skin but are thin enough not to make shaving more difficult. Not too get too scientific, but anything with a high oleic or linoleic fatty acid content will probably work.

3) Having a good, sharp razor also reduces drag, and thus skin irritation. Change and/or clean often.

Other ideas are encouraged below. Let's figure this out, guys. Together.

Agree? Disagree? JOIN IN
  • mvg

    Exfoliate a few days prior to shaving (never the day before as shaving removes dead skin as well and that will lead to irritation), have warm water coming out of the shower stream (the vapor will open and relax the hair follicles), use some barrier (I personally love coconut oil), rinse your razor to get rid of any oil or hair stuck between the blades from time to time and you'll get beautiful silky legs!

  • Megan P.

    Use a safety razor. The Merker razors are the best. Use with a shark blade. Sharp means less cuts.

  • Aubrey Green

    Don't press hard, seriously just don't do it. I have a few scars on my shins from when I was younger, learned the hard way.

  • Haiku Jew

    Electric razors
    but buy a box of Band-Aids
    because "just in case."

  • Clara

    Men’s razors are the bomb! In my experience, women’s razors are always coated with more “protective” gels that I find inhibit a closer shave. Just use a good barrier, like those listed above (oils or shaving creams) and don’t press too hard.

    A gender “barrier" of sorts has been created around so many toiletry items, like razors, creams, and soaps, so that companies can make more money selling both a female and a male product. Don’t be afraid to take a peek into the men’s section - quality over cuteness!

    • Felice

      Exactly! I've tried both Gillette Venus for women and Gillette Mach 3 for men. Venus left me with cuts all over my knees and ankles no matter how light-handedly i used it, while Mach 3 does an amazing job with no cuts at all (with some shower gel). Plus it's sooo much cheaper to replace the blades!

  • Grace

    my dads idea is to buy cheap razors and cheap bandaids, he thinks it still is cheaper than buying quality razors! lucky as a teenager i almost always wore tights...

  • mafer_dm

    Hair conditioner for the absolute win. Sticks to your skin, doesn't get between the razor, rinses easily, skin doesn't get dry, just one thing: BE SUPER CAREFUL WITH THE SHOWER FLOOR. Conditioner on the floor is beyond dannnngerous!

  • Kelli Russell

    I've been having success using my facial cleanser as a shaving cream, along with a sharp razor and soft hand. The cleanser helps reduce the inflammation that shaving can cause. I follow by spraying the shaved area with my face toner - again to reduce inflammation.

    • PlunderingDesire

      That's genius. I have a cleanser in my bathroom somewhere which was completely meh on my face but might be good for this.

  • amy

    I have one of the worst body hair types for shaving. A good shave lasts 24 hours tops for me (unless i get goosebumps - then it's prickle city immediately). I always get horrible razor bumps on my bikini line and behind my thighs. (I waxed for 7 months to reduce hair growth in those areas, but then the hair started growing under my skin and my esthetician couldn't help me anymore.) (It's also weird because I'm 50% caucasian and 25% Hispanic, 25% Native American. Is that an insane blend for body hair?)

    In the summer my bikini line is super embarrassing, but it's something I've come to terms with now that I am almost 27. My pubic hair naturally grows 4 inches out from the natural bikini line, so even with the cleanest of shaves you can still see some dark hair follicles right at the surface of my skin. If I have a clean shave and I go in the ocean, those areas burst out into a sea of red bumps (pun intended) for about 15 min and then relax. So weird. I don't even know.

    Anyway, I think I have tried literally everything at this point (everything BUT laser hair removal). I even tried an Epilator... dear god in heaven... that's a story for another day. (pro tip : don't even go there. i chugged a bottle of wine and then went to town... it wasn't pretty).

    So here are some of my top products right now - they have been working really well for me the past 4 months - best results i've ever had. I get a close, lovely, and moisturized shave up to the top of my inner thigh and bikini line and at this point, i take what i can get.

    • Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Oil - yep, it's for your face, but hey, guess what? I started using it on my bikini line and inner thighs after i shave and it has helped heal my after shave bumps to the point that they aren't bright red - just a faint pink that, with a tan, the naked eye won't see. WIN!

    • Kiehl's Ultimate Man Razor Bump Relief Lotion - I have been using this for a few months and it's fucking great. I use it after I apply the Midnight Recovery Oil (most women won't have to do that first oil step). I apply it on my bikini line and inner thighs twice a day (sometimes three). It not only helps with the healing process (the faster my legs heal = the sooner i can shave again), but also moisturizes and soothes soothes SOOTHES.

    • Nivea Men Sensitive Skin Shave Gel - I've been using this for a month or two. It's actually been really great - a little goes a long way and it's also soothing (BUZZWORD!). I am going to purchase a Kiehl's shave gel next and see how that goes.

    • Schick Hydro 5 razors - look, when it comes to shaving i really stick to the belief of the more blades the merrier... I have to use a new blade every 3rd bikini line shave, so yeah - it's fucking expensive, but offers a close shave.

    I gently exfoliate before with a loofah & Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Soap or whatever Whole Foods exfoliant scrub I have. I am still on the look out for that perfect exfoliant, so send me your recommendations!

    Last summer I used only the New York Shaving Co. travel shave kits. They come with a little brush to apply the creme, pre-shave oil, creme, and after shave lotion. They sell it in 3 really great scents. I would take a hot bath/shower, apply the pre-shave oil, and then use the brush to apply the creme. Sadly for me it didn't help with the bumps at all. It's a great kit if you have 2 hours to spend on your legs, but wasn't convenient for the 2 week lake trip I was on. I would say it's more of a winter bath luxury item.

    So where I'm at now : My legs I can shave everyday up to my top inner thigh. My bikini line / upper thigh shave lasts about 24 hours (if i can avoid any sweaty activities that cause the bumps to flare up even more). I usually have to wait 2 days to be able to shave in those areas again - my ideal wait time is 7 days (for a clean 24 hr period), but that doesn't work in the summer, so I am always looking for the newest thing to try. Still looking for that miracle product!

    Let me know what you guys are using and if you have any questions about something you've heard about - maybe I have tried that before?

    I am really wanting to give Laser Hair Removal a try, but I haven't really read about any solid clinics and don't want to risk major scarring.

    Hope some of this helped!!

    • Catherine

      Oh man, this is me too (also a multiracial blend, but I'm Indian and Caucasian). I shave my legs every day. The only way my bikini line ever looks decent is if I get it waxed, because there will ALWAYS be dark roots visible (not cute when I am shaving for fun times with the significant other). But then a wax lasts like half the time for me that it does for my friends.

      It's funny, because I get a lot of compliments for the hair on top of my head. And I love it up there. It's just that it's also EVERYWHERE else.

      • amy

        SAME! Also, the wax only lasts like... 4 days for me, too. And I can only do sugar wax apparently?

        • Jai Raheja

          hey,i am not an expert but i have heard that very dark hairs are because of the testosterone level of th3 body, and if that's the case with you guys, you probably can't help it.i am a guy and i am supposed to have hairs and all but god i have really dark hair.if i shave perfectly or get it perfectly by a barber,even then i can see my black hairs popping through. its approximately never a clean shave.
          tell me if anything has helped u guys

    • Georgia A

      It's not a multiracial blend thing. I mean, I am 100% Greek [ are we considered Caucasians? We don't use the term, so I don't know]. I am too white and my bikini line and legs are so embarassing. I get skin irritation, little red spots, fast hair grownth, hairs growing under my skin. And we are talking natural jet black hair on really really white skin. It's a nightmare. You can see the actual hair before they even grow out of the skin [I don't know if that was proper English, but anyway...]. The only thing that works is a really good razor that is meant for Men, shaving cream, baby oil while legs are still wet and La Roche Posay Lipicar Baume Ap for any itchiness, rednesss etc etc. Sea water helps A LOT!!!! The pool is a no no

    • Laura

      Skimming through these tips and found this gem: bless you for this one. I have the bikini line "extension" as well, though for me it is "but" an inch or two. As for the exfoliant, I've always used relatively cheap exfoliants, and though The Body Shop offers some pretty good ones, the only one that left my skin exfoliated and fresh was the Rituals one. Their sugar scrubs are Dieu-donné—God's gift. I used the sugar scrub from their Sakura line, though I imagine their lines don't show major differences when it comes to exfoliating efficacy.

    • Sharareh

      Oh I feel ya! Same issues over here... now that I am 30 I am finally figuring out how to shave almost distress free but damn I wish these blogs were there when I was in my teens and afraid to go swim because anybody seeing my messy legs and bikini line!

    • amy

      UPDATE : Holy moly you guys. After reading all of these comments and doing some research, my shaving situation is SO MUCH BETTER.

      I purchased the "Close Shavers Squadron White Eagle" shaving cream from Kiehl's and it is absolutely incredible. A little smidge goes so far - I have been using it for almost a month and I still have half of the container left. It has given me the smoothest, long lasting shave ever!

      I am still using the Schick Hydro 5 blade and replacing it every 5-7 shaves.

      Now on to the magic elixir that is TEND SKIN. I read about it online and I think someone mentioned it in here as well... this stuff has changed my life. I squirt some on a cotton round and wipe my bikini line / back of thighs once in the morning and once at night (as well as after shaving). It stings at first, but it is worth it. I no longer have red bumps or irritation on my legs!! Also using it regularly has made my hair softer and less noticeable. It also has helped my skin in that if I want to shave every day I totally can! I can't even believe how well this stuff works.

      I follow up my shave / tend skin routine with a spritz of witch hazel (I purchased a glass spray bottle to put witch hazel in - i keep it in the fridge so it's a cool / refreshing spray) and a slathering of Kiehl's Creme de Corps body lotion.

      My legs are so smooth and soft, my skin is not only less irritated, but feels "repaired" and the hair feels softer. Miracles!

      Thanks to everyone for all of the advice and suggestions and I hope this helps some of you as well!!!

  • Susan

    Bikini Soft Smooth Shave Oil and Razor Saver Oil.

  • Christine

    I personally love Somersets Shave Oil -- which is great for both men and women!

  • amy

    I used to use Johnson's Baby Oil after the shower, but it didn't do much for me. Never considered shaving with it, though! Could be an interesting experiment... I have some Neutrogena body oil at home currently - might be worth a try! Seems like it would work best in a bath...

  • amy

    Also - the laser hair aftermath scares me SO MUCH. I feel like I would get it and then see that and think it was permanent :( I feel like I would only feel comfortable going to a place that was celebrity endorsed haaaa

    I was thinking about doing it this winter (when I'm not tan). I think the dark hair / pale skin combo is ideal for laser treatment, so we shall see. I've been doing some off and on research of clinics in the NYC area.

    If I remember I'll try to post my results here if I end up going for it!

    • Alice

      What do you imagine happening? Mine got really red and dry and sensitive, but nothing that made me think "shit, I need to run to a doctor", especially since they warned me about it. The first time is the worse because they shave you with a disposable razor with no prep so that alone makes your skin angry(maybe it's different in some places?). Just research your place and see which kind they use, because first I didn't use the best laser and it was a waste of money and only made my hair lighter and weaker.

      Pale skin and dark hair is the best combination, because the laser targets melanin. They always get excited about my paleness, which is weird and awkward.

  • amy

    I'm going to try the wait and moisturize thing next week. I just have always read that you should apply moisturizer right after a shower before your pores close up so that your body can absorb all of the lotion? Now I'm thinking about what that really means and realizing, maybe it is BETTER to wait.

    Also I tried the deodorant thing and it doesn't really work for me... although i was using a solid, not a gel. What were you using?

    • j

      I use a solid deodorant, but it seems to work great for me, maybe its not for everyone?
      Also yes, waiting to moisturize is the best thing you will do. I grew up being told to moisturize straight out of the shower too, but found that even if you wait to moisturize you can always just put a bit of water on your legs to help the moisturizer absorb better if you want to.

  • Haiku Jew

    You get a close shave
    but still, have to be carefull
    hence, the Band-Aid box.

  • bijoux

    Exfoliate with a dry brush one day before shaving, or if you shave daily, do it the night before.
    Before showering, yes, before! Put on a little oil, I use apricot because it's not heavy. Shave toward the end of your shower, to let oil absorb.
    Afterward, use the Cool Fix blue gel ( Shaveworks) on areas that are sensitive to red bumps.

  • kitty

    start waxing

  • Eliana Gil Rodriguez

    NEVER buy the cheap disposable razors without the tilting head. That tilting mechanism is what allows you to go around corners without butchering yourself. The really techy men's ones like Mach III or whatever work the best.

  • ERB

    My shaving tips include using men's razors (cheaper and more effective, in my opinion) and hair conditioner (also cheaper as it's already in your shower and more effective) as the "shave barrier" - the conditioner keeps your skin moisturized and rinses off easily

    • Valeria

      I do exactly the same as you! I use hair conditioner (it works great and is super easy to apply and remove!) and Gillette Mach 3 for men as razor. Plus I do a scrub once a week to exfoliate and avoid ingrown hairs. No more cuts or bruises on my skin since I use these little tricks! :)

  • Eliise

    I have skin condition psoriasis and I used to use medicinal creams which made my skin like paper. So everytime when I shaved I got automatically little red pumps. And it was horrible. After 5 years of suffering those pumps I bought cream from pharmacy which is meant for the condition but I started noticing that ever since I have this cream I don't get red pumps anymore. The cream consists of 10% urea, which is meant for long lasting moisturizing and 10% of glycolic acid. Probably what helps is glycolic acid, because it helps to exfoliate away dead skin layer before shaving and afterwards it keeps away those pesky bumps. I'm so happy that I have found this cream.

  • Yung Tyanna

    SHAVING CREAM > SOAP. Also, a mens razor!

  • mcl

    Use hair conditioner as a shaving cream - your legs will be incredibly soft!

  • Eliise

    Psorilys emulsion. If you don't have it in your country, just maybe try to find cream which consists those two ingredients :)

  • Brittany

    I use the shave cream by EOS and its seriously the best thing I've ever shaved with. It's the same price as a skintimates shaving gel but my skin is completely smooth without any of the weird dry feeling some creams give me. Plus it smells great. Highly recommend.

  • lw

    Yesterday I shaved with olive oil for the first time and it left my legs feeling smooth and soft without the red bumps and burns I had assumed to be inevitable. I dry-brushed my legs/bikini line and then slathered EVOO all over, washing away excess hair and oil with Dr. Bronner's bar soap every now and then and re-applying oil as needed. I didn't feel the need to add any moisturizer when done.
    I imagine the olive oil smell/heaviness might bother some, but I am so, so happy with the results- my skin looks and feels wonderful!

  • Alisa

    Baby oil, grape seed oil, olive oil. I love oils for shaving. To solve the issue of oil clogging the razor, keep a jar/cup/bowl of soapy water to rinse out the razor while you're shaving.

    I get serious ingrowns from every single hair removal method, and instead of buying overpriced products specifically for preventing them, I get a big ol' tub of presoaked anti-acne astringent pads. They'll never go near my face, but they're great to swipe across the legs and bikini line. Salicylic acid is where it's at.

    God, I hate being hairy though.

  • Liz

    I put oil all over my legs (olive/massage oil basically something very slippery so I can slather lots on) then put my legs into the water for a few minutes to soften the hairs and then put shaving foam on and shave, washing my razor after every stroke. Works every time and have never got cuts with this method. I don't exfoliate before/after as shaving takes off a layer of skin anyway and this increases irritation.

  • Charlotte Greenbury

    Here's a post I did on the Venus Spa Breeze Razor - best shave in the world and it's so easy!

  • Gayle

    Right after showering, slather your legs with hand lotion and then shave.
    Yes it will clog up your razor, rinse it off with warm water. Only use the razor a few times, then move on to a new one.
    I haven't tried the oil but now I will, probably works in same way.

  • Natalie B

    I always use hair conditioner when I shave and people always ask how I get them so smooth so it must be working!

  • Jordan

    also, on the subject of shaving our skin, could we talk about Dermaplaning for a moment? I mean, if Marilyn Monroe and Liz Taylor did it.....then, Im sure it's fine right?