Unlike most of the living, breathing population of people who grow hair, I do not completely hate the act of shaving. This is mostly because I only do it once a week, with products that I don't totally despise. (After a few relatively harrowing experiences with cheap Bics and drugstore depilatories in my teens, not having a razor I hate is an achievement.) The key, I think, is in the luxury experience. Convince yourself that shaving is akin to self-indulgence, not some patriarchal mandate, and find yourself dreading the process a whole lot less. Even in February! Here's what I use:
Shaving itself is a pretty good act of stand-alone exfoliation, but if I'm only shaving once a week, I like a little extra scrub. Also, I find it gives me a closer shave (and makes my razor last longer). I wholeheartedly swear by Frank Body Cacao Coffee Scrub. It's been over a year since I first started using it (despite its oddly aggressive approach to product copy), and it still holds a place in my heart normally reserved for humans. That shit is transformative.
After waiting for my shower to fill up with steam, I start by working my way up my legs in a circular motion from the heels of my feet to the top of my thighs until my skin is tinted a light brown from the coffee. If I'm feeling patient, I'll sit for 10 minutes to let it soak in. For the sensitive-skinned, the Bobbi Brown Beach Body Scrub is the closest thing to bottling a weekend getaway in the Hamptons without any hint of irritation.
Sometimes a razor is not just a razor. I'm a big fan of the Gillette Venus Embrace 5-Blade Razor, because five blades is better than any other number of blades. First, I coat my legs in V76 by Vaughn Clean Shave Hydrating Gel Cream, then make short upwards strokes beginning at my ankles. This does not look as glamorous, but it means I don't miss any spots. Also handy is Mommy's Helper Safe-Er-Grip Foot Rest from your local Bed, Bath & Beyond. It's probably the main thing saving me from untimely death in my cramped New York City shower.
Immediate after-shower oil application is more important than the act of leg shaving itself. It can mean the difference between legs that look like shiny dolphins and legs that look torn and razor burned. My skin is naturally dry, so after slathering Tata Harper Revitalizing Body Oil all over, I sit in a robe for roughly 30 minutes to let it sink in.
Bonus: Since my first encounter with body oil (which only happened recently, I'm sort of embarrassed to admit), I've seen a significant decrease in ingrown hairs, redness and scarring. Best of all, your legs have a dull glow all day like they've taken a trip to Halle Berry's facialist. Neutrogena Body Oil makes for a great, less-expensive alternative. But in my opinion, the investment is worth it—if only for the shelf-scape.
—Morgan Von Steen
Rachel Tabb photographed by Tom Newton.