Shaving your body hair is usually the most painless type of hair removal, unless you cut yourself. Though the injury might be relatively small, getting a cut while shaving your legs often feels like one of the worst shaving mistakes you can make. Luckily, there are some simple shaving hacks to avoid cuts. A cut from shaving is usually surprisingly painful and unnecessarily bloody. So why not prevent it as best you can?
Now, the easiest way to avoid cutting yourself while shaving is to take the razor out of the equation. If you don't shave your body hair at all, you'll never get a cut. But there are plenty of people out there who want to get rid of their body hair, and if you're too nervous to go to a waxing salon or too non-committal for laser removal, the only other really effective option is shaving. It comes with its own struggles, though, and it's somehow not as simple as it looks. Wielding a razor effectively requires practice, and even seasoned shavers will nick themselves occasionally.
But never fear! You can shave your legs or underarms or whatever else might need a little trimming without worry if you use these nine shaving hacks I've implemented in my own routine.
1. Have The Right Equipment
Schick Slim Twin ST 2 Disposable Razors for Women Sensitive Skin Shaving Razor, $8, Amazon
If you want to have a clean shave with no cuts, then make sure you have the proper equipment on hand at all times. This means replacing your disposable razors or swapping the blades of a more permanent product every few uses. Also, stock up and shaving cream, which I recommend buying in bulk.
Alternatively, you can set up a subscription on Amazon so you're automatically sent a fresh pack of razors and shaving cream as often as once a month, or even once every three or four months, if that's more your speed. Let your future self thank your present self for being so thoughtful.
2. Exfoliate First
Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish, $70, Amazon
If you get rid of dead skin before shaving, there's less stuff for your razor to accidentally get stuck on, so exfoliate before you start shaving. You can get a body scrub or make your own DIY sugar scrub if you're on a budget or are just looking to get crafty.
3. Use Shaving Cream... Or A Shaving Cream Alternative
Suave Naturals Conditioner Tropical Coconut, $9, Amazon
This is one of those situations where anything is better than nothing, since shaving your legs without any kind of shaving cream on them makes it much more likely that you'll nick yourself. If you don't have shaving cream, you can use your hair conditioner. Coconut oil and body lotion are also alternatives. Avoid using your soap if you can; it's really not much better than dry shaving, which is really bad if you're trying to avoid cuts.
4. Sharpen Your Razor
Yep, even if it's a disposable one! Although it sounds counterintuitive, keeping your razor blades sharp will prevent cuts because dull blades are more likely to drag along skin. As this tutorial shows, doing so is easy. You can just rub the razor against the grain of a pair of jeans. (This is only a short-term hack, though. You'll need to replace your razorblades eventually.)
5. Try More Blades
Gillette Venus Embrace Pink Women's Razor, $14, Amazon
If you're prone to cutting yourself, get a razor with four or five blades rather than one or two. More blades means more surface area covered with each swipe, as well as less pressure on any one sharp blade, which means less chance of slicing yourself. Another hack? Go for the men's razors in the store. They're basically the same as women's razors and usually less expensive.
6. Use Your Own Razor
Getting a pack of men's razors at the store isn't the same thing as sharing your boyfriend's razor, which is something you shouldn't do. According to Women's Health, sharing razors is unsanitary and can spread some nasty bacterial or fungal infections. Plus, you have no idea how many times it's been used or if the blades are sharp or not, both of which are variables that can affect the chance of accidentally cutting yourself.
7. Go With The Grain
Good Housekeeping recommends shaving with the grain of your hair growth instead of against it if you want to avoid cutting yourself accidentally. You can always go back over against the grain if you want a closer shave. It'll actually be safer and more effective once the hairs are shorter.
8. Rinse Between Strokes
The razor, that is. As you shave, debris builds up on the razor blades, with everything from shaving cream to dead skin. (I know it's gross, but bear with me.) To keep that debris from catching on your skin and causing a cut, rinse the razor after each swipe. It'll take a little bit longer than just hacking away at your leg hair, but taking that extra step will make a huge difference in preventing cuts.
9. Get Some Lip Balm
ChapStick Original Classic Lip Balm (3 Pack), $7, Amazon.com
No matter how many hacks you use, sometimes cuts and nicks happen while you're shaving. If you do get a cut, grab some lip balm and put it on your cut to create a seal and stop the bleeding. (Just make sure it's not peppermint-flavored lip balm if you want to avoid a slightly more painful situation.) If you don't have lip balm, deodorant or eye drops will also do the trick.
With these tips in mind, go forth and hack away at your body hair without getting a scratch.
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Images: Kenny Suleimanagich/Bustle (1); Courtesy Brands