Ah, winter. A time to give our razors a rest, right? Well, not exactly. There are some real benefits to shaving (anything) in the wintertime, but it can be tricky. If you're a year-round shaver, you know these winter shaving struggles all too well. What you might not know, however, is how to combat them.
No Shave November is here, but if stubble drives you crazy, this article is for you. There are tons of great reasons to shave during this season, but winter's harsh, dry cold air mixed with the dry heat of indoor heating can turn even the oiliest skin into a flaking, bleeding mess. Exfoliating and then moisturizing your skin is the best way to combat dry and flaking skin, not to mention shaving in itself is a great way to exfoliate dead flakes. The best thing is to exfoliate before you shave, so your razor doesn't clog up with skin cells and cause razor burn later. Ouch.
The good news? Over-shaving is definitely a thing, so feel free to skip the shave frequently during the colder months. Our winter wardrobes lets us get away with it and, it turns out, skipping shaves is great for our skin. Too much shaving can leave skin dry and sore, but so can shaving with the wrong techniques. Here are seven common winter shaving struggles and how to fix them.
1. You Use Your Partner's/Sister's/Roomie's Razor
It's cold outside and you're out of razors. Is it OK to borrow someone else's? The answer is a big no, even if you love and/or share DNA with the razor's original owner. Sharing bacteria is never a good idea. Buy in bulk so you don't run out until spring!
2. You Shave Dry
Ouch, man. Shaving dry, exposes your skin to more nicks and cuts. Plus, it can dry out your skin even more than it already is in a cold winter. Skip the water and bar of soap and use something moisturizing like shaving cream or, in a pinch, conditioner.
3. You Hang Out In The Shower
Keep your showers short, since water dries out your skin and can make it more vulnerable to damage. But that doesn't mean you should shave right away— wait about 15 minutes (after you've done everything else) to shave. By then, your hair follicles have softened and opened. Wait any longer than that, however, and your skin could wrinkle and swell, making the job harder (and your skin thirstier).
4. You Shave In The Morning
At night is best, because your legs swell and your hair follicles retreat over night. This means you may find yourself shaving more often to stay smooth.
5. You Don't Moisturize After
Shaving dries out your skin, so be sure to replenish moisture or else your legs may become itchy and irritated. Moisturize right after shaving, and every time you take a shower.
6. You Shave In The Wrong Direction
If you have naturally dry skin in the winter, shave down instead of up. "Going against the grain" can get you a closer but more damaging shave, so opt for shaving down the leg and going over it twice if you want super smooth skin.
7. You Forget To Exfoliate
Like I mentioned, exfoliating is one of the key steps to keeping skin healthy in the winter. Exfoliating before you shave will keep skin cells from clogging up your razor and causing cuts and the spread of bacteria.
Image: Dawn Foster