We all know the things to avoid while shaving, like going against the grain (ouch) or shaving dry skin (ouch again). But what about the things to avoid before or after shaving? What should you never do in the lead up, and what should you stay away from once your skin is silky smooth?
Well, turns out there are several little pre- and post-shave habits that can cause a few problems. (Think along the lines of razor bumps, irritation, and maybe even infections.) It is pretty easy, however, to do things the right way and keep your skin feeling great. It just takes a little planning.
"Prepping your skin before shaving is so important," says Lisa Dolan, licensed esthetician and founder of Lark Skincare. "Before you start shaving, you want to have a clean slate so be sure to always use a great exfoliating scrub ... It is vital to slough off dead skin cells." She then recommends applying a shave cream or oil, and following up the whole process with a great moisturizer. (Preferably one that doesn't contain water.)
Those are the things you should do. Now on to the things you shouldn't. If you shave your legs, bikini line, armpits (or anywhere else), read on for things you should never ever do before or after shaving.
1. Don't Share Razors With Your Roommate
If you're about to shave your legs, don't even think about grabbing your roommate's razor. "Sharing razor blades is a major no-no as bacteria can be transferred from one person to the next and cause an infection," says cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Shereene Idriss. It's better to be safe (and maybe a little hairy) than sorry.
2. Don't Skip The Shower
The best time to shave is at the end of your bath or shower, so do your skin a favor and save shaving for a day when you have time to soak a little first. As women's health expert Dr. Ronald D. Blatt tells me, the moisture and steam will soften hairs and make them easier to remove.
3. Don't Exfoliate Again
I know, that sugar scrub is calling your name. But if you're about to shave, do not exfoliate. "It can lead to increased irritation," says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Neal Schultz. Since shaving already does an excellent job exfoliating, any additional exfoliation will just be overkill.
4. Don't Forget To Lube Up
If you want a close, smooth shave, then don't forget to apply some sort of lubrication. "I love coconut oil ... before you shave to help the razor glide smoothly," says Dolan. You should also always use a shaving gel. (Or a drop of hair conditioner, in a pinch.)
5. Don't Use Products That Contain Alcohol
When you're finished shaving, avoid applying any products or lotions that contain alcohol. "Many women try to resolve ingrown hairs and razor burn with alcohol-based products that promise to soothe, but instead end up burning the skin and prolonging healing by weeks," says Karen Young, founder of Oui Shave. Not good.
6. Don't Jump Into A Pool
If you're about to slip into a bathing suit and take a swim, then shaving will probably cross your mind. But please, try to resist. "The pool [and chlorine] aren't skin-friendly," says Blatt. "The open pores are not ready for that yet." It's much better to shave a day or two beforehand, or just jump in with your hairy self. NBD.
7. Don't Head Off To The Beach
The beach is another place to avoid post-shave. As Blatt tells me, the sun and sand can cause redness, ingrown hairs, and even irritation that can lead to infection. Follow my aforementioned pool rules and shave a few days before your trip to the beach, and you should be good to go.
8. Don't Stay Up All Night
If you're going to shave, the best time to do it is right before bed. Since our bodies heal while we sleep, Blatt tells me it's best to get all smooth then slip into bed. Your skin will definitely thank you.
9. Don't Let Your Skin Get Hot
As Blatt tells me, you should avoid getting any hot water on the shaved area for several hours afterward. So say "no" to baths and don't give into the siren song of a steamy jacuzzi. It can wait for another day.
10. Don't Forget To Moisturize
To prevent irritation, make sure you take time to apply lotion after you shave. "Always look for a moisturizer that does not contain water," Dolan says. "It helps your shave last longer and your legs feel smoother."
11. Don't Even Think About Shaving Again
Once you're done shaving, be done. "Resist the temptation to go back and shave the hairs you missed," Blatt says. "Simply trim those down." It may not be perfect, but it'll save you a bad case of razor burn.
Avoid making these mistakes before and after shaving and I promise you'll have healthy, pain-free skin.
Images: Pexels (12)