If you're a woman with coarse leg hair, you've likely found yourself engaged in battle with ingrown hairs and razor bumps more than once. In fact, it's the kind of hassle that makes one daydream of a world where shaving is unnecessary and razors don't exist. Unsightly ingrown hairs and razor bumps not only have a tendency to be painful but leave embarrassing scars as well. With the option to forgo shaving simply too unrealistic for some, the disenchantment with hair removal is likely to grow with every abandoned depilatory, electric shaver and home-electrolysis gadget left sitting on the shelf.
Since a razor will always be the best tool for a smooth shave, does this mean touchable, silky legs are out of reach for women with coarse leg hair? Absolutely not! It's all in how you wield your blade that makes the difference.
To get the best possible results, following these six shaving commandments:
1) Have Your Very Own Shaving Kit
Keep your razor in a carrying case. No more sharing or using razors that have been left to languish in the shower or on the sink. This is how the bacteria that hide on or between blades transfer to freshly shaven hair follicles and wreak havoc. Remember to disinfect the razor by dipping it in alcohol after each use and allowing it to thoroughly dry before putting it away. Those who experience extreme issues with ingrown hairs and bumps should change razors (or razor heads) after 3-4 uses.
If you haven't already, consider a safety razor or a straight razor. It's ok if you've never heard of these types of razors or seen them before. They are associated with traditional wet shaving that was abandoned in favor of highly profitable disposable plastic cartridge razors not too long ago. These old school razors, primarily designed for men, are the best bet for you as they are intended to handle hair that is coarser than women's. Kinky and curly hair types are more like to get stuck in the skin during regrowth, which multi-blade razors contribute to with pull and cut method, cutting far below the desired level within the epidermis. Traditional razors use a single blade that cuts hair just below the skin surface. This reduces the chances for the hair to get suck and becoming into an ingrown. Furthermore, how does shaving $700+ off of your shaving products expenses over 10 years sound?
For coarse hair, you need a good lather that lifts and softens hair, which typical foams cannot effectively achieve. Natural shaving soaps are becoming a hit among women because lather produced from them are thick and luxurious. You can control how much lather to produce per your shaving needs as well. Your legs will feel silky smooth and nourished after shaving because shaving soaps pack ingredients such as coconut oil, shea butter, almond oil, soy, vitamin E, etc.
2) Shave at Night Before Bed
Fluid retention has most of us waking up in the morning all puffy. Therefore, waiting until the evening hours when fluid levels under the skin are leveled out will provide a better chance for a closer shave. Soak in a warm bath for 5-7 minutes to soften hair follicles and to also help prevent razor bumps. Be sure to take your time, applying as little pressure as possible with each stroke and rinsing your blade in clean water. While most ingrown hairs are the result of regrowth trapped under the epidermis, skin cells can also block hair follicles and cause infection.
3) Use a Toner After Shaving
Keep a toner (such as witch hazel) in a spray bottle to mist your legs with after shaving. This will help close pores and pull the skin tight. Beware of using toners that contain alcohol. This will not only burn but inflame the hair follicles, leading to redness and irritation.
4) Moisturize with Essential Oils and Cocoa Butter Lotion
Essential oils have amazing soothing and healing properties. Shaving removes dead skin cells and reveals a new layer that needs to be protected. Sometimes razor burns can leave a lasting mark, which can be prevented or reduced with the use of essential oils that help rejuvenate skin.
Cocoa butter has been shown to have healing and soothing properties for the skin as well. While essential oils restore skin tone and reduce scarring, the cocoa butter lotion seals them in between skin cells. Once you have applied the toner and oil, smooth the lotion onto your legs in a downward motion only towards the feet.
5) Exfoliate Between Shaves with a Body Wash That Contains Salicylic Acid
Since tight clothing and sitting contributes to ingrown hairs, be sure to focus on problem areas such as the inner thighs, the back of the legs and the folds of the knees. Always use a clean washcloth and a gentle, circular motion so as not to damage the upper layer of your skin. Opt for a liquid-based face soap or body wash that contains salicylic acid. Salicylic acid not only clears pores, but it also reduces swelling and inflammation of the skin.
6) Don't Shave Every Day!
If you have coarse leg hair and want to win the war against ingrown hairs and razor bumps, you just have to concede that shaving every day isn't going to happen. To reduce the chance of infection, the hair will need the chance to thoroughly grow out of the follicle. For the times when a touch up is absolutely necessary, shave with the direction of the hair instead of against it-- especially when it comes to growth on the upper thighs near the bikini area. Otherwise, give yourself as much time as you can between shaves. With regular exfoliation to clear the skin of dead cells and salicylic acid to clear pores, ingrown hairs and razor bumps should lessen within 1-2 weeks.
Maintaining a close shave no longer has to be a (literal) pain as long as you use a quality razor and keep a precise focus on cleanliness. For persistent problems with infected hair follicles or razor bumps that turn into abscesses or sores in the same spot over and over again, there may be something else at play that needs medical attention. In that case, do not hesitate to contact your doctor who can then provide you with a referral to a good dermatologist.