For some of us ladies, shaving our legs is far from a smooth experience. Itchy red bumps and "strawberry legs"—black dots that appear even after shaving—can make it tough to look and feel our best during shorts season. But before you resign yourself to a summer of maxi dresses, try our tips for summer-izing even the most sensitive, problem-prone legs.
Common sense shaving tips
Start by setting up your shave for success with these three simple steps:
The skin on your legs has relatively few oil glands, so they'll tend to be dry to begin with. Smooth the way for a close shave by using a moisturizing shave gel like Skintimate® Signature Scents® Mandarin Burst.
The right razor will be your BFF when it comes to baring your legs. So invest in a quality razor, and always make sure it's sharp (not dull) when you're using it. For sleek, smooth skin, go for a moisturizing razor, like the Schick Hydro Silk® Razor with water-activated moisturizing serum that moisturizes for up to two hours after shaving. Or if you're the queen of multitasking, try an all-in-one razor, like the Schick® Intuition® Pure Nourishment® Razor with a built-in skin moisturizing bar that lathers and moisturizes during shaving, or a razor that's also a trimmer, like the Schick® Quattro for Women® TrimStyle® Razor and Bikini Trimmer in one. Whichever razor you use, remember to change the blade after 5–6 shaves, and rinse between each pass, too.
Showing off your skin goes hand-in-hand with another summer tradition: shielding it from the sun. Nourish and protect your legs in one simple step with a specially formulated oil-free sunscreen like Hawaiian Tropic® Sheer Touch SPF 30 Lotion Sunscreen.
Smooth and soothe
If you're dutifully following the steps above and still plagued by itchy red bumps, you might have sensitive skin that requires some extra care. Here are some tricks that could help calm things down:
Prep with oil. An added layer of protection from irritation may be just what your legs need. Try applying oil to dry legs before you shave, and massage it in thoroughly. Coconut oil works well. Don't be tempted to skip shaving gel, cream or foam in the shower—it's still essential for a close, comfortable shave. If you use oil, be sure to rinse and carefully wipe off your razor when you're done (or even after every swipe) to prevent buildup that can dull the blade.
Shave with the grain. While shaving against the direction of hair growth can give you a closer shave, going with it will likely give you a more comfortable one.
Don't share razors. Bacteria that transfer from another person's razor can cause angry, irritated skin as well as spread infection. Take it easy on your already sensitive skin by simply not sharing.
Calm down strawberry legs
Those dark dots that appear on your legs even after you've just shaved them? This common skin situation is often called "strawberry legs" because the dots resemble those on the skin of strawberries. The technical term is "open comedones." They're open pores filled with trapped oil, dirt and bacteria. When the oil meets oxygen, the pores darken. Try these tips to help do away with those pesky little dots.
Splash with cold water. Shaving in cold water is a big no-no. Cold water can cause goosebumps, which make it easier to accidentally cut yourself. But splashing your legs with cold water post-shave will help close the pores and prevent them from darkening.
Exfoliate. Help liberate trapped oil, dirt and bacteria by gently exfoliating before you shave. To prevent irritation, always use a gentle exfoliator or soft-bristle dry brush, don't apply too much pressure and don't exfoliate immediately before shaving.