When choosing between hopping out of the shower to find shaving gel or reaching for the closest thing in our showers (read: soap), we are guilty as charged of going with the latter. But we always regret our hasty decision when we look down and see that our legs are covered in nicks or a rash from razor burn.
In an effort to do the right thing, we took our shaving concerns to Schick & Skintimate partner dermatologist Annie Chiu so we'd know exactly why we should put down the soap and stick to gels. Read on to find out what we learned and to shop for better shaving products.
Soap or body wash is good for leaving your skin moisturized after cleansing, but bad for razors.
According to Chiu, sudsy soaps and body washes contain ingredients that clog up razor blades, making them dull. "It can also then trap moisture and allow more bacteria to grow on your razor," she says.
You probably already know from trial and error that a dull razor isn't the key to a smooth and close shave. Chiu adds, "It can increase the risk of ingrown hairs, nicks, cuts and maybe infections because soap residue dulls razors. Typically, soaps do not provide the gentle glide that a shaving gel does." This difference is imperative as gels make shaving over irregular or sensitive areas, including the bikini line, knees or ankles, much easier.
Instead, use shaving gels with nourishing ingredients to moisturize the skin and decrease irritation.
Chiu notes that shaving exfoliates the very top layer of the skin, which can lead to dryness. Skin-soothing and hydrating ingredients such as shea butter and sunflower seed oil help to replenish moisture and soothe inflamed skin. Chiu suggests a product like Skintimate Silky Skin Shave Gel because it is formulated with the aforementioned ingredients and vitamin E. The dermatologist believes the slightly pigmented and rich lather it creates allows you to track exactly where you shave so you never miss a spot. "I recommend a golf ball size for each lower leg," says Chiu. "Too much product can make too much of a slippery shave, and in sensitive places like the bikini area can interfere with good visualization."
For a smoother and safer shave, invest in multi-bladed razors ASAP.
We understand that the one- to two-blade women's razors are often more affordable than those with three or more blades. But cheap doesn't always translate into the best, especially when it comes to shaving. Chiu swears by multi-bladed razors because they move with the contours of a woman's body and provide a closer and less irritating shave. She adds, "Everyone is different, [so] customize your routine to your specific type of hair! If you have longer or curly hair in the bikini area that you want to groom, make sure to trim the hairs first so the long hairs don't tangle and dull the razor."
Skintimate Skin Therapy Moisturizing Women's Shave Gel, $2.97; Gillette Venus Embrace Women's Disposable Razors, $12.49; Cremo Women's Shave Cream $7.99; Tend Skin Razor Bump Skin Care Solution, $20; Philips Pink Precision Perfect Trimmer for Women, $9.99