Ok, so I must admit I am relatively new to world of leg shaving.
However, as vocal proponent concerning the lost art of wet shaving, I feel I might share some insights to the less initiated.
For those not on my facebook list, my 1st foray into the world of leg shaving was a mostly forced (if not premeditated) affair initiated by a girl that rides with a few of our local cycling groups and tri-rides. She basically blindsided me with a trimmer while I was distracted playing some guitar with a buddy. Once I saw the huge strip of missing hair on my leg, I knew we had to finish the deed.
Since, then I have kept up the chore and have been able to remain ingrown hair, razor burn, and nick free while maintaining a BBS shave. (BBS= Baby Butt Smooth)
10 Tips to a great shave.
1. Take a shower 1st. - This allows the pores to open and the hair to soften. As your hair absorbs water it goes from steel wire hard to limp noodle soft. (Takes about 2mins for hair to soften in warm/hot water)
2. Use a razor with no more than 2 blades. - Inserts/ cartridges with 3-5 blades couldn't be worse for you skin if the moisturizing strip had a built in SARS virus. (A tip for women, men's cartridges have better blades than women's and most types of cartridges will fit both handles. Try it. Promise.)
3. Alcohol laden shave cremes/gels are a common cause of razor burn - post shave irritation. - Not only is alcohol an irritant (go ahead pour some on a cut), but the desensitizing ingredients lead to applying too much pressure on the razor and help take off more skin. Use a decent shave soap and use a bath scrubby/ suds thingy in place of a shave brush. Or, I've found plain old hair conditioner works great. It provides good slip and moisturizes at the same time. Just let it sit for 1-2mins before shaving. Huge bottle of Suave = $2.00
4. Shave with the grain on 1st pass / against on 2nd. (2nd pass is for those who prefer to be BBS and it reduces frequency of shaving) Or you can shave against 1st pass if you aren't prone to ingrown hairs.
5. Fill a cup with HOT water to rinse the razor. - A razor jammed with hair, shave creme, and dead skin will not shave as well as a clean blade. Hot water will dissolve the creme better than cold and does not cause razor burn*. Rinse razor every pass.
6. Learn the proper angle and speed with which to hold/move razor. - If you hold the razor too parallel it won't shave as close, too fast and you don't give the blade time to cleanly cut the hair.
7. Rise with cold water for 1-2mins. - This will close the pours and reduce chances of ingrown hairs.
8. Pat legs dry if you must towel dry. - Rubbing a towel on fresh shaved legs, no matter how soft, is like rubbing a fresh sunburn. It can lead to future irritation/ sensitivity.
9. Finish off with an alcohol free after shave lotion / shave oil. - This goes a long way to keeping the skin fresh feeling, reduces drying, and helps keep healthy skin. I usually leave my legs wet, grab 8-12 drops of shave oil and lightly massage into legs.
10. Enjoy your excellent shave!
* Razor burn is typically caused by too much friction/ improper blade angle/ 3-5 blade razors. A good, slippery shave creme and proper blade speed, angle, pressure will eliminate razor burn. The reason most people experience razor burn with 3-5 blade razors is that by the time the 4th/5th blades contact the skin, all of the shave creme (lubricant) has been removed from the skin and basically leads to dry shaving the skin.
It can also be caused by shave cremes/after shaves that contain alcohol.