Dermatologists’ Expert Advice: Mastering the Art of Proper Leg Shaving

May 16, 2023
Dermatologists' Expert Advice: Mastering the Art of Proper Leg Shaving

For many individuals, including leg shaving in our regular body care routine is a common practice. It offers a convenient and cost-effective solution for removing unwanted hair, surpassing alternatives such as waxing or laser hair removal. However, it’s crucial to ask ourselves: Do we truly know how to shave our legs properly? If you frequently struggle with issues like itchiness, razor burn, ingrown hairs, and nicks, the answer is likely no. 

Thankfully, there’s good news. Numerous tips and tricks endorsed by board-certified dermatologists Brendan Camp and Marisa Garshick can guide you toward achieving a flawless and irritation-free shave every time. Let’s delve into their expert advice on leg shaving.


Brendan Camp, MD, an esteemed assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Cornell New York Presbyterian Medical Center, with double board certification.

Marisa Garshick, MD, a highly regarded board-certified dermatologist at Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery, as well as a distinguished clinical associate professor at Cornell New York Presbyterian Medical Center.

Expert Advice Mastering the Art of Proper Leg Shaving

1-Moisten Your Skin with Lukewarm Water

Prior to shaving, Dr. Camp advises dampening your skin with warm water to facilitate hair softening and pore opening. To minimize the potential for skin irritation, he suggests shaving towards the end of your shower when your skin is adequately hydrated.

2-Add Shaving Cream or Gel

Under no circumstances should you attempt dry shaving. Dr. Camp frequently encounters patients who suffer from razor burns caused by shaving without the use of cream or gel. According to him, shaving on dry skin or with just water can lead to skin irritation due to the abrasive nature of the razor. By applying a cream or gel, the razor glides more smoothly across the skin, decreasing the chances of cuts or an uneven shave. Dr. Garshick suggests considering products such as Eos Shea Butter Shaving Cream ($19) or Aveeno’s Therapeutic Shave Gel with Oat for Dry Skin ($4).

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3-Shaving in Harmony with Hair Growth Direction

To achieve the best results, our specialists advise following the direction of hair growth while shaving. While some individuals believe that shaving against the grain provides a closer and smoother shave, it also heightens the likelihood of developing ingrown hairs.

It is crucial to refrain from shaving over any cuts or wounds. Dr. Camp emphasizes that shaving over an injured area can impede the healing process or potentially exacerbate the infection and facilitate its spread. He further recommends employing razors equipped with one or two blades, such as Gillette SkinGuard ($20) or Hanni The Weighted Razor ($42), for an optimal shaving experience.

4-Moisturize After Shaving

Once you’re done shaving, it’s important to apply a moisturizer. Shaving can disrupt the skin barrier, which may result in redness and itching if not properly repaired. Dr. Camp advises that moisturizing is a crucial step in the post-shave routine.

Dr. Garshick recommends using a non-comedogenic moisturizer to prevent clogged pores. Two options she suggests are Bliss Lemon and Sage Body Butter ($13) and LANO 101 Dry Skin Super-Cream ($17).

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5-Avoid Using Harsh Products Post-Shave

If your body care routine typically includes acidic or artificially fragranced products, it’s best to avoid using them immediately after shaving. These ingredients can cause temporary discomfort, stinging, or irritation when applied to freshly shaved skin.

Allow your skin some time to recover after shaving before reintroducing such products. Opt for gentle and soothing formulations to minimize the risk of irritation.

6-Rinse Your Razor

After shaving, make it a habit to rinse your razor thoroughly. This step is essential for removing any hair and product buildup that may have accumulated during shaving.

By ensuring that the razor blade is completely clean before each use, you can minimize the chances of irritation and reduce the risk of infection.

Related: Waxing vs. Shaving: The Ultimate Guide to Hair Removal

7-Store Your Razor in a Dry Place

To maintain the longevity of your razor and minimize the chances of bacteria buildup, it’s recommended to store it in a cool and dry place. This practice helps prevent rust and ensures that your razor remains in good condition for longer.

By keeping your razor in optimal condition, you can achieve a smoother and more comfortable shave while minimizing the risk of skin irritation.

8-Change Your Razor Blade Regularly

One of the most common shaving mistakes, as noted by Dr. Garshick, is not replacing the razor blade frequently enough. Over time, blades become dull and less effective, increasing the likelihood of ingrown hairs and irritation.

To maintain a sharp and efficient blade, it’s generally advised to replace it after every five to seven shaves. By doing so, you can ensure a closer and more comfortable shave while reducing the risk of skin irritation and other shaving-related issues.

Photo: Pexels/ Sora Shimazaki

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Margaud Raynaud is a beauty expert with over 10 years of experience in the industry. She has a passion for sharing her knowledge and tips with others and has a particular interest in skincare and makeup. When she's not writing about health and beauty, Margaud enjoys trying out new products and experimenting with different looks. Follow her blog for expert advice and inspiration for living your best life.

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