Though the products and techniques to remove hair have changed since 1915 when the first safety razor for women was designed, the desire for smooth, hairless skin has not. Shaving is an easy, inexpensive way to remove body hair and is especially effective on the legs and underarms. Although safety razors provide a close shave (outperforming electric shavers by far), the results are temporary: regrowth usually occurs within two to three days.
For the smoothest, closest shave, always use a new blade and a light touch, applying as little pressure as possible. Wet the skin thoroughly and apply a shaving gel or cream (soap is too drying) to keep the skin soft and moist. Starting at the ankle, shave in the opposite direction of the hair growth, drawing the razor up the leg. Since underarm hair grows in many directions, you may have to stroke in several different directions. For the bikini area, pull the skin fairly taut with the fingers of your free hand so the surface is flat.
If you need to shave a specific area twice, apply additional gel or cream. Rinse the skin and gently towel dry. Use oil or moisturizer to finish.
There's always the chance of nicks, cuts, and minor irritation with a safety razor, but these can be minimized. Avoid shaving dry or sunburned skin. Do not shave before an exfoliating treatment (shaving is actually a form of exfoliation itself). Never use a blunt razor or share a razor with someone else (especially one that has been used on a beard).
Reviewed: July 27, 2001