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6 Ways You’re Shaving Your Legs Wrong

Dermatologists weigh in on how to avoid cuts and razor burn.

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FT_shaving_legs_wrongiStock/Yuri_Arcurs

You don’t replace your razor often enough

Two signs will tell you if you need to replace your razor blade. Either the blades on your razor will look dull, or the moisturizing strip at the top will have faded. If you shave with a blunt razor you are more susceptible to cutting yourself. Plus, old razors can carry bacteria, which can lead to infection. As a general rule, you should use your razor about 10 times before you replace the blade. “Using a low-quality razor…forces you to overstroke the same area multiple times, a common compensating behavior that can cause irritation,” says dermatologist Jody Levine, MD. (Ready to ditch the razor? Here’s how to wax at home.)

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woman applying cream to legsDean Drobot/Shutterstock

You never exfoliate

Exfoliating regularly is key to preventing ingrown hairs. Exfoliating sloughs off old dead skin cells, which “speeds up cell renewal, enabling new healthy skin cells to grow,” say integrative medicine physician Frank Lipman, MD. Dead skin cells can cause ingrown hairs and could dull your razor, so exfoliate once or twice a week in between shaves.

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water pouring from shower headSutichak/Shutterstock

You shave as soon as you get into the shower

It’s best to leave shaving as the very last step of your shower routine, otherwise, you’re making a huge showering mistake. As you stand in the shower, the warm water will soften the hair, open up the hair follicles, and keep the skin warm and moist. This will make sure you have a closer shave, and will in turn help prevent razor burn along with dead skin cells that could dull your razor blade, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. (Do you know the difference between women’s and men’s razors?)

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You use soap

Bar soap doesn’t provide enough of a barrier between the blade and your skin, plus it can clog the blades. Shaving cream or gel is your best option here, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. There are many different options to play around until you find one you like. Run out of shaving cream? Even a hair conditioner is a better alternative to regular soap or dry shaving which could cause irritation. (Learn how laser hair removal cured one woman’s ingrown hairs.)

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woman using pink razorLana K/shutterstock

You shave too quickly

Especially when you have a fresh blade, it’s important to use extra-slow strokes to avoid nicks. Be particularly careful around your knees and ankles. This will help you get a closer shave and ensure that you don’t miss any spots, too. (Check out our favourite razor this year and other beauty products we’re loving.)

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Two pink women's disposable razors on wooden table.cosmic_pony/Shutterstock

You use a single blade disposable razor

Razor blades work like this: The first blade is designed to lift the hair, and each subsequent blade is intended to cut the hair lower and lower on the hair shaft, giving you the closest shave possible. So for the smoothest legs, it’s best to use a four- or five-blade razor.

Next, learn which items you should never store in your bathroom.