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Shaving is the preferred hair removal method for 58% of women. But it can also cause irritating bumps and an itchy shaving rash. With a few tweaks these post-shave issues can be easily remedied. From using hair conditioner to ensuring your pores are always closed, Patricia Boland, Skin Specialist At Colorescience UK, reveals nine simple hacks to try for a closer and smoother shave…

1. Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Exfoliation Pre-Shave

If you don’t want ingrown hairs, then exfoliation before your shower is absolutely vital. Dead skin cells clog your hair follicles and trap your hair under the skin, which how ingrown hairs are formed. Removing dead skin first through a process of exfoliation will not only ensure the hair follicle is in the best condition for hair removal, but it’ll also pave the way for normal growth post-shave. In terms of the product you’re using, it’s best to avoid harsh scrubs. Physical exfoliators are too abrasive to use in conjunction with shaving, so instead, opt for a gentle, chemical exfoliator. Ingredients like alpha hydroxy acid and beta hydroxy acid encourage cellular turnover while exfoliating the skin nicely.

2. Replace You Razor Blades On A Very Regular Basis

I always recommend people replace their blades every five to seven shaves. Even if you rarely shave, the switch over should never be longer than a month as bacteria can build up in between uses. The first sign of your razor rusting or tugging the skin should be an immediate indication to replace it. Leaving the razor in the damp area of the shower can also cause infections, so store it in a safe dry place with blade facing upwards. By leaving it in the shower, the blade will rust faster and if you use it for too long it has a mass chance of harboring bacteria causing little bumps on your skin.

3. Use Hair Conditioner As Shaving Cream

Conditioners are cationic which put simply, means they coat the hair and leave legs feeling super soft. This is because conditioner is positively charged making it attract to the hair and able to coat the strands – which can be either on your hands, or legs. You’ll find the razor glides over your legs and allows you to get the tougher parts better with conditioner, too.

4. Always Shave In The Right Direction

I recommend on your first strokes to only shave in the direction in which your hair grows (down the leg), and if your skin is prone to sensitivity then avoid shaving upwards. Although it can get you that closer shave, it also increases the possibility of irritation, nicks and cuts. Once your hairs are already short, going against the direction of hair growth is much safer and prevents bumps and ingrown hairs. If you prefer a closer shave, then reapply the shaving balm (or hair conditioner as recommended above) and shave against the direction of hair growth.

5. Never, Ever Dry Shave

It’s really bad for your skin and effects the future of your hair growth. More often than not, it’s done to be time efficient, but the aftermath is always more time consuming to fix. When you dry shave, you’re skipping out the most important steps for shaving, which is dampening the hairs with warm water and using a good shave cream to prevent razor burns and cuts. Dry shaving ends up seriously drying out your skin, which causes dull, flaky and lackluster patches. It also leaves the areas extra sensitive, so once you apply moisturizer, you’ll feel an uncomfortable sting.

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