Many of us consider shaving an integral part of our skin care and grooming routine. While it’s certainly a whole lot easier, less painful, and less pricey than its most popular alternative, waxing, it does come with its own set of unwanted side effects.
Good shaving technique is important because dry legs are more prone to irritation and razor burn. While just fixing your shaving mistakes can help you get smooth, soft skin every time, we wanted to up the ante by making our own super-nourishing coconut oil shaving cream. No surprise, we loved it!
Here’s a recipe for homemade shaving cream, along with 9 tips for getting the perfect shave.
How to Get The Perfect Shave
1. Start with the right tools
A good razor is essential. Toss that old, dull one you’ve been using, and replace it with one that has multiple blades. Grab a gentle exfoliating scrub (skip the loofah as they carry a lot of terrible bacteria that can introduce infection [source]) and your shaving cream, and head to the shower or bath.
How often should you switch out your razor blade? If it’s any more than 10 shaves, then you’re using an old, dull, and potentially infectious blade.
2. Soften skin in warm water
Open pores mean a closer shave. So save the shaving for last, and wash your hair while you let the warm water soften your skin first. You’ll get a closer shave and prevent razor burn.
3. Don’t forget to exfoliate
Take a few extra minutes to exfoliate before you shave. A quick scrub will get rid of dead skin and help clear away pore blockages that could lead to ingrown hairs. Use a sanitized exfoliator or one of these fall body scrubs to slough off dry skin.
Exfoliating, whether by chemical or manual methods, can help slough off and loosen dead skin cells in the area you’re shaving. This makes the formation of razor bumps less likely.
A good exfoliator to use before shaving is Glytone Exfoliating Body Wash, which is glycolic acid-based, so it can help chemically exfoliate the skin pre-shave.
4. Use a moisturizing shaving cream
After you exfoliate, apply this DIY moisture-rich shaving cream to soften the hair.
Coconut oil shaving cream
- 1/4 cup aloe vera gel (you can also use a natural conditioner if you don’t have aloe vera)
- 1/4 cup fractionated coconut oil (you can use regular coconut oil, but fractionated coconut oil won’t harden in cooler temperatures)
- 4–6 drops essential oil, such as peppermint, tea tree, or lavender
Melt the coconut oil and combine it with the other ingredients. Stir it together and store in a plastic container. Apply a thin layer to the skin, and let it sit a couple of minutes before shaving.
The aloe will soften hair and act as an anti-inflammatory [source], while the coconut oil moisturizes skin, helping to prevent razor burn and skin irritation. They are both known to have antibacterial effects, which help to prevent skin infections.
Add the essential oil of your choice to the mixture. Peppermint will give a cooling sensation, lavender is soothing, and tea tree is a good antiseptic if you cut yourself [source].
If coconut oil hardens or separates between uses, put the container under the shower stream before shaving to warm it up.
Store leftover shaving cream in the bathroom for up to 2 months.
5. Use the right technique
You have a new razor (right??), your hair is soft, and the pores are open—you’re ready to shave!
1. Bend your knee slightly and gently pull the skin taut.
2. Glide the razor lightly over skin, going with the direction of hair growth. As any skincare expert will tell you, it’s vital that you always shave in the same direction that your hair grows.
3. Don’t shave the same area of skin more than once, as it can lead to cuts and razor burn. If you’re having to shave multiple times, then it’s time to replace your razor blade.
4. Watch out on ankles, backs of knees, and shins. Thin-skinned areas are extra prone to cuts and bumps.
6. Rinse + pat
Rinse with cool water, and pat dry with a soft towel. Don’t rub; that will irritate skin.
7. Apply moisturizer
Even though our coconut oil shaving cream is pretty moisturizing, if you have dry skin, it’s best to apply a gentle moisturizer after toweling off. Soft, well-moisturized skin will also go a long way in helping prevent razor bumps.
Consider applying a ceramide-based moisturizer to help rebuild the skin barrier function, like Ceramedx Restoring Body Lotion, which is fragrance-free and contains both ceramides and hyaluronic acid to hydrate skin. Switch to a heavier moisturizer in winter, or just slather yourself in coconut oil.
8. Soothe bumps
Also known as ingrown hairs, razor bumps are pimple-like spots around the hair follicles that often occur with shaving. Topical applications to help calm the skin can be helpful.
Aloe vera is the perfect antidote to the dreaded red bumps. Apply aloe vera or this cooling razor burn spray to any rashes for instant cooling, soothing relief.
Just don’t try to pick them out with a tweezer, as that can quickly lead to an infection and scarring. Instead, continue with gentle exfoliation and moisturizing to help loosen the trapped hair.
9. Slow down hair growth
Continue to gently exfoliate between shaving to slow the rate of new hair growth.
Will placing a warm towel over my legs for a couple of minutes help open my pores even further?
I swear by the ol’ spa warm towel trick for softening skin and opening pores on the face, so it will probably do the same for your legs. Just remember, you don’t want the towel to be so hot that it burns you. As long as it’s warm enough to create steam, it should do the trick.
Can I use fresh aloe vera gel in my shaving cream?
Yes, you can, but fresh aloe vera has a short shelf life. You’ll need to store your shaving cream in the refrigerator and use within 2–3 days to keep it from growing mold.
Even after using shaving cream, I still get ingrown hairs. Any tips?
Ingrown hairs are tricky little buggers, aren’t they? If the above tips still don’t get you the gams of your dreams, this post is full of tricks for tackling razor bumps of all kinds.
I’ve had problems with coconut oil causing breakouts. Will this make razor burn or ingrown hairs worse for me?
It’s true that coconut oil can have a tendency to be comedogenic (causing breakouts) for some people due to the type of fats it contains [source]. If you’ve had trouble with coconut oil causing breakouts in the past, I recommend using a pure oil from a high-quality brand such as Dr. Bronner’s. It’s the only brand I use on my face since it doesn’t wreck my skin, and it should be great for legs as well.
Why aren’t my legs totally smooth after shaving?
When it comes to shaving, the closer you can get to the hair root, the smoother your legs will be. That means exfoliating, using a sharp razor, and taming post-shave irritation every single time.
But if you’re still battling stubble, you might want to give sugar waxing a try. We cover the ins and outs of making your own sugar wax at home in this post.
Natural Shaving Picks
Best for bikini line: Venus for Pubic Hair & Skin This razor’s double blades remove hair with minimal skin contact to minimize irritation in your most sensitive spots.
Best for legs: Schick Intuition Razor with Coconut Milk and Almond Oil
This razor is infused with coconut milk and almond oil to lather and moisturize, leaving your legs smooth and allowing for a precise shave.
Best for underarms: joy Women’s Razor
The (pink!) non-slip handle is perfect for harder-to-reach areas, such as your underarms—and bonus points for the five super sharp blades.
Best electric: Panasonic Electric Shaver
The three ultra-sharp blades closely follow the contour of your skin, whether you’re shaving your legs, underarms, or other areas.
Best safety razor: Zomchi Double Edge Safety Razor
For an environmentally friendly shave, opt for safety razors. This one offers a really close shave and doesn’t cause rashes or dark spots.
Shaving cream: NOW Solutions Nutri-Shave Cream
For smooth, nourished, healthy skin, this all-natural shaving cream is soothing and protective, ideal for sensitive areas.
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Haley, a board-certified dermatologist with extensive experience in medical, cosmetic, and surgical dermatology. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice, and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.488