(or really anyone who shaves their body hair)
by Stefanie | 09.22.21
Chances are, no one ever really taught you how to shave. With men, it's often a father-son bonding experience when boys have their first shave. Proud dads show their mini-me’s how to apply shaving cream, pull the razor gently, and then affix teeny-tiny pieces of paper to all of the bloody spots they've just created. But many moms, all too familiar with what lies ahead, try to get their daughters to put off shaving as long as possible. Eventually they acquiesce and purchase one random razor or another and leave it in the bathroom to be discovered. There is no loving instruction, no bonding moment — just a crappy plastic razor and a warning to not cut yourself.
So, as a first-time shaver, suddenly your brain is quick-firing questions that you don’t have the answers to: Do I really need to use shaving cream or can I just use soap/hair conditioner? Is there really a difference between a men’s razor and a women’s razor? What happens if I do cut myself? Do I have to replace the blades often or just wait until they start to rust and get gross? Should I shave up or down my legs? What the heck do I do with my pubic hair?
One of the main reasons we created the hanni weighted razor and the showerless shave pillow was to give women everywhere easy answers to these questions. You can find just about all the answers in seconds on our website, but one point still seems to be up for debate - in what direction should I shave my legs?
There is conflicting information everywhere on this topic, so we decided to really dig in and put together the most up-to-date, comprehensive information relating to shaving with or against the grain.
So, which way to shave — in the direction of hair growth, or shave against the direction of hair growth?
Historically, it's been found that shaving your legs against the grain gives a closer shave, but you can risk irritation and ingrown hairs. That certainly can be the case when using cheap plastic razors or a razor with many blades. Inexpensive, disposable razors are made for convenience rather than quality. The sub-par blades combined with the ultra light weight can cause pulling and dragging on your skin; drawing blood and wreaking havoc on any attempt at smooth, silky legs. Alternatively, you might think that using a product with more blades means you’ll be able to cut more hair, but the reality is that multiple blades can actually make tiny cuts below the surface of the skin. This means irritation after shaving, as well as rough, bumpy skin during regrowth.
When it comes to the bikini line, everybody is different. Though shaving with the grain is often recommended, pubic hair can grow in all different directions and with no discernible pattern — so it's in your best interest to use whichever angles work best for you: with the grain, against the grain, and even across the grain.
No matter the preference, the key here is to go slowly and keep your skin hydrated. If the pubic area is of particular concern (or for a special treat on self-care sunday) start with a hot shower or hot towel to open up follicles. Apply your favorite shave cream or balm — this is necessary to help your razor glide gently across the surface of your skin. Of course, we are partial to hanni shave pillow, which works just as well in or out of the shower, and provides more lubrication than your regular body soap. Work in small sections, holding your skin taut especially in tricky areas, around curves and folds.
Single-blade razors are the clear winner in this scenario, as multiple blades mean more chances for irritation. Just make sure you change your blade often. A dull blade + super-sensitive skin = an irritated, painful, recipe for disaster.
Whatever method of shaving you choose to use, remember that we are all blessed with different skin types, and what works perfectly for you may create the mother of all razor burn on your best friend. Empower yourself and spend some time on self-care. Experimenting with different techniques and products will give you confidence and allow you to figure out what truly works for the skin you’re in.