Say goodbye to that raw, burning sensation.

Morgan Noll
June 29, 2020
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Shaving my legs has never been a fun activity—it's maintenance work, something I do before a date or special occasion. Not only is shaving time-consuming, but it also leaves my legs feeling raw, dry, and sometimes itchy when I'm done. Thankfully though, that has changed since I learned a hot tip: Shaving with body oil is so much better than using shaving cream (or, in my case, using water alone).

I learned about this trick from Stephanie Smith, an esthetician and skincare educator, when talking with her about best shaving practices for people with sensitive skin. She explained that many shaving creams on the market have ingredients like artificial fragrances or denatured alcohol that can end up irritating and drying out the the skin rather than providing a protective barrier against the razor like they're supposed to. Body oil, on the other hand, locks in moisture and stays on the skin even after razoring off the hair. "The great thing is that when you're done [shaving with body oil], the skin barrier function is protected—you're not gonna strip your skin of its natural oils and it's already going to be hydrated," Smith says. For the purpose of shaving, a body oil can act as a two-in-one shaving cream and post-shave lotion, and it's also just a great product to have around for any other dry skin needs.

Smith said swapping my shaving cream for a body oil would help reduce razor burn and post-shave irritation, and I'm happy to report that she was right. Now, instead of feeling like an inconvenient chore, shaving my legs feels like a luxurious experience. Now, I'm happy to spend a bit more time shaving my legs since the experience feels more elevated and my skin feels so silky and smooth when I'm done. So, for anyone who chooses to shave, I highly recommend giving this method a try.

How to shave with body oil:

Sephora

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Instead of going straight for the shave, Smith recommends using a dry brush or a body scrub first to loosen up hairs that are stuck underneath the dead skin cell layer, making shaving more effective. Dry brushing is the process of running a brush with stiff bristles over the body to physically exfoliate the skin and enhance blood flow and circulation. "If you want to do something nice for yourself that's going to be healthy for your whole body, do a full-body dry brush," Smith recommends. To do this, sweep the dry brush in upward motions on your body towards your heart, avoiding sensitive areas like your breasts and face, and don't worry about doing it perfectly. "Even if you're not an expert massage therapist, you really can't mess it up," Smith says.

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While spreading a foamy cloud of shaving cream onto your legs can get messy, slathering body oil all over feels luxurious. Smith recommends massaging the body oil into wet skin to create an emulsion. Per her recommendation, I've been using the Hydrating Body Oil by Suki, which is made with sunflower and grapeseed oil. "Those are the ones that are thick enough to protect the skin and also reduce redness," Smith explains. The product is also high in antioxidants, which can brighten skin tone, so it leaves the skin glowing and looking healthier. If you're looking to shave your pubic area, Fur Oil is both dermatologically and gynecologically tested and formulated to be safe for your most sensitive places.

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With wet and oiled-up legs, you can now get to shaving. Since oil can build up a bit more than a shaving cream, Smith recommends wiping the razor on a towel between shaves to clean the blade and remove buildup. More than anything, it's important to keep your blades clean between shaves to keep bacteria from building up to prevent the risk of infection.

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Billie

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This step is optional because, like Smith promises, you won't have that raw feeling after shaving when you use an oil. However, if you have any areas that could use a little extra love (for me it's my knees), following up with some body butter or balm can lock in more moisture and keep every inch of your skin feeling extra smooth. Plus, it's an extra moment of indulgence with your body, and there's nothing wrong with that.

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