Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
Fess up: What mom doesn't save time in the winter by not shaving? But now we're in the hottest stretch of summer, when shorts and tank tops are lifesavers, so you've gotta do what you've gotta do. Here's our take on the various ways to get smooth skin:
- Shaving is still the quick and cheap route. To prevent nicks, shave at the end of your shower, when hair is softer and easier to cut. Smooth on shaving cream or gel (hair conditioner works in a pinch), then shave against the hair growth. For underarm hair (which grows in every direction), shave up, down, and side to side. For a smoother bikini shave, pull the skin taut to cut hair close to the root.
- Waxing is the long-lasting fix. It keeps hair away for up to six weeks. It's not pain-free, but then again, it's nothing like giving birth! Consider taking a pain reliever 30 minutes before you wax, or trying an over-the-counter topical pain reliever such as LMX Topical Anesthetic Cream, which numbs skin for up to an hour. (It's also recommended for babies before shots.)
- Depilatory (hair-removal) creams are a middle ground. You get really smooth skin with no pain, though you do have to battle the strong smell. It takes about 10 minutes for most products to work -- leaving them on longer than the suggested time can result in skin irritation. We like Sally Hansen's Spa Gel Hair Remover.
Is Waxing Hard?
If you have a certain amount of fearlessness (can you pull a Band-Aid off yourself without flinching?), wax-at-home kits, like Sally Hansen's Spa Wax Hair Removal Kit, can be worth trying. Start with skin that's thoroughly dry. Apply wax in the direction of hair growth, cover it with one of the included gauze strips, and press firmly. Then in one smooth, quick motion, remove the strip in the opposite direction. After, apply a calming gel. If your kit doesn't include one, try Brave Soldier Code Blue Cooling Aftershave and Afterwaxing Gel.
8 Great Shaving Products
1. Schick Intuition Razor
If you're traveling, lighten your load with this two-in-one razor-and-shaving-cream combo. When you wet the razor, it activates the attached shaving cream solid to produce a moisturizing lather.
2. Skintimate Moisturizing Shave Gel for Bikini and Underarms
It's a treat, specially formulated with soothing sunflower extract for shaving tender areas. It's also perfect if you've got sensitive skin.
3. Gillette Venus Divine Razor
The triple blade on this popular product produces an extremely close shave. The new "divine" version has an easy-to-grip handle for shaving hard-to-reach spots like the backs of your legs.
4. Oloff Beauty Rash Decision
Use this soothing balm made with tea tree oil to eliminate ingrown hairs, redness, and razor burn.
5. Bic Soleil Disposable Razor
You never need a refill for a take-and-toss shaver -- and this one comes in sunny shades to brighten your bathroom.
6. Aveeno Positively Smooth Shave Gel
This gentle oatmeal-enriched shave gel also contains soy, which slows the regrowth of hair, so you shave less often.
7. Noxzema Bikini Razors
These mini razors are specifically for the bikini line, which requires precision. A comb lifts long hair so it's easier to cut.
8. Gillette Satin Care Oceania Shave Gel
Nothing says summer like the smell of the ocean, and if you're not going to be beachside anytime soon, at least this gel's scent can give you the illusion.
The final secret to soft, smooth legs? Exfoliate several days after a shave, wax, or use of a hair-removal cream. You can make an ultra-effective body scrub with ingredients from your kitchen. Start with a palmful of salt or sugar (or fine-grain bath salts). Put them in a mixing bowl and add olive oil to make a thick paste. Then squeeze in the juice of half a lemon (citric acid is a great exfoliant) and rub the mixture into your skin before rinsing.
Originally published in American Baby magazine, July 2004.