It was this time last year that my legs mysteriously broke out in an allergic reaction to a change in my choice of razor. The open sores covered my calves - and after visiting my dermatologist, was told that the residual scarring would take anywhere up to 16 months to heal.
Over the past few months, I've perfected a 'leg' care regimen, if you will, that leaves my legs looking and feeling smooth. Also, over time, these techniques have sped up my healing, and my legs are looking better every day.
Okay - so what do you need to get my shiny smooth legs?
- An exfoliator. I use St. Ives Apricot Scrub - the one in the big tub.
- A can of shaving cream. I use Skintimate Tropical Splash Moisturizing Shave Gel.
- A razor. I use Schick Quattro for Women Trimstyle with the Sensitive razor heads.
- A towel.
- A moisturizer/lotion. I switch between two lotions: Aveeno Skin Relief Moisturizing Lotion with Soothing Oat Essence, or Cetaphil Restoraderm Moisturizing Lotion.
Step Uno: Get some water running.
Personally, I prefer to shave my legs in the bath tub, but you might like to shave them in the shower. Others still might like to shave them in the sink or under the garden hose - whatever your preference, find a body of water and get your legs wet.
Step Dos: Exfoliate.
Exfoliation is key to sloughing off the dead skin that sits on top of your legs. By taking off the dead skin, you will reveal the brighter, newer skin underneath, and it will give you that healthy glow and shine you want from your legs after you shave.
I exfoliate before I shave to prevent my razor from getting clogged with dry skin and causing me to replace it more frequently. In addition, I feel that exfoliating before you shave exposes a little more of the hair that would've been hidden underneath the layer of dead skin, giving you a closer, smoother shave.
Step Tres: Lather up!
After exfoliating, if you chose to do it first, you will need to lather up your legs. This will help you obtain the closest shave possible and prevent razor burn and/or nicks. Some shaving creams, gels and foams, moisturize the skin too, leaving it silky and smooth after you shave all the hair off.
I prefer using a shaving gel which lathers into a foam, as I find it gives me the closest shave possible. You can use bar soap, shaving cream, even conditioner.
Step Cuatro: Hack the hair down.
It's time to shave. Make sure your razor blade(s) is sharp. If the razor drags, tugs or skips across your skin as you're shaving - it's too dull to be using. Chuck it out and get a new one - dull razor blades can give you nicks or burns. Also, I like to use razors with oodles of blades - four or more blades gives me the closest (and longest lasting!) shave, but you need to find what works best for you.
I shave the bottom half of the calf first, and then the top half to just above the knee. I don't shave my thighs because my hair is fine and blonde, not very noticeable, and I never wear anything short enough to expose my thighs anyways. If you want to shave higher - have at 'er!
*If you didn't before you started shaving, you'll want to exfoliate now. Note: don't exfoliate twice - this could cause irritation and redness, not a very flattering look on most...*
Step Cinco: Rinse and towel off.
Rinse your legs off. Finish showering. Finish your bubble bath. Turn off the garden hose. And towel dry your legs off - use a patting motion instead of a swiping one to absorb the water, this helps your legs retain more moisture, making them softer.
Step Seis: Slather on the good stuff.
Moisturize. It's very important that you keep your skin hydrated and moisturized to keep them shiny, smooth and healthy. After towel drying my legs, I apply a lotion to lock in the moisture and keep them smooth all day long.
Usually, I apply moisturizer every time I get out of the shower or tub, just to keep my skin extra moisturized and protected from dryness.
Step Siete: Show them off!!!
These are my steps for shaving. Some might think that exfoliation is not an important step, but it is, especially if you have scarring or dull skin. It makes your newer skin visible and helps reduce the appearance of scars. I would not recommend this step, however, if you have extremely sensitive skin, or a lot of open wounds. The exfoliating could further aggravate your condition and give you the opposite effect.
I shave about once a week, or once every two weeks if I'm super busy (hello exam time and bushman legs). Fortunately, my husband doesn't seem to mind too much - and my hair grows out blonde anyways, so it's not an eyesore when I do decide to wear [leg] revealing clothing.
Top off your sexy legs with some red nailpolish (in time with the season - I love Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear in Cherry Red).
I wish smooth, shiny legs for you all - especially during this holiday season!