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The Top 6 Shaving Tips for Softer, Smoother Skin

A pink razor; a black-handled shaving brush; a razor in a razor holder above a sink
Billie/Omega/Luckyiren

Tired of dry, irritated skin and bumpy shaves? Just a few simple tips can help to save your skin and improve your shave!

It’s easy to just push shaving aside as something to do with as little fuss as possible, but a rushed approach can cost your skin. You don’t need an elaborate routine and a ton of expensive products—just a few quality items and helpful tips. Follow this easy advice for a close, smooth shave and softer, healthier skin!

Never Dry Shave

It’s tempting to just quickly run your razor over your skin with just the water from your shower, but don’t it! It’s a surefire way to irritate your skin, and you won’t even get a close shave out of it. The same goes for shaving as the first step in your shower, rather than the last.

Instead, shave at the end of your shower, using plenty of shaving cream. By that point, the warm water from your shower will have softened and relaxed the skin to make it easier to shave closely and smoothly.

Exfoliate First

For extra-soft skin, exfoliation should be part of your skin and body care routine. By exfoliating before you shave, you’re getting rid of the dead skin cells at the surface. That way, you can get a smoother and closer shave instead of a bumpy one with cuts and nicks.

The key is to exfoliate at the right time. Avoid gritty, physical scrubs, because there’s a chance that the combination of exfoliation and running a razor over your skin could irritate. Instead, reach for a gentle wash that includes a chemical exfoliant to help loosen and lift away dead skin cells. Consider a body wash like the CeraVe SA Body Wash, which includes salicylic acid (also known as BHA) to gently exfoliate the skin without causing irritation.

Use a Razor with Multiple Blades

Close-up of a multi-blade pink razor; two women wearing swimsuits
Billie

A basic, disposable razor typically only has one blade, which means it’s harder to get those tricky spots and doesn’t follow the contours of your skin. Better blades mean a closer shave with less pressure, which in turn leads to softer skin and fewer nicks.

Look for a razor that has multiple blades and an ergonomic, contoured design—it’s better for your shave and better for your skin. Extra points for a razor that has removable heads, rather than having to toss out the whole razor each time!

One option that has all this and more is the Billie Razor Starter Kit. The razor itself has a five-blade head for optimal shaving, with a “cushion” of shave soap surrounding the blades for extra-smooth gliding and gentleness on the skin.

The kit comes with an extra replacement head, and the handle itself is designed for a no-slip, secure grip, with a magnetic holder to allow it to dry evenly after use.

Use Shaving Cream, Not Soap

Using your regular soap or body wash is fine if you’re out or cutting costs, but the properties of soap that help strip away impurities also can dry and irritate the skin. As you might guess, that is exactly what you don’t want when running a blade over your skin! If you don’t want to use shaving cream, a mild face cleanser or even hair conditioner can do the trick.

You don’t have to break the bank with a fancy product just for shaving. Something simple and affordable will work just fine, like the Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Smooth Shave Gel. This gel, formulated with natural soy extract, helps to keep the skin soft and smooth for a gentle, easy glide of the razor. It’s great for even sensitive skin!

Lather with a Brush

A shaving brush with a black handle; a white tub of semi-soft shaving soap
Omega/Proraso

You’ll be surprised what a difference it can make to actually lather with a brush rather than just your hands. Using a wet brush with your favorite shaving cream provides a better lather for the razor to glide through. Plus, it gently softens the skin and helps to lift the hairs on your skin, making it easier for the razor to catch them and shave smoothly. The shave brush not only helps to physically lather and lift, but also introduces extra moisture into the lather, reducing the likelihood of post-shave irritation.

If you’re just starting out with using a shaving brush, you don’t have to invest in a top-notch sable brush right away. Try starting out with a quality, affordable boar hair brush like the Omega Pure Bristle 10049 Shaving Brush. For under $15, you get a brush that’s easy to grip and effortlessly works up a lather with slightly stiff bristles.

For those who shave in the shower—especially legs—it can be a hassle to have shaving soap that has to be lathered up in a shaving bowl. Instead, try a semi-soft soap that already comes in a bowl, like the Proraso Shaving Soap in a Bowl. All you have to do is whip the wet brush around the ready-made bowl, then lather it right on the skin.

Rinse with Cold Water

Yep, the temperature of your water really does make a difference! Using warm water earlier helps to soften the skin and hair to make it easier to shave, but for rinsing, cooler water is the way to go. By rinsing with cool or cold water, it helps to close up your pores to avoid sensitivity and irritation afterward.

Use a Razor Holder

A razor holder next to a sink.
Luckyiren

You might be used to just setting your razor down on a shelf in your shower, but you could actually be hurting your skin. Get a razor holder to allow the blades to dry all the way around, instead of sitting it on a shelf and the water pooling around it. This way, you can avoid the formation of rust and rough blades that can irritate your skin.

You can either choose a razor that comes with its own holder (like the Billie model mentioned earlier) or snag a basic holder on its own. Try a sturdy holder with a strong adhesive like the Luckyiren Razor Holder. Make from rust-resistant stainless steel, it’s designed with a two-prong “scoop” design to keep your razor steady and allow water to drip and evaporate away without the risk of rust or dull blades.


It’s important (and easy) to take good care of your skin through every step of your routine! After shaving, be sure to apply your favorite gentle moisturizer to lock in hydration and keep your skin healthy and glowing.

Amanda Prahl Amanda Prahl
Amanda Prahl is a freelance contributor to LifeSavvy. She has an MFA in dramatic writing, a BA in literature, and is a former faculty associate focusing on writing craft and history. Her articles have appeared on HowlRound, Slate, Bustle, BroadwayWorld, and ThoughtCo, among others. Read Full Bio »

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