A few people out there believe that women should be hairless from the eyebrows down. I happen to be one of those people. If you love being hairy, that’s cool. Embrace it. You do you. But to me, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as walking out of the shower with silky smooth, hairless skin. I feel light and clean, and more importantly, I can lie on my couch at the end of the day in whatever un-ladylike position I want without offending my roommate’s eyes. But with a hairless lifestyle comes great responsibility.
When you shave as much as I do, you’re prone to things like razor burn, ingrown hairs, and– perhaps the most embarrassing symptom of excessive shaving– itchiness. Some people just deal with it, but I’m tired of sitting down in a board meeting at work and trying to nonchalantly scratch my underarms while praying that the CEO of my company doesn’t notice. Luckily, there is a way to stop this torture. The truth is, itchiness after shaving is just a result of razor burn, ingrown hairs, and general skin irritation. So the solution is to stop those things in order to stop the itching.
First, exfoliate your skin on a regular basis. Any exfoliating shower scrub or body wash will do, or just use a loofa and some soap. This will rid your skin of dead or dying cells, making it easier for the razor to cut your hair and not your skin. Exfoliating too much can be irritating to your skin, so don’t overdo it. Once a day should be fine. Cleansing the skin before shaving also helps to eliminate bacteria, which can cause further irritation and itchiness.
Even if you do not shave after exfoliating, always use a daily moisturizer. No matter what area of the body you are working on– underarms, legs, face, etc.– keeping your skin hydrated is key. For underarms, use a moisturizing deodorant (solids usually work better than gels).
When you are ready to shave, first soak your skin in warm water for a few minutes to soften everything up. Apply shaving cream in the opposite direction of the hair growth; this allows the hair to stand up away from the skin, making it easier for the razor to cut a close shave. Shaving cream also helps to moisturize and protect your skin from irritation. Avoid shaving creams and other skin products that have high alcohol contents or too many fragrances. These can be drying and contribute to itchiness. Many people also have frequent mild allergic reactions to fragrances, so if your skin is easily irritated you should avoid these like you avoid making eye contact with your ex-boyfriend at your hometown bar the night before Thanksgiving.
Make sure your razor has multiple blades and isn’t rusty. Dull, rusty blades usually cause you to apply extra pressure when shaving, making you more prone to nicks and ingrown hairs, which leave your skin sore and later itchy. When you’re finished shaving, rinse off all of the extra shaving cream and pat the skin dry. Try to avoid rubbing your skin with a towel, as that can cause unnecessary redness. Use a moisturizing lotion or oils, and apply an aftershave or anti-bump serum. These will all help prevent dryness and redness. If you do experience itching, try not to scratch it. I know, it’s tough, but it will only get worse. If the itching is unbearable, use hydrocortisone or another fragrance-free anti-itch cream. Don’t shave until the irritation subsides, and then scroll back up to paragraph three, and try again.