So, this seems like a silly post: how hard can shaving your legs be? Well, it turns out shaving your legs is easy, but keeping your legs comfortable after shaving takes a few more steps.
Trans women usually have hairier legs than cis women (at least to start), and the leg hair is also coarser. So some things you saw your mom or sister do when shaving their legs won’t work or will cause more irritation for you.
Here are a few of the tips I learned to keep my legs happy and looking great.
Tip 1: Get a good razor
So, two things: don’t use a razor for your beard on your legs, and two, don’t use a cheap razor. Beard razors are shaped differently and make it way easier to cut your legs while shaving. Cheap disposable razors might seem appealing, but they also will tend to cause nicks, as well as generally irritate the skin.
So do yourself a favor and invest in a good razor. I really like the Gillette Venus Platinum razor – it’s got a hefty metal handle so its easy to hold, and the blades last a fairly long time (weeks not days) before needing a new cartridge.
Tip 2: Shave with gel, not soap
It may seem appealing to shave with soap, and lots of women do, but its a recipe for unhappy legs. First, you likely have more hair on your legs than most other women, and it is coarser. Soap doesn’t provide much protection for your skin from the razor, so you’re going to end up with a lot more irritation using soap. Each little hair follicle has a bump around it, and this is what gets irritated when you shave. A good shaving gel protects these little bumps, meaning you get a lot less irritation, ingrown hairs, etc.
Second, soap is going to remove more oil from your skin, especially as it sits while you shave. Using a gel will help keep your skin hydrated.
I like the Gillette Satin Care Extra Sensitive shaving gel. It doesn’t have a strong scent, goes on easily and washes off cleanly.
Tip 3: Shave every other day
As appealing as shaving every day may seem at first (it feels great!), its better for your skin, and your schedule, to shave every other day. As you get farther along in your transition, you’ll notice your hairs get finer and sparser, so you won’t feel the stubble after a day nearly as much.
Tip 4: Treat and moisturize after shaving
When I started shaving my legs regularly, I struggled a lot with razor burn and ingrown hairs. It took me a while to figure out how important using an ‘after-shave’ and moisturizing lotion are to keep your legs from burning all day.
So the first thing you should do, right after you get out of the shower, is apply an after shave ointment. I love the Skin Tight brand – it stings a bit, but immediately makes my legs feel better and eliminates bumps and ingrown hairs. Put it all over your legs, but pay special attention to your inner thighs and bikini areas.
Next, you’ll need a moisturizer. The process of shaving removes the top layer of oils from your skin, so a good moisturizer will add those back and make your legs feel extra soft and silky smooth. I like a good fragrance free, light moisturizer – currently I use Aveeno’s Fragrance Free for Sensitive Skin lotion.
What shaving tips do you find make things easier? Let me know in the comments.