How To Shave Your Legs: A Guide for First Timers
There comes a time in every cyclist’s life where they are going to think about shaving their legs.
You will probably think about it too. Even if you don’t plan to actually shave your legs, you have to wonder why some cyclists do it. But if you do want to shave your legs, you have to ask yourself, “now how exactly do I do this?”
Just look at your legs – they are definitely not your face! You can’t just walk up to a mirror, grab your razor, and go. If you are shaving your legs for the first time, there is a lot to do! But don’t worry, just follow the simple steps below and you’ll have silky smooth legs for your next ride!
What you will need:
- Electric shaver, such as the one I use from Conair
- Razor, such as a Gillette Mach3
- Shaving cream or bodywash, like Edge Gel
- A bathroom, tub, and water bucket
- Old newspapers
- Aftershave balm or skin lotion, like this
How to Shave Your Legs Instructional Video
Or read these detailed instructions:
Part 1: Overcoming Doubts About Shaving Your Legs
You might be worried about shaving your legs, but there’s nothing to be worried about. Sure, people will look at you funny and talk about you behind your back, but in reality they are just jealous of your bulging calf muscles! And anyone that would run you off the road because of hairless legs would probably try to run you off the road just for being on a bicycle.
But on a serious note, what if you want your hair back? Don’t worry, this is far from permanent – your hair grows back fairly fast. And it grows back in just as it was before. Contrary to popular belief, your hair will NOT get thicker and darker because you shaved it. That’s a common misconception, but completely false.
Part 2: Get Rid of the Fuzz
The first thing we need to do is reduce the hair to a manageable level. The ideal way to do this is with an electric shaver (or hair clippers.)
I like to do this on the bathroom floor, and I put some newspaper down to collect the hair. It makes cleanup a lot faster and easier.
Then you just sit on the newspapers and run the clippers up and down your legs, brushing off the long, fuzzy hair. Use long, smooth strokes and go against the grain for a close shave.
It’s hard to cut yourself with hair clippers, but if you press the blades straight down or just push at a weird angle, you can draw blood. So be careful, even with these!
When you’re done, your legs should be relatively hairless, except for some stubble. Yes, they will look funny!
Part 3: Lather Up
Now it’s time to get into the real shaving… with your blade.
Personally I use the Gillette Mach 3 on my face and on my legs. Don’t be fooled by those pink girls razors that are made for leg shaving – they don’t cut as well as a mens razor. I almost bought one, but the girls I have asked prefer to use a mens razor.
So grab your razor and some shaving cream, and take a seat on the side of your bath tub. The shower works, too, but it’s much easier to shave your legs while seated! (Shaving your legs in the shower is like juggling knives while standing on a stability ball – it takes practice and balance.)
Now wet your legs with warm water (or take a bath beforehand) and lather up with shaving cream or a liquid bodywash. I actually prefer bodywash when shaving my legs, but shaving cream is fine. I also split this into four parts – lower left leg, upper left leg, lower right leg, and upper right leg. I lather and shave each section before moving on to the next one so that I’m always working with freshly lathered shaving cream.
Part 4: Shave The Stubble
OK, by this point your leg hair has been reduced to stubble, your leg is lathered up with shaving cream, and you have a razor in hand. Now you can shave, just like you shave your face.
Keep these tips in mind:
- Use long, smooth strokes.
- Don’t shave the same spot twice.
- Do not press down on the razor. Let it glide across your skin.
- Shaving against the grain will give you a closer shave.
- Be very careful around your knee and ankle (and any other bony or oddly shaped surfaces.)
When I shave my calves, I use long strokes going up my leg, which is going against the grain. This gives me a nice close shave. (And by long strokes, I mean that each stroke goes from my ankle to just below my knee.)
After each stroke, I rinse my razor in water to clean it out. I like to rinse it in a little plastic bucket filled with warm water because there will be a lot of hair packed in there!
Next, I will do my knee. This is very tricky and I usually go in about 10 different directions, using short strokes. Just be careful because your knee is bumpy and very easy to cut open.
Finally, I will do my quads and hamstrings. My upper leg is a little more sensitive, so I prefer to shave with the grain (i.e. down towards my knee) to avoid irritation. Otherwise you can follow the same procedure as you used on your calves.
Then move on to your other leg and repeat.
When you’re done, rub your fingers all around your legs to see if you missed any spots. Sometimes a few hairs around your ankles or behind your knee hide the first time around!
Part 5: Soothing Your Skin – Rinse and Aftershave
Once you have completed the shaving, you’ll need to rinse off any excess shaving cream and hair. I do this by filling my little bucket with cold water and pouring it over my legs (while standing in the tub.) The cold water is important because it will help soothe your skin.
Next, pat your legs dry with a towel. And I do mean “pat them dry” – vigorously rubbing them with the towel will cause needless irritation. They should still be moist when you are done.
Then get a handful of aftershave balm or a nice skin lotion and rub that all over both legs. That should feel good!
Part 6: Show Off!
Congratulations, you are done! And you should have silky smooth legs! (If you cut yourself a few times, don’t worry, that’s typical.)
Now you should show off your silky smooth legs to all your friends! Well, maybe only to your cycling friends, because everyone else will laugh at you…
But you can still take pride in your legs when you slide into your spandex! And enjoy the newfound sensation of air moving over your legs, not to mention the up-close feeling of your bed sheets!