The Secret To A Super-Close Shave

Photographed by Brayden Olson.
There are a lot of opinions about the order of things when it comes to your beauty routine — whether it's conditioning before you shampoo or exfoliating in the morning or at night. So I wasn't surprised when my friends started debating the topic of exfoliating and shaving. One claimed she exfoliated before she shaved her legs. The other said she did it after. And me? I told them they were both crazy — that scrubbing the same day you shave is insane because your razor is already doing the exfoliating for you.
Turns out, I was kind of off base. Hey, it's good to get knocked off your high horse sometimes.
According to Rachel Sharoff, a licensed aesthetician at Skintology Skin and Laser Center in NYC, shaving does, in fact, exfoliate skin. "Shaving is a form of physical exfoliation…that imposes constant stress on the skin," she says. "Razor bumps, ingrown hairs, razor burn, and inflammation are just some of the visible signs of trauma that the skin endures when a razor is used." The main culprit is pressing a little too hard with your razor, which people tend to do when they're looking for an extra-close shave.
But it turns out that the secret to a close shave isn't just up to your razor — it's exfoliating before you shave. "It gets rid of all the dead skin cells that could clog up your razor," Sharoff says. Those clogs prevent your razor from getting up close and personal with your legs, which means you wind up pressing harder, causing irritation. See this vicious cycle?
Sharoff says that dry brushing before you shower, or using exfoliating gloves or a cloth in the shower are your best bets. Stay away from salt, sand, or coffee-grind exfoliants on the same day you shave; they can create tiny cuts in your skin, which is already bound to get nicked while you shave.
So, hat in hand, I let friend A know that she was correct in her exfoliate-then-shave routine. And, since picking up this process, I'm happy to report that my legs have never been smoother. Now, only if the weather would warm up a bit so they could actually see the light of day.

More from Skin Care

Forget freaks and vampires: When it comes to beauty rituals, it’s our inner princesses who come out at night. It’s then that we languidly soak in tubs of ...
You always want what you can’t have — especially when it comes to beauty products. That’s why we’re getting the inside scoop from your favorite retailers ...
We know that our cell phones aren’t always good for us. Tech neck, sleep disturbances, eye strain — all actual health concerns. And of course, not cleaning...
(Paid Content) Finding a skin-care regimen that keeps skin clear without drying it out isn't easy. Don’t you worry — we’ve got you on this one. Together ...
What do you call a price increase that goes from around $240 to nearly $10,000? Words like strange, confusing, and even exploitative may come to mind. ...
Dry, scaly skin can be kind of a nightmare no matter what the season. So, in the spirit of smoother, ultra-hydrated skin, we put together a list of our ...
When it comes to pretty much, well, everything, it’s no secret that millennials expect swift service, same-day delivery, and overall efficiency. Our need ...
(Paid Content) If achieving clear, glowing, incredible skin were as easy as slathering on a single cream, we’d be the first in line to scoop it up. But ...
Since we’re all well aware of the dangers of tanning beds — and too much time in natural sunlight sans SPF — self-tanners are the perfect solution when the...
This isn't news to anyone, but I feel it bears repeating: Acne scars suck. Anyone who has suffered from post-pimple hyperpigmentation knows this truth to ...
We’ve all seen the studies about why sleep is so important — a full eight hours keeps our bodies and brains more fit, happy, and focused. As it turns out, ...
The moment when you suddenly realize you're an adult can come amid a seemingly random activity — depositing money in your newly formed 401k, making dinner ...
For a long time, the word "peel" meant one of two things in the beauty world: a) You've spent too much time in the sun sans sunscreen and are now suffering...
The first time I ever experienced ultrasound during a facial was around six months ago, on aesthetician Mashell Tabe's table. She coated my skin in a ...