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May 6, 2021 2:07 PM   Subscribe

How do I shave my legs?

I'm female with dark, thick hair and pale, fragile skin, and I bleed easily. I go through at least two disposable cheapo two-blade razors every time I shave my legs, even when scrupulously cleaning the blade between every stroke. I've tried the Gillette Mach 3, which is slightly better, but not economical. The store brand knockoff 3-blade razors are awful in my experience.

What's the state of the leg-shaving arts these days? Are the single-edged safety razors safe for leg shaving? What should I look into?
posted by MetaFilter World Peace to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (19 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I use the Schick Quattro (4 blades) and it's the first razor that doesn't irritate my skin at all or leave me with mottled skin/weird looking hair follicles after.
posted by Stoof at 2:11 PM on May 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I’m hoping others will have an answer to your question. I’d highly recommend laser hair removal for the future if it’s something you might consider. You will have to shave prior to treatments, but it’s a game changer.
posted by nathaole at 2:12 PM on May 6, 2021 [11 favorites]

I am a woman who is very pale with thick dark hair, and I use a safety razor for shaving my legs! I really like it. I have never cut myself, but it can't be a rush job, you do need to take your time and be a wee bit careful, use a nice shaving foam etc. It took me some time and practice to get used to. But I think it's a better shave, and I actually enjoy shaving now. Using disposable razors my legs would sting a bit and be a bit sensitive after shaving, and I don't get that any more.
posted by stillnocturnal at 2:14 PM on May 6, 2021

Best answer: Two blades? Oh my goodness, I'm a hairy lady and I use a Harry's razor which has at least five blades. I've tried all sorts of alternatives to shaving (sugaring was probably the best, waxing was eh and I wasn't impressed by the electric epilator), but for me the men's razors meant for the face last the longest, as many blades as they can fit on there. Plus, Harry's has replacement heads that you can order in bulk. Probably still costs more than you'd like, but in my experience it isn't worth it to cheap out on something you use regularly which can give you frustration and pain.
posted by theweasel at 2:15 PM on May 6, 2021 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Use an electric trimmer first if you've got weeks of hair built up. Then get in a hot shower to soften your skin. Use scentless men's shaving cream and a men's razor, 4-5 blades. Harry's works for me! (Safety razor is a closer shave but takes more time and care.) Blast the hair out of the blade with water after each stroke. Slow and steady, you gotta finesse it over bumpy spots if you don't want cuts. When you're done shaving turn down to lukewarm to close your pores. Step out, pat dry.

Now dip the razor blade in alcohol and let it air dry, this prevents bacterial buildup for your next shave. I can get multiple sessions off one blade this way. Soak a cotton ball with Tendskin and apply liberally over your newly shaved skin (you can make your own, it's cheaper, here's a recipe.) When the alcohol has dried off apply an unscented deodorant stick over that, I like Dove. Finally apply some lotion or coconut oil and then a thick layer of raw shea butter. Your skin will thank you and any nicks or razor bumps will be gone by morning!
posted by lloquat at 2:39 PM on May 6, 2021 [12 favorites]

I'm too clumsy to use Harry's after they added the trimming blade, but I like Venus sensitive blades (cheap isn't worth it for my hair/legs they clog cut and dull faster)
posted by platypus of the universe at 2:40 PM on May 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You and me have the same skin and hair. I spend way too much on the Schick Intuition because it's got the shaving lotion bit in the actual razor head. I'm pretty frugal about most things in life but shaving is just such a goddamned pain in the ass (and I don't like how it feels when leg hair gets all up in my socks and leggings so I'm gonna keep shaving my legs) that I don't mind paying any price for these. In fact, I found my old normal razor with a bunch of (new, nice, expensive) cartridges when I moved last year and figured might as well use these up, and honestly the experience of having to go back to the separate lotion and shave part was so terrible I just threw them out. I will never go back.

Things I like about the Intuition specifically:
lotion loaded into the cartridge
when the lotion is used up I change the cartridge, no guessing about are these blades dull yet
big, rubberized handle is easier to maneuver, no juggling or losing my grip
I have never cut myself once with this razor and I am neither graceful nor careful
they advertise it as "perfect for first-time shavers!" which is exactly the level of competence expectation I have for myself

They sell them in multipacks at Costco (online only) which is about as cheap as I've ever seen them sold.
posted by phunniemee at 2:44 PM on May 6, 2021 [3 favorites]

Oh and in my experience there's two kinds of nicks— some happen when you go over a spot too fast or at the wrong angle, and some happen because the blade is degraded and has a chip in it. If you find yourself taking out chunks even when you're being careful, toss the blade.

Another rule of thumb: the blade is too dull if you need more than one pass.
posted by lloquat at 2:50 PM on May 6, 2021

How smooth do you want your legs? I just use an electric trimmer on mine and it has made my life so much better. I have pale skin that is prone to cuts and very dark hair that is prone to becoming ingrown when I shave with a razor, and this method works well for me.
posted by twelve cent archie at 2:51 PM on May 6, 2021 [3 favorites]

I started using an epilator and it was amazing how quickly I decided I could live with hairy legs! Life's great.

I say that jokingly, but it's true. I never really found an acceptable solution to shaving, and epilation skips the needle barb stage of hairs growing out, which I discovered was a large part of my reason to shave subsequent times.
posted by rubah at 5:03 PM on May 6, 2021

I’m not a person who shaves their legs, but I shave my head and neck. The cheapo blades work well enough for me, but the game changer was Cremo shaving cream. It’s not a foam, it’s more like a lotion and my skin has never felt better. I buy it at Target, but I’m sure it’s available at lots of places.

Other things that help are shaving frequently-ish so I’m not dealing with much growth, standing in the hottest water I can stand before shaving, and exfoliating before shaving. I don’t really mess with any kind of aftershave, but do apply basic unscented Aveeno lotion after I’m dry.
posted by sacrifix at 5:03 PM on May 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

Seconding the Harry's recommend. Someone got my partner a gift set that he didn't end up using, so I stole it, and was very pleasantly surprised, to the point I ordered my own subscription. They last longer than any other razors have for me, and I tend to go 3-6 week intervals between shaving (meaning the razors have some serious work to do).
posted by aecorwin at 5:07 PM on May 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

I actually use Flamingo which I think is by the same people as Harry’s, just targeted at women. Not sure how much benefit that gives, but a major reason I am happy with them is that women’s blades are the *same price* as men’s. It’s 2$/blade at Harry’s, and 2$/blade at Flamingo. (Refreshing. Turns out painting something pink doesn’t magically make it more expensive. Well, actually the blades are white, but still.)
posted by nat at 5:17 PM on May 6, 2021 [4 favorites]

Cheap razors are awful--really one of those things where you'd think you could easily go inexpensive and not suffer, but you'd be wrong. You have to use the four- or five-blades. You can get them in bulk at Costco.
posted by praemunire at 7:36 PM on May 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

Probably something to that dipping in alcohol before letting the razor dry recommendation upthread. Alcohol evaporates much faster than water does, and anecdotally my razor cartridges (Gillette Venus, 3 blades) have lasted so much longer after moving to a state with really low humidity where towels dry within an hour of hanging them up next to the shower.
posted by deludingmyself at 8:46 PM on May 6, 2021

Best answer: I am you nine months ago. Dark hair, pale skin, bad at (and sick of) shaving. Turns out we’re the perfect candidate for laser hair treatment! So every four weeks I get zapped. I bought a package deal that I got for fifty percent off during covid and now I’m almost done. Super smooth and there is no hair to shave. I know you didn’t ask about this but the results are good enough that I’m risking annoying you, not answering your question because I want to save you the endless hassle. If it’s at all possible, zap it right off.
posted by Jubey at 9:00 PM on May 6, 2021 [4 favorites]

Gilette 4 or 5 blade cartridges... they're spendy but they work well without tearing up your skin
posted by kokaku at 3:54 AM on May 7, 2021

I really like my Billie.
posted by thivaia at 8:08 AM on May 7, 2021 [2 favorites]

I just wanted to second sacrifix's suggestion. I used to shave my legs without using shaving cream because I hated the fluffy shaving creams that seemed to do more harm than good, and I had resigned myself to permanent awful razor burn. Cremo is more like a thin lotion that creates a thin slippery layer over the skin. You use hot water to get your legs good and warm, then put a pea-sized amount of Cremo on and rub it until it starts to get a couple of very small bubbles. Honesty, I have been using the same rather dull razor with 3 blades for a year because Cremo works that well at protecting the skin.
posted by past unusual at 8:34 AM on May 7, 2021

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