It’s spring. That means it’s time to get those gorgeous gams you’ve been working on all winter out of hiding and into the fresh air. It also means you can no longer hide those hairy legs under pants.
We all, at one time or another, have experienced what I like to call the “Ginsu shave” (named after the famous Ginsu knife—remember those commercials?). This is where you hack quickly at your legs with your razor in your rush to head out the door. Ultimately you end up nicking something and the bleeding begins. This is followed by the uncomfortable toilet paper wad trick, which ultimately results in you wearing TP on your leg as you rush out the front door. As if that’s not enough you end up circling the block of the party you were going to praying the bleeding will stop so you can remove the tissue paper. Officially more than fashionably late you finally get out of your car and still feel mostly fabulous in your short shorts and straw platform shoes until someone remarks, “what ever did you do to your shin?”
I am here to save you from ever having this experience again.
The art of shaving dates back to our earliest civilizations with images on cave walls of individuals shaving with flint, shark teeth, obsidian and shells. Ancient tombs in Egypt have been found to have gold and copper razors. It is also a known fact that in the 4th century BCE Alexander the Great strongly promoted shaving to avoid beard-grabbing in combat. His shaving was done by using a novacila, which is a block of iron with a sharp edge. Ow…and I thought it was bad when my mother gave me the Epilady as my first razor. Thank you, Mom.
The razor as we know it didn’t come into existence until 1762, but it took until 1828 to catch on in England. In 1847 William Henson invented the hoe-shape razor which you still commonly see today, and in 1895 King Camp Gillette, a traveling salesman, had the idea to create a disposable double edged blade which he combined with the hoe shape. Voila! The razor, as you know it in grocery store aisles of America, was born.
So point is… be grateful we have razors, you could be shaving with seashells.
Now on to how to shave. In particular I want to give special attention to the knees, which tend to be an area where things go horribly awry, but let’s begin with the legs in general.
A few shaving tips
- You will absolutely get the best shave with a new blade. Change your blade frequently.
- If you need to “dry shave,” use an aloe-based gel.
- Always rinse your blade, preferably between swipes.
- There is essentially no difference between razors marketed to men and women other than handle length.
- A body scrub is an excellent way to exfoliate before shaving.
- Don’t forget to shave your toes and feet, because no one wants to curl up to a wookie.
- Please remember to wash out the tub.
- Do not use cold water to shave. It closes the follicles and you are more likely to cut yourself.
- Be careful around cuts, bruises, wounds etc.
- If you get razor burn—do not under any circumstances put a scented lotion on it. Aloe or honey is best.
- Do not under any circumstances let anyone else use your razor. Not your mother, brother or lover.
- Go slowly! Don’t Ginsu Shave!
How to shave your legs
1. Get supplies—consider products from the new fantastic line of Rasamaya Natural Spa products. The line is as organic and vegan as possible, of excellent quality and currently exclusively for sale at Rasamaya Studios. Particularly lovely for the shaving ritual is the “You’re the Bee’s Knees” line of Honey Body Polish, Aloe Honey Shaving Gel, and Wild Oat & Honey Lotion.
2. Identify what area of your bath or tub you may need to hoist your leg onto if necessary to reach those not-so-easy parts.
3. Get in the bath or shower—give your legs a minute to warm up, which will allow you and the hair follicles to relax. Exfoliate with your favorite body scrub.
4. Lather on shaving gel or cream on the lower leg. Please, for your own sake, don’t use commercial products from the grocery store. They are often dehydrating and what you put on your body matters as much as what you put in it.
5. Start at the ankle, slide the razor carefully up the legs to the knee very lightly. Elevate your foot or leg if necessary for reach. Using a cream or gel will help you identify where you have already shaved. Rinse your razor between each swipe.
6. Skip knees. Always do them last when your hand is steady and you are feeling ready.
7. Lather up your thigh and shave all the way, front to back. If necessary carefully place your leg somewhere on the wall, or tub where you can get to the back of your thigh (and your undercarriage should you so desire—be careful!).
8. Time for the knees. Put gel or cream on your knees. Start shaving on the sides of the kneecap vertically and then work gently into the middle. As you move to the middle work in a horizontal direction over the kneecap with very small light strokes. Move carefully and slowly.
9. Dry off and apply lotion liberally.