UNLESS YOU PLAN on wearing maxi-dresses or capris every day until September, summertime means bare legs. In this two-part mini-series, I’m going to show you how to shave your legs so they stay hair-free for as long as possible, but still wonderfully hydrated and supple; and next time we’ll get into self-tanning, which is a hot weather must.
Shaving properly is an art. I’ve gathered several new products that will make that chore less chorey and speed things up smoothly and nick-free. You’ll almost – almost – look forward to it.
I’ve also asked two of my favorite skin experts to weigh in: dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman, spokesperson for the American Academy of Dermatology; and celebrity aesthetician Renée Rouleau, whose products and 25 years of experience have rocked my and many others skins’ worlds.
Shave your legs at the end of your shower or bath. The reason, explains Jaliman, is that “When the hairs are hydrated, they’re easier to remove.”
Use a new or sharp razor with a shaving strip so it will glide, Jaliman says, otherwise, you risk irritation and — the worst — ingrown hairs.
The best new razor I’ve tried is the BIC Soleil Glow ($7.99 for a pack of three). This one really deserves its own little love sonnet. Ergonomic shape, pivoting head, lubricating strip with Vitamin E and aloe, three flexible blades and a rubber handle for grip. Plus, its wide head covers more land mass in one fell swoop. It feels like painless lawn mowing in five minutes.
Use a gel or cream, not soap or foam, says Rouleau. “A gel creates excellent slip, softens and lubricates the skin, and puts a protective barrier between the razor and skin, so the end result is a clean shave with less irritation. Foams have too much air in them so they don’t really protect the skin.”
In other words, you don’t want lather. Not for shaving. These products are my favorites:
Philosophy Razor Sharp Extra-Close Shaving Gel ($18). David Hockney swimming pool blue, this extra-slidey silicone gel gives you slick-smooth results every time. Tread lightly with your sharp razor; this gel gets thisclose.
Shaveworks Pearl Soufflé Shave Cream ($22). Beautifully scented with lavender, ginger and vanilla, this rich cream contains capislow, a hair growth inhibitor; phytic and glycolic acids to exfoliate and reduce ingrown hairs; and something called mediacalm complex, to moisturize and calm. Also awesome, part of the proceeds of its sales goes to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Avalon Organics® Moisturizing Cream Shave in Peppermint ($8.50). For green gals, this is heaven sent, with at least 70 percent organic ingredients. Refreshing peppermint essential oil wakes you up, and fruit and flower oils combined with Beta-Glucan leave skin nourished, silky and happy.
First Aid Beauty F•A•B Smooth Shave Cream Fab * Legs ($16.50). If you’re the sensitive type, nothing beats this antioxidant-, oil-infused cream. With coconut oil, aloe leaf juice, Argan kernel oil, tea tree leaf oil, soybean oil and chrysanthemum flower extract. You’ll never go back.
If you’re prone to ingrowns, Rouleau recommends exfoliating the skin, especially around the bikini area, to ensure the hair can come out cleanly: “I apply a thin coat of an exfoliating serum with glycolic acid followed by body lotion right after I get out of the shower. The acid serum will start to dissolve surface dead skin cells that can cause hairs to become trapped under the skin.”
Moisturize immediately after shaving, when skin is warm and damp, as well as every day. “Use a moisturizer with glycolic or lactic acid,” Jaliman says. “This will help to moisturize the skin. Also look for other ingredients such as shea butter or hyaluronic acid.” Avoid glycolic and lactic acids.
Don’t worry about remembering all that medical stuff. The following sting-free, un-greasy, luxurious lotions and body butter will all instantly turn your skin into a pampered baby’s:
Tata Harper Fortifying Body Lotion ($68). Pricey, yes. But I can justify. This hardworking, antiaging lotion not only hydrates, tones and firms, it also helps reduce the appearance of spider veins and minimizes cellulite. How? With aloe leaf juice, avocado oil, olive oil, Argan kernel oil, coconut oil, apricot kernel oil, grape seed oil, among many other corrective and fragrant ingredients.
La Roche-Posay Lipikar Lait Lipid-Replenishing Body Milk ($39.99). Paraben-free, this shea butter-enriched French cult classic is ideal for sensitive, extra-dry, super-tight skins. Smells clean and pure. Je l’adore.
Lierac Paris Hydra-Body Lait Sublime Lotion Perfect Hydration ($28). Frenchies really understand the body and femininity. Lierac’s rosebud pink lotion provides 24-hour antioxidant action, hydration and elasticity thanks to coconut water (directly revitalizing); rose milk, litchi and raspberry extracts (high in phospholipids and Vitamin C) and shea butter (rich in fatty acids and Vitamins A, D, E, and F).
Kat Burki Raw Beauty Body Butter ($62). Again, pricey. But you’ll want to put your whole body into this decadent jar of botanical love. The creamy yet light “butter” is composed of an organic herb blend combined with aloe, sunflower oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter, beeswax, jojoba oil, evening primrose oil, rose hip oil, Vitamin B5, lavender, calendula, chamomile, grape seed oil and macadamia nut oil. To die for.
Oh, and it’s Kosher.
Worst case, buy it as a hostess gift. They’ll let you linger in their beach cottage until Christmas. Maybe even New Year’s.
— Gigi Anders