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These Shaving Tricks Will Legit Keep Hair From Growing Back

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Stubble is definitely in the "top five things that are super annoying to deal with" category.

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No matter what part of the body you’re shaving, it takes a bit of time to do, which is why it’s so frustrating when you run your hand over the area the next day and feel prickles. Unfortunately, there’s no shaving-hack that will slow down the rate of your hair growth, but there are some shaving tricks to keep hair from growing back (seemingly overnight) that you can try. They’re worth a shot because if nothing else, you’ll at least be left with healthy glowing skin after trying them.

“All hair on our body grows at a rate of about one centimeter per month, and there’s little you can do to change that rate of growth,” San Antonio dermatologist Dr. Jennifer Krejci, MD, FAAD, tells Romper in an email. She explains that even plucking your body hair doesn’t actually slow down the regrowth process, it just gives it a different starting point. “Plucking hair from the root or using depilatory creams will create the illusion that the hair is slower to grow back because the growth is starting a few millimeters below the surface of the skin. Whereas shaving occurs at the surface level so as soon as regrowth begins, you feel the prickly ends on your skin.”

If you’re not interested in getting your body hair waxed or removed via laser, in order to make your shaves last longer you’ll need to focus on getting the closest shave possible so that the hairs have to grow a little while longer before they become noticeable to you. Here are some ways to do that.

1

Soak In Warm Water

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Convenience isn’t the only reason to shave during your showers or baths; the warm water actually helps prep the skin for a better shave. “If you’re trying to maximize your shaving techniques, you should first get the skin warm and softened by soaking in warm water for a few minutes before you shave,” says Dr. Krejci. Basically, enjoy spending a couple of extra minutes letting the water just run down your body in the shower before you get to work on shaving.

2

Gel The Right Razor & Keep It Fresh

You’re going to get your closest, healthiest shave if you’re using a good, fresh razor. You have two options: safety razors or cartridge razors, and Kristie Buchanan from The Executive Shaving Company strongly advocates for safety razors. “There are many benefits to using a safety razor,” she says, “it’s cheaper in the long run, kinder to the planet, and kinder to your skin.” She further explains that while cartridge razors give you a closer shave, they’re also more likely to cause irritation, which Dr. Krejci backs up. “It’s true one with a guard is safer and gentler to the skin but it won’t give you as close of a shave,” she says, “that’s really the trade off, gentler to the skin versus closer shave but possibly traumatic [to the skin].”

For the best shave possible, make sure you’re regularly changing out the blade, too. “Blades need to be changed every eight to 10 shaves for the best results,” Lauren Ploch, MD, Board-Certified Dermatologist and Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology tells Romper in an email. “This means that must be changed at least monthly if someone shaves twice per week.”

3

Lather On The Right Protection

You should be using a gel or cream to help your razor glide along the skin easier, leaving you with fewer cuts and lowering your risk for irritation. “Gels that contain oils are great if you’re looking for a close, yet gentle shave,” says Dr. Ploch, “Oils and lipids soften the hair during shaving and also create a barrier on the skin so that the razor blade is less likely to traumatize [it].” While everyone’s skin is different, in general, Dr. Krejci suggests looking for creams or gels with ingredients like Vitamin E, avocado oil, and/or shea butter.

Both Dr. Krejci and Buchanan recommend avoiding gels and creams with fragrances, as they can cause irritation, especially in areas with sensitive skin. To avoid allergic reactions and minimize irritation, Dr. Krejci also recommends staying away from products with preservatives and emulsifiers. Finally, “avoid products that contain ‘cooling’ ingredients like menthol as they can irritate the skin,” advises Dr. Ploch.

4

Focus On Direction & Take Your Time

When it comes time to actually start shaving, take it slow and pay attention to detail to avoid knicks and inadvertently missing areas of hair. “Because there are no flat surfaces on the body, you will have to slightly overlap each [razor] stroke in order to cover all of your skin,” says Dr. Krejci. Additionally, she notes that how you shave is important. “Shave against the grain [of your hair] to get a closer shave.”

5

Remember Your Aftercare

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Another trick to getting a close, clean shave is simply taking care of your skin and keeping it moisturized. “Using a good post-shave balm [and] keeping your skin moisturized will help to prolong the length of your shave,” says Buchanan. Similarly, Dr. Ploch recommends protecting freshly shaved skin with a thick moisturizing cream. Look for a cream “with ceramide lipids to hydrate the skin and continue to use an exfoliating hydroxy acid moisturizing lotion or cream to maintain soft, smooth skin in preparation for your next shave,” she says.

6

Exfoliate The Right Way

“You’ve probably read about… exfoliating before shaving,” says Dr. Ploch, “I’m actually not a fan of physical exfoliants (‘scrubs’) [because] these can traumatize the skin and cause the outer keratotic skin cell layer to become thicker in response to the trauma.” That being said, she does still suggest regularly exfoliating the skin, just with a more gentle lotion containing hydroxy acids. “These exfoliate the skin gently, chemically, and microscopically so that the keratotic layer of the skin is minimized for a close shave.” Unlike with the exfoliating scrubs, Dr. Ploch notes you won’t notice immediate results from these lotions and that you need to use them regularly for the best results.

7

Know Your Body

Everyone’s skin responds differently to certain products and even hair removal techniques, so it’s important to pay attention to how your body reacts when you change things up. “Unfortunately for some people getting a close shave can be very irritating or create shave bumps (razor burn),” says Dr. Krejci, “so it’s important to know your body and your hair texture to figure out what your skin will tolerate. Instead of doing a huge overhaul of your shaving routine, just change one thing at a time (example: switch which cream you use, but keep everything else the same) so that you can easily identify any irritants. Eventually, you’ll find the blend of products and techniques that is best for your body and will leave you with the longest possible shave.

Remember to keep your expectations reasonable when it comes to shaving. If you’ve tried everything and are really struggling with your rate of regrowth, talk to your dermatologist to ensure there aren’t any underlying issues and discuss alternative hair removal options that may yield better results.

Experts:

Dr. Jennifer Krejci, MD, FAAD, Director - Limmer Hair Transplant Center, San Antonio, TX

Lauren Ploch, MD, Board-Certified Dermatologist and Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology