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How to shave

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How you can avoid such a grisly fate–and how experienced shavers can get better results.

1 If this is your first time, or you haven’t shaved in a couple of weeks, use a beard trimmer to take your hair down as short as possible–just stubble on your legs.

2 Get into the shower and go through your normal washing routine. This way your skin gets warm and pliable, and the hair becomes soft. Never shave when you have goosebumps or you feel at all cold. That’s how you get razor burn.

3 Keep the shower running if you can step away from the direct stream (which otherwise will prematurely wash off shaving cream). If you can’t get out of the spray and the room is warm, turn the shower off, but keep a trickle of warm water running to clean the blade. If you can’t get out of the stream and the room is cold, turn your back to the water and do the best you can.

4 If you’re inexperienced or frequently cut yourself, apply a pre-shave oil to the problem areas. These are usually the ankles, the contours of the kneecaps, and the backs of your knees.

5 Apply shaving cream to your entire leg, from thigh to bottom of ankles. Ideally you use a shaving brush to apply it. A brush spreads the cream most easily and efficiently. A washcloth is next in preference, then your hands.

6 Start shaving. It’s okay to go against the grain, and it doesn’t matter if you shave from the thighs downward or ankle up. Just go slow and, around the problem areas, use short but smooth strokes. If you’re working in dim light, check for missed patches.

7 When you’re done, you’re not done. Rinse and look for spots you missed. Touch up the job. Repeat the process as necessary.

8 When you get out of the shower, use an alcohol-free moisturizer or aftershave balm. That will keep the legs from chafing. Swap out the blade after every two or three shaves.