How to Shave Your Legs for Men (Illustrated)
Very few men take on the challenge of shaving their legs (or have a reason to), but for the few brave souls who do, it's important to make sure that you follow some best practices to ensure you get the best and smoothest shave possible.
Now before you get started, if you're a masculine guy with no good reason to shave your legs, shaving your legs happens to be one of those things that people will say, "oh, so you have your legs?" So be prepared to get this response from others--especially if you're a straight guy.
Aside from your genitalia, hair on a man is what makes a man, well, a man. Granted, there has been this metrosexual movement in recent years--and I'm totally onboard myself. Men are shaving and trimming hair all over their body to look neat and clean.
However, shaving your legs and arms are two areas of the body that seem to be barred from this movement--partly because people think it looks visually awkward and because rubbing up against unmanaged stubble is cringing; this is the challenge with many men--they'll do something on a whim, and then get complacent.
However, there are some good reasons to shave your legs--it's just important that once you start, that you properly maintain a smooth look and feel.
Reasons Why Men Shave Their Legs
Men who generally have a good reason to shave their legs are:
- Bodybuilders and alpha males
- Professional swimmers, gymnasts, runners, cyclists, and other athletic types
- Professional dancers (including strippers--hate to put on the same line, but it's true)
- Models (rarely do you see a man in an ad or on the runway with very hairy legs)
- Men with an effeminate aesthetic (only a handful of men pull this off well)
- Female impersonators
I think for all these groups--hairless legs can work. In most of them, it's purely aesthetic--you expect these types to look clean and neat.
The only exception is for the athletic types, like swimmers and such. For avid sports enthusiasts, it's not only an aesthetic issue, it's also a performance one. Swimming, running, etc. is easier without extra hair. Plus, icing sprains and bruises on smooth skin is preferred by many men.
Which one are you?
Spare Your Significant Other From Scratchy Snuggles
I can't write this guide without acknowledging the good people who will encounter your smooth legs or the lack thereof--most notably, your significant other.
Again, if you shave your legs, it's something you have to keep up regularly. Hair regrowth on the legs can be quick--creating a stubble that's like sandpaper.
Nothing will make a person recoil faster than encountering scratchy legs under the bedsheets--it's just not amenable to good snuggling.
Your Legs Probably Aren't As Tan As You Think
If you have fair skin and dark hair, you may be surprised that your legs look a lot more white and pasty after shaving them. Dark hair gives the illusion of darker skin--once removed, it may unveil the alabaster skin you never knew you had.
If this is you, then you will probably want to invest in a good self-tanner to darken up those legs. To be honest, shaved legs on a man only looks good if those legs are tan.
Before You Begin: Determine Smoothness & Effort
Before you begin this project, you need to ask yourself a couple questions:
- How smooth do you want your legs? Super smooth or smooth
- How much effort do you want to put into this? Meticulous effort or minimal effort
Types of Smoothness
There are a couple types of smoothness, and both depend on the type of razor you use on your legs: manual razor or electric body groomer.
Smoothest: Manual Razor
If you want the closest, silkiest, smoothest shave possible, then you will definitely need to use a manual razor. The Gillette Fusion Proglide offers the closest shave of any razor on the market.
However, this level of smoothness can sometimes come at a price--including skin irritation and ingrown hairs. If you're not prone to irritation, then it's a non-issue.
Between both options, you will maintain your smoothness the longest with this option (though, not by long).
Smooth: Electric Body Groomer
The other option is to use an electric body groomer. An electric body groomer will get you a close and smooth shave. The Philips Norelco Bodygroom Pro does a great job at getting a close shave. It won't be as super smooth as a manual razor, but it will be smooth. The effect of the smoothness won't generally last as along with an electric body groomer, but again, you're probably only losing a day compared to a manual razor.
Which shaving method do you prefer?
Amount of Effort
Given the hair coverage on your legs, shaving your legs can be quite a bit of work. However, in terms of the effort you want to apply, there are a couple of options.
Meticulous Effort: Manual Razor
If you don't care about time it takes to achieve a good shave and tend to be very detailed-oriented, then you will probably enjoy the precision of using manual razor. Using a manual razor requires the application of shaving gels, constant rinsing of the blade, and then showering your legs off. As mentioned before, this option offers the smoothest shave, but also requires the most work.
Minimal Effort: Electric Body Groomer
If you want to do this quick and easy, then using an electric body groomer is going to be your best option. An electric body groomer doesn't require all of the prep work. You can basically shave your legs with a body groomer in just a couple minutes (and without getting wet).
Recommended Products For Shaving Your Legs
Below are the products I recommend to shave your legs.
High Quality Razor
If you want a super close and super smooth shave, then you'll need to use a manual razor to shave your legs.
Under no circumstances should you ever apply a cheap razor to your legs--it will be a disaster that will end in lots of irritation. To properly shave your legs, you need to use a high-quality razor--like one from Gillette or Schick.
Gillette Fusion Proglide
No other razor beats the Gillette Fusion Proglide when it comes to closeness. If you want a super smooth shave, then the Fusion Proglide is a must-have.
The strength and power of this blade is quite remarkable. No heavy pressing required--just let it glide atop the skin and the razor will do the rest.
Only one drawback to this product--if you tend to be prone to any sort of skin irritation then you may want to consider the Schick Quattro. The Fusion Proglide is so good at what it does that for some the results can cause irritation. However, if you never use any sort of antiseptic after you shave, then this could be why you are experiencing irritation, so make sure you apply a post-shave solution afterwards.
An 8-count pack runs about $30 on Amazon.
Schick Quattro Titanium
The Schick Quattro Titanium is my most favorite razor. I use this one for most of my body shaving needs. The shave is definitely not as close as the Gillette, but for some it may be sufficient.
What's unique about this German-made product is that the blades are wrapped in a very thin wire. This wire prevents the blades from being pressed to deeply into the skin--thus minimizing irritation.
I like to the think of the Quattro Titanium as the official razor blade for people with sensitive skin (it's also the official razor blade I promote for shaving any of your private parts).
An 8-count pack runs about $18 on Amazon.
Electric Body Groomer
If you want a no-fuss, close shave that's quick and easy to do, then you may want to try an electric body groomer. You can shave your legs fast without all the mess of using a shaving gel.
Philips Norelco Bodygroom Pro
The ultimate in body grooming, the Philips Norelco Bodygroom Pro holds the title of #1 best selling body groomer for men on the market today.
This body groomer is perfect for shaving your legs. It's dual-end design means that you can both trim and shave easily with not having to mess with extra accessories.
On one end, it has a trimmer with a skin guard that allows you to first trim down the hair so that it's short. And, on the other end, there's the regular shaver that allows you to get a close shave.
This body groomer retails for about $70 on Amazon.
When you shave your legs, you'll need to lubricate your legs with good shave solution to help your razor achieve a smooth, close shave. If you're using a manual razor, you'll need a wet lubricant, like shave gel. If you're using an electric body groomer, you may want to consider using a dry lubricant, like body powder.
Shower Shave Shaving Gel
When it comes to shaving large areas of your body, you should definitely invest in a product called Shower Shave by Brave Soldier. This shaving gel is designed for use in the shower or bathtub.
Shower Shave is a clear liquid gel that's incredibly emollient. It holds up very well, even when shaving in water. The ingredient formulation in this gel is unlike anything I've ever seen on the market. One of the key ingredients is silicone--which makes shaving such a pleasure. The silicone not only makes for easy shaving, but it also promotes close shaving, so you can have ultra smooth skin.
The product has a light, fresh scent to it--not overpowering. The scent does not linger too longer and eventually tapers off the body quite nicely--a plus for me, since I normally don't go for scented shaving products.
This product retails for about $17 on Amazon.
Gold Bond Ultimate Body Powder
If you're going to be using an electric body groomer to shave your legs, then you may want to add body powder to your shaving regimen.
Body powder can be used as a dry lubricant with electric razors. You'll find that using body powder with your shaver makes a big difference in the quality of your shave--it's makes it 1) not only easier to shave, but 2) allows for you to achieve a closer shave.
I recommend the Gold Bond Ultimate Body Powder. This product is non-talc, made from finely milled corn starch. The smell is incredible--it's very fresh and clean. You can also use this powder between your legs to soothe any skin friction created by the lack of hair.
This product retails for about $8 on Amazon.
You may also be interested in my article on the 12 Most Popular Body Powders for Men.
To prevent any skin irritation and ingrown hairs after you shave, you'll need to apply a post-shave solution/antiseptic.
The Cool Fix
If you only invest in one product to aide in the assistance of shaving your legs, then I would say this is the one to buy. Sadly, this is the one that most people skip.
The Cool Fix is a product made by Anthony Shave Works, and of all the post-shave solutions on the market, I think this is the most popular. You'll definitely minimize the risk of irritation and razor burn by using this after you shave.
It has a cooling sensation when applied to the skin, doesn't sting, and leaves your skin feeling super smooth (from the silicone in the product).
This product retails for about $22 on Amazon.
Skin Calming Moisturizer
You may experience dry, itchy skin after you shave your legs. You may need to use a skin calming moisturizer to alleviate the issue.
Eucerin Calming Creme
Eucerin Calming Creme is a great product to help soothe dry and itchy skin.
The product contains oatmeal, a wonderful remedy to cure itchiness. The formulation is also non-greasy, so want leave your legs feeling oily and sticky. Plus, the product is also fragrance-free, so you're not going to be smelling floral or fruity.
The creme also provides 24-hour moisturize coverage, so you only need to apply once during the day.
This product retails for about $9 on Amazon.
If your Caucasian or fair skinned, you may find that after shaving the dark hair off your legs that your skin is too white and pasty. A good self-tanner can remedy the issue--making your smooth legs look sexy.
St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse
St. Tropez is undoubtedly the best-selling self-tanner on the market. I have used this stuff many times, and love it. The tan looks natural, even, and doesn't streak when applied. Plus, it doesn't have that weird tan smell that lingers, like you experience with other products.
The product is very light-weight, dries in 60 seconds, and leaves your skin with an instant bronze and glow. You do need to use a mitt when you apply this product so that it goes on smoothly and easily. I have used without and had great results, but the mitt will make the results more polished.
This product retails for $42 on Amazon.
How To Shave Your Legs In 9-Steps For Men
And without further ado, here are the 9-steps to follow for a perfect leg shave.
Step 1 - Disinfect Your Razor
Before you begin, you'll want to make sure you kill any bacteria that might be on your razor with rubbing alcohol. If you're using a manual razor with a cartridge, you can just pour some over the tip of the cartridge. If you're using an electric groomer, then put alcohol on a cotton swap and dab on the razor blade and comb.
For those of you that are using a manual razor, I'd actually recommend that you just start with a brand new razor cartridge. Most men have a lot of hair on their legs, so you don't want to start shaving your legs with a dull razor--use a new one.
Step 2 - Trim The Hair Short
Before you start shaving, it's imperative that you actually cut down the hair so that it's short--especially if you're using a manual razor. This will prevent the long hairs from clogging up your razor.
Most body groomers come with a skin guard attachment to them. The skin guard attachment looks like a comb that lifts and shaves the hair short.
For those of you who own an electric body groomer, you can also use that groomer to get a close shave on your legs--just remove the skin guard or use the end of the groomer that doesn't have a skin guard. If you use this method, then you can skip step 6. If you want a super close shave, then you'll need to use a manual razor.
Step 3 - Get Into Your Bathtub or Shower
Because you probably have a lot of hair on your legs, you're going to want to shave in a place that will provide you easy clean-up. I would recommend that you shave inside a bathtub or shower.
If you're using a manual razor, you should draw a bath that's at least partially full of water, and immerse yourself in the water. The water mixed with the shaving cream will give you the lather you need to quickly shave.
Shaving in the bath or shower will allow you to just rinse the hair down the water drain when you're done--it's easy cleanup.
If you're using an electric body groomer, then you probably want to bring a wide, shallow bowl of water into the shower so that you can frequently clean your razor.
Step 4 - Apply Shaving Gel Or Body Powder
If you're using a manual razor, you will want to apply shaving gel to your legs. First, apply the shaving gel in small areas as you start to shave. If you apply too much shaving gel all over your legs, the gel will start to dry before you can actually shave all the areas--so shave in sections.
If you're using an electric body groomer, you may want to try apply some body powder on your legs before you start to shave. Body powder is one of the best kept secrets--it doubles as a dry lubricant for electric shavers.
Step 5 - Begin Shaving
If you're using a manual razor, you will want to start shaving your legs using small strokes while frequently rinsing your razor every few strokes or so. You want to make sure that your razor is free and clear of hair and gel as much as possible--this will ensure that you get the best and closest shave possible.
If you're using an electric body groomer, then just begin shaving your legs. Because of the amount of hair on your legs, your electric body groomer may start to get clogged. So, you may need to open the razor head and empty out the shaved hairs. If you don't do this from time-to-time, the clogged hairs may affect the shaving performance of the razor--often slowing down the motor.
How To Get A Close Shave
If you want a super close shave, you will need to shave against the grain; in other words, the opposite direction of the hair growth. This will give you super smooth legs.
If you think you may be prone to skin irritation or have experience with skin irritation, then you may wan to consider shaving with the grain--the direction of hair growth. The shave won't be as close, but should minimize irritation.
Don't Forget Your Feet
Also, if you're shaving your legs--don't forget those feet! You want a clean, smooth transition from your legs to your feet, so shave the tops of your feet and your toes
Step 6 - Rinse & Dry Off
Now that your legs have been freshly shaved, it's time to rinse off any stray hairs and excess shaving gel or body powder. Because your bathtub or shower likely has a lot of stray hairs already in it, you might find it easier to just quickly draw a shower to rinse your legs--this will also help clean the stray hairs from the shower.
Once you've rinsed off, use a clean towel to dry off. With freshly shaven skin, a clean towel is important--you don't want to introduce any bacteria to your skin from a used towel.
Step 7 - Apply Antiseptic
To prevent razor burn, skin irritation, and ingrown hairs, you will want to use a post-shave solution or antiseptic. This will kill any bacteria and help close the skin pores. You will probably want to apply this everyday for the first few days after you shave, and definitely as the hair starts to grow out prickly. When the hair starts to grow out it snags on clothes, bed sheets, etc. so using a post-shave solution will really cut down on the irritation.
Step 8 - Apply Moisturizer
If your legs feel dry or itchy after your shave, then you may want to apply some skin-calming body moisturizer to your legs. However, you need a special type of moisturizer, one that calms and soothes irritated skin, like Eucerin Skin Calming cream.
Step 9 - Apply Self-Tanner To Your Legs (Optional)
If you are Caucasian or have naturally fair skin, you may find that removing dark-colored hair from your legs makes them look very white and pasty. To correct this problem, you may want to apply some self-tanner to your legs (or go to a tanning bed, which I'm not a fan of).
To be candid, I think if a guy is going to shave his legs, his legs generally do look better with a tan. Hairless, ultra-white legs, look a bit peculiar on a man--unless your a professional swimmer.