It’s hard to beat razors in terms of ease, cost and convenience. But because you’ll need to shave again in a day or two, it can be hard on your skin. For a safe, sleek shave, replace razors or blades every week (no more than two). “Not only does a sharp razor work better, but an older blade presents the possibility of infection,” says Schlessinger. Very hot water can burn newly shaved skin, he adds, so keep your water temperature tepid. And always shave in the direction of hair growth. “Going against it causes more trauma to the skin,” Schlessinger says.
(a) Scented with mango and vanilla, Alba Botanica’s Natural Very Emollient Foam Shave cream ($8; albabotanica.com) boasts an extramoisturizing formula that helps to keep razor burn at bay. (b) Fragrance-free REN Tamanu High Glide Shaving Oil ($28; renskincare.com) contains Tahitian Tamanu tree oil to minimize post-shave dryness and irritation. (c) Make your shave more sustainable with the Schick Xtreme3 Eco ($8 a pack; drugstore.com). The handles are made from recycled clothes hangers, and triple blades leave skin extra smooth.
Although its effects last longer than shaving and lead to finer, sparser regrowth, waxing can be painful and potentially irritating. To minimize such issues, make sure you have at least a quarter-inch of hair (roughly six weeks of growth) before you wax. Taking ibuprofen a couple hours before waxing can help reduce pain and inflammation, as can applying ice or using a numbing cream or spray. Always test the temperature of an at-home wax with your fingertip to make sure it’s not too hot. And, unlike shaving, apply the wax in the same direction of hair growth, not against it, but then remove strips in the opposite direction.
(d) Parissa Body Sugar 2 in 1 Roll-On ($20; parissa.com) comes with a precision applicator that distributes wax evenly. It washes off easily with water and results last up to six weeks. (e) MOOM Organic Hair Remover with Tea Tree (Classic) ($20; moom.com) waxes hair away while soothing skin with calming chamomile and tea tree oil. (f) All-natural Shea Moisture Shave for Women Honey & Black Seed Sugar Wax ($12; Target locations nationwide) is a natural anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, comes with waxing strips and is used at room temperature (so you can say bye-bye to burns!).