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7 Ways You’re Probably Shaving Your Legs All Wrong

Banish cuts and razor burn with these tips.

07-Don't-Get-Burned—11-Proven-Ways-to-Prevent-Razor-Burn-89782420-Lana-KLana K/shutterstock

You shave too quickly

Especially when you have a fresh blade, it’s important to use extra-slow strokes to avoid nicks. Be particularly careful around your knees and ankles. This will help you get a closer shave and ensure that you don’t miss any spots. Check out these other 17 tips dermatologists follow themselves.

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You don’t replace your razor often enough

Two signs will tell you if you need to replace your razor blade. Either the blades on your razor will look dull, or the moisturizing strip at the top will have faded. If you shave with a blunt razor you are more susceptible to cutting yourself. Plus, old razors can carry bacteria, which can lead to infection. As a general rule, you should use your razor about 10 times before you replace the blade. “Using a low-quality razor…forces you to overstroke the same area multiple times, a common compensating behavior that can cause irritation,” says dermatologist Jodi Levine, MD. Learn more about the risks of not changing your razor often enough.

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You never exfoliate

Exfoliating regularly is key to preventing ingrown hairs. Exfoliating sloughs off old dead skin cells, which "speeds up cell renewal, enabling new healthy skin cells to grow,” say integrative medicine physician Frank Lipman, MD. Dead skin cells can cause ingrown hairs, so exfoliate once or twice a week in between shaves. Find out about the skin care myths dermatologists wish you'd stop believing.

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You shave as soon as you get into the shower

It’s best to leave shaving as the very last step of your shower routine. As you stand in the shower, the warm water will soften the hair and open up the hair follicles. This will make sure you have a closer shave, and will in turn help prevent razor burn. These are other ways you're probably showering wrong.

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You use soap

Soap doesn’t provide enough of a barrier between the blade and your skin, plus it can clog the blades. Shaving cream is your best option here. Zoe Diana Draelos, MD, writes in Dermatology Times, “Shaving cream is specially designed to soften the hair. It coats each hair and allows the absorption of water, decreasing the force required to cut the hair.” Run out of shaving cream? Use hair conditioner as an alternative. Check out these other 11 tricks for preventing razor burn.

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You share a razor

Dr. Draelos also notes, “Each person has a different wear pattern for the razor.” Using someone else’s razor can leave your more susceptible to cuts, or worse, infection. But here's why using a (new) men's razor might be better than using a woman's.

Couple of pink women's disposable razors on wooden table.cosmic_pony/Shutterstock

You use a single blade disposable razor

Razor blades work like this: The first blade is designed to lift the hair, and each subsequent blade is intended to cut the hair lower and lower on the hair shaft, giving you the closest shave possible. So for the smoothest legs it’s best to use a four- or five-blade razor. Learn the real difference between men's and women's razors.