2018 is fast approaching. Take a look around any commercial fitness club and you may notice that a growing number of guys are choosing to trim, shave, and wax their lower extremities in an effort to eradicate any trace of their once-present leg hair.
In the case of swimmers, bodybuilders, and cyclists, shaving one’s legs can trim milliseconds off of race times, improve the appearance of musculature, or curtail potential injuries, respectively - but what about the everyman who opts for a smooth pair of trunks? Why would any gent choose to fight back against nature’s long-johns?
The Benefits of Shaving Your Legs
As mentioned, many athletes choose to shave their legs for improved physical performance, appearance, or to reduce the severity of skin-related injuries. Although shaving milliseconds from your 50m freestyle time may seem negligible to you, for competitive swimmers, it could mean the difference between winning or losing a race. Now, although shaving one’s leg or body hair may illicit a smoother, more hydrodynamic surface when submerged in water, the primary reason why swimmers shave their legs and bodies is to remove excess dead skin cells that line the outer layer of the epidermis. Doing so improves tactility with the water, allowing swimmers to move more intuitively while training and competing.
Curtailing Skin Injuries
For cyclists, shaving can help to reduce the severity of road rash; a skin injury caused by abrasion with road surfaces, often caused as the result of a fall. The practice of maintaining smooth legs makes for easier cleaning and significantly reduces the risk of infection.
In the case of bodybuilders, the benefits of shaving are solely aesthetic. When competing, a bodybuilder’s main objective is to showcase their impressive physique. This includes every muscular contour, striation, and vein that may otherwise be covered by unwanted body hair. Although the typical gym-goer may not notice the difference, judges do, and shaving one’s body is often a requirement for competing. For those who aren’t physique competitors, the benefits may still apply. Keep in mind that the measure of physical beauty is purely subjective; some prefer smooth legs, while others admire a more natural looking alternative. If you’re concerned about how your significant other may perceive this kind of change, consult with them first.
Many forms of physical therapy like massage, active release, and fascial abrasion technique require pulling, twisting and kneading of the skin; not too pleasant if you’re bearing a burly mane of leg hair. Shaving can help to alleviate some of the pain associated with contact-based physical therapy.
How to Shave Your Legs
Now that we’ve given you enough arsenal to rationalize your decision, we’ve compiled a simple step-by-step guide to help make your experience more pleasant.
What You’ll Need:
- Body groomer/electric trimmer
- A brand new razor
- Body scrub/exfoliant
- Shaving cream or gel
- Aftershave solution
- Body moisturizer
1. Block Off Your Calendar
Before you go clipper-crazy, it’s important to understand that shaving your legs may require a considerable amount of time. For you burly men out there, block off at least 30 minutes, just to be safe.
2. Trim Your Leg Hair
Now that you’ve set your date with smooth leg destiny, you can begin the hair eradication process. To start, you’ll need a high-quality body groomer or set of electric trimmers/clippers. It’s absolutely vital that you reduce the bulk of your leg hair before you try anything with a razor. Skipping this step will undoubtedly result in frustration, as a razor alone won’t do much against longer hairs. Note: This step can require a lot of cleanup. Consider how messy shaving your face in the sink can be; now imagine that your face has about 10-times its current surface area, completely covered in hair. That’s exactly what you’re dealing with when shaving your legs. If you have a private outdoor area, you may consider using said space for this step. Of course, use your common sense and don’t use clippers, or any electronics for that matter, in the rain. It’s about as effective as making toast in your bathtub.
3. Get Clean
Take a warm shower or bath to wash away any excess hair and to open your pores. This will allow for a smoother and more effective shave. It’s recommended that you use a quality body scrub or exfoliant to get rid of any excess dirt and oil. Doing so will reduce the risk of developing ingrown hairs and infection.
At this point you’ll have a much lighter and cleaner set of trunks to work with. Now let’s smooth things out. For this step, you’ll want to start with a brand new, multi-blade razor. Multiple blades allow for more surface contact with the skin and will reduce the risk of nicks and cuts. To further prevent the risk of flesh wounds, coat your skin with a generous layer of shaving cream or gel. This will serve as a smoothing agent and will indicate where you have yet to shave. Once you’re lathered up, you can start shaving. It’s recommended that you shave in the same direction as the hair grows, to reduce the risk of skin irritation and ingrown hairs. For hard to reach areas, use a mirror - being flexible helps too.
5. Rinse, dry, and moisturize
You’re almost there. Lather up, this time with some body wash; this will further reduce the risk of infection. To finish, towel dry your skin and apply an antiseptic conditioner or after-shave balm. Now moisturize, and there you have it! Your legs are now smoother than ever and ready for the pool, track, or beach.