Shaving is the most popular method of hair removal for the face and legs. There are generally two methods: dry shaving with a foil or rotary head electric razor and wet shaving with a razor blade. Wet shaving with a razor blade cuts hairs closer to the surface, producing a smoother shave. Contrary to popular belief, shaving does not make the hair grow back thicker.

Before both dry and wet shaving, some people use a preshave lotion to remove sweat and oil from the skin, making for a smoother shave. For wet shaving, you can use a shaving lather or gel to soften the hair and cause it to stand straight up. This makes the hair easier to cut and minimizes skin irritation. After either the wet or dry method, you can apply aftershave to soothe any discomfort the razor causes to your face.

To minimize irritation:

  • Use a clean, sharp razor

  • Shave every other day, rather than daily

  • Keep the skin loose (not pulled tight) while shaving

  • Don’t shave over the same area multiple times

  • Use mild, scent-free shaving cleanser

  • Use a scent-free aftershave that contains witch hazel, AHA or salicylic acid


Shaving is fast, cheap, painless, and convenient.


Hair grows back in 1-4 days and feels stubbly. May cause ingrown hairs, folliculitis (hair follicles become inflamed and produce small boils), rash, and cuts.

Safety tip

If you have diabetes or use blood thinners, shave using an electric razor rather than a manual one. To avoid transmitting infections, don’t share razors with others.