So I've Been Shaving My Legs Wrong My Entire Life

I’m 26 years old, which means I’ve been shaving my legs for the better part of 14 years. Let’s say, conservatively, that I shave twice a week on average, and each time takes five minutesthat’s about 130 hours of my life that has been spent removing hair with a razor. One-hundred-and-thirty! That’s not even factoring in summer holidays, when hair-removal peaks at an all-time high. Despite this, as two subject-matter experts kindly pointed out to me this week, I’ve been doing it wrong all these years—and you probably are too. 

For years I’ve inflicted, noticed, and promptly disregarded small red dots on my legs after shaving—it’s happened so frequently that I honestly stopped paying attention. My shins are also decorated with ribbons of shiny white scars. These hark back to a period of adolescent one-upmanship when my older sister began shaving her legs, so I decided to start too, all the while refusing invaluable insights from my mother about how to actually perform the task properly—and safely.

Now, more than a decade later, I’m really still none-the-wiser when it comes to shaving. I never did listen to my mom! Through years of trial and error, I more or less learned how to remove hair without cutting my legs open, but my life continues to be plagued with ingrowns, irritation, and those annoying red dots.

This week, after coming to the realization that summer (also the season of bare legs) would probably spill well into October, I finally decided to sit down with some experts and find out how, exactly, I (and you) should be shaving. Imperial Barber Products co-founder and master barber Pedro Zermeno; and New York–based dermatologist (and founder of DDF Skincare) Dr. Howard Sobel gave me the lowdown, and what they had to say totally blew my mind. Knowledge is power, folks, and now I want to share it with you.

Keep scrolling to find out how to shave your legs without hating your life.