First things first: shaving is optional! There are books and such out there that try to tell us that shaving is a requirement, and they are simply wrong. It is entirely up to you whether or not to shave any part of your body. The only people who actually have any right to input as to your shaving practices are your employer or, if you are a minor, your parent or guardian, and even then it is only for hair that is publicly visible.
That said, people will definitely respond to you differently depending on how you groom yourself. People expect anyone they see as female to have shaved legs and armpits, and there are social consequences for someone who is seen as a woman to not shave those places. People who are seen as men definitely have more leeway in terms of facial hair as a wide variety of grooming choices are all seen ok, but even that will still have an impact on how people interact with you.
All that said, if you desire to shave but are having trouble learning how, here are some written instructions that might help. I’ll be covering three of the most common areas to shave – under the arms, legs, and face. Only want to read about how to shave your face? Skip ahead to page 3. Also, if you do better with visual instructions rather than written instructions, look for how-to videos on youtube. They can be great!
Things you will want to have
A sharp safety razor
A lathering agent (gentle soap or shaving cream/gel)
Where you shave is up to you. Many people shave in the shower as part of their overall showering regimen (see also, How Do I Adult: Showering LINK). I shave in the sink, as my eyesight is so poor that I cannot see my legs well enough to shave them without my glasses on. If you are shaving in the shower, you may want to just go ahead and sit on the floor of your shower for this for the sake of stability. You definitely do not want to slip in the shower while holding a razor.
First, take the leg that you are shaving and prop it up in front of you so that you can reach to your ankle. Make sure your leg is nice and wet, or at least the section of your leg that you intend to shave (some women shave their entire legs, other women only shave their lower legs. it’s up to you to decide how much to shave). Then take your lathering agent and spread it across the hair you want to shave off. If you are using soap, simply lather up your leg. If you are using a shaving cream or gel, first squirt some onto your fingers, and then spread it into your leg.
Once this is done, it’s time to shave. I highly recommend having a good, high quality razor with at least three blades for this. The cheap, one-use disposable razors are very harsh and make for an unpleasant shaving experience and a poor shave. Make sure you rinse all the lathering agent off your hands to minimize the risk of the razor slipping in your fingers. Start shaving at your ankles, go against the grain, and slowly work up your leg.
Use the razor gently!
Do not press the razor into your skin. You should run it across your leg very very softly. If you find to need to start pressing harder with it in order to shave your hair, then it is too dull and you need to replace the blade.
Some notes on joints
Shaving around knees and ankles tends to be a bit fraught as the area tends to be more uneven and it can become very easy to nick oneself. When I am shaving my ankles I always point my foot, so that there is a straight line from the top of my knee to the top of my toes. This evens out the skin and gives a smoother surface for the razor.
Knees tend to be much the same. Straightening your leg means more loose skin, but it also means a flatter surface, and that is what you want. Just make sure to be very gentle with the razor.
Nicks and cuts
They happen, unfortunately. As you get more skilled with shaving they will happen less often, but they are always a risk when skin is coming into contact with something very sharp. If this happens take care of it the way you would any other cut.
Once you’ve shaved as high as you want to, repeat the procedure for the other leg. Once finished rinse your legs off nice and well. If you want, once you are finished and out of the shower (if you shaved while showering), you can apply a lotion or moisturizer to your legs.
When you are done remember to put all your supplies away in their appropriate locations.
Summary of shaving legs:
1. Get legs wet
2. Lather up with soap or a shaving cream or gel
3. Shave – very gently, against the grain
4. Rinse well
5. Apply lotion or moisturizer (optional)
Personally, I hate shaving my legs as it always leaves me horrifically itchy and it can take my nerves hours to calm down and recover. As such, I have no shaved my legs in years. However, I also really dislike being hairy. My solution is to use an electric razor.
Do not use anything electric in the shower!
Using an electric razor is much simpler than using a regular razor, but it is also less effective – you cannot get a close, smooth shave with the electric razor. For me, I consider it good enough, but I also generally do not show my bare legs in public. For this, you can simply use them on dry, unprepared legs. Any electric clippers or shavers should come with instructions for how to use and take care of them that you can follow. For me, I still use mine against the grain, and move from my ankle towards my knee.
Waxing is another hair removal possibility for legs. This is something I personally have very little experience in so I cannot write out a thorough how-to, but I wanted to mention it simply for the sake of covering all options.