If your beauty routine includes shaving, you know there’s a big difference between buttery soft skin and sandpaper stubble. But even if you don’t want to rely on a razor to get the job done, you can still get soft, smooth legs. Here are 11 ways to keep your legs smooth as silk.
If you want smoother legs, forget the home remedies and folklore. It’s all about your tools and technique.
With the help of a few scientific studies, here are 11 tips for healthy and hairless legs.
1. Use shaving cream or gel, not soap
Shaving cream does things that soap can’t compete with. It softens your hairs, making them easier to shave close to the surface of your skin. Formulas with vitamin E, olive oil, lanolin, and colloidal oatmeal are a safe bet. Vitamin E —with its antioxidant properties — proves to be a particularly potent boost for hair softness.
Soap, on the other hand, has little to none of that softening function. Since soap’s used for deep cleaning your hair and skin, it can make your hair more brittle, and brittle hair resists a closer shave.
2. Exfoliate! Exfoliate! Exfoliate!
Exfoliate your skin before you get into the bath or shower to shave your legs. When your skin’s dry, the rough dead cells on its surface form a pretty gnarly type of armor that stops moisturizer sinking in and doing its job.
Next time you’re shopping for skin care, look for glycolic and lactic acid — key ingredients in exfoliating lotion. Both are alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). These get rid of dead skin and clean out your pores.
If you’re really looking for a deep cleanse, you might also want to exfoliate again after you’ve shaved.
3. Sunscreen is for your legs, too
Some people forget to put sunscreen on their legs even in the sunniest weather.
If you’ve been exfoliating and removing your skin’s natural protections from the sun’s harmful rays, sunscreen becomes even more important. Have you ever heard of silky-smooth sunburnt legs?
In the long term, too much unprotected exposure to strong sunlight risks damaging your skin. You could end up with far bigger problems than coarse legs when you neglect proper skin care. So suit up!
4. Act fast with your post-shower body cream
Using a body cream with moisturizing ingredients like shea butter, ceramides, and lanolin helps lock water into your pores.
Apply your body cream as soon as you get out of the shower so you retain as much moisture as possible before your skin begins to dry.
Skin on your legs dries out quicker than on the rest of your body. So if you want to keep ‘em soft, strike when they’re at peak moistness. And be generous with how much you apply! Chances are, you won’t get buttery smooth legs by being stingy with your body cream.
5. Use a gentler body wash
Some cleansers really kick your skin’s butt by removing all your skin’s natural oils alongside the grime and sweat. In the long run, that’s robbing your skin of its built-in softness and protection.
Switching to creamy body washes packed with argan, almond, or coconut oil can help. These gentler products work with your skin rather than nuking it. Never throw the baby out with the bathwater. Lock in your body’s precious natural oils.
6. Body oil gives you softer legs while you sleep
Oil and water aren’t friends — they don’t mix. That makes oil a great security guard for when water wants to escape from your body. A coat of body oil over your water-based moisturizers can protect your baby-smooth skin day and night!
If you put a layer of body oil over your lotioned legs, the oil makes a barrier that prevents you from losing the most beneficial effects of the body cream — and the oil even locks in more moisture. That means softer legs in the morning!
Body oil also can safeguard your moisturizers from rubbing off. When you sleep, your body cream rubs off on your sheets, aided by the sweat of your rising body temperature. So lock the moisture in with some body oil!
7. Give rough patches more love
Some bits of your legs simply do more work than others. Your knees hinge and chafe all day while your shin stays still. Hard-working areas, (like your knees and heels) build up more dead skin than others.
After you’ve showered and your skin is loosened up a bit, give those areas an extra bit of love with an oil-based body scrub. That will take off the most dead skin possible and give every inch of your legs the best possible chance of smoothness.
8. Learn to love hyaluronic acid
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a supercharged moisturizer that holds up to 1,000 times its weight in water. Your body naturally produces it, but we start producing less and less of it as we age. That’s one contributing factor to skin losing its smoothness over time.
If you have dry skin, moisturizers with HA can be a lifesaver. Even if you don’t always struggle with dryness, it provides exceptional surface-level hydration.
9. Shave in the evening, not the morning
Fun fact: Your legs swell ever so slightly while you sleep due to your body’s increased temperature. That swelling can cover the base of the hairs on your legs. If you shave in the morning, your body will cool and that slight swelling will go down, revealing the bristly hairs that you missed.
Instead, shave your legs at night to guarantee the smoothest and tightest shave possible.
10. Go down before you go up
You might have been told that you get a closer shave when you go against the grain — up your leg rather than down. This is true, but if you haven’t shaved in a few days, you increase your risk of cuts and skin irritation by shaving upward first.
If your leg hairs are slightly longer than they usually get, give yourself a quick shave down your leg first. This will take the majority of the length off, and you can then shave upward (against the grain) to get the closest end result.
11. Replace razor blades regularly
Throw a little retirement party for your rusty old razor. It’s not doing you or your skin any favors!
The more you use your razor blade, the more stubble and dead skin builds up on it. The oils, creams, and moisturizers you use will start working on the hairs on the blade instead of your legs. A clean, sharp new blade leaves nowhere for those products to go but onto your legs where they need to be.
Besides, new razors cut closer and with less risk of irritation and cuts. It’s a no-brainer, really. And speaking of your razor…
A cartridge razor with a replaceable head is your best friend for getting the smoothest possible legs. If possible, get ones with inbuilt moisturizer pads which add a little extra hydration as you shave. Remember to rinse the blades thoroughly after every use and store in a dry place.
Compared to cartridge razors, electric razors just don’t get close enough. There’s no contact between blade and skin so you’re never going to achieve maximum smooth.
And single-use disposable razors tend not to have the quality you’re looking for here — avoid them unless you’re stuck.
There are more ways than one to achieve smoother legs without shaving. Consider these alternatives if you’re tired of toiling away during your shower time.
This is probably your go-to alternative for getting smooth legs; waxing can be a wild ride but it’s super effective in hair removal.
When you apply wax, do so in the direction your hair grows and then pull in the opposite direction, against the grain. Applying tea tree oil immediately after helps give you smoother legs with no bumps.
Pro tip: Exfoliate a day or 2 before you wax and use a scrub to remove dead skin. This makes the process cleaner and cuts down on that redness and irritation which sometimes sticks around after waxing.
Electrolysis sends an electric current through the hair follicles on your legs, damaging the follicle and stopping hair growing. It’s permanent, meaning this could be your once-and-forever ticket to smoother legs without shaving.
It tends to be costly, and it involves a number of long sessions. But, you might decide it’s worth it to never have to pick up a razor again.
Laser hair removal
Removing your leg hair with a laser isn’t as extreme or as permanent as electrolysis, but it’s still a very popular and effective alternative to shaving. Your legs will be coated in protective gel before the laser works to destroy your hair follicles, slowing growth.
Sooner or later, the hair will grow back. But it’s way, way quicker than electrolysis and still saves you hours of shaving time in the long run.
If you decide it’s time to break up with your razor, you may still want to talk to a dermatologist first about which hair-removal procedure is best for you.
Embrace your leg hair
Seriously, who says you need smooth legs anyway? If you’re doing it for you, then go right ahead — it’s your choice.
Fortunately, the social expectation of going hairless from your toes to your tush isn’t as prevalent as it was for previous generations. Some movements openly embrace the hairy leg as a thing of feminine beauty.
OK, so you clicked on an article called “how to get smoother legs” so you probably want smoother legs. Just be aware that you don’t need them. If you’re fed up with shaving, go au naturel!
The joy of silky-smooth legs is a wonderful thing, but they take hard work to achieve. Do your homework and pick products which work with your body’s natural oils.
Choose the right moisturizing products and stay on top of your skin care routine. That’s going to get you those smooth legs with as little hassle as humanly possible.