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Is it OK to shave leg hair?

Leg hair removal is a personal choice that many people, especially women, grapple with. Shaving leg hair is the most common and affordable hair removal method. However, shaving does come with some pros and cons to consider. Ultimately, whether to shave leg hair or not comes down to your personal preferences and comfort level.

Pros of Shaving Leg Hair

Here are some potential benefits of shaving leg hair:

  • Smoother, softer skin – Shaving removes hair at the surface level, leaving skin smooth and soft to the touch.
  • Quick and easy – Shaving is a simple, fast way to remove unwanted hair that can be done in the comfort of your own home.
  • Exfoliating – The act of shaving acts as a mild physical exfoliant, removing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin.
  • Inexpensive – Razors, shaving cream and other shaving products are very affordable and accessible.
  • Hair grows back finer – When hair is shaved, it grows back finer and thinner at first. This can make hair feel softer and less noticeable.
  • Cultural norms – In many cultures, removing leg hair is considered more hygienic and feminine. Shaving allows you to meet these social norms if you choose.

For these reasons, many people prefer smooth, hair-free legs and choose to shave regularly. The smooth feel and convenience make shaving a popular choice.

Cons of Shaving Leg Hair

However, shaving leg hair has some downsides as well:

  • Regrowth – Shaved hair grows back quickly, so shaving needs to be done frequently to maintain smoothness.
  • Irritation – Shaving can cause razor burn, bumps, ingrown hairs, and dryness. Poor shaving technique exacerbates irritation.
  • Cuts and nicks – It’s easy to cut yourself with a razor, especially on curved areas like ankles and knees.
  • Stubble – The short, sharp hairs left after shaving can feel prickly and stubbly.
  • Time-consuming – Frequent shaving sessions take up time and effort.
  • Cost – Replacing razors and shaving products adds up over time.
  • Environmental impact – Disposable razors and plastic packaging create landfill waste.

Some people find the drawbacks of shaving too irritating or high-maintenance to keep up with long-term.

Alternatives to Shaving Leg Hair

If you’re looking to remove leg hair but find shaving too inconvenient, consider these alternatives:

  • Depilatory creams – Depilatory creams dissolve hair at the skin’s surface. Effects last 1-3 days.
  • Waxing – Waxing pulls hair out from the root. Effects can last 3-6 weeks.
  • Epilators – Epilators pluck out hairs mechanically. Regrowth is slower and finer.
  • Laser hair removal – Laser targets and destroys the hair follicle for long-term reduction. It requires multiple treatments.
  • Electrolysis – Electrolysis destroys individual hair follicles. It provides permanent hair reduction with repeated sessions.

These alternatives provide more long-lasting smoothness than shaving. However, they may be more expensive, painful, or time-consuming than shaving. Consider the pros and cons of each method.

Things to Consider Before Shaving

If you do choose to shave your legs, keep these tips in mind for better results:

  • Exfoliate first – Slough off dead skin with a scrub to prevent in-grown hairs.
  • Use a fresh razor – Dull blades tug at hair and irritate skin.
  • Shave with the grain – Shave in the direction your hair grows to avoid irritation.
  • Use shaving cream/gel – It lubricates skin for a closer shave.
  • Rinse blade frequently – Prevent buildup of shaving cream and hair in the blade.
  • Moisturize after – Soothe and hydrate skin to prevent dryness or itching.
  • Avoid irritants after – Hold off on potentially irritating lotions or substances.
  • Wear loose clothing – Tight clothes can chafe sensitive shaved skin.

Taking steps to carefully prep and care for skin can help improve your shaving experience.

How Often Should You Shave Leg Hair?

How often you need to shave depends on your individual hair growth. On average, plan to shave your legs every 2-3 days to maintain smoothness. But you may need to shave more or less frequently than that:

  • Fine, sparse hair – May only need to shave 1-2 times per week
  • Moderate growth – Can go 2-3 days between shaving
  • Coarse, fast growth – May need to shave daily
  • Sensitive skin – Should avoid shaving every day to prevent irritation

Pay attention to your regrowth rate and tolerance. Adjust your schedule so your legs stay smooth while avoiding irritation.

Shaving Tips for Sensitive Skin

If shaving leaves your legs red, itchy and inflamed, you likely have sensitive skin. Try these tips to make shaving less irritating:

  • Use a sharp, high-quality razor – Dull blades drag across skin.
  • Apply a warm compress first – Open pores and soften hairs.
  • Use a shaving gel or oil – For a smooth glide over skin.
  • Shave lightly with short strokes – Avoid pressing too hard.
  • Shave every 2-3 days – Give skin recovery time between shaves.
  • Rinse with cool water after – Closes pores and soothes skin.
  • Avoid harsh fragrances – In shave products and lotions after.
  • Apply aloe vera gel – Has a cooling, anti-inflammatory effect.

Gradually shaving less often allows your skin to build tolerance. See a dermatologist if shaving always causes irritation.

Shaving Tips for Coarse or Curly Hair

Shaving can be trickier when you have coarse or curly leg hair. Here are some tips:

  • Trim first – Cut longer hairs down to stubble.
  • Use a single blade razor – Lifts hairs better than multi-blade razors.
  • Shave across direction of growth – Go diagonally across hairs if needed.
  • Stretch skin taut – Pulling skin tight helps catch curled hairs.
  • Apply pressure – Curly hairs need slightly more pressure to cut.
  • Rinse frequently – Prevent built-up stubble from tugging skin.
  • Shave daily or every other day – Gets smoother results.

You may have to shave more aggressively and frequently to get a close shave. But take care not to press so hard that you irritate skin.

Shaving Leg Hair During Pregnancy

Most doctors agree that shaving your legs is safe during pregnancy. To make shaving easier as your belly grows:

  • Use an extendable razor handle – Reach your legs more comfortably.
  • Sit on the edge of the tub – Prop your leg up to see it better.
  • Use a mirror to see behind legs – Check tricky spots.
  • Shave every 2-3 days – Prevent long regrowth.
  • Moisturize after – Relieve tight, itchy skin.
  • Avoid irritants – Opt for fragrance-free shave gels.

Let a partner help shave hard-to-see spots. Talk to your doctor if you experience painful leg cramps while shaving.

Shaving Leg Hair During Menopause

Hormonal changes during menopause can make hair growth more coarse and fast. Here are tips for managing leg shaving after menopause:

  • Shave daily if needed – Don’t let stubble build up.
  • Use a fresh, sharp razor – Cuts coarse hair more easily.
  • Try men’s razors – Stronger for cutting coarse hairs.
  • Soften hairs first – With a warm shower or compress.
  • Moisturize heavily after – Dryness worsens post-shave itching.
  • Switch to depilatory cream – Dissolves hair without dragging a blade.

Talk to your doctor if new lower leg hair growth is excessive or bothersome. Certain medications can help reduce excess hair from hormonal changes.

Shaving Tips for Older Adults

Leg shaving can become more difficult with age due to reduced mobility or vision. Here are some tips for older adults shaving their legs:

  • Use an electric razor – Less risk of cuts than blade razors.
  • Sit down in the shower – Avoid balance issues standing.
  • Have grab bars installed – Hold on for stability if needed.
  • Ask for assistance – Have a caretaker help shave tricky spots.
  • Use a mirror – Helps you see legs better.
  • Try dry-shaving leg cream – No need to stand in the shower.
  • Shave less often – Focus on knees and lower legs only.

Consider switching to depilatory creams or waxing if shaving becomes too hard. Getting professional leg waxes at a salon is an option too.

Shaving Leg Hair for Athletes

Many athletes shave their legs for sport-specific reasons. Potential benefits include:

  • Swimming – Reduced drag and faster lap times.
  • Cycling – Easier massage with less hair.
  • Wrestling – Hair can’t be grabbed by opponents.
  • Gymnastics/Dance – Allows better visualization of muscle contractions.
  • Bodybuilding – Shows muscular definition for competitions.
  • Team uniforms – Consistent grooming for entire team.

However, shaving right before competition can increase risks of ingrown hairs or skin irritation. Time shaves so your skin can recover before events.

Men Shaving Leg Hair

Traditionally, shaving legs was viewed mostly as a practice for women. But more men have begun removing leg hair too. Reasons include:

  • Athletic performance – Cyclists shave for aerodynamics.
  • Muscle definition – Bodybuilders shave to showcase leg muscles.
  • Fashion choice – Creates a smooth look when wearing shorts.
  • Sensory feel – Some prefer the look and feel of smooth legs.
  • Gender norms changing – Less stigma around men shaving legs.

The mechanics of shaving are essentially the same for men as they are for women. The choice comes down to personal preference.

Teens Shaving Leg Hair

Many teens want to start shaving their legs when leg hair growth begins during puberty. Some tips for teens new to shaving include:

  • Start with just lower legs – Less visible as you learn.
  • Shave every 2-3 days at first – See how skin tolerates.
  • Use a mild razor and shaving gel – Avoid irritating sensitive skin.
  • Shave after bathing – Warm water softens hairs.
  • Moisturize after – Prevent dryness.
  • Avoid sharing razors – Prevent spreading bacteria.
  • Tell a parent or adult – Have guidance the first time.

Make sure teens are mature enough for safe razor use. Provide help or offer alternatives like depilatory creams if needed.

Shaving During Cancer Treatment

Shaving your legs during cancer treatment is generally safe if done gently. To reduce skin irritation:

  • Use an electric shaver – Less abrasive than razors.
  • Apply soothing gels – Aloe vera, vitamin E or other balms.
  • Use only mild unscented products – Avoid fragrances.
  • Shave less frequently – Give skin recovery time.
  • Rinse blades often – Prevent buildup of shaving cream.
  • Pat dry after – Avoid rubbing irritation.

Avoid nicking sensitive skin if you have low platelet counts. See your oncologist with concerns about shaving with certain cancer drugs.


Shaving your legs is generally a safe option for hair removal. But the choice ultimately comes down to your individual skin sensitivity and hair regrowth rate. Try out different shaving techniques and products to see what works best for you. Talk to your doctor if you have chronic skin irritation or health issues impacting your ability to shave safely.