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Smooth moves: stubbly legs? Never-smooth underarms? Bikini line speed bumps? Not this summer!

If you've shaved before, you know it's not always an "I'm your Venus!" experience. Rashes, bumps, redness, cuts--it all happens. Whether shaving for the first time or the fiftieth, ya gotta know how to defuzz the right way. Here are all the tips, tools and take-no-stray hairs tricks to super smooooooothness.

RAZOR SHARP SKILLS

Start with a clean razor. Disposables are good in a pinch but reusables (you keep the handled holder, then replace blades with refill cartridges) are more Earth-friendly. We like the kind with a pivoting head--great for ankles and knees. Toss the blade when it doesn't glide as smoothly or cut hair as closely.

LATHER UP

Without a sudsy, creamy, foamy or oily lubricant, you can give yourself razor burn or rash--no thanks. Our favorite shave gel (Skintimate Melon Burst Moisturizing Shave Gel, $2.50, drugstores) is great for all skin types. Dry skin? Try Terax Original Body Pr'ax ($10, 1-800-213-5531)--we love how soft it leaves our legs. Shave as soon as you get into the shower or tub. Soaking in warm water swells skin slightly, making it harder to get a thisclose shave, resulting in faster-than-usual stubble. Stupid stubble.

STEP UP

Never shaved before? Start with your lovely legs. Razors have, urn, razor blades in them, so a slippery shave posture is way unsafe. Wet legs, then apply shaving stuff. Next, wet the razor, and prop your foot up on the bathtub ledge. In a shower, be sure to have a bathmat to prevent slippage. Ready? Start with the ankle area, using small delicate strokes. You don't have to put much pressure on the razor. Lightly--and slowly--glide the razor along the skin. Rinse the razor in water every few strokes to shake off hairy lather.

Shave the calf-and-shin area with long strokes from above the ankle straight up to below the knee (careful with the shinbone). Bend the knee and use short strokes on and around the kneecap. Shaving the thighs isn't necessary (thigh hairs are often finer, lighter and shorter). Run your hand over your leg to feel missed patches of hair. Rinse and repeat on the other leg. Duh.

HAIR IN THE AIR

When you remove your leg from the water to shave, the exposure to the air can cause goosebumps. Unless you want a red post-shave rash, wait to shave after the goosebumps have disappeared. You can thank us later.

AFTER-HAIR CARE

You want to keep legs silky, right? Be sure there's no redness, then apply a light moisturizer (no heavy perfumes, please). Essencia Sandalwood After-Shave Skin Saver ($20, essenciaonline.com) is made for men, but we love its subtle scent and low-grease factor.

Hate to break it to ya, but even the slickest of shaves only lasts a day or two. To keep those legs hairless, shaving needs to be part of your regular routine ... so consider that before entering the land where stubble happens.

PITS AND PANTYLINES

For underarms, slathering on mild soap and water can be less irritating than gels on the sensitive armpit area. After rinsing, skip the lotion but put on a pat of baby powder or cornstarch. Wait awhile before doing deodorant.

Shave "down-there" hair wherever it's exposed when you wear a swimsuit. Put fragrance-free cream, gel or lotion only on those sections. Use careful strokes, then rinse well. No post-shave lotions or potions (except maybe aloe vera) on this portion of your bod, please!

THE GL RAZOR CHALLENGE

We gave a handful of razors to a few hairy girls, and here's what our testers had to say....

Best disposable Bic Soleil Twilight Triple Blade $5.19 for a four-pack "Has a lanolin and vitamin E moisturizer strip, which is good because my skin's sensitive. The handle's easy to grip, and it's lavender-scented!"

Best pivot-head Schick Quattro $8.99; four-pack cartridge refill, $9.29 "This is a rock-solid number--metal-based and quadruple-bladed. Yet it's lightweight with a rubber grip. Easy-to-control pivot action (love that)."

Best step-saver Schick Intuition, $8.50; three-pack cartridge refill, $5.50 "Don't need gel or cream since this thing has a built-in bar made of cocoa butter and aloe. It's a bit bulky but smells yummy--like cucumber and melon."

Q & A

What can I do besides shaving for smooth legs?

There are lots of options! Nair Smoothing Effects Bladeless Shaving Kit ($8, drugstores), works like a razor but with a plastic "blade" (no nicks!) to scrape away cream that dissolves hair. With Parissa Wax Strips ($11, parissa.com) you don't have to worry about handling hot wax--simply warm two strips between your hands, press on and pull off (this will hurt a bit). Like what nature gave ya? Lighten leg hair with Nair Lightening Effects Hair Lightener ($5, drugstores).
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Title Annotation:SHAVING SECRETS THAT GUARANTEE SILKY SKIN
Author:White, Kelly
Publication:Girls' Life
Date:Jun 1, 2005
Words:786
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