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Beauty & the Bike

Beauty and the bike: Leg shaving for cyclists

This week Adele Mitchell shows you how to shave your legs properly to achieve those smooth cycling pins we all desire!

Emma Johansson has legs that are smooth as a baby’s bum. Image by ednl via Flickr.

The shorts season is finally upon us. Think you know how to shave your legs in preparation? Until you’ve read this, you probably don’t!

Why do road cyclists shave their legs?

Ask around and you’ll get lots of different answers but basically you can take your pick from the following:

– It improves aerodynamics, although this only really applies to athletes performing at the very top level who have saved every perceivable millisecond of time elsewhere, oh and really hairy blokes. Chris Hoy has suggested shaving your legs so that they are rough down the front but smooth at the sides for good aerodynamic effect. Thanks Chris, but I think we’ll pass on that look.

– It makes massage more comfortable, and saves on massage oil. Again, mainly applies to really hairy blokes and those fortunate enough to get regular massages.

– It makes road rash easier to heal by hairs not getting in the way or trapping dirt. Guess what? Mainly applies to really hairy blokes.

– It’s just what you do if you ride a road bike (or are a woman).

Shaving is the cheapest, quickest and most convenient way to remove leg hair but you need to know what you’re doing if you’re going to get super sleek, long lasting results. By the way, it won’t make your hair grow back thicker: it just looks that way because of the blunt angle that the razor leaves on the end of each hair.

First, if the men in your life need some help, here’s some ‘advice’ from Saddles, courtesy of Cyclismas. Just check out that hairline!

Saddles legs from Cyclismas on Vimeo.

So, for those of you who would like to refine your leg shaving technique and the increasing number of MENFOLK who are reading the beauty pages of Total Women’s Cycling, here’s how to get it right:

1. Always use a new, clean razor as a dull blade can irritate your skin and never shave your legs when they are dry. Just don’t.

2. The optimum time of day to shave is in the evening. This is because legs swell slightly as you sleep so you wont get as close a shave in the morning.

3. It’s best to shave after a quick soak in the bath or shower so the warm water can soften your hair but don’t relax too much – soaking for longer than ten minutes will swell the skin and prevent a really close shave.

4. While you’re soaking make sure you exfoliate to remove dead skin cells. This will also assist in achieving the closest possible shave and help avoid in-growing hairs. Try Scrub, Actually from Soap & Glory, at £7 for 200ml it’s a bargain.

Scrub, Actually is a wonderful exfoliator from Soap & Glory.

5. Get out of the water (or turn off the shower!), sit on the edge of the bath and lather your legs to help the razor glide smoothly. You can use shaving foam, soap, hair conditioner, shampoo or, to keep yourself in the cycling zone, a scoop of Rapha Shaving Cream £15 (150ml), which is designed specifically for leg shaving and is packed with essential oils to soothe the skin. Has a lovely mountain flora fragrance too. Whatever you choose, apply it against the direction of hair growth so that the hairs stand up.

Rapha Shaving Cream, price £15 for 150ml.

6. Gently glide the razor up your leg, against the direction of hair growth, and rinse it after each stroke.

Treat yourself and your legs to this luxury leg oil from This Works.

7. Hold the skin taut and flex your foot as you shave the nooks and crannies at your ankles to help avoid accidental nicks.

8. How high you shave is up to you – most of us can get away with lower leg only but if you want to go higher then do so. Note to very hairy men: matching your shave to the leg length of your cycling shorts really isn’t a good look when you get naked.

9. Dry off gently and apply body lotion to help trap in moisture and avoid dry skin. Your regular body lotion will do the trick, but award winning This Works Skin Deep Dry Leg Oil £39.50 for 120ml, enriched with nine essential oils and Evening Primrose is the ultimate luxe treat for silky, glowing but non-greasy results.

 

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