Is It Safe To Dry Shave Your Legs As A Last Resort?

If you haven't yet devoted yourself to waxing or laser hair removal treatments, you're probably still relying on the humble razor to keep your legs feeling silky smooth. Shaving is a tried-and-true method that, according to Vox, has been used by women for decades. Unlike some other hair removal techniques available today, shaving doesn't generally involve pain, a trip to a salon, or expensive techy tools.

The downside, however, is that shaving requires more regular upkeep to maintain results. A survey by the American Laser Centers revealed that women shave an average of 12 times per month — about once every two or three days. If you don't plan your time in the shower wisely and skip a day or two of shaving, you might just notice prickly stubble popping up before you know it.

This can especially be a problem if you have plans out in a flashy dress or short skirt and don't want leg hair to steal the show. As a last resort, you might be tempted to dry shave, where you skip the shower and only use a dry razor to get the job done. However, there are a few things you should know before you start trimming away leg fuzz over your bathroom sink.

Dry shaving can hurt your skin

Standard in-shower shaving is usually a pain-free experience, minus the occasional nicked spot on your knee or ankle. However, dry shaving is much more likely to cause irritation, according to experts. "Dry shaving really should only be performed in a pinch," Jodi Shays, an esthetician and salon owner, told Byrdie. "Taking a razor to cold, bare skin that isn't prepared is a major red flag for the largest organ on your body. It will communicate to the brain that it is under attack, and that is why many people complain about inflammation after a true dry shave."

Besides the risk of inflammation, shaving sans water can also cause a slew of other uncomfortable side effects (per Healthline). When using a dry blade razor — especially one that's dull — expect cuts, dry skin, itching, razor burn, bumps, and ingrown hairs. Dry shaving with an electric shaver may eliminate some of these issues, though you may still notice irritation, especially if you have a sensitive skin type.

Follow these tips if you decide to dry shave

If you're desperate and still willing to give dry shaving a try, a few simple hacks can make the process much smoother — no pun intended. First, don't bother splashing your legs with water from the sink. Besides making a mess of your bathroom floor, the small amount of water will unlikely be of any help. David Bank, a dermatologist, explained to Self that "warm water softens the skin and the hair, but unless you have time to soak, it will evaporate too quickly to make a difference."

A better option when you can't take a full bath or shower is to slather a lubricating product on your skin. "If you don't have access to water and must shave, try applying soap or hair conditioner to the legs before going over them with a razor to reduce friction and help prevent injury," dermatologist Dr. Jennifer Herrmann suggested (via Real Simple).

When dry shaving, also keep in mind that your skin is more likely to become irritated compared to a usual shave. Be slow and gentle, going in the direction your hair grows and avoiding shaving the same spot more than once to prevent razor burn (per Healthline). When you're done, swipe on a fresh layer of lotion or body oil, and you're ready to go!