How to Shave the Tops of Your Legs

Shaving upward may cut too close for your thighs and bikini line.
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Even if you don't shave north of your knees most of the time, when the temperature climbs and your hemline does too, you may want to smooth out the tops of your legs. Shaving your thighs and bikini area may be easiest in a bathtub, when you can sit back, soak and prop up your legs. If that isn't an option, you should time it with your shower to get the best results.

Run the water in the shower until it's very warm. The steam heat softens up your skin and your hair, making it easier to slice through every strand. Go with warm instead of hot, though, because hot water can dry out your skin and lead to post-shave irritation or a rash.

Lather up the tops of your legs with a moisturizing shaving gel. Moisturizing gel helps prevent razor burn on your skin, reduces your risk of cuts, and makes the hair softer and easier to shave. Choose either a transparent or colored gel -- the former makes it easier to see the hairs themselves, while the latter makes it easier to see where you've already shaved.

Shave in a downward motion, using a fresh razor -- you need an extra-sharp blade for skin this sensitive, so don't reuse an old one. Shaving upward, or against the hair growth, gives you a closer cut but increases your risk of irritation. Shaving downward won't cut as close, but can be much more comfortable.

Rinse your razor under hot water after every stroke to clear off shaving gel and hair.

Rinse your legs when you're finished. It you notice that you missed any spots, re-lather there and give it another pass with the razor. When you're finished, you shouldn't have any gel left on your legs.

Massage some alcohol-free moisturizing lotion into your thighs and bikini area. This helps you get back the moisture you lost and helps prevent or relieve razor burn.

  • Don't push the razor into your skin for a closer shave -- this only increases your risk of cutting yourself. Let the blade glide across the surface of your skin and do all the heavy lifting itself.
  • Shave your legs again as needed -- the exact schedule depends on factors like how fast your hair grows and how coarse it is, but expect to do this every two or three days.
  • If shaving the tops of your legs consistently leaves signs of irritation or leads to ingrown hairs, consider waxing instead. The discomfort is temporary, and doesn't have the same risk of leading to red, bumpy skin or ingrown hairs.

Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.