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Beauty 101: How to Shave Your Armpits

Aug08

by

Amalah,
Hello. I have a seasonal question for you regarding underarm shaving. I know that models in magazines are Photoshopped and all, but how do celebrities and tv people manage to shave their armpits so well? Every time I shave I end up with a shadow of hair or often an hour afterwards small hairs themselves poking through.
I use conditioner to shave with as I find shaving cream too thick. I’ve tried the razors with cream around them and nothing seems to work. This issue isn’t the last thing in the world, but since it is summer and I would like to have nice looking armpits in my many many tank tops, any advice would be helpful.
Thanks!
Jenny

Since I really don’t hobnob with that many models and celebrities, I can’t tell you for SURE that they wax their armpits, but…I’m guessing a lot of them wax their armpits.
This is not something I am personally interested in doing, to say the least.
There are some tricks to shaving your pits (ew, hate that word) that don’t involve ripping hairs out by the roots. A lot of the stubble we see is the result of poor technique and a healthy dollop of laziness.
First, I assume you’re shaving in the shower, no? If so, make sure you actually expose your armpits to the water for a few minutes before shaving. Let them soak in the hot water. (If you’re outside of the shower, hold a hot washcloth to your skin for a few minutes.) Do your body washing first, using a gentle soap and rinse thoroughly. This helps open up your follicles and expose more of the hair shaft, and helps soften the hair and make it easier to cut.
kissmyface.jpgNext, apply a moisturizing shaving cream or gel and let it sit for a minute or two. Hair conditioner has the right texture for shaving, but it’s not made for your skin. I’ll use when I’m out of shaving gel or while traveling, but if you’ve got stubble problems it’s not doing you any favors. Try Aveeno or Kiss My Face or something similarly gentle, preferably without a lot of fragrance.
You’ll notice I’ve padded a few extra minutes into the routine here, which is why I brought up laziness before. I like to get every precious second of sleep that I can, so most of the time I’m scrambling to make up lost time in the shower. So sometimes I just smear shaving gel on non-soaked armpits and then immediately swipe it away with the razor in a few seconds flat. This is fine for the winter, but it’s not going to give you tank-top ready pits.
Next up is the technique. Extend your arm completely over your head. And then, using as new and as sharp a razor as possible, shave up and towards your back. (I prefer the unisex triple-blades and thought those girly razors with the built-in cream were the worst razor I have EVER used, especially for the armpit area.) Don’t shave straight up and don’t shave up and then down and keep your strokes short and to a minimum. Rinse the shaving gel and hair off the blades in between every stroke. And shave ONLY where you have hair (this is easier to do if you apply the gel ONLY to where you have hair, instead of just drowning your entire underarm in it).
Rinse the remaining gel off and dab your underarms with a towel. If you have time, dab a little body moisturizer on them (particularly the bottom part where you’re most prone to stubble) and wait as long as possible before applying deodorant. The Dove deodorant with the moisturizers really will give you movie-star armpits, provided the antiperspirant part works for you. (It didn’t for me, and I’d rather have less-pretty pits than be smelly.)
So like so many of these pesky beauty complaints, this one can be solved with the proper tools (a fresh razor and a quality gel or cream) and about five extra minutes of your time.
(I am guessing by this point, if you were to follow ALL the advice I’ve given out and always followed ALL the proper techniques to the letter, you would spend about 90% of your day grooming yourself, with maybe 30 minutes left over for lunch.)

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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6 Responses to “Beauty 101: How to Shave Your Armpits”

  1. Kaelak Aug 09 at 10:17 am Reply Reply

    I actually did have my underarms waxed once for this very same reason (first waxing EVAR, stupid me). And lemme tell you: 1) it hurts to all holy hell 2) it bleeds (I’m not kidding) and 3) the darkness under your arms? is NOT stubble. The skin under your arms is just more pigmented than your other skin (there are other *ahem* areas on your body like this also) and no amount of waxing or shaving the right way is going to get rid of this extra pigmentation. You can go to some spas and have the skin bleached, but that is a little much for me!

  2. jen Aug 09 at 11:48 am Reply Reply

    ah yes, armpits, a silly but necessary topic… agree with Amalah’s advice re: quality tools (I personally prefer Schick quattro – four blades – and Aveeno gel). I try and shave them every other day to give them a bit of a break; also, I really like tend skin if the skin starts to get irritated (a post-shaving solution that you can buy at Sephora) – this stuff is magical when it comes to razor burn or ingrown hairs.
    good luck!

  3. Talix Aug 09 at 12:37 pm Reply Reply

    Which leads us directly into a price cage match I keep forgetting to suggest – shaving cream. I use the $0.98 (I miss the cent symbol!) Barbasol – bad, right? I really should pay the extra dollars for the girly stuff?

  4. Angel Aug 10 at 3:48 am Reply Reply

    OH. MY. GOD. You are *so* my grooming fairy godmother!!
    I currently don’t go sleeveless (in public), but it’s been one of my goals for my weight loss journey. But I have to admit, I was thinking about this the other day, and voila! Your post!
    So I tried all the tips today, and…..HOLY COW. My pits are smoother than a baby’s butt. LOL I never thought something so simple would make me happy ;)
    Thank you!!

  5. Kerbster Jan 28 at 4:20 pm Reply Reply

    I’ve always shaved down. Does shaving up really make that mush of a difference? I shall have to try this!
    Unrelated:
    To get the ยข symbol. You just need to hold down the “alt” key and then press the $ key.

  6. Steffo Apr 19 at 4:20 pm Reply Reply

    ur a fairy godmother it works thanks so much

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