Lunchtime Beauty Q&A: How Do I Shave Without Irritating My Dry Legs?

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Photo: Rick Gomez/Corbis

Q: How do I shave without irritating my dry legs?

A: You just don't shave. Which is great, because that frees you up to spend the time wondering why a shoe with a monk strap is called a monk strap (did monks have buckled shoes under their robes?). But since you might not quite be ready to walk down that hairy road, shaving your legs means dragging a razor over sensitized, dry skin. For this problem we thought it best to consult an actual doctor.

First off, stay away from sulfates, the skin devil. This chemical is what makes soaps, shampoos, and body washes get all bubbly and foamy (sadly, so satisfying), but it's also responsible for stripping skin of its moisture (not worth it in your case)."Cleanse instead with gentler washes like Cetaphil or Aquaphor shampoo for babies," advises Manhattan-based dermatologist, Kavita Mariwalla, M.D. She even goes as far as suggesting that pre-shave preparation take place the evening before by moisturizing with chemical-free and derm-approved lotions like CeraVe and La Roche Posay Lipikar Baume. Yes, it seems outrageous to prep the night before for a leg shave, but think of your legs! Glorious moisturized legs! Post-shave, do not immediately towel-dry. Instead, while the skin is still damp and more receptive to taking in hydrating goodness, slather on  lotion mixed with a dollop of over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream to calm any redness and irritation. Finally, Mariwalla advises to stay away from scented shaving creams (more chemicals), but do use razors with built-in-moisture strips. You can't go wrong with bonus moments of extra moisture throughout the process.