No one’s saying you have to shave your legs, in summer, or any time. You don’t have to pluck your brows or paint your nails, either, if you don’t want to. But if you do wish-slash-like to do these things, we’ve got pro tips to help you do them right.
“Grooming is an important ritual because consistency is key when it comes to results,” says Amandine Azran of Amandine Sol Botanicals. “Rituals are also very healing for both the skin and mental state. The right products, from scent to texture, can transport us to a calming oasis. It can be very meditative and calming, while also making us more confident to take things on.”
Azran says the grooming products we choose and how we use them are especially important in summer because the elements can harm our skin in new ways: sweat, sun, dirt and pollution all have negative effects. “We want to make sure we’re consistently caring for our skin to prevent damage.”
Shaving is one of the most common grooming rituals, and it can become tricky in hot months, thanks to increased exposure to sunscreen, sweat and the elements. Julia LaFeldt, communications director for Gillette North America, says while shaving can be a cathartic time of quiet, reflective self-grooming, the right products are necessary to stave off mishaps.
“Shaving can provide … a moment for self-reflection, a time to prepare for the day and a time to get [one’s] game-face on. A [summer] ritual complete with a cooling shave prep, efficient shaving and soothing skin care can help avoid common skin irritations like itchiness and scratching that can be triggered by summer factors.”
When it comes to the bikini area, hot humid weather and tight, wet bathing suits can cause skin problems, which is where choosing good-quality shaving products factors in. “Whether the hair is there, gone or growing, we offer … products that are designed specifically to prevent … irritation, like itch and ingrown hairs,” says MyAnh Nghiem, communications director, Gillette Venus. “When smooth skin is something [one wants] to show, we want to [supply] the best tools for the job.” To that end, the brand’s Pubic Hair Skin collection includes a razor, exfoliant, shave gel, serum, oil and a trimmer for an effective close-skin shave with much fewer bumps and cuts.
Ingrown hairs are, too, a hassle when it comes to shaving and waxing—a bigger issue in summer, when many of us are removing hair more often. “From your legs and underarms to your bikini line, ingrown hairs happen,” says Gloria Chik, co-founder of Chelle Body. “Ingrown hairs appear when dead skin cells clog hair follicles but, fortunately, exfoliating [ahead of time] can help reduce opportunities for clogged follicles, thus reducing the chance of ingrown hairs.”
Kelsey Germain, field training manager and lead educator at Foxy Box Laser + Wax Bar agrees. “Exfoliation is an excellent start to buff out old and dry skin cells, revealing fresh and soft skin. [It] also aids in the spreading of your favourite products like moisturizer, allowing you to use less.”
She adds, “The best exfoliator out there is the dry brush: you buff in a circular motion toward the heart before the shower and shower your normal routine after. This will not only keep you bump-free but also aids in lymphatic drainage, promoting proper blood flow.”
Tweezing can be a great way to maintain smaller areas that you wax or shave, as well as areas of the face, like brows and the upper lip. The key to a more successful and less-painful tweezing session is having good-quality tweezers. But not all tweezers are created equally—they can have different tips, weights, and feels when you work with them, so find one that you like using and one that is effective at plucking out stray hairs easily and efficiently. Also, the best time to tweeze is after a shower. Pull hairs out at the base and in the direction of its growth, and always remember: less is more. (Hot tip: apply a cooling aloe after plucking.)
For those who are more mobile come the warmer months, Kristin Moschetto, senior manager, PR, for Tweezerman International, has a great summer tweezing tip: “We have many travel and mini sets that are perfect for on-the-go grooming, whether it be in your travel bag, car or gym tote. Our mini tools are created with the same precision as full-sized items and are a must-have. The mini cuticle nipper and brow-shaping set are two great items for summer.” —Jennifer Cox