03 June 2013

A Man's Guide to Leg Hair Removal, Written by a Woman

Men cyclists de-hair their legs for a multitude of reasons. We asked our Facebook community over the weekend why they or the men they know shave and received a variety of responses. William O. pointed to racing strategy, "The difference between .0002 seconds can mean 1st or 2nd," and Winsor H. responded, "Because they look so pretty and my girlfriend loves it." Others commented that hairless legs keep you cooler in your rides. But the most common response related to how hairy legs conflict with crashes, road rash, cleaning wounds and bandaging (also, removing bandages—ouch!)

Whatever your reason, if you're a man unused to removing your leg hair, it can seem a little daunting. Here's a breakdown of your options to make the process smoother.


The most common, overall cheapest and, frankly, the easiest leg hair removal method is shaving. But if you have never shaved your legs before—or it's been awhile since the last time—there are a few things you might want to keep in mind:

  • It will probably hurt a little. If your leg hair is decently long, you might feel a tugging sensation as you shave. But after the first time, so long as you keep up the practice, the process should be pain-free.
  • Don't use the same razor you use for your face. This may seem like a given, but I figure it's best to throw this out there just in case. 
  • It takes time. There's a lot of surface area on legs and going too quickly can lead to nicks and cuts for an untrained leg shaver. Be sure to account some extra minutes so you can take your time and go slow. Your legs are full of curves and contours (shins, knees, back of knees, ankle) that are easy to cut if you're not careful.
  • Shave at the end of your shower because you want the skin and hair to be nice and soft before taking a razor to your leg.
  • Exfoliate first. A gentle scrub down with a loofah or wash cloth can mean the difference between a stubbly shave and a smooth one. Plus, you're less likely to get nick yourself. 
  • Be sure to lather up well. Trying to shave your legs without shaving cream and gel is a recipe for a bad shave, cuts, razor burn, what-have-you—it will be unpleasant. 
  • Shave against the grain for a close shave. But if it's your first time shaving, be sure to go across with the razor in the other direction, mostly just to trim the hair before you try to a close shave—it'll help minimize pain or cuts.
  • Moisturize post-shave. It'll help with the dryness that can come with shaving. 
  • Practice makes perfect. 


Depilatory hair removal is less common than shaving but still a pretty effective method. You rub the cream on your legs, let it sit for the amount of time stated on the bottle and then rub it off gently with a wet washcloth. But, especially if you're not used to getting rid of your leg hair, sensitivity can be a huge problem—the chemicals can burn and cause irritation. That said, it takes longer for hair to grow back than shaving, since it actually breaks down the keratin and weakens the hair itself. Just don't leave it on too long.


One commenter, Gavin G. told us, "I wax mine. I've been doing it so long that hairy legs on a dude just looks wrong now!" A wax can be a rough experience, which is why most people, men and women alike, shave or use a depilatory. It really hurts. But, it's a tradeoff, since the hair grows back much slower and legs stay smoother for longer.

Have any advice of your own to add? Let us know in the comments section.

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