SheKnows: When should you first start talking to your daughter about shaving?
Dr. Jody Levine: It’s such a wonderful topic to discuss together, as it usually occurs at the beginning of the teenage years, when you want to really establish a great relationship with your daughter moving into her formidable years. It also helps your daughter see you as the person to turn to for this kind of advice.
When exactly to begin the conversation really depends on your daughter. In my experience, there are two types of children. There are those that are very open and talk to you about everything that is on their minds. In that case, as soon as your daughter takes the initiative and mentions it, it’s a great time to start talking about shaving. Then there are those children who may be embarrassed and don’t really say what’s on their mind. In this case, look for hints that they want to talk about it, like mentioning that a friend started shaving or saying that they’re noticing the hair on their legs — then address the topic.
SK: Any tips for how to start the conversation and what to say?
JL: I like to start the conversation in a positive light by making shaving exciting and treating it like a milestone in their life. If you’re excited to show them and talk to them, it really helps get the process going off on the right foot. When my oldest daughter began to shave, I actually pulled out the video camera and made the biggest deal out of it (probably both the mom and the dermatologist in me)!
I find it’s easiest to relate things personally to children, like “I remember the first time I started shaving,” and then either “it was so hard because I didn’t have someone to show me how to do it and I had to learn the hard way” or “I appreciated having someone to show me, so that I could do it safely.” I think it’s important to explain how easy shaving can be and how once you start doing it, it’ll naturally become part of your routine.
SK: There are so many shaving products out there! What's a great option to start off for teens and tweens?
JL: The razor that you use is very important. You want to choose a sharp razor, with multiple blades to keep shaving safe. The Venus Embrace has five blades, placed closely together, that way the skin can’t pucker up in between the blades, so you’re less likely to cut yourself. When the blades are sharper, you actually get a closer, more long-lasting shave and you’re less likely to irritate your skin because you don’t have to go over the same areas multiple times. The Venus Embrace also has an ergonomic handle that makes the razor easy to grip, especially in a wet environment.
I also recommend using shave gel like the Passionista Fruit Satin Care Shave Gel, to help lubricate the skin so the razor glides smoothly. Another great benefit to using shave gel is that it makes the hair stand up a bit, making it easier to shave them. It also smells great, so your daughter will love it! You can show your daughter how much shave gel to use, so that she covers the whole area. Then, the shave gel can act as a guide to help her see where she’s gone.
SK: What about waxing? Is it safe/appropriate for teens?
JL: I am not a big fan of waxing for your legs or underarms. For a girl at this age, you want them to feel independence and have confidence that they can take care of their body. It’s hard to do that with waxing because they need appointments and someone to take them there. The hair needs to grow out to be waxed and that in between time can make your daughter feel self-conscious. When you provide them with a good razor to use in the shower, it’s just so easy for them to be in complete control of their body. It’s something your daughter can easily do on her own, once you’ve shown her how.
SK: What are some simple techniques you can teach your daughter so she doesn't injure herself but so that she still gets a close, nice shave?
JL: The right way to shave really involves using the right tools. The Venus Embrace razor for new shavers has a “Perfect Shave Tips” guide, which has answers to those frequently asked questions, like how often to change blades, how to minimize nicks and cuts and how to prevent razor bumps. Once you have that, there are a few simple tips:
- The best shaving environment is in a warm shower, when the skin is moistened and the hairs are softened.
- You want to shave smoothly in small strokes, without pressing very hard. If you feel like you need to press hard to get a good shave, then it’s time to replace blades.
- You don’t need to cover a whole area from your ankle to your knee in one stroke.
- Also, don’t go over the same area multiple times, as this can lead to irritation and razor bumps. Using your shave gel as a guide can be helpful to avoid going over one area multiple times.
SK: Any other tips and tricks?
JL: I recommend learning to shave your legs first and then moving on to other areas. The skin on your legs is nice and tight, which makes it easy to learn to shave on. Plus, you can see exactly what you are doing. When you’re shaving your underarms, it can be helpful to pull the skin taut to get a closer shave. You can also shave in two directions in the underarms — downward as well as upward. The hair here grows in different directions in your underarm, so this helps you get them all.
Learning how to shave is really a great opportunity to bond with your daughter, so you shouldn’t miss it! As a mother, I can tell you that as time goes on, there are few things that they are going to consider important and personal and yet feel comfortable enough to ask for your help with.
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