Ingrowns, nicks, razor burn: It’s ironic that the very things we do to get smoother skin can sometimes cause it to become rougher than it was to start. After an especially bumpy season of shaving, we decided to call in some reinforcements. And who better to guide us all through the ins and outs of shaving than the very people who create and test razors for a living? We spoke with the R&D team (that’s research and development) at Schick to get some pro tips for maximizing our shave.

Meet the Experts:

  • William Salvatore, Vice President, R&D, Shave Research & FemCare at Schick
  • Stacy Crowell, Manager, R&D, Institute of Evaluation Sciences at Schick

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First things first, how should you prep your skin for shaving?

“The key here is hydration. That’s really the most important part of shave prep,” says Salvatore. “Hydrating your skin prior to shaving softens the hair, which enables the razor to do its job better. This results in less tugging and pulling, and a more comfortable shave overall,” he adds.

To that end, Salvator’s first tip is to save your shave for the very end of your shower, after your hair has had ample time to soften. “At this point, you’ve already cleaned the oils from your skin, and gently exfoliated away dead cells, which allows the water to further penetrate and soften the hair. Then, apply your shaving cream to ensure the razor glides over your skin.”

What are the most common mistakes people make when shaving?

  1. Not taking the time to properly hydrate your body hair and skin prior to shaving. (See above.)

  2. Not identifying your personal shaving needs. Decide what’s most important to you and take some extra time to choose your razor.

How do you decide which razor is best for you?

Best for you is the key phrase here. The features of a razor that meets the needs of one woman are not necessarily going to meet the needs of others. It’s important to choose one that caters to your specific needs,” explains Salvatore.

Some things to think about:

  • Do you have sensitive skin? Get a dermatologist-tested razor with blades that feature skin guards for added protection.
  • Are you looking for convenience? Try a razor with a built-in moisturizing bar that lathers and shaves in one step, eliminating the need for a separate shave gel.
  • Prone to nicking yourself around certain areas? Look for razors with blades that flex and pivot to the contours of your body.
  • Are you a first-time shaver? You want something that’s easy to handle. I always recommend the Intuition razor for first-time shavers because it features a wire-wrap technology that helps to minimize nicks and cuts. Plus, its built-in moisturizing bar, lathers and shave in one easy step.

Do you have any tips for shaving your bikini area?

“Proper skin preparation, including hydration and shave gel, is beneficial no matter what. However, with trickier zones, like the bikini area, you may need some additional care,” says Crowell.

Once you’ve softened the hair with warm water, use a bikini trimmer to safely reduce the length of the hair in your bikini area to about a quarter of an inch. Shorter hair is easier to shave, and therefore results in a more comfortable experience.

Next, lather up with shaving gel, before going in with your razor. (Crowell recommends using a five-blade razor to get the closest shave in this area.)

Are there any specific things to consider when shaving in the summer, as opposed to cooler seasons?

“During the summer, your skin needs extra protection, so that you minimize the potential for irritation when you shave,” advises Salvatore. We recommend using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 before heading outdoors (and reapplying it every few hours if you’re staying outside).

“In the wintertime, our skin is typically much dryer, so you may want to limit taking warmer showers, which can exacerbate dryness,” says Salvatore. “Because of this, doing some gentle exfoliation prior to shaving, and applying moisturizing lotions after shaving can help. Lotions made specially for sensitive skin and without scents are preferred, as they’re less likely to cause irritation” he adds.

RELATED: The 7 Best Products to Prevent (and Treat) Pesky Razor Burn

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