In the grand scheme of things, your underarm hair isn’t all that important. Yes, it serves a variety of functions, but your health won’t fall apart if you choose to shave it.
And, yes, it’s not particularly attractive, especially when it looks like a wild forest, but it doesn’t generate nearly the revulsion as back hair. If you want to shave it, and many men do, more power to you. We’re here to help with our guide on how to shave armpits.
We’ll discuss the various steps in the process from start to finish, while hopefully helping you to avoid common shaving issues such as skin irritation, nicks, and cuts. Let’s begin.
How to Shave Armpits in 10 Simple, Illustrated Steps (for Guys)
Any guide on how to shave your armpits for beginners should include every step, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. It doesn’t hurt to mention some of the benefits of shaving your underarms, either, including:
- It may reduce sweating which leads to body odor
- It may help improve your performance if you’re an athlete
- It may make you more attractive to others
- You have an over-abundance of armpit hair
While there’s no definitive reason why you must shave your underarms, the evidence against shaving them isn’t that strong, either. In short, it’s a choice left up to you; you may love it, you may regret it, or you may think that it’s not that big of a deal.
1. Trim first
It’s a good idea to trim your armpit hair whether you plan to shave them clean or not.
It’s not a great look if you have an unruly underarm bush that pokes out of your short sleeve shirt or makes an appearance between your arm and body when standing with your arms at your sides while bare-chested.
But you want to trim it before you shave it clean. That’s especially important if you’re shaving your armpits for the first time because it helps make the job easier when you may be feeling a bit apprehensive about the process.
Set the length guard on your trimmer or groomer to a longer setting. It’s a good idea to trim the underarm hair to about a quarter of an inch before shaving it. The longer guard setting helps to prevent the blades from pulling the hair as you go over it with your groomer.
You can always use a sharp pair of grooming scissors if you prefer, or if you don’t own a groomer or trimmer.
If you decide you’d rather trim your underarm hair rather than shaving it off, you should only need to do it every one of two weeks to keep it at bay. But we’re here to discuss shaving your armpits down to the skin.
Here’s another helpful tip for preparing your armpits for shaving: it’s always helpful to rub a loofah or soft washcloth under your arms a few times a week. Doing so helps remove dead skin cells that could trap new hair and lead to ingrown hair and other skin irritation.
2. Shave in the shower
There are many advantages to shaving in the shower, whether you shave your armpits, your face, your pubes, your legs – whatever:
- The shower’s hot water is an important part of preparations before you begin shaving your armpit hair. The water’s heat helps soften your underarm hair’s texture, which makes it easier for your razor to get through the often-thick tuft of hair.
- The cleanup process is much easier when you shave in the shower. The shower’s stream rinses off the newly trimmed hair and washes it down the drain.
- The water helps to maintain lubrication, which is important for avoiding skin irritation, nicks, and cuts.
- Your razor gets clogged less because it’s exposed to the continuous stream of water.
- The softer the hair, the closer the shave. It’s hard to beat the combination of moisture and warmth that a shower provides.
You can always shave as soon as you get out of the shower while the hair is still soft, but it’s more convenient overall if you shave your armpits while you’re already in it.
You can also soften your armpit hair by splashing warm or hot water on it without getting in the shower, and then massaging the underarm to open up its pores. Again, it’s probably more convenient, and less messy, if you relegate your armpit shaving to the shower.
3. Use a sharp razor
You know what it’s like to use a dull razor on your face, i.e., one that has all the sharpness of a butter knife. The goal is to get a close shave after all, and a sharp razor is a key component of how to shave armpits without stubble.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when using a razor:
- A two-blade razor is a good choice because fewer blades generally mean less irritation and fewer cuts.
- A sharp, clean razor blade protects against razor bumps and ingrown hair. Razor bumps begin to form when hair follicles begin to grow underneath the skin instead of out of it, which can lead to itching, burning and redness. You may not avoid developing razor bumps entirely, but you’ll significantly reduce your chances with a sharp blade.
- A sharp blade allows you to get a smoother shave. A dull blade won’t cut through all your armpit’s hair follicles as effectively as a sharp one.
- A sharp blade also helps to prevent infection. Rusty, or well-worn blades may harbor microorganisms that get into your pores and cause infection.
It never hurts to be too cautious or proactive, so check your razor’s blade before every time you shave. Making sure that it’s clean and sharp before each use will help you to get a cleaner shave without irritation.
4. Apply a good amount of shaving cream
Shaving creams and gels are your friends when shaving your armpits, or any part of your body for that matter. They stimulate the hair follicles while protecting your skin from abrasions.
The good news is that you have plenty of gels and creams from which to choose but choose carefully. Our article on the best shaving creams for men should help you to make an informed decision.
Don’t be afraid to apply a liberal amount of shaving cream or lotion to your armpits before you begin to shave. As we just mentioned, a quality shave cream stimulates your hair follicles and pores to make the task of shaving easier.
Shaving cream also helps lift the hair away from the skin to make it easier to shave. It also acts as a lubricant for the razor to help it move smoothly without, hopefully, chafing and scraping.
Some shave creams and lotion even include antiseptics that help the pores from becoming infected, as well as moisturizers that protect the skin and keep it from drying out.
5. Raise your arm over your head
While the ceiling in your shower may or may not be high enough to allow you to raise your arm to its full length, you want to lift it high enough so that you have a clear path to your underarm.
It also helps to pull the skin taut, which ensures that there aren’t any wrinkles or skin folds that get in the way of your razor. You want the shaving surface to be as even and flat as possible.
Raising your arm also gives you a clear view of the area which you’ll shave, which certainly helps make for a more thorough job and, hopefully, one that includes fewer mishaps that may lead to cuts and scrapes.
Or, you can invest in a fogless shower mirror, such as the Deluxe Shower Mirror by Shave Well, that can help guide the way when shaving in the shower.
6. Shave in multiple directions
It doesn’t hurt to be a little unpredictable when shaving your armpits. Not unpredictable in a bad way, mind you, but unpredictable in that you shave in multiple directions.
A good place to start is at the top of the underarm. Drag the head of the razor along your underarm until you reach the bottom of the armpit hair, then shave from the bottom up with both straight and side-to-side motions.
It’s important to remember that armpit hair tends to grow in various directions, so it doesn’t have an even grain like the hair on other parts of your body.
If you wonder how to trim armpit hair without itching, shaving in multiple directions and trimming the hair down beforehand are good places to start. Post-shaving care, which we’ll discuss in a little bit, also helps reduce itching and other irritations.
Use long, smooth straight strokes no matter which direction you choose, and try to shave as much as hair as possible with every pass of the razor.
Always take your time when shaving, even if you’re running behind and it’s one of those mornings when getting out the door and into the world is tremendously difficult.
Repeat the shaving process with the other arm in the same way: lift your arm to help make the skin taut and even, apply a good amount of shaving cream or lotion to your armpit, and shave in multiple directions.
7. Rinse your razor frequently
Shaving cream, lotion, and gels can quickly clog a razor, especially if you apply a liberal amount of them to the shaving surface.
There’s no need to panic when that happens, but make sure to rinse the head of your razor under the shower stream frequently – like after every few strokes.
Whatever you do, don’t tap your razor against a hard surface to clear it of excess shaving cream and lotion. You can damage the razor and its blades.
If the blades become too clogged, which shouldn’t happen often, you may need to clear them with a small brush, or even with the corner of a washcloth.
8. Rinse with cold water
It’s important to splash or run some cold water on your armpits after you’ve shaved them. The steam and the heat of the shower open pores and soften the hair, which is ideal for shaving, while cold water closes the pores afterward to help soothe your skin.
Cold water also helps to cut down on skin inflammation that may result from shaving.
You may not want to rinse your armpits under a cold stream of water in the shower – we get it. Your pores will shrink, but so may some, ahem, other parts of your body.
So, dry off the rest of your body, and use cold water from your bathroom sink to splash onto your armpits.
9. Pat your pits dry
Use a clean towel to pat your armpits dry after you’ve finished shaving (and after you’ve splashed cold water on them). Don’t rub them dry with a vigorous motion because you can irritate skin that you’ve just shaved.
Don’t rub them; this can lead to irritation and ingrown hairs, which are no fun. If you have sensitive skin and experience irritation after shaving, it’s a good idea to moisturize the area with an emollient like coconut oil or shea butter.
The skin on your underarms is thin and delicate, so it’s important to handle them with care. Avoid vigorously rubbing the area with a towel, as this can cause irritation or even tiny cuts in the skin. By using a dry towel to gently blot the area, you can avoid these problems and leave your underarms feeling clean and smooth.
10. Apply a moisturizer
The final step in the process is just as important as the others, if not more so. That is, you should always apply a moisturizer or other type of body lotion to your armpits after you’ve shaved them.
A good moisturizer or lotion soothes the skin, reduces the chances of inflammation and itching, and usually has a pleasant scent that’s nice to have in an area of the body which can get a bit smelly.
Look for a moisturizer formulated for use on sensitive skin. Again, the skin of your armpits is more sensitive than many other areas of the body, including your face.
You can also splash on an antiseptic that can prevent bacteria from entering the hair follicles. It helps to reduce the chances of infection.
Also, avoid putting deodorant immediately after you’ve shaved your armpits because it can make irritation worse. Finish your other grooming duties first to let the skin recover, so to speak, before applying deodorant.
If you’re among the many men who have or want to shave their armpits, we tip our caps. There are plenty of reasons for doing it and your reasons may differ from another man.
No matter why you want to do it, however, it’s a good idea to know how. Taking the right steps, doing the job carefully, using the right tools – all will make your shaving experience better and without irritation.
Do you shave your underarms? If so, how long have you been doing it? We’d love to hear from you, as always.