When I was fourteen years old, my roommates at ballet camp taught me how to shave. I sprinkled water on my legs from our dorm-room sink and used a cheap razor to shave for the first time. The results? Not great—bumpy, nicked, patchy. Since then, thankfully, I’ve figured out how to do it right. I’ve been loyal to Gillette razors for the past 20 years (!) so when Gillette asked me to share my shaving routine, I was happy to (and I’d love to hear yours)…

1. Soak skin for three minutes
Before shaving, wet your skin for at least three minutes to let the hair soften. The best time to shave is at the very END of a shower.

2. Use warm water
You want the water to be warm enough to feel comfortable (and not cause goosepimples), but not hot, since hot water can dry out your skin.

3. Exfoliate your skin (this is important)
Exfoliate your skin with a body scrub. Many people skip this step, but you need to help prevent dead skin cells from clogging up your razor in order to get the closest shave possible.

4. Apply shaving gel
Next, of course, apply a shaving gel all over your legs to help prevent nicks and scrapes. Gels create a moisturizing lather and, of course, help you keep track of where you still need to shave. (Plus, I just like the feel of gels better than foams.)

5. Choose a good razor
Shave from the ankles up, using a light touch. Don’t forget the backs of your knees and big toes, ha! For as long as I can remember, I’ve used the Venus Embrace Sensitive, which is designed for sensitive skin, with a built-in moisture strip and five blades to give you a super close shave. (Interestingly, studies show that many women who think they have sensitive skin are actually just using a dull razor.)

6. Finish with a body lotion or oil
After shaving, be sure to moisturize to keep legs smooth and give them a healthy sheen. Avoid lotions with alcohol or alpha-hydroxy acids, which can be irritating to freshly shaved skin. (Personally, I like simple body oil.)

Do you do these already? Any other tips you’d add?

P.S. Made me laugh.

(Photos by Yossy Arefi for Cup of Jo. This post is sponsored by Gillette. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Cup of Jo possible.)