Tips on Shaving
for a Triathlon: For the Men!
A list of tips and
techniques on shaving for your next triathlon - for the
Hazen Kent - Tri-Newbies
After writing the somewhat lighthearted article “ The
Real Reason’s Tri Guys Shave” I have received
continuous mail on some of the specifics that were not
included in the original article. Some of these include
the use of clippers, waxing, the use of foam hair
removers, and the physical effects of such methods.
not waste any time and get right to it!
The following will include some tips and techniques on
shaving for your next triathlon...ummm...for the men!
Time You Shave…
a male who has never shaved his legs, arms and/or chest,
the act of shaving, at least initially may not seem like
a daunting task…that is until the process is actually
undertaken. And it really can be tedious and messy.
However, if you follow a few simple steps, the process
can be rather easy.
am going to assume that the reader is a male who has
never shaved. Ladies, I am not being chauvinistic here,
it’s just most of you have been keeping your legs
silky smooth for many, many years. And Guys, in keeping
with this ritual, the reason ladies seem to complete
this task in a matter of a few minutes a couple times
per week while showering or bathing, is because…
guys who want to maintain shaved legs for year-around
training purposes (especially cyclists training in the
south where year-round outdoor training is a reality)
than the process of shaving can be as easy as it appears
to our female partners. (But I have a feeling, as easy
as I make it sound, even the ladies get tired of shaving
due to time constraints.)
once again, I will assume that you are a guy and have
never shaved and you have a fairly thick mat of hair on
your legs, arms and chest.
must determine if there really is a need to shave.
sport of Triathlon is an event made up of three separate
sports: swimming, cycling and running. And of these,
only two warrant the shaving of body hair: swimming and
have been shaving body hair for many, many years. And do
so once or twice a year in preparation for a major
swimming event. The benefits are two-fold…physical and
psychological: physically, shaving or removing body hair
enhances ones speed in the water by reducing the
resistance or drag existing hair may cause.
Psychologically, shaving gives the swimmer a slippery
feeling in the water.
are also known for having shaved legs. And of all the
reasons I have heard why cyclists shave their legs, the
one that makes the most sense to me is for
medicinal/healing purposes. There is no dirty or oily
hair to get into road rash abrasions…should your body
ever come into contact with the asphalt. And if you are
putting a lot of mileage on your bike, the chances of
falling are increased. And I am not talking about being
hit by a car. You can fall from loose gravel on the
road, potholes, not getting your feet out of the pedals
fast enough, and even hitting the cyclist’s wheel in
front of you while in a pace line.
if you decide to stick with the sport of triathlon, you
will certainly be putting plenty of miles on your bike,
so in the warmer months, I suggest you keep your legs
shaved. And if you shave them once or twice a week, you
will find that this ritual really doesn’t take that
long. Cyclists typically shave the exposed part of the
leg basically from the knees down. For triathletes who
race in a Tri Brief, many will keep their legs shaved up
to the swim suit line mainly for aesthetic reasons.
of you may not want to keep your legs shaved until race
time…and that is fine also. If you do go this route,
you will need to plan ahead especially if you wait until
the night before a race. It will probably take an hour
or two to complete the process.
of all, I
suggest you purchase some clippers. There are generally
two types on the market. Standard clippers for cutting
hair and smaller ones for “sideburns and mustaches.”
larger clippers have a wider cutting surface and will
take off more hair per pass, but can be bulky when
trying to clip in tight areas…behind the knees and
around the ankles.
smaller clippers with a narrower cutting surface will
not take that much longer and will allow you to get
those hard to reach areas.
spread out a big towel and a chair, park yourself in
front of your favorite Ironman tape, and start clipping
Legs - clip the leg hair up to the swim suit line.
Arms - When cutting your arm hair, do not cut the under
portion of the arm (from your wrist to your arm pit). If
you are not wearing a wetsuit or you are wearing a
sleeveless wetsuit, the hair under the entire arm is
important in order to maintain a feel for the water (an
old “swimmers belief”). Don’t cut it. Also, you
may not want to cut your underarm hair…It can sting
Chest - And the chest hair is no different.
clippers really save a lot of time.
out the Blades and Cream
the time to get down to shaving.
this much hair can be messy so I do suggest you do this
in the shower or tub. You can fill a bucket with warm
water and continue watching the tube, but the water will
get cold, the towel will get wet, and it really can be
uncomfortable. So go take a nice relaxing warm shower or
bath and shave.
warm water will keep the hair soft and cut down on the
post shaving rashes.
CAREFUL IN THE SHOWER!
Make sure you have some type of non-skid
surface on the shower floor. You will be putting more
weight on one leg or the other and you do not want to
slip. So again, please…be careful, do not be in a
hurry, and KEEP
a Twin Bladed Razor
still uses a double edge razor…Not a twin, a double
edge. You know the kind that you screw open from the
bottom and then drop in the two-sided razor blade you
buy in a box. Thus you are shaving with one or a single
edge. Insane! He’s a stickler for tradition!
you happen to dig one out of your old sundry drawer or
your dad’s old shaving kit…leave it there! If you
are not skilled at using a single edged razor, than you
can hack yourself up pretty good. I suggest you get a
twin bladed razor, and the disposable types are just
fine. Also, find the type with the little button that
allows you to clean the blades while in use. I think
Schick makes these. Now, that does not mean a you
can’t hack yourself up with a twin bladed razor
either…because you can, and if you don’t take your
time, and pay attention you are liable to take a chunk
of skin off your leg without even feeling it.
But after a few minutes…you will feel it!
is really important to be patient. Just because you have
learned to fly through the act of shaving your face,
doesn’t mean you can do the same with your legs, arms
and chest. At least in the beginning. So for now, take
baby steps…you will eventually develop a feel for all
is another reason why you should not wait too late in
the evening before the race. The initial shaving
experience may take a while.
Get some good “sensitive skin” shaving
your favorite shaving cream is fine. I like to use one
made for “sensitive skin.” At least until you get
pretty skilled. In a pinch, I have even used a bar of
soap. But only when I have been consistent and the hair
on my legs has only a couple days of growth.
Shaving Heeby Jeebies!
you have finished shaving…be prepared.
will feel weird…
you crawl into bed…the sheets will feel weird.
clothes will feel weird…
must admit, even after some 20 years of performing this
ritual (this includes my swimming years), I have never
gotten used to the feeling.
soon as you get out of the shower and dry off, apply
some lotion to your legs, arms and chest.
And keep doing this as the hair grows out. It
will help cut down on the ingrown hairs…but be
prepared…you may encounter a few.
as the hair grows back, you will start to itch like
lotion might help…but itching goes with the
territory…there is no cure…
you keep shaving.
Use of Wax
have written asking about the use of wax for removing
little history (my wife owns a Day Spa…I swear!):
the process of removing body hair by spreading the
melted wax over a particular area (about a 2” wide by
4” long) then covering the waxed area with a thin
sheet of paper…after a few seconds, the wax dries and
the paper is yanked off removing the hair.
comforting, doesn’t it?
it like yanking off a two day old Band-Aid.
it can hurt like hell. And the longer the hair, the
greater the pain. But, an experienced esthetician
(waxing, facials, pedicures, etc.) will be able to make
the process as painless as possible.
waxing removes the entire hair, including the hair
follicle. The theory is, the more you perform this
treatment, the more distorted the follicle becomes
eventually retarding any hair growth at all.
But, it won’t happen with one treatment.
My wife has repeat-customers all summer long who
come regularly for waxing (Thank heavens!)
if it works for the women, why not for the men.
yes…to and extent.
Just remember guys, women do not show up for the
service with a thick mat of hair on their legs.
Therefore performing this task on a male could be pretty
darn painful. So if this is something you are
considering, I do suggest you clip your hair first.
concern with waxing is cost and time. A typical leg wax
for two legs in an experienced shop is around $50.
A chest and back wax may be about $50.
Throw in the arms for another $20 and you have
just spent $120 dollars to “shave” your body!” And
gentleman, it will grow back, and faster than you would
think…and I don’t care what anyone says…it can
women, who come into our shop, wax specific areas on a
regular basis to match Bikini lines and other
summer/beach apparel. And we do get male clients who
come in to have their back waxed. But basically,
performing the task on a triathlete would be
ridiculously expensive and did I say PAINFUL!
I tried it
once…the pores on my legs swelled, I looked like I had
a rash and I didn’t go outside for two days. And
within a week, the hairs started growing back. And even
though it was free for me, the pain and time spent does
not compare to the10 minutes it takes to shave my legs
in the shower.
Nair and Other Hair Removal
all of these products work. But guys if you want the
most effective results, you really must pre-clip your
hair. Just don’t spread it over your thick matted leg
hair and expect immediate results.
cost is a concern here. A bottle of hair removal lotion
may be about $3 and you may go through several to get
the necessary results.
importantly, you really need to be careful regarding
your skin and how it may react to certain lotions.
The bottom line:
newer, faster, supposedly “pain-free” methods and
products have found their spot in the “hair removal”
industry, but for some reason, women seem to still favor
razors and cream…
is simple, faster, cheaper and…
remember guys, if you do use a razor and shaving
TIME and BE
will get used to it, just as you did shaving your face.