On even a mildly clammy day it’s easy to wonder what the armpit is actually for, aside from housing a 24/7 sweat factory that makes it ill-advised to wear a grey t-shirt any time between March and October. Is it just a featureless junction between the torso and the inner arm or is it an unsung hero performing a whole range of essential bodily functions?
It’s probably the latter, but we’ll leave the answer to much more qualified anatomical scientists than ourselves. What we do know is that it’s a highly sensitive area with fast-growing hair — and caring for hair is where our expertise comes in.
What does armpit hair do?
Armpit hair, like much of the fuzz from your head to your toes, helps to regulate sweat glands and keep control of the amount of moisture being produced by your body (and yes, it knows what it’s doing, even if it occasionally seems to be taking the day off).
It also prevents skin-to-skin contact between your inner arm and the side of your torso when you’re walking, running or moving about in other ways. This is essentially the same job that your pubic hair does when you’re, er, making use of that part of your body.
How to look after your armpit hair
There are subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) differences between types of body hair. Armpit hair is noticeably thinner and wispier than the hair in your downstairs region – because the sweat glands that it regulates also work differently.
You probably don’t need reminding that the sweat glands in your armpit produce more odour than those elsewhere. As a result, the hair in this area performs a different function too.
It’s that bit trickier to manage the hair in your armpits because it grows in many different directions, and it reappears fast — but because the hair performs an important job, keeping it completely shorn of hair isn’t always the best course of action.
If you can find the right balance, then you’re on track for happy armpits. You don’t want to let the hair get out of hand and end up with those embarrassing clumps of fur that stick out beyond the sleeve of your t-shirt — but equally, you don’t want a hairless, lawless plain where your sweat glands are free to work unregulated. You’ll know what works best for you.
Shaving your armpits successfully
Just like with any type of body hair, the key to an effective underarm shave is taking your time and following a few simple steps.
The redness, itching and inflammation that come from a careless shave are annoying at the best of times, and you can bet that they’ll be especially irritating in your armpit. Treat the hair with the respect it deserves (after all, it’s doing thankless work for you in a not-very-pleasant environment) and you won’t go too far wrong.
1. Choose the right equipment
Don’t just grab the nearest razor that’s lying around in the bathroom — what works on your face won’t necessarily be the best thing for your underarms.
Armpit hair sprouting in every direction is no match for the Hydro 5 Body Razor’s five bi-directional blades. These work alongside specially formulated lubricating gel and an anti-slip handle to keep you firmly in control of a comfortable underarm shave.
The curved surface of your armpit presents its own set of challenges, and that’s why we’ve spent decades perfecting women’s razors like the Hydro Silk Razor that uses five curve sensing blades for unbeatable closeness, along with shea butter for an enriching and hydrating shave experience.
2. Have a wash
This is good advice in any circumstances, but especially before an armpit shave. As you’ll know only too well, your underarm area is a keen collector of sweat, dead skin cells and remnants of yesterday’s anti-perspirant roll-on. These can clog up your razor blades and make for a far more uncomfortable, and less effective, shave than you’d bargained for.
Take a soapy shower before you start, and not only will your razor’s runway be clearer but there’ll be less bacteria around to get into your skin in the event of a scratch or a nick.
3. Don’t risk a dry shave
The sensitivity of your underarm skin means it’s especially important to hydrate before and during your shave, so stick to the old fashioned method and make sure you’ve got that protective layer of gel in place before you start to shave.
4. Don’t follow the grain. There isn’t one
The question of shaving against the grain is one of the most contentious debates among shaving aficionados. Seriously, don’t bring it up at one of our Christmas parties.
But whether forwards or backwards makes for a more effective shave, this argument doesn’t really apply under your arms. Here, there is no direction of growth — your armpit hair does exactly as it pleases — so shaving in one direction isn’t going to give you the closest results.
Lift your arm right up and shave gently in every direction, taking care not to apply any more pressure than you need to. Our razor blades will do all the heavy lifting. And as mentioned earlier, don’t worry about removing every last bit of stubble — a little hair under the arms is no bad thing.
5. Moisturise to minimise irritation
You’ve just shaved an area that’s especially prone to razor burn and bumps – and even if you did lose concentration at one point or go in a bit too firmly with the razor, there’s still time to keep the damage to a minimum.
Rinse your armpits when you’ve finished shaving and pat them dry with a towel, before lightly applying a gentle, alcohol-free moisturiser to keep the area well-hydrated as it recovers.
And even if you’re heading straight out of the door, wait a little while before putting on a fresh layer of deodorant — after all, you wouldn’t spray aftershave straight onto freshly exposed facial stubble, would you?