How to Shave When You’re Fat: Tips for Curvy Legs, Round Faces, and More

in Questions last updated July 2022

how to shave when you're fat

We all know that being plus size comes with a unique set of challenges and that includes hygienic things like taking a bath, trimming your toenails, and even shaving.

Hygiene is one of those areas where people might not always feel comfortable asking questions. Even though hygiene is something everyone participates in, I know that it’s something I only talk about with my closest friends and my husband. Well, up until now anyway!

That stigma ends right here, right now, with this article. We’re going to get into all the details that you should know (but didn’t know how or who to ask) when it comes to how to shave when you’re fat.

For the most part, shaving as a plus-size person involves working with the curves of your body and finding a position that works for you. Remembering to exfoliate, and using a sharp razor and shaving cream that works for your skin type also helps!

Below, I’ll start with some general tips on how to shave when you’re fat, and then we’ll address specific areas like the legs, armpits, and even the “land down under” (or whatever you want to call it). I also got some input from my husband on how to shave a rounder face, so there’s something for the guys here as well!

If you struggle with irritation, razor burn, or ingrown hairs, we’ll talk about that, too. I’ll also talk about alternatives to shaving (like waxing and laser hair removal), which might be the way to go if shaving is just something you don’t want to deal with. Let’s jump in.

General Tips for Shaving the Curvy Body That Will Benefit Anyone

I was well into adulthood before I learned some of these tips. While my mom did give me a basic rundown as a teenage girl trying to shave for the first time, after talking to women friends as a young adult I learned she definitely didn’t tell me everything I needed to know. This section will give you some of the basics to get started, to keep the rest of the article from being too repetitive.

Exfoliate First

Exfoliation is part of the hygiene process that is overlooked by a lot of people, and not just bigger folks. It’s really important for opening up your pores and removing dead skin, oil, and dirt to help you get a smoother, better shave.

That being said, how you exfoliate matters, too. My skin is not particularly sensitive, so I find that a sugar scrub works well for me in most areas. However, everyone’s skin is different and some people find that exfoliating with a sugar scrub is a little too abrasive, so it causes irritation.

There are two different basic types of exfoliation, physical exfoliation and chemical exfoliation. Sugar scrubs are considered physical exfoliation because they are more abrasive.

People with sensitive skin generally find that exfoliants that use chemicals to gently slough away dead skin work better for them though. You can also exfoliate by using a glove or wash rag designed especially for that purpose.

Shaving with the Grain vs. Shaving Against the Grain

If you aren’t sure what “with the grain” means, it basically means shaving in the same direction as your hair growth. This is one of the situations that depends on things like skin sensitivity and how likely you are to get razor burn in the area.

Shaving with the grain has the major benefit of not pulling too much on the roots of your hair. It reduces the risk of razor burn and ingrown hairs in areas that are more sensitive.

That being said, shaving against the grain results in a closer shave and less stubble, which means you can go longer between shaves. Some people also find that it’s best to first shave with the grain and then go against the grain (or shave sideways, across the grain) to get the smoothness they are looking for.

Keep Things Hot (then Cool Them Down)

The temperature of your water really matters when shaving, too. Hot water relaxes the skin. Not only does it help open pores up for a closer shave, but it also keeps skin smooth so you can get a closer shave.

For an area like my legs, I like to take a hot bath sometimes first to get pores really open before shaving. My husband has also mentioned that using a hot towel to steam his face for a few minutes helps him get a closer shave, too.

Once you finish shaving, rinse well with warm water. Then, rinse a second time using cool water. Rinsing with cool water is going to close your pores, soothe the skin, and reduce the risk of razor burn and bumps.

Must-Have Supplies for Shaving When You’re Fat

Before we get started, let’s talk briefly about product choice. As with anything, the best option is the one that works best for your body and your skin type. No two people are the same, so don’t think that your shaving products have to be the same, either!

Choosing a Razor

Choosing a razor is really about what works best for your skin. For me personally, I prefer something with a minimum of four blades.  And, between you and me, I find men’s razors work better for my hair because it grows a little coarse.

I also like a razor head that’s flexible because it pivots. When your body is a little curvier, this helps it glide over your skin at different angles a lot easier. My husband has also said that pivoting is essential for a close smooth on a rounder face.

For women who struggle with flexibility and bending to shave their legs, a razor with an extension handle could be an option. This helps reach your ankle without bending as much. You’ll find there are a lot of bath tools that come with extended handles that really help with bathing when you’re plus size.

Finally, be sure whatever razor you choose is sharp. If you’ve ever shaved with a too-old razor, then you know it can leave your skin red and itchy- and it doesn’t even get rid of all your hair. Having a sharper razor gives you that close smooth and also won’t snag hairs, causing razor burn and irritation.


In some areas (like your face or even down there), trimming hair works better than shaving all the way down to the skin. We’ll get to the reasoning behind that a little later.

For now, know that having a good quality trimmer or even some sharp barber scissors can help you keep your hair maintained without shaving it down completely. If you struggle with razor burn, trimming instead can really help!

Even if you don’t plan on trimming and want to shave instead, longer hairs can be cut with scissors and then shaved down. This stops hair from getting tangled in the razor and makes it easier to get a close shave without going over the area a bunch of times.

Shaving Cream

Shaving cream is another one of those things that comes down to preference. I personally use a wet/dry moisturizing shave cream made by EOS because of how close I can shave without getting razor burn.

In addition to creams, shaving gels or foams are also great options. My husband uses a gel-to-foam formula for his face. Additionally, some people swear by using all-natural products like coconut oil, aloe gel, or even hair conditioner! These work because they create a barrier just like shaving cream, but also help with lubrication so the razor glides along the skin.

When it comes to shaving down there (for the ladies, especially), the shaving cream you use can actually throw off your pH balance, so you should avoid anything scented. Imbalanced pH levels can cause odor and increase the risk of bacterial growth in that area, which is not something anyone wants to deal with.


Personally, I’m more the type to “go in blind” rather than use a mirror. I’ve been shaving long enough that I’m pretty familiar with the curvatures of my body and where the spots are that I need to double-check for hair before moving on to the next area.

That being said, using a mirror is a great way to shave areas where you struggle with visibility, particularly if you don’t feel like going in blind. Full-length mirrors are probably the most helpful, though some people have success holding a small handheld mirror between their thighs when they need visibility for that area.

Shaving Your Armpits When You’re Curvy

Armpits are one of those areas that are kinda weird-shaped no matter who you are or how much you weigh. The hair in this area doesn’t all grow in one direction and the curvatures of the body can make it weird. Not to mention, it’s one of those areas that isn’t so easy to see.

Start by washing and rinsing the area, then apply your shaving cream or lotion as you keep your arm lifted over your head and stretch the skin of your armpit. You want to pass over the area more than once, especially since the hairs grow in different directions.

For people with skin sensitivity, shave with the grain to prevent irritation. As long as your armpits aren’t sensitive, though, you’ll want to shave both with the grain, against the grain, and even side-to-side as needed to remove the hair. Be sure to rinse the razor each time that you pass through.

If you can’t see the area, something else you can do is get out of the shower (leave it running so there’s still hot water/steam in the room) and look in the bathroom mirror while you shave your armpits.

Once you’re out of the shower, apply deodorant or a natural deodorizer to the area. This is particularly important somewhere like the armpits, especially since bigger people tend to sweat a little more. Something like coconut oil is also a good choice, since it has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, too.

How to Shave Your Legs When You’re Plus Size

I’ll be the first to tell you that shaving my legs is not a task that I look forward to. It generally involves lots of awkward positions (just like painting your toenails when you can’t reach).

Plus as a curvy girl, there’s just physically more skin to shave. That being said, I do love the confidence boost from having smooth legs, whether I’m wearing a cute sundress or trying to feel confident in my bikini with my plus-size body.

After you’ve exfoliated and applied your conditioner, coconut oil, shaving cream, or whatever you prefer, start at the ankles and move upward toward the knee (unless you have sensitive skin, then you should shave in a downward motion).

I’ve found that it’s easiest for me to stand with one foot on the floor of the tub and the one that I’m shaving on the edge of the tub. This brings my leg up toward me so I don’t have to bend as far to reach. You could also use a shower bench/chair if you have one.

Continue around your calf, being sure to rinse the razor with hot water between strokes. You’ll use this same method to shave your calves.

With the knees, bending your knee pulls the skin tight for a better shave. Go slow since it’s really curved so you don’t nick yourself.

I’ve found that no matter how careful I am, there’s always at least one or two strips of hair that I miss. After I shave everything, I run my hand upward on my leg and take care of anything I’ve missed. Then, I rinse in warm water once and finish my shower with cold water.

How to Shave a Round Face

Women have makeup, but men have facial hair that they can use to make a statement. I personally love facial hair on a guy and shaving doesn’t always mean taking it all off.

That being said, the first step is really to start by deciding exactly what you want to do with your facial hair. Whether you’re taking the whole thing off or growing out a beard, having a clear idea about where to start will help you get to your finished product.

Generally, you’ll start by lathering up the areas of your face that you want to shave. Use hot water and rub the shaving cream or foam in small circles. Let it sit for a few minutes to better penetrate the skin so the razor glides easier. If you are shaving off long hair, using a trimmer or scissors first will stop all that extra hair from clogging your razor and get you closer to the skin.

Also, while this contradicts everything I’ve said about shaving so far, there are even people that prefer a cold shave. With a cold shave, the skin is stiff and hairs stand up on end. Since hairs are stiffer, it results in a closer shave so you can put off 5 o’clock shadow a little longer.

When your face is round, the problem is getting close enough to the skin without pressing down hard and causing irritation. Don’t be afraid to stretch your skin if you need to, or blow up your cheeks (like a chipmunk) to get a harder surface while shaving your cheeks. Once you’ve achieved the look you’re going for, splash on some aftershave or an aftershave cream.

How to Shave Your Head When You’re Fat

A shaved head is one of those looks that not everyone can pull off (kinda like a buzz cut). But, the bigger guys that do pull it off- they look really hot. Often, throwing a beard into your overall look really helps. That being said, whether you’re dealing with hair loss or just want to rock that bald look, here’s how to get started.

Shaving your head is actually something that’s a lot easier to do if you have someone to give you a hand, like your spouse. This is especially true for those hard-to-see and awkward-to-reach areas on the back of your head.

With the head being as hard as it is from your skull sitting underneath, it’s also pretty susceptible to razor burn. You’ll want to take care to use plenty of lather and be gentle as you pass the razor over your head.

You should also be sure that your razor is sharp and you should use a new razor every time you shave your head. Having something with at least 3-5 blades also helps because you do not want to pass over the area more than once.

This is also one of the times when it’s best to shave with the grain of your hair. Nothing is worse than an itchy, irritated scalp. Starting at the front, shave from the crown of your head down toward your forehead. Then, you’ll use the same process on the sides. Finally, use a mirror to help you shave the back of your head.

After you have your head shaved, you’ll want to rinse well with warm water and apply a moisturizer. Aftershave does work and is better than going without, but there are aftershave creams that are better for your head. You’ll also want to be sure to moisturize your head at least once or twice a day to keep the hair soft, so it’s easier to clean the next time around.

How to Shave Your Chest, Back, and Belly

I’ll be the first to say that I don’t really see anything wrong with body hair, especially on a man. That being said, it’s really about how you feel and what makes you feel most confident. For guys who don’t like that hairy look, there’s no reason not to shave their chest, back, and belly.

With areas like these where the hair is thick, you should always start with trimming first. You can do this with a pair of scissors, or even with a trimmer like you’d use to give someone a buzz cut.

Of course, your back is an area that is going to be pretty difficult to tackle by yourself (difficult, but not impossible). If you do plan on shaving your back hair alone, then it’s best to invest in some of the long-handled razors/trimmers that I mentioned earlier. This should give you that extra reach that you need to be able to reach by yourself.

Like any other area, you should start by using hot water to open up the hair follicles for a closer shave. Then, lather on shaving cream and let it sit for a minute or two before you start shaving.

Since these are bigger areas that usually have coarse hair, you’ll want to use small, short strokes and be sure to rinse the razor between swipes. Shaving against the grain works for people who have tougher skin, but you’ll want to move downward (with the grain) if you get irritation or razor burn after shaving the area.

When working with the back, belly, or chest, you might not have the same visibility as you do when shaving other areas. This is when a mirror comes in handy to be sure you don’t miss anything. Some people also choose to wax these larger areas, particularly since waxing leaves the skin smooth for weeks while shaving only lasts a few days.

How to Shave When You’re Fat: Your Nether Regions

Let’s just get all the unpleasantries out of the way now. I’m going to say words like pubic hair and FUPA and it’s probably going to be a little uncomfortable. That being said, someone needs to put this information out there so let’s get to it!

Should You Shave or Trim Your Pubic Hair When You’re Fat?

While plus-size bodies come in all shapes and sizes, a lot of us deal with some overhang underneath our belly. While a little overhang shouldn’t stop you from shaving, people who have a lot of rubbing in this area because of their FUPA should note that going completely bare leaves you susceptible to razor burn (which I’ve found is particularly uncomfortable down there).

Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to forego grooming that area. Something I’ve found to be pretty effective is going in for a trim, rather than shaving the area bald. This leaves a little bit of buffer that prevents skin rubbing that creates ingrown hairs and razor burn.

Plus, there are a lot of benefits of pubic hair, including reducing sweat in the area, decreasing friction during intercourse, and preventing bacteria from entering the area around your lady parts.

That being said, society has a lot to do with how we feel about pubic hair in regards to how it affects sexuality and cleanliness, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to go completely bald down there! Should you decide to shave or trim, next I’m going to provide some tips that will help you get the job done.

How to Shave Your Bikini or Pubic Area When You’re Plus Size

Your bikini area is that area just above your pubic area, as well as the area of your thighs. Basically, it’s everything that would stick out of your underwear in the front.

I usually do this with some hot water right after getting out of the shower, just because I always end up missing something and I prefer to use a mirror. I also keep a washcloth nearby so I can apply a warm compress before and rinse the razor during like I normally would.

If your hair is long or thick in this area, it’s best to take a pair of scissors and trim the hair short before you shave it. Then, stretch the skin gently with your free hand as you press with the razor. If you have to press down firmly, your blade is too dull.

If you do want to do it in the shower, I find that it’s best to squat down kinda like a frog does. This gives you the freedom to move your legs outward to see the different areas, plus it’s pretty easy to lean back against the side of the tub/shower for a little bit of extra support.

Alternatively, you can also sit down on a shower bench and put your leg up on the wall for support or on the side of the tub. Honestly, it’s just about finding that position that lets you stretch the skin like you need to but still provides enough support that you aren’t going to fall over.

Some people even prefer to shave this area in the bathtub. The benefit here is that you can soak the area in warm water for a smoother shave and then just elevate your hips out of the tub while shaving.

Once you’re comfortable shaving, though, I’ve found there are some areas down there that I’m comfortable enough shaving just to feel around and “go in blind” if you will.

Shaving Aftercare to Moisturize, Prevent Razor Burn, and Stop Ingrown Hairs

What you do after shaving is just as important as what you do during your routine when it comes to having skin that is smooth instead of being bumpy, itchy, or irritated. Here are a few tips.

Pat Dry, Don’t Rub

Rubbing freshly shaved skin with a towel causes abrasion that can irritate the area and cause razor burn. Instead, pat the areas with a towel until they are mostly dry. I usually air dry the rest of the way since I apply moisturizer after shaving anyway.

Apply a Moisturizer, But Avoid Alcohol-Based Lotion

Moisturizing after your shower is important to take away any flakes and get skin feeling silky after you shave. That being said, your choice in lotion really matters, too. Anything that contains alcohol can make razor burn worse, slows down the healing process, and even stings a little when you apply it.

Clean Your Razor with Oil

Aftercare is important for your razor too. Razors are made from sharp pieces of metal and water (like from your shower) causes metal to rust. Oiling the blades keeps them in great condition, which is important with how expensive a good razor is!

To prevent rust, clean your oil, and keep blades sharp, use a cotton pad or paper towel and dab oil on the blades. You can use mineral oil, baby oil, coconut oil, or even olive oil.

What if You Still Get Razor Burn?

If you still get razor burn after taking all the proper precautions, it could be helpful to switch to sensitive skin products. You should also avoid shaving against the grain in the future.

When razor burn is bad, hydrocortisone cream is a great way to soothe the area and reduce inflammation. Aloe vera gel can also be used to treat inflamed skin after shaving. You should avoid shaving the area again until it has healed completely.

How Do You Treat Ingrown Hairs After Shaving?

To treat ingrown hairs, it’s best not to pull them or further irritate the area. Instead, try a warm compress first. Letting the compress sit opens up the pores and the hairs could dislodge themselves on their own.

Dabbing witch hazel on the skin after shaving also helps prevent ingrown hairs. Some guys find this works better than aftershave, especially if they get a lot of ingrown hairs on their face.

Alternatives to Shaving When You’re Fat

Shaving isn’t the only way to remove unwanted body hair. Some other options include hair removal creams, waxing, and laser hair removal. Here is what you need to know about each.

Hair Removal Creams

Hair removal creams/powders/gels (known as depilatories) are a good choice for people who don’t have especially sensitive skin. The treatment lasts longer than shaving and works pretty fast. It’s also less painful than waxing.

Unfortunately, depilatories are known for having a strong smell and the chemicals can cause an allergic reaction in some people. I personally don’t use them for this reason and recommend doing a small test area before applying everywhere.

There are also at-home alternatives for hair removal creams, like baking soda and lemon juice and even at-home sugar waxes. While some of these are completely safe, you should always be careful when trying these. Doing a test patch is also important before applying to a large area, just in case you have a bad reaction.


Waxing is a little painful but that subsides after the first day or two. It’s a great alternative to something that lasts longer (usually around six weeks). Basically, it involves applying wax and letting it harden, then pulling hair from the hair follicle.

It’s important to have growth because otherwise, the wax doesn’t have anything to grab onto. However, you also want to be sure that your areas and the salon you go to are clean. Since you are opening up the hair follicle, waxing does leave you at greater risk of infections, boils, and other problems if bacteria is introduced into the area.

You’ll also want to choose your clothing carefully before going for a wax. If you’re doing your legs, choose a skirt or something that’s loose fitting. For shaving down there, be sure to choose a breathable pair of underwear that holds your FUPA to prevent irritation.

Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal uses light to target hair follicles under the skin, stopping hair from going back. Usually, it’s a permanent solution to unwanted hair growth.

Unfortunately, laser hair removal is very expensive compared to the other methods. It also comes with a high risk of scar tissue in some individuals, so it’s important to be well-informed and to work with an experienced provider.

Final Word

Shaving is one of those things that a lot of us do from time to time and while having smooth, silky skin is a reward in itself, that doesn’t make the process any easier. Hopefully, with this advice on how to shave when you’re fat, you’re ready to shave curvy legs, round heads and faces, armpits, and even the nether regions.

If you have any tips that I may not have mentioned, feel free to drop them below! I’m always looking for the latest life hack that makes hard tasks like shaving a little bit easier.

Camila R.

Camila is a body positive blogger and fat activist that's focused on helping people of all sizes live life big! That means accepting yourself at any size and just enjoying life! She lives in New Mexico with her husband and two chihauhuas.

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