Ladies and gentlemen, shaving on autopilot doesn't do your skin any favors. Here’s a short-course in shaving that’ll leave you looking and feeling your best:

Start by: Washing your face or legs first and let the soap sit for a couple minutes before rinsing. That’ll soften the proteins in your hair, and make it easier to cut.

Next: Lather up with shaving cream instead of soap and do more than just dab it on. Richard Fried, the author of Healing Adult Acne, says shaving cream is designed to make your razor slide more smoothly, which lowers your risk of nicks and cuts.  And working it in with your fingertips helps cover – and protect - the skin at the base of each hair.

The 3rd step to a perfect shave is good news for your body AND your wallet: Use single-edged blades. Dr. Adam Penstein is the chief of dermatology at North Shore University. And he says that multi-blade razors cost more, so people are more likely to use them for too long.  And you can end up with an old, dull blade packed with hair, soap scum, and a thriving colony of bacteria that can infect every nick and cut. Instead, choose cheaper, single-edged razors, and replace them after 7 shaves.

Also, on sensitive areas, like your face, shave with the grain. Dermatologist Dr. Jeffrey Benabio says that shaving in the direction your hairs grow – instead of the opposite direction - will help prevent razor burn, and ingrown hairs.

Finally: Rinse freshly-shaved areas with cold water which will reduce inflammation. And since shaving removes dead skin cells, and uncovers the new cells underneath, it can actually make your face look younger.