Updated 2/17/16. A few years ago, I started shaving my face every three weeks. The results have been fantastic and I’m consistently recommending for many of my clients to do the same.
Contrary to popular opinion, face shaving is not just for men. It’s actually a popular treatment trend among women, and I am a big advocate of it for multiple reasons. For one thing, it removes peach fuzz, which allows for seamless foundation application, and it also helps prevent clogged pores and breakouts. Simply put, shaving removes surface dry cells and we all know the benefits of exfoliating the skin.
Many people are under the impression that shaving causes hair to grow back thicker and darker, but this is definitely not the case. If shaving actually made the hair grow back thicker or darker, I believe we would have just discovered a cure for male baldness. However, the hair that comes in after shaving may feel slightly different than it did because the hair has been cut straight across, but it is neither coarser nor thicker.
For women in their 40s (like me), the slow decrease of estrogen in our bodies can cause an increase in facial hair, but shaving can keep that hair growth in check. Any product you put on the skin directly after shaving (ideally a high-potency specialty serum for your skin type) will absorb into the skin more effectively. All of these benefits are similar to a popular professional treatment called Dermaplaning. It’s a professional form of shaving that can be combined with special masks and peels to give amazing skin benefits.
Before you get started, though, you should be aware of a few things.
- I don’t use a regular blade like those that men do but instead, I use this dermaplaning exfoliation tool made for removing facial and eyebrow hair.
- Be aware that if you already exfoliate often (with a sonic brush or an exfoliating scrub or acid), your skin might not be able to handle shaving, too. And as beneficial as exfoliating is, too much can damage your skin’s moisture barrier, causing redness, dryness, and inflammation. I would recommend you not use any brush or exfoliating product three days beforehand.
- There is also a small risk of ingrown hairs, especially for those with darker hair that has a curl or bend to it. Lastly, there is a chance of nicking the skin if you aren’t careful. Be sure to use gentle pressure and move slowly to eliminate the risk. For obvious reasons, it’s best not to talk while shaving and to keep your face as still as possible.
If you do decide to try shaving your face, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Pre-shave, you’ll want to wash your face thoroughly with a gentle, sulfate-free cleanser. Pat your skin with a towel and wait a few minutes for it to thoroughly dry.
Hold the razor at a 45-degree angle and use short, upward strokes in the opposite way the hair grows. Avoid areas where there is inflamed, pustular acne, as shaving can cut an opening in the blemish and cause more irritation. For best results, only use a razor five times before tossing it as the blade does get dull. Depending on how much facial hair you have, you may shave your face as little as once a month or up to once per week. I use mine about every three weeks.
Post-shave, you’ll want to apply a hydrating, soothing moisturizer to keep dry skin at bay. I’ll often apply a soothing mask (my very favorite Bio Calm Repair Masque), leave it on for 15 minutes, rinse and then follow with a moisturizer for my skin type. Do not exfoliate immediately after shaving, as skin will be more sensitive than it typically is. Practice good tool maintenance and always wash the razor with soap and water — or dip it in rubbing alcohol — after each use.
While shaving your face may seem like an intimidating addition to your skin-care routine, it’s actually pretty easy and can help you in your quest for smoother, hair-free, and glowing skin. Woman don’t realize how much peach fuzz they have until I call it out, so I’m always recommending this easy, at-home treatment to keep the skin looking youthful.
Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”