The first time I tried shaving my faceyep, the thing guys do every morningit wasnt pretty. I had read in college that it was a good way to exfoliate and, as buffing away dead skin cells is one of my favorite beauty pastimes, I decided to give it a try. (I also had a little peach fuzz I wanted to get rid of.) When my skin wasnt immediately transformed into porcelain, as my early 20s self tended to do, I gave up on shaving after a few tries. (I also nicked a few spots and accidentally took off some of the hair in front of one of my ears, but thats another story.)
Fast forward 10 years, and face shaving is a bona fide trend. In Japan, there are entire salons devoted to kao sori (translation: shaved face), where women go in droves to get brighter, softer skin. Here in the States, the professional term for it is dermaplaning, where a trained aesthetician uses a scalpel or blade to remove the outermost dead skin cell layers on the face.
Supporters claim that regular face shaving can mimic the dermaplaning effect by not only exfoliating the skin, but also stimulating collagen production and softening fine lines over time. Sounds like a sweet deal, right? Sweet enough to give shaving another try, in my opinion.
Before I picked up the razor again, I asked NYC dermatologist Dr. Eric Schweiger, CEO and Chief Medical Officer of Schweiger Dermatology Group, whether I should get my hopes up. The main benefit of facial shaving for women is safely removing facial hair, he says. A lot of women like to eliminate fine hairs (aka peach fuzz) for the smooth feeling they get post-shave.
But what about the promise of younger-looking skin? Shaving the fine hairs on the face can help with the absorption and penetration of the skincare products you use, explains Dr. Schweiger. There is some exfoliation benefit, but its hard to say exactly how much.
Though it didnt sound like face shaving can make as big of an impact as some devotees claim, I still decided to try it, heeding Dr. Schweigers recommendations this time: Steer clear of any active acne areas (if you have a lot of acne, you might want to skip shaving altogether.) When you have sensitive skin like I do, use a cream like Harry's Shave Cream to create a barrier between the razor and your face. Hold the skin taut and position the razor at a 45-degree angle. Finally, start with shaving once a week and up the frequency as needed.
For more precise control of each stroke, I used a FROMM eyebrow razor, which has a small blade and built-in safety guard. Shaving took a bit longer than it did using a regular sized mens razor, but the tiny blade helped me avoid blemishes and navigate my upper lip area more easily. I shaved only one side of my face to start, so I could compare.
The result? The shaved skin was a little bit red for about a half an hour, but there was also a visible change in textureso much so that my foundation and powder actually looked smoother than usual when I applied them. And, of course, my peach fuzz was gone, which made a subtle but notable difference. The verdict for long-term effectiveness is still out, but in the meantime, Ill settle for this slightly more flawless finish. At least I didnt accidentally shave off my sideburns this time.
Would you ever try face shaving? We want to hear from you in the comments!