Confession: I'm a Woman, and I Shave My Face
I have a confession to make: I shave my face. Regularly. To kick things off, no, I don't stand in front of the mirror with some Barbasol and a Mach3 and get to work. (I know surely that's what some of you are envisioning, complete with a pile of shaving cream on my face.) In fact, no shaving cream is used at all. Let me explain.
I grew up with blond lip hair — a mustache, if you will, but I try to avoid calling it that at all costs. As a teen, I didn't deal with terrible acne (that came later in life, lucky me) but instead was bestowed with a patch of blond hair on my upper lip. Sure, almost everyone has a little bit of fuzz, but for me, it wasn't peach fuzz — it was very noticeable. And I was ready to do whatever it took to get rid of it.
I tried every hair-removal process in the book — Nair, threading, waxing, and even bleach (but considering it was already blond, that didn't help). At 18, I opted for laser hair removal and it worked OK, but then I went off to college and didn't finish my sessions, so the hair grew back.
But one day, at the ripe age of 23, I was perusing YouTube when I found a video from "Bachelor in Paradise"'s Michelle Money. She is a cosmetologist and posted a tutorial for how she shaves her face — otherwise known "as dermaplaning — and seeing her fuzz scrape right off led me into an online rabbit hole.
Before I decided to give it a go myself, I had some questions: Is shaving good for my face as a woman? Does it make the hair grow back thicker? Will the hair grow in darker? What about my acne — will it worsen it? To get to the bottom of these frequently asked questions, and to learn how to shave my face from a professional, I spoke with a dermatologist.
First things first, let's clear something up: facial shaving for women isn't news. (Another thing it also is not, contrary to what you've seen on TikTok: an anti-aging holy grail.) Rather, dermaplaning is the fancier option to shaving that spas offer to help take off a layer of dead skin and peach fuzz. Additionally, many spas advocate for face shaving because removing those baby hairs helps products absorb into your skin better. It gives you a gorgeous glow, and in turn, your fuzz is gone.
To dermaplane at home, aka shave your face, the first thing you'll need is a good razor, like The Tinkle ($4), the Touch N Brow Razors ($5), or the Dermaflash Luxe Dermaplaning Exfoliation & Peach Fuzz Removal Device ($159, originally $199). I shaved my jawline and upper lip, under my chin, and my forehead and even cleaned up the hair by my ears. And you know what? It was awesome. Afterward, I got so many compliments on my skin, and when I revealed my secret, people would go from pure shock to running to the store and buying their own razors.
How to Shave Your Face
"If you do elect to shave the peach fuzz [on your face], definitely consider using a razor that's actually been designed for this type of hair," Rachel Maiman, MD, board-certified dermatologist at Marmur Medical, tells POPSUGAR.
Once you have the right tools, you're ready to get started. Pull the skin taut, then start shaving downward on your skin in short strokes. You don't want to just drag the razor against your skin — it won't do anything. Also, hold the razor at a 45-degree angle. You can also visit your dermatology office for professional dermaplaning.
What to Know About Shaving Your Face
1. Does shaving your face hurt?
Nope. Shaving your face hurts about as much as shaving your body (which is: not one bit). Just make sure you get the right razor and hold it correctly.
2. Does hair grow back thicker or darker after you shave it?
No. This is a fallacy regarding our legs, and the same goes for your face. The reason shorter, stubbly hair appears thicker is because hair naturally tapers at the end. "Those short hairs can then appear coarser in the early phases of growth as they stick up from their follicles," Dr. Maiman says. "However, the truth is that cutting away part of the hair does not in any way alter the regrowth process, and the hair you first had (diameter and degree of tapering) is the same caliber that will grow in."
When talking about your face, it doesn't grow back darker or even stubbly. It actually comes back blond and soft.
3. How often should you shave your face?
It's a matter of personal preference, but I shave once or twice a week, and I don't mind — it's part of my regular skin-care regimen now.
4. Can you use a regular razor to shave your face?
You can, but I would advise you don't use your leg razor. I haven't tried it personally, and I can guarantee you won't want to dabble in it, either.
5. What are the risks associated with shaving your face?
According to Dr. Maiman, "Ingrown hairs are one of the most common considerations as far as negative outcomes of shaving, and this can also occur with dermaplaning." Ingrowns occur when the hair curls back into the skin instead of growing out vertically. "Alternatively, some ingrown hairs occur because the follicular opening is physically blocked, resulting in the follicle growing completely underneath the skin," she says. However, ingrowns are more likely to occur in areas where the hair is thick and coarse, which peach fuzz is not.
6. Does shaving your face worsen acne?
No, but if you have acne, you do need to be careful when shaving. "Shaving should not in and of itself cause acne, but it can exacerbate it if not done properly," Dr. Maiman said. To ensure you don't irritate your skin, use a clean razor every time you shave and be sure to moisturize after. (More on that ahead).
6. Do you have any postshaving tips for your face?
My biggest tip: moisturize afterward. Shaving means taking a layer of dead skin off your face, so you'll want to layer on the moisturizer afterward so your skin doesn't get too dry.