Is It Okay To Shave Your Face?

I came across this question recently, and in answering it, I am making the assumption that this is a question coming from a person who does not otherwise grow what we might consider standard male facial hair. So perhaps, you are a female or any age, a male who does not, or maybe does not yet, grow facial hair for whatever reason.

Alright, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get into it.

So you are thinking of shaving your face?

People these days have lots of different motivations to do this. As a woman with fine but dark hair on her face (cheeks, upper lip, more on the chin every day), it certainly is tempting to look into.

What I didn’t realize though, as I looked deeper into this, is that more people are turning to face shaving with the goal of doing more than just getting rid of the visible appearance of unwanted facial hair.

In fact, this apparently really common, especially among people who wear a lot of makeup, as it can dramatically improve the appearance of the makeup you put on. (WHO KNEW)

Some other people do it as a poor-woman’s dermaplaning, to fight the scourge of aging.

Ever heard of dermaplaning?

Dermaplaning is a way to exfoliate your skin. When I say exfoliate, I mean scrape off the top-most layer of skin that is dull, loose, gross, dry, flaky, etc, to allow the good stuff under it to peek through. (See also microdermabrasion, which uses sand and suction)

Dermaplaning as I understand it is about pulling the skin taught, then taking a sharp knife and dragging it over the skin to get rid of any fuzzy hair, along with the gross old skin cells. Dermaplaning takes up these little hairs, while microdermabrasion doesn’t. To be official, it needs to be in an office with a trained technician.

Actresses and models are big fans because it apparently makes their skin look better with all the layers of caked on makeup. There are apparently some big names you know, but didn’t know that they shaved their faces regularly.

So shaving at home is a bit like that.

Yep, a bit like that. A razor at the grocery store will cost you a few dollars, while an official dermaplaning appointment with an expert tech will run you a few hundred dollars and take 15-45 minutes.

So I should use a grocery store razor (like for my legs)?

I didn’t say that. There are special (and very sharp) razors out there for woman who want to shave their faces (usually around the chin, jawline, cheeks, eyebrows. These products tend to have a smaller blade and are meant to be wielded all around the curves and valleys of your face in ways that the square head of your leg razor can’t move.

There is also the question of mingling the bacteria from your legs (or underarms, or other more intimate places) with the skin of your face….not idea.

But yet, some people do employ a basic grocery store razor that you’d use on your legs.

And people are loving it?

Some people are huge fans of it. They say that it makes their skin feel smoother, softer, and look brighter.

But a lot of people are pretty meh about it and wish after they had started that they could stop.

Alright, so that are the risks of doing this?

One of the things that people worry about shaving, cutting, or plucking hair, especially from the face, is that doing so will cause the hair to grow back thicker and darker.

The reason this concern exists is that when you cut or shave hair, it does grow back, and the initial stub poking through does seem dark and thick. The experts explain this away by reminding us that when we cut or shave hair (versus pulling it), that it grows back starting at the area where it was cut, which was its thickest point. The hair will look and feel blunt, darker, and thicker, when it is, in fact, the same as it was before. It will not grow faster either. (source)

Another potential risk (aside from cutting yourself) is that you will irritate your skin. Shaving your face (dragging a sharp blade across it) can irritate the skin, and make it more susceptible to irritation, either from environmental factors (sun), or chemicals (makeup, sunscreen, lotion, etc).

It can cause acne flareups in some people, or irritate acne that already exists. You’ll may also notice ingrown hair.

And, once you get started, it isn’t something that you can easily stop.

How do I do it? Do I need to shave my face like a dude (with shaving cream)?

There are lots of different feelings about this. Because this hair is generally fuzzy, thin, and in small amounts (plus you are using a really sharp razor), a lot of people just shave with dry skin, very gently. Others will use a little bit of water, while still others like using some sort of lubricant.

Just remember to put on lotion for sensitive skin afterwards, and wear sunscreen!

Other recommendations:

  • Try a men’s razor, as they are generally sharper
  • Shave in the same direction as the hair growth
  • Try not to run the razor over the same spot over and over (a sharp blade will make this easier)
  • Try not to pick at your face
  • Be gentle

Alternatives to shaving

Overall, long term face shaving is probably not ideal (at least not for me). I think if you are someone out there who is dealing with thick, dark hair, shaving can deal with the issue in the short term, but in the long term, you will still be dealing with shaving, shadow, stubble, and sensitive skin.

If you are really struggling with dark unwanted hair, you might consider instead checking into laser hair removal, which could get rid of or dramatically reduce the source problem.

I know this is presumptuous

And a pep talk is not what you came here for. But if you are reading this, I just want you to know that your hair doesn’t define you, whether you shave or not, whether anyone can see it or not. I’ve been annoyed with my own since a boy asked when I intended to shave my mustache (I was 16). More than 20 years later, I’m still think about that comment, which he probably never thought of again.

Every woman has weird hair, or some other random thing she thinks is gross.

If you want to shave your face, it’s cool. It’s also alright if you done.

Let’s just try to be kinder to ourselves, alright?

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