Should You Shave Your Face?

We asked the experts if this DIY dermaplaning technique is the secret to a brighter and smoother complexion.
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Written by Taylor Lane
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Should You Shave Your Face?fizkes/Shutterstock

If you’ve considered trying a DIY dermatology treatment this year, you are not alone. Between aesthetic services being curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic and more time at home, the temptation to attempt an at-home treatment is real. While many of the procedure hacks you see on social media are a bad and, frankly, dangerous idea (we talked to dermatologists about DIY disasters), there are some that can be safe and effective (beauty pros shared some of their favorites with us).

One treatment that is rising in popularity is face shaving. If you are familiar with this process, you most likely know how much hair and dead skin a razor removes from your face. So, if you’re seeking a smoother and brighter complexion, this can seemingly be a relatively simple and cost-effective treatment to improve skin tone and texture. But what do the experts have to say? We asked dermatologists for their thoughts on shaving your face at home.

At-Home Face Shaving vs. Professional Dermaplaning

If you’re looking to remove peach fuzz and give your dull complexion a boost, face shaving is an at-home option that exfoliates the skin while removing dead skin cells. If it sounds a lot like dermaplaning, that’s because it is — though the tools are a bit different. “Professional dermaplaning is usually performed by an aesthetician or dermatologist, who uses a scalpel blade instead of a razor,” says Vivian Bucay, MD, a board certified dermatologist in San Antonio, TX. “Both remove peach fuzz, but dermaplaning usually provides a little more exfoliation, which might irritate sensitive skin.”

Because a medical-grade scalpel is involved, professional dermaplaning requires a trip to the dermatologist. Oh, and there is quite a bit of skill involved. “[Dermaplaning] gets into little grooves in the skin that are difficult to do by yourself, like near your nose, eyebrows, and near your ears,” says Morgan Rabach, MD, a board certified dermatologist and co-founder of LM Medical in New York City.

The Benefits of Shaving Your Face

Whether you use a razor or the blade (far duller than a medical-grade scalpel) from a kit marketed for at-home use, shaving your face has multiple benefits. Smoother, brighter, and more even skin are the most noticeable ones. But there’s an exfoliating quality to this treatment, too. Since you are removing hair and dead skin cells with shaving, it leads to “better absorption of products with active ingredients,” Dr. Rabach explains. Another benefit? Shaving your face makes your makeup glide on better, Dr. Bucay, says. Since the skin is smooth, it glows more.

But that’s not all. From a convenience perspective, it’s important to note that you can perform the treatment when it fits in your schedule, as there is no need to schedule appointments with your dermatologist or aesthetic provider. “Shaving your face at home can be done at any time and is very inexpensive,” Dr. Bucay notes. “It’s a great option for those with busy schedules or those with tight budgets.”

If you are wondering how the hair will grow in after being shaved, know that it will not be any thicker than it was before. Because professional dermaplaning and at-home face shaving cut the hair mid-shaft, it does not impact the hair follicle. As a result, the texture will remain the same.

How To Shave Your Face Properly

Now that you know the basics, it’s time to get down to it. For starters, give yourself ample time when shaving your face. Rushing can result in damage to the skin. Before you start, make sure the face is clean and always use a fresh razor with a lubricating strip. To avoid nicks and cuts, Dr. Bucay cautions against dry-shaving. Instead, start with damp skin. “I also recommend stretching the skin to create a taut and even surface for better results,” Dr. Bucay says.

For best results, consider the following:

  1. Use New Tools: Use a new, clean razor for each treatment. Dr. Rabach suggests a simple women’s razor or razors specially formulated for face shaving, like the Tinkle Eyebrow Razor or the StackedSkincare Dermaplaning Tool.
  2. Don’t Forget Shaving Cream: It might seem odd to use a shave gel for your face, but hear us out. “I recommend using a shaving gel or cream, which not only hydrates the skin but allows the razor to glide smoothly over the skin,” Dr. Bucay says. Her pick? The Aveeno Positively Smooth Shave Gel, which contains aloe, vitamin E, and soy to slow hair growth.
  3. Keep It Short: Use short strokes. “Use downward motions and stay away from the eyelids and sides of your nose,” Dr. Rabach notes.
  4. And Keep It Light: Don’t be heavy handed! Only use light strokes to avoid deep cuts on the skin.

The Risks of Shaving Your Face

Any skincare treatment can cause sensitivity, but shaving your face at home may result in redness and swelling. Dr. Rabach says that you can experience irritation and little nicks in the skin. Shaving with a razor instead of a scalpel will leave your skin more sensitive to products with active ingredients like retinol or acids (i.e. AHAs and BHAs). Plan to take a break from skincare products with these ingredients in the lead up to and right after face shaving. As always, be sure to consult with your dermatologist prior to trying a new treatment at home.

All products featured are independently selected by our editors, however, AEDIT may receive a commission on items purchased through our links.

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TAYLOR LANEis a contributing writer for AEDIT.

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