I shave my face, otherwise known in the industry as dermaplaning. I know, I know. I can visualize the expression that’s suddenly drawn across your face, but hear me out. My skin was terrible until I gave up dairy for a while (I've slowly reintroduced it) and streamlined my skincare routine. I also now shave my face.
Some members of Byrdie's L.A. team mentioned that everyone in the city was dermaplaning, either in-clinic or at home. Of course, being the self-professed beauty addict I am, I did my research about what dermaplaning is and how to do it at home, but it’s taken until this year for me to actually take a razor to my face. And now I'm hooked.
There are three reasons I shave my face (and not one involves losing my mind). First, it gets rid of those pesky hairs around the chin (yep, we all get them as we age, although there are other ways to tackle your facial hair removal). Second, it manually buffs away dead skin cells that make my complexion look dull and can contribute to clogged pores that, if I'm not careful, lead to spots. Dermaplaning clears the way so my serums can get down to where they need to be rather than languishing on the surface. Third, it creates a soft, smooth surface, which means my makeup glides on flawlessly. And, of course, it's not just the dermaplaning that's helped my complexion look more glowing, but I definitely put some of it down to the addition of a regular shave.
Keep scrolling to find out more about dermaplaning and how to do it (go on, you know you want to).
What Is Dermaplaning?
Dermaplaning is a common practice in Japan, also known as kao sori. It's "as common as tweezing your brows," says Japanese skincare expert and DHC Skincare editor Cynthia Popper. Many people in Japan do it, from teens to those over 50. "Facial straight razors are found at every drugstore, and kao sori salons are ubiquitous," she adds.
I've written about the in-clinic dermaplaning treatment before. Dr. David Jack offers the treatment at his Harley Street Clinic, where he uses a medical-grade scalpel "to gently scrape the top layer of dead skin cells away to reveal a brighter and smoother complexion." As we age, cell turnover decreases, and it affects our skin cells, too—which is why our complexions' textures and tones often change as we get older.
The Benefits of Dermaplaning
• Smooths skin
• Improves texture
• Unclogs pores
At home, I've found dermaplaning leaves my skin incredibly smooth—we're talking baby soft. It also unclogs my pores and removes facial hair. In Dr. Jack's capable and expert hands, you'll be removing a lot of dead skin, more than you could at home. "It removes around two to three weeks' worth," he says. "It is recommended to have this treatment at least at four-week intervals. This allows for the skin to complete its normal skin rejuvenation cycle of 30 days."
When I do it, it's not quite such a close shave. I use Tinkle Hair Removers, and these are just sharp enough to remove hairs and buff away at the skin. Since dermaplaning, I've noticed not only is my skin more glowing and smooth but, as I mentioned, makeup application is much easier. It's a bit like when you have your walls skimmed and plastered before painting them. Dermaplaning creates a smooth surface on which you can apply makeup; there's no peach fuzz or rough skin getting in the way. A smoother surface might also reflect light more effectively, which is why your skin may glow.
How to Prepare
First off, I always make sure I've removed my makeup and thoroughly washed my face. There's no need to exfoliate on the same day, as dermaplaning does that work for you.
What to Expect
As for frequency, I tend to shave my face twice a week. On the days when I'm not dermaplaning, I'll use an acid-based face peel like Vichy Idéalia Peel to keep cell turnover at its peak. If you have sensitive or dry skin, go easy and start by shaving just once a week, and forgo the peel. Afterward, use an alcohol-based toner or wipe to give the blade a clean before the next use.
The end goal with dermaplaning is supple, smoother skin—but as anyone who's ever shaved their legs can attest, that often comes at a cost. If you're using an actual razor (particularly one not meant for the face), you might see some cuts, which is why it's so important to undertake the dermaplaning process slowly. Otherwise, some redness might result.
After dermaplaning, I layer on my usual serums: BareMinerals Blemish Remedy ($42), SkinCeuticals H.A. Intensifier ($102), and then a vitamin C serum if I'm doing this in the morning—either Clinique Fresh Pressed Daily Booster with Pure Vitamin C ($81) or Dr. Dennis Gross C + Collagen Brighten & Firm Vitamin C ($78). I'll follow with an SPF: I like Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Hydrating Shield ($68), which is incredibly lightweight and also promises to protect the skin from pollution (crucial if you live in a city).
The Final Takeaway
Shaving doesn't make hair grow back faster or thicker, I promise. The thicker hairs just feel a little stubbly because the hair now has a blunt edge; you won't notice this with the peach fuzz because it is so fine. You can combine dermaplaning with waxing, threading, or laser so you can reap the skin-glowing benefits without unwanted thick hair.