A Top Esthetician Explains How Shaving Your Face Can Give You Younger-Looking Skin

Dermaplaning

 Imaxtree

When we introduced the concept of shaving your neck, décolletage, and hands to gently exfoliate, some of you freaked out. We don’t blame you—after all, we’re taught at an early age that shaving makes your hair grow back thicker and darker, and should be restricted solely to legs, underarms, and your bikini area. Or should it?

We’re taking this myth head on today, and bringing to your attention the idea of shaving your—wait for it—face, as an anti-aging technique. (Insert shocked, dubious silence.) If you're looking for solutions on how to effectively dermaplane at home, we've got all the answers (and products to make the process easier). So before you throw your razors at us and call us crazy, hear us out, or rather, allow esthetician Kerry Benjamin and board-certified dermatologist Audrey Kunin to explain exactly how to shave your face.

Meet the Expert

Read on to learn how dermaplaning at home can leader to smoother, younger-looking skin.

What is Dermaplaning?

Dermaplaning is a skincare treatment that involves using a small exfoliating scalpel to remove the topmost layer of skin, which typically harbors dirt, oil, dead skin cells, and peach fuzz. "Most people are dermaplaning candidates," notes Kunin. "If you have sensitive skin, acne, active eczema, or other rashes, dermaplaning is not advised." That said, dermaplaning is an effective way to both remove facial hair and exfoliate—think of it as a buzzier term for shaving your face. As such, it can be done in a salon by an esthetician or at home. "Dermaplaning is similar to shaving, however the tool is better suited to exfoliate the epidermis than a razor" says Kunin.

There's no need to get shave-happy—you really only need to be shaving your face or dermaplaning about twice a month to see results. 

What Are the Benefits of Dermaplaning?

Both experts list a few benefits of shaving your face (or, at-home dermaplaning).

  • Exfoliation: “Shaving your face can have somewhat similar results to a professional dermaplane procedure,” Benjamin says. “Dermaplaning provides a deeper exfoliation than shaving at home, but they both remove the dead outer skin and vellus hairs.”
  • Glowing, brighter complexion: Because dermaplaning removes a layer of dead skin that would otherwise give a dull appearance, skin is left looking radiant and refreshed post-shaving.
  • Deeper product penetration: Facial hair can often trap dirt and oil that creates a barrier between your skin and the products you put on top. Getting rid of that layer allows for your skincare products to penetrate deeper, thus being more effective. “Having a fresh, clean face will help [serums] penetrate more deeply.”
  • Smoother makeup application: Kunin notes that because dermaplaning removes facial hair and peach fuzz, skin is smoother and pores appear smaller. This creates the ideal base for even makeup application where powder and liquid products can sit on top flawlessly.

Is Dermaplaning Safe?

Now it’s time to address the (hairy) elephant in the room: Won’t shaving your face leave you with thicker, coarser hair than before? Both experts are adamant about the fact your hair won’t grow back thicker. “While I understand that this sounds controversial, shaving your hair does not make it grow back thicker or darker,” Benjamin says. “You aren’t changing the structure of the follicle.” She says that your actual hair follicle sits deep under the skin—when you shave, you’re cutting the hair off at the base, which might be thicker than the ends. You aren’t messing with the follicle itself, which means your hair will grow at the same rate, width, and texture as before. Kunin agrees, adding, "It is a myth that shaving causes hair to grow back thicker and darker, so as with shaving, dermaplaning does not cause a textural change to hair regrowth."

That said, anytime you nick the skin, minor skin infections and irritation are possible. "If redness, discomfort, pustules, or golden crusting are seen, it is time to call a dermatologist," says Kunin.

How to Dermaplane at Home

Benjamin says you have three options when it comes to razors: 1) a normal women’s razor you'd use on your legs (just make sure it’s not actually the one you use on your legs), 2) a women’s facial hair trimmer, or 3) an eyebrow shaper.

  1. Make sure skin is clean and very dry. The drier the skin, the better the results. 
  2. Pull the skin taught and always move downwards in short strokes with the razor at a 45-degree angle against the skin.
  3. Starting at the top of the ear, make small strokes downward, moving down to the jawline and in towards the nose to get the whole cheek, jawline, chin, and upper lip.
  4. Then, move to the sides of the face by the eyes, followed by the forehead, using downward strokes. Avoid the hairline, eyelids, and sides of nose.
  5. Lastly, stroke the neck downward from the jawline.

Benjamin cautions that very little pressure is needed—after all, you’re just exfoliating the dead outer layer of skin and removing the fine hairs.

The Aftercare

So your face is (lightly) shaved and soft as a baby’s bottom, but your work isn’t done quite yet. “After shaving, immediately follow up with a hydrating serum or any other serum you use in your normal skincare regimen,” Benjamin says.

Anokha Jasmine Serum
Anokha Jasmine Serum $98
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To lock in the serum, Kunin recommends applying a moisturizer. This has the added benefit of providing much-needed hydration to freshly-exfoliated skin.

Berlin Skin Sandalwood Cream
Berlin Skin Sandalwood Cream $64
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Benjamin and Kunin agree that SPF should be applied as a post-care step. Benjamin recommends choosing an SPF of at least 30.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios 100 Melt-In Milk
La Roche-Posay Anthelios 100 Melt-In Milk $25
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Exfoliating addict? Try this: “If you want to get a little more aggressive with this at-home treatment, after shaving, you can applying a light AHA or enzyme peel for deeper exfoliation, then follow with serum and moisturizer,” Benjamin says, with one caveat. “I’d wait to do this until after you’ve shaved your face several times and your skin has adjusted.”

Bliss Pumpkin Powerhouse Resurfacing & Exfoliating Enzyme Mask
Bliss Pumpkin Powerhouse Resurfacing & Exfoliating Enzyme Mask $16
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Shop At-Home Shavers

According to Kunin, dermaplaning tools for at-home use are typically foolproof and created with angled blades that are accurately positioned for safest, best results. Shop our favorites below.

Shiseido Facial Razor
Shiseido Facial Razor $7
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Tinkle Eyebrow Shaper
Tinkle Eyebrow Shaper $4
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Panasonic Pivoting Facial Trimmer
Panasonic Pivoting Facial Trimmer $19
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Feather Flamingo Facial Touch-up Razor Pack
Feather Flamingo Facial Touch-up Razor Pack $7
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Remmington Dual Blade Precision Trimmer
Remington Dual Blade Precision Trimmer $11
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Precision Perfect Compact Precision Trimmer
Philips Precision Perfect Compact Precision Trimmer $13
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