When we introduced the concept of shaving your neck, décolletage, and hands to gently exfoliate last week, 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.) But before you throw your razors at us and call us crazy, hear us out, or rather, allow Kerry Benjamin to explain.
Meet the Expert
Kerry Benjamin is an expert esthetician based in L.A. She is also the founder of StackedSkincare®, a vegan, cruelty-free, non-comedogenic, sulfate-free, clean skincare line.
Keep scrolling to see how shaving your face is a total anti-aging game-changer.
Benjamin lists quite a few benefits of shaving your face, also known as at-home dermaplaning, such as exfoliation, collagen stimulation, deeper product penetration, and smoother makeup application. “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.”
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? No one wants to channel their inner caveman, which is why Benjamin is 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.
Benjamin says you have three options when it comes to razors: 1) a normal women’s razor for 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. “I start at the top of my ear and shave going down to my jawline and in towards my nose, to get the whole cheek, jawline, chin, and upper lip,” Benjamin says. “Then, I’ll do the sides of my face by my eyes, followed by my forehead, using downward strokes. Lastly, I’ll stroke my neck downward from my jawline.” She cautions that very little pressure is needed—after all, you’re just exfoliating the dead outer layer of skin and removing the fine hairs. Also, make sure to shave only clean, dry skin. “Pull the skin taught and shave downwards in short strokes with the razor at a 45-degree angle against the skin,” she advises.
Before you get too shave-happy, know this: You really only need to be doing this about twice a month to see results.
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. “Having a fresh, clean face will help those serums penetrate more deeply.” She says to follow with a moisturizer to lock in the serums, then use a SPF of at least 30 if it’s in the daytime.
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. “However, I’d wait to do this until after you’ve shaved your face several times and your skin has adjusted.” Noted!
Keep scrolling to shop Benjamin’s picks for at-home shavers.