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As beauty editors, we get bombarded with a ton of new products every day (we know—tough life). Reviewed is a series where we report on some of the best products we've tried. Whether it's a drugstore lipstick that lasted all day or a hand cream that saved us this winter, you'll find all of our favorites in this column. Enjoy!
If you told me a few years ago I'd take up "shaving my face" as part of my job description—I'd think you were crazy. Now, I know otherwise. As someone who's tried a cannabis-infused serum, a facial inside a bubble of pure air, and blind dating with zero makeup on, I know better than to proclaim I'll "never" do something in the name of journalism.
Enter the Tinkle Razor ($6). Only, I used it to shave my face instead of trim my brows. Hear me out.
Why I Chose To Shave My Face
Let it be known that eliminating facial hair or peach fuzz is not a must. But if you're someone like me who has a multi-product skincare routine of your own, you know the search for new skincare methods for a brighter, tighter, fuzz-free complexion can seem never-ending. I'd had dermaplaning done during various facial treatments over the years, but never as a consistent skincare technique I could do at home. And while I love a good spa or skincare treatment, I've been on the hunt for something I can keep up with at home. But once I heard of the popular Japanese hair removal technique kao sori, I thought this could finally be the at-home solution I'd been hoping to find.
"Kao sori (Japanese for face shaving) is a popular skincare custom in Japan," says Cynthia Popper, editor at Japanese skincare brand DHC. "Women take tiny straight razors and shave the peach fuzz off of their faces for smooth, fuzz-free complexions and to maximize penetration of their multi-product skincare routines."
Benefits Of Shaving Your Face
Before purchasing my razor, I read up on the effects it would have on my skin. The technique boasts smoother, softer, cleaner skin as the blade clears debris and makes way for new skin cells. According to board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon at Brown University, Dr. Tiffany Libby, the benefits of shaving are primarily to remove unwanted hair and lightly exfoliate by removing dead layers of skin. Plus, it prepares your skin for product application, so efficacy is improved. Which means it's crucial to apply a super-hydrating serum or mask post-shave, as the products will penetrate more deeply.
"I have combination skin that can look a bit cruddy and congested if I don't exfoliate regularly," Popper says. "Kao sori is a fast, affordable reset." After reading all about it, I was sold.
How to Prepare
You may be thinking why would I need to prepare to shave my face? But having clean skin is one of the most important steps before doing any type of hair removal, especially shaving. "Always cleanse your face with a gentle cleanser to remove impurities before shaving," says Libby. Since shaving can introduce bacteria into the skin, removing dirt and debris decreases the chance of unwelcome breakouts and irritation. Libby recommends a fragrance-free, non-comedogenic option like the Cetaphil Gentle Foaming Cleanser ($6).
Libby also suggests having a razor that is solely for your face. "Since there are different bacterias to each area of the skin, you should be using a different razor for the body and face." She also notes that if you're looking to remove mostly fine, light hairs and exfoliate a single more precise handheld facial blade is most appropriate. No need to invest in a heavy-duty razor for these delicate strands.
What to Expect
After doing my research and talking with Devon, my colleague and long-time devotee of kao sori, I was convinced of its place in my beauty arsenal: "A while back, esthetician Kerry Benjamin disclosed to me that she shaves her face," she told me. "Every few weeks, she grabs an eyebrow shaver and glides it down her entire face. Benjamin assured me it was an excellent form of exfoliation and that my skin would feel baby-soft after. She was right. I went to the beauty supply store, picked up a three-pack of eyebrow shapers, and never looked back. The results were exaclty what I dreamed up.
Shaving seems like an innocent technique and for the most part it is, but when it comes to removing hair from your face there are a few pointers to keep in mind. "If the skin is not prepped or clean, I do not recommend shaving your face," warns Libby. "This can introduce bacteria into the skin which can lead to breakouts and infections and creating further irritation." The same goes if you have any existing skin irritation or inflammation.
Libby also mentioned being aware of how your skin reacts to hair removal. If you often get irritation bumps (pseudofolliculitis barbae) or prone to ingrown hairs, it's best to skip the shaving session. "I would recommend going to see your dermatologist for treatment options that can range from topical therapies to laser hair removal," says Libby.
The Final Takeaway
After my experiment, I've officially adopted shaving my face into my skincare routine. It's simple, easy and quick enough to pop into my already-existing skincare routine when needed. I now shave my face about every three weeks, or whenever I feel like it needs it.
Next up: It's true—this is the only sheet mask I'll ever use.