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 Eyebrow Razor. Only, I used it to shave my face instead of trim my brows. Pretty much anyone looking to have smoother, softer skin may benefit from a face razor. In fact, our experts say face-shaving can even help your products penetrate more deeply into your skin. And I was definitely on board with that.
Read on for more about this face razor and the benefits I saw after using it on my skin.
Why I Chose To Shave My Face
Let it be known there's no "rule" about having to get rid of facial hair or peach fuzz. But if you're someone like me with a multi-product skincare routine, 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 their faces for smooth, fuzz-free complexions and to maximize penetration of their multi-product skincare routines."
Benefits of Shaving Your Face
• Smoother skin
• Softer skin
• Lightly exfoliates
• Helps products penetrate more deeply
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 Tiffany Libby, MD, 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.
Face Shaving vs. Dermaplaning
Unlike traditional shaving, which involves using a standard face razor to shear the hair, dermaplaning relies on a smaller blade, which cuts closer to the face and therefore sloughs off a lot of debris and dead skin (in essence, you're scraping the skin and not just the hair). Dermaplaning can get so deep, in fact, that it can actually clear more dirt and oil from the skin than traditional face shaving can.
Cost-wise, face shaving is a much less expensive option, as it doesn't require any special tools other than a razor. Dermaplaning, meanwhile, can cost up to $150 a procedure. Face shaving with a razor also happens to be much safer. Dermaplaning often requires an experienced technician using a scalpel-like tool (something you would not want to try on yourself at home).
How to Prepare to Shave Your Face
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 may decrease the chance of unwelcome breakouts and irritation. Libby recommends a fragrance-free, non-comedogenic option like the Cetaphil Gentle Foaming Cleanser ($8).
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, investing in 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 from Shaving Your Face
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 exactly what I dreamed up." And even better? No downtime and the results are immediate.
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. Of course, one obvious thing to take into account when it comes to shaving your face is to use a light hand—otherwise, you could end up suffering from razorburn or even cuts. Remember: It is very important to use sunscreen after shaving, as exfoliated skin may be more sensitive to the sun.
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.
Cleveland Clinic. 5 ways to exfoliate your skin without irritation. Updated February 12, 2020.
Pryor L, Gordon CR, Swanson EW, Reish RG, Horton-Beeman K, Cohen SR. Dermaplaning, topical oxygen, and photodynamic therapy: a systematic review of the literature. Aesthetic Plast Surg. 2011;35(6):1151-1159. doi:10.1007/s00266-011-9730-z