Facial shaving for women has long been a highly debatable topic. Is it safe to do? What are the side effects? What does the aftercare look like, and most importantly, is it even necessary? Experts say that the hair on your face bleaches itself after a while, either by sun exposure, various creams or bleaching. So it appears lighter, gold and merges with your skin. But for the skincare enthusiasts of Instagram and TikTok, facial shaving has found new ground for being relevant. It gives your skin a glowing look (because of the exfoliation action) and a softer feel.
The aesthetic-looking reels often point to the hair and gunk that comes off on the pen razor, and it is incredibly satisfying (a little gross!) to look at. Having said that, how safe and effective is facial shaving? We got a few experts to comment on the same, and here’s what they had to say.
How effective is facial shaving?
“Of course, you can shave your face, but it cannot become a habit. Similar to exfoliation, doing it too many times or too roughly can harm the skin,” said Dr. Rashmi Shetty, celebrity dermatologist and founder of Ra Skin and Aesthetics Clinic in Mumbai. “It is definitely a better alternative to waxing because there is no external application of heat, yanking your skin in the wrong direction. But it is not an alternative to permanent hair reduction. PHR is much more advanced and effective for hair on your face and body,” she elaborated.
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If that’s the real scoop of facial shaving when it comes to hair removal, why is it suddenly so popular? “A lot of women are shaving their face to remove the facial hair, debris excess oil and dead skin on the skin. It mimics exfoliation and makes the skin brighter,” said Dr. Mrunal Shah Modi, Director – Shine Skin, Hair & Laser Clinic – Mumbai. She reiterated Dr. Rashmi’s take on the effectiveness of facial shaving as well. She said, “When it comes to being a means of hair removal, you are going to have to do it quite often. Hair on your face will come back much faster than threading, waxing or permanent hair reduction. It is temporary in nature and should be treated as a quick fix.”
Will your hair grow back thicker?
So your facial hair will most definitely grow back faster after shaving, but will it get thicker? The consensus out there seems to be that women who shave their face will end up with a beard by the time they hit 30. But Dr Mrunal busted that myth, saying, “After shaving the new hair growth does feel pointy and like a beard, because the hair gets cut and the stem starts to grow out, but it does not make it thicker. The feel of the hair goes back to normal after it grows out a bit; shaving has no impact on the colour of the hair as well.”
Dr Rashmi pointed out that, “If you are dealing with face really thick, terminal and male-like hair on your face, just shaving will not help. You have to meet your dermatologist to get it checked to understand the underlying cause and get it treated accordingly.”
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How do you shave your face?
Now that you have some clarity on facial shaving, you might be wondering how to safely do it. The right type of facial razor for you depends on how close a shave you want. There are varieties of shapes, sizes and blades available in the market. Just make sure to pick one from a reputable manufacturer, as there is much science behind creating blades. You have to make sure the edges are coated, sharp and angled to give you a precise shave.
When it comes to prep. Experts recommend shaving only on a well-hydrated face. Wash your skin with warm water and a balanced pH cleanser. Prep it with a moisturizer or facial oil so that the blade glides properly. Always shave in the single direction of the hair growth and make sure to keep your skin gently taut to avoid snagging the edge on the hair.
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What does the aftercare look like?
Facial shaving aftercare is all about letting your skin rest and relax for a while. Follow up your shaving routine with a gentle moisturiser; steer clear of harsh ingredients like AHAs, BHAs, and retinol for a day or two. Do not use any makeup immediately after shaving, as it can block your pores. If there is any irritation, you can use an antibiotic cream to help calm your skin.
What are the precautions to take with facial shaving?
Dr Mrunal cautioned, “People who have sensitive skin must avoid shaving as t can lead to rashes. If you have active boils and pimples on your face, shaving can get painful and increase the risk of infection. If not done properly, you might even run into in-growth and irritation”. Make sure you are not doing it in multiple directions, and work around your acne if you absolutely want to do it.
Dr Rashmi cautioned people with dry skin, especially, “Dehydrated, dry and sensitive skin should avoid facial shaving. You do not want to further damage the upper layer of the skin. You can, however, wait till your skin is healthy again and then try.”
In terms of how often you can shave your face, that entirely depends on you and your time limitations. It is safe to do it every 2-3 days if you want the look of super sleek and clear skin. You can even do it every 3-5 days as grooming upkeep. It won’t damage your skin as long as it is done gently and followed up with aftercare.