The thought of a woman shaving her face isn’t nearly as unusual as it was five years ago. With proponents across large swathes of the fashion world, from dermatologists to skin care vloggers, shaving your face is no longer just the province of the boys. There’s a range of potential benefits, including smoother skin, less hair left over, and easier to apply makeup.
Unlike most guys, though, the ladies weren’t taught by their dads the best path to a smoother chin. That’s why we’ve put together our top tips for women shaving your face, along with a bit of myth-busting for good measure.
A Distinct Lack of Yetis
First of all, let’s talk about the woolly mammoth in the room. Everyone knows that when you shave, the hair grows back thicker and coarser, right? Except that no, it actually doesn’t. Over the course of two studies, the first back in 1928 and the second in 1970, scientists determined that there is no connection between repeated shaving and increased length or width of hair growth.
Hair that is growing back after a shave might look thicker, but that’s because it has been cut along the thickest part of it. Uncut hair naturally tapers to a fine point, so it might appear finer, but the science has been in for a long time. It might also appear darker at first, but that’s because it hasn’t been lightened by sun exposure.
Also, it makes sense when you think about it. If this myth was true, we’d have a lot more guys looking like they’ve just lost their best friend Wilson at sea. There’d also be plenty of ladies who wouldn’t look out of place hanging out with Mr Tumnus.
Come and Visit Your Good Friend, Sweeny
How about those benefits, then? Well, in terms of smoother looking skin, shaving can be a good way to go. The action of the blade scraping across your skin has an exfoliating effect. This isn’t the same as a spa-bought dermaplaning though, which is more about exfoliation than hair removal.
Beauty experts and fashion bloggers agree that their foundation went on much more smoothly after shaving. Your skin is more evenly textured, and the smoother base means products are more easily absorbed. It might be a good idea to wait a bit before applying though, as your skin will be more sensitive after shaving.
Different Strokes for Different Folks
There are a number of options available to the novice face shaver, and opinions are split as to which works best. Everyone’s skin reacts differently to different treatments and products, so you may have to experiment a bit to find what works best for you.
Some veterans of the skin care field swear by men’s razors. They have specially designed handles and square heads which are more suited to the contours of your face. The blades are also tightly packed and sharply angled, which means that they provide a closer shave.
Other fashionistas prefer to use single-bladed eyebrow razors, with the one made by Tinkle coming in as the firm favorite. Look for a razor with a curved head, as it should be easier to work with.
Our Top Tips for Women When Shaving the Face
Do a Test Patch First
Before you commit to the whole shebang, test how your skin will react. Pick a small, easy-to-reach part of your face, like your side-burn area, and give your chosen method a try. If a few days pass and you haven’t developed any razor burn, ingrown hairs or whiteheads, you should be good to go.
Use a Clean, Sharp Razor
Shaving any area of your skin causes tiny cuts, so making sure your blade is clean is a no-brainer. Using a sharp razor helps to make sure that the blade spends its time cutting hair rather than your soon-to-be-smooth face.
Don’t use the same razor on your legs and face. It’ll be dulled from use, and probably not as clean as you’d think. Also, don’t shave if you have an active acne breakout, you might make it worse, and it could get infected.
Dry Shave (If You’re Using an Eyebrow Razor)
Some beauticians recommend using a cleanser before shaving, and then to dry your face thoroughly. Others have found that using an oil beforehand can help reduce redness and itching afterward.
In terms of technique, the method is fairly simple, though finding your own style might take some practice. Pull the skin taut, hold your razor at a 45-degree angle against your skin, then shave downward in short strokes. There are a number of YouTube tutorials out there too that can point you in the right direction.
Wet Shave (If You’re Using a Men’s Razor)
There are a lot of options, but whatever product you choose, it’s a good idea to lubricate your face before shaving with a men’s razor. You could try using olive oil or a non-foaming cream. Either way, protecting your face against the aggressively angled blades will help to prevent any nicks and reduce irritation.
Shaving in the shower might also make things easier for you. The moisture and heat in the air will make the hairs stand up more, which should result in an easier shave.
Always Shave with the Grain
You should always make sure to shave in the same direction that the hair is growing. Shaving in the opposite direction increases the likelihood of irritation and cuts. Just one or two strokes should be enough.
What you do after putting down the razor can make or break the shave. Rinse your skin with cold water when you’ve finished shaving to help reduce any inflammation and irritation. It will also reduce bleeding if you’ve picked up any nicks or cuts.
Afterward, apply a gentle moisturizer. You’ve just removed a layer of dead skin from your face; it’s earned a little love. Keep in mind that any products that don’t normally sting might do after shaving. We’re looking at you, Menthol.
Shaving is not a one-time deal. For the best results, you’ll have to be willing to keep up a regular routine. Once or twice a week seems to work for most women, though everyone’s hair grows back at different speeds. If you let it grow out, you might get stubble, which can take a few days for the sun to lighten.
The Cutting Edge of Beauty
With dermatologists, models, actresses, and beauty bloggers aplenty raving about the benefits, shaving your face could be the final piece of your face-care puzzle. It exfoliates your skin, removes hairs not caught by lasers and creams, and even helps your makeup to go on more smoothly.
Just make sure to follow our tips for women shaving your face, and you’ll be on the road to smoother, more radiant skin.