The Surprising Reason Why Some Women Are Shaving Their Faces

Marilyn Monroe was rumored to do it first. More recently, Caroline Manzo of The Real Housewives of New Jersey said she swears by it, while former Bachelor contestant Michelle Money uploaded a YouTube tutorial on how to DIY.

I’m talking about shaving your face, and it’s a weekly beauty ritual that I swear by, too.

While old Hollywood legends used a regular-old razor back in the day, the technique has evolved into so-called “dermaplaning,” and fans like myself now use a tool that looks like a brow planer—a small stainless steel blade—to carefully remove peach fuzz from our complexions. What's really cool is that the motion of the blade on the skin also exfoliates dead cells from the surface, leaving the face exceptionally smooth.

Starlets have long used the method because it’s said to make skin appear flawless in up-close glamour shots. As the trend has spread among bloggers, vloggers, and beauty junkies, the overwhelming conclusion is that it helps makeup blend in effortlessly for a perfect finish that stands up to today’s close-up selfies and HD screens. Experts also say that skin-care products applied to dermaplaned skin absorb more deeply and easily.

And for women like myself who have an ample amount of peach fuzz, it’s a trick that helps me feel more confident when someone leans in close or when I’m out in natural light. I use the Lilibeth Brow Shaper ($20,hsn.com, below) to exfoliate my skin, remove facial hair, and shape my brows—all you have to do is lay the blade flat against the skin and move the brow planer in a gentle downward stroke to remove dead skin cells and unwanted hair. I love how smooth and soft the exfoliation leaves my skin. 

“Despite popular belief, facial hair does not grow back thicker,” says Miami cosmetic dermatologist, Shino Bay Aguilera, M.D., who offers dermaplaning in his office. If your peach fuzz has been visible for a long time and consequently lightened under the sun, the hair will grow back in your natural darker shade, though.

If you see an expert for an in-office dermaplaning, the treatment is taken up to a professional level with a surgical scalpel that “shaves” away more of the outermost layer of skin. Since this is more intense than doing it on your own (you shouldn't feel any pain, though—it's like a mild scraping and doesn't require any recovery time), dermatologists recommend you come in once a month. At-home tools like the one I use, meanwhile, offer a more superficial shave that removes hair and only the topmost dead skin cells so you can use it more frequently. I dermaplane once a week to maintain velvety-smooth skin. 

Aguilera recommends dermaplaning for anyone who wants to improve skin tone and texture while enjoying the bonus of peach fuzz removal at the same time. Since the exfoliation can leave skin a bit more sensitive, patients with rosacea are the only people advised to skip it.

It’s also important to avoid using chemical exfoliants containing salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and retinoic acid for a couple days before and after treatment, or you may literally feel the burn and have your skin turn red with irritation (this has happened to me—whoops!).

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