To Shave or Not to Shave : An Esthetician’s Thoughts on Dermaplaning vs. Shaving

“WHAT?!?” was my 19 year old response to my lovely grandmother asking me to make sure I took care of her facial hair “no matter what happens” to her as she aged. Twenty years later (most of that time spent in esthetics), I now fully comprehend the weight of the request she made. Peach fuzz (vellus hair), for some, is of no consequence (think pretty as a peach). For others, the fuzz can get a little furry, camouflaging one’s glow. And then, when some see the sun hit this pigmented hair just right in the rear view mirror, they will want to turn the car right around and head for the nearest razor or wax studio. Let’s take it one step further: hormone fluctuation and dark coarse hair sprouts. Houston, we have a problem! In the treatment room, I delicately tell my patients, “I see a little wild flower I’m going to tweeze for you.” That’s a southern lady’s genteel way of saying, “No ma’am, you are not leaving my treatment room until I weed your garden!” With all that being said, what is the best way to deal with a not so lady like problem that most ladies experience?

In this particular discussion, I really want to address Dermaplaning vs Shaving. Yes, Shaving! However, on a side note, I have to quickly mention waxing and laser:

  1. Wax the brows, not the face. There is a great tendency to have a histamine reaction after facial waxing, losing the hair to little red bumps… which is worse? Of course this doesn’t happen to everyone, but it is not my favorite way to deal with facial hair. Also, if you are getting professional skin treatments, full face waxing would contraindicate you to the procedure. As long as my patient is not currently on a retinoic acid, I will wax under the brow and tweeze in between on the same day as their skin treatment.
  2. Laser can help reduce hair presentation; this modality will work best with dark hair against light skin. Again, going back to hormonal changes in a lifetime is not a permanent fix. It can be pricey and there are risks associated with laser.

Are you interested yet in a painless, inexpensive alternative that not only removes facial hair but also brightens the complexion? Well, there is a famous dermatologist in Atlanta, GA that has been advising his patients to shave their face for just that reason! Are you stricken with horror at the thought of a face full of shaving cream and someone walking in on you? Believe me, I too was a little worried when my young son walked in on me. I couldn’t help but to play out the scene of him telling his pre-school teachers and classmates about his mommy shaving her face, but I finally reasoned, surely they’ve heard worse!  When I do make this suggestion to my patients, the response varies, “Really?!”, “I could never!”, “Oh, I’d be too scared, what if it grows back thick?” Then there are those who get it and are already believers.

Online, social/entertainment media coverage has definitely given rise to this age old beauty hack. As I began to research this trending topic, I was really surprised by how many posts and videos are out there. I wondered, does the world really need another one’s thoughts on the matter? And my answer went back to why we don’t offer Dermaplaning at our practice. Whereas this is a means of shaving the face in a professional, medical setting, we have chosen not to include this in our list of services. Not that it isn’t a great treatment (vellus hair removed, a physical exfoliation takes place, instant gratification), but we are simply a small practice. In the skin treatment room, our objective is to give result-oriented, anti-aging treatments for the skin. An at-home shave can be just as effective, while saving you time and money. Time invested with your esthetician should be spent addressing concerns that go deeper than peach fuzz, i.e. collagen induction, pore revision, pigmentation correction, etc. You get the picture.

So how do you get the best shave? I’ve always kept it quite simple, really. A no-frills basic razor on dry skin, and a quick pass over the skin. Easy-peasy and I’m done. With that being said, I did mention earlier about my research and I discovered some great videos out there. Some suggested a barrier oil application along with a “brow razor” to be used in short strokes. Honestly, I was impressed with this technique and thought I need to try this! Whatever works for you, I say go for it! Your complexion will be brighter, makeup more smooth, and you will avoid that unfortunate, unbecoming furry face reflected in the rearview mirror. One bit of advice: although the peach fuzz will not grow back thicker or darker (if you currently have one or a few of those “wild-flowers”), do tweeze those weeds first then shave the rest. You’ll be pleased with the results and pretty as a hairless peach!