Women shaving their faces is nothing new (legend has it even Marilyn Monroe was a fan). But despite the fact that the technique has been around longer than probably you and I have been alive—combined—there's still a lot of confusion about the how and why. And if you've heard talk about dermaplaning, you might have even more questions—for one, is there even a difference between the two?
Unlike shaving, which can be done at home with a razor (more on that later) to remove surface-layer peach fuzz, dermaplaning involves a dermatologist or medical esthetician carefully scraping your face with a surgical scalpel to remove hair, peach fuzz, and dead skin cells, says dermatologist Estee Williams, MD. Basically, shaving is the cheaper, easier, DIY option, and dermaplaning is the next-level, more thorough option. Make sense? Cool. Now let's get to the other 300 questions you probably have about shaving your face.
Is shaving good for a woman's face?
Do you need to shave your face? Absolutely not. Can you? YUP. But just be realistic about the results. If you're looking for deep exfoliation and smoother skin, visit your dermatologist for an in-office dermaplaning treatment. And if you want to remove coarse, full-grown hairs from your face, Dr. Williams actually doesn't recommend shaving (it'll leave you with stubble) and instead suggests trying another facial hair removal option.
So when to shave? If you're looking to get rid of the vellus hairs (the tiny peach fuzz that covers your face) that can get in the way of a smooth foundation application or make your skin look a little lackluster. However! If you have sensitive skin (you know where this is going, don't you?), Dr. Williams says shaving your face can cause irritation and should be avoided.
What should a woman use to shave her face?
This is important: Put down your usual razor and grab a clean, new facial razor to shave your face—specifically, a razor that's actually been designed for delicate peach fuzz. Actually, while you're at it, go ahead and grab a whole pack, because you'll want to toss the blades after one or two uses. The key to preventing ingrown hairs and razor burn is to use a sharp, sterile razor, so trying to get the most uses out of your blade is a definite no-go when shaving your face. You'll also want to make sure you have a gentle face wash and a hydrating moisturizer on hand.
How do you properly shave your face?
While some swear by shaving clean, dry skin, dermatologist Neal Schultz, MD, recommends using a shaving cream or face wash on damp skin to deflect friction and prevent irritation. So first, wet your entire face to soften the hair follicles, then, apply a thin layer of cream or gel all over the area you're shaving. Next, grab your facial razor and hold it at roughly a 45-degree angle against your skin. Using short, light strokes, shave the hair in the direction that it grows. If you need to, you can use the other hand to pull the skin taut. Once you're finished, rinse and moisturize your face.
Does a woman shaving her face make the hair grow back thicker?
At the top of basically any list of myths is the idea that shaving your hair will make it grow back thicker or darker. But don't worry—it won't. "That myth exists because people mistake the wispy feeling of their unshaven facial hair with the slightly blunt feeling of their clean-shaven facial hair as it starts to grow back," says Dr. Schultz. "So it's more about what you're feeling and seeing versus what is actually going on."
The final word
In an ideal world, you'd leave the face shave to the pros if you could—and that's exactly what we recommend, too. But if you can't justify spending thousands of pesos on a dermaplaning treatment and want to try it yourself, just promise you'll follow the above advice and toss that razor when you're done, K?
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.