My former co-worker Nancy embraces all things girly. She looks like a blonde, fiftyish Katy Perry. Nancy loves mani-pedis, wears dresses and skirts, and doesn't even go out to get the mail without first putting on lipstick. She's the last person I would've suspected of an act considered so traditionally masculine that I would've been less surprised if she wore Y-fronts.
Nancy shaves her face.
She got the idea for female face-shaving from her microplaning appointment. During microplaning or dermaplaning, an aesthetician takes a fine metal blade and gently scrapes the face, removing downy hairs and exfoliating the skin to stimulate new cell growth. This treatment ran Nancy about a hundred dollars; she figured she could save about ninety bucks, buy a pack of disposable razors, and try it herself. She liked it so much, she's kept doing it. The best advertisement for it is her own face. She looks smooth, radiant, young, and most importantly, not at all stubbly.
I was almost ready to take the plunge myself, but it's hard to overcome 40-plus years of seeing facial shaving as the exclusive province of men. I feared stubble. I dreaded shaving cuts. I worried about whether I'd have to run away and join the circus and if I did, how I would explain that to my husband.
Being a skeptic, I did some digging to find out more about lady-shaving before I did the deed. It's remarkably hard to find candid information about such a taboo topic. You can learn how to shave every part of your body from the neck down, but from the neck up--forget it, sister, that's unfeminine! After reading up on the facts, I realized why Nancy defied this taboo.
Myth: Shaving your face makes your hair grow back darker and thicker. Just as with the rest of your body, hairs on your face will not grow back darker, thicker, or more numerous if you shave them. Even the Mayo Clinic says so.
Fact: Shaving coarse hair will create stubble. If you have a few coarser hairs sprinkled among the peach fuzz, pluck or wax them first to avoid any chance of (horrors) facial stubble. Female face shaving is a skin treatment, not a hair removal method.
Myth: Shaving roughens the skin. If you're like most women, you'll find your legs feel smoother than parts of your body that you don't shave. Smooth, fine-textured skin is just a side effect for legs, but for your face, it's a prime benefit of shaving.
Fact: Men look so young for their age in part because they shave their faces. Exfoliation speeds up skin cell turnover and reveals chubby young skin cells underneath the old gray ones. Women exfoliate with scrubs or cloths and men shave. As far as skin is concerned, it's all exfoliation; skin doesn't care if it's taboo to shave.
Myth: Shaving gives you ingrown hairs. Fine hairs don't have the tensile strength to grow into skin like coarser hair on the legs and at the bikini line, so shaving can't cause ingrown facial hair. This is another reason to remove coarse hairs before shaving.
Fact: Makeup goes on more smoothly with a shaved face. If you want immaculate foundation coverage, shave your skin smooth. While female face shaving improves skin texture, taking off any fine down near your jawline is a nice fringe benefit. Powder that used to cling to facial fuzz now lies flat and smooth on your skin.
If you're convinced, here's a quick rundown on how to shave your face. If it makes you feel better, call it "razor exfoliation."
- Wash your face before shaving.
- Remove any coarse hair however you see fit.
- Soap up or use a moisturizing cream as your shaving lubricant.
- Shave with the direction of hair growth, not against it.
- Go over your entire face--yes, even your forehead--using small strokes of the razor.
- Splash cool water on your face.
Always use a razor dedicated to face shaving alone. Hair elsewhere is too coarse, and using the same razor everywhere leads to shaving cuts. Take care around your hairline and eyebrows. You want people to notice your glow, not your half an eyebrow. Skip toner after you shave; you won't need it, as your skin will feel smooth and taut anyway, and it could sting. As long as you remove coarse hairs first, you can shave as often as you like. It's one of the kindest and least irritating skin treatments.
I haven't taken the plunge yet, but I got all the tips I need. With my scant peach fuzz and whisker-free face, I'd be a good candidate. Someday soon, I'll step over that line and join Nancy; she looks too luminous for me to pass up her beauty tip. My husband can keep his Y-fronts, though.
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