Face value: Shaving your face leads to smoother skin, not thicker hair

Apart from getting rid of hair, shaving eliminates dead skin, makes your skin softer and helps skincare products absorb better

Young smiling woman shaving at the mirror.
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My struggle with the peach fuzz is real. I've tried different solutions, and yes, it's nothing that a quick trip to the salon can't fix, but given that my skin freaks out a little after a face wax, the situation isn't ideal. Even so, I continued to wax my face until 2016, when I discovered that shaving was actually a quick and efficient solution and that, contrary to urban myth, I did not spout stubble.  

It all started in the aisle of a pharmacy in Tokyo, where I came across little odd-looking razors that, from what the sales assistant could explain using hand gestures, were meant for women to shave their faces and groom their brows with. I was intrigued, and a quick search on the internet told me that Japanese women have, in fact, been shaving their faces for years. Given that so many of them have smooth, beautiful skin, I decided to give it a shot. As it turns out, Kate Somerville, founder of her popular eponymous skincare brand had gone on record to say that Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor shaved their faces, too.

Apart from getting rid of unwanted hair, shaving actually benefits the skin – it eliminates dead cells, makes your skin softer, helps skincare products absorb better and, as a result, gives you a smoother finish when you apply your foundation. But the key is to use the right razor and do it the right way. Under no circumstances should you use the razor you use for your body, or use a men's shaving razor – it's too sharp, and you could nick yourself. Opt instead for single-blade razors with a long handle. Widely available from Souq.com, these cost approximately Dh12 for a pack of 3. Lulu has some options, too.

Eyebrow razors are a better option for face shaving.
Eyebrow razors are a better option for face shaving.

Before you start, ensure your skin is squeaky clean, as this allows for a closer shave, and gently use the razor in downward strokes. Once done, use a soothing cleanser and, most importantly, moisturise.

Personally, I prefer to shave my face just before my night-time skin routine, and absolutely love how my make-up base looks the next day. I have been doing it for more than two years and it works like a charm. Sure, the hair grows back faster than it would after waxing – I need to shave once every two weeks – which is only because it is not being pulled out from the root, but it doesn’t grow thicker or darker. If you have had a breakout, hold off shaving until it subsides.

If you are still not convinced, there are other ways out. Waxing, although popular, can cause little white spots, which take their own sweet time to heal. Halawa, or sugaring, which originated in the Middle East and has gained traction worldwide, is a popular alternative to waxing, and felt far gentler to me, and led to fewer breakouts. Tips & Toes beauty salon recently launched a service that offers a film wax for sensitive areas of your body, including the face.

Among these three options to pull hair out from the root, this was the least painful. Since the wax contains titanium dioxide, it brightens the skin in the process, but the best part is that the wax strip is very gentle on the skin. The service costs from Dh26 for an upper-lip wax.

It may not be the most popular option, but the razor is my top tool. I also love the fact that it shaves off all that extra time I would otherwise have spent in the salon.


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