Dr. Swann’s Good Housekeeping Interview: Is It OK or Beneficial for Women to Shave?


Some Women Swear by Shaving Their Faces — But Is It Safe?

Millions of women shave their legs and their underarms, but have you ever tried shaving your face? Beauty blogger Huda Kattan recently made headlines when she posted this video showing her take a razor to her skin in order to exfoliate and prep it for makeup.

Kattan first heard about it the same way we did: from Old Hollywood starlets like Elizabeth Taylor. “I read years ago about so many beauty icons who did, so I thought I would try it, and I loved it!” she writes in the video’s description. “I find when its [sic] on dry skin, it doesn’t grow back thicker and really works best!” So, is this trick all it’s cracked up to be? And, more importantly, is it safe for your face?

“It definitely exfoliates your face when you shave,” says dermatologist Dr. Michael Swann. “If you have small growths on your face, it will plane them off.” This is similar to dermaplaning, a professional procedure performed by an aesthetician that involves using a blade to quickly, gently abrade the skin and remove peach fuzz.

As for that old adage about shaving making your hair grow back twice as thick, Dr. Swann has some great news: “Shaving isn’t bad and doesn’t cause hairs to grow thicker or faces to look more masculine.” In fact, Dr. Swann notes that many procedures, such as threading and dermaplaning, are similar to shaving with a non-electric razor. That said, Dr. Swann adds that “women with dark hairs can sometimes get a 5 o’clock shadow, which can be masculinizing.”

If you’re looking to try shaving for yourself, Dr. Swann recommends shaving in the direction of the hair growth with a sharp razor. Use a lubricant to ensure you don’t get razor burn (and skip Kattan’s advice on going dry) and apply even pressure. Dr. Swann warns against making multiple passes in the same area — just go slowly and carefully to get solid results, same as you would with any other body part.

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