Female Face Shaving – Pros and Cons
Why Shave your Face?
First and foremost, the reason for removing hair from the face varies from person to person, and whether or not it is a good idea can be very individual.
If you have an unusual amount of facial hair (termed hirsutism) then it can often be a real confidence issue.
A layer of fine, downy hair or "peach fuzz" may or may not be a problem for you but if it is then shaving could be as good an option as any, providing you are happy to keep at it very regularly.
Dispelling a Common Myth
It is often thought that shaving somehow makes hair grow back quicker, darker and/or thicker.
There is no truth in this, shaving in no way increases the number of hair follicles that you have and nor has it ever been shown to make the hair grow quicker or darker.
It may be that it appears to some to grow back thicker because the act of shaving cuts the hair at the skin's surface where the hair shaft is at its thickest.
If you look at a hair you will see that it tapers away from base to tip.
So if the tip becomes wider due to cutting, it may give the illusion that it is thicker.
It is possible that the colour seems darker because the hair has not yet been exposed to the effects of the sun and atmospheric influences. In fact, unlike some other hair removal methods, shaving changes nothing about your hair.
Advantages of Shaving
One obvious major advantage that shaving has over other hair removal methods that involve pulling hair out from the root, for example waxing, tweezing and epilating, is that it is pain free.
Another is that, unlike depilatory creams, you are not slathering yourself with strong chemicals which can be harsh on the skin and which, for some, can lead to allergic reaction.
Shaving is relatively inexpensive in comparison with other methods and can be quickly carried out at your leisure, in your own home, with no difficulty.
Finally, there are little electric ladies facial shavers now that are attractively and discreetly designed and small enough to carry in your purse for use anywhere.
Disadvantages of Shaving
The main disadvantage is the frequency; shaving only cuts hair off at the surface and consequently regrowth appears quicker than with other methods. You will therefore have to be prepared to shave very often, possibly even daily.
As previously mentioned, shaving cuts the hair off at its thickest point, so regrowth can appear to be stubbly, especially if the hair is dark and coarse.
This is not likely to be a problem if you are just removing peach fuzz from your cheeks, but in the case of the thicker, coarser hair as sometimes found on the chin or upper lip, it could be more noticeable.
If the hairs are very dark and dense and you have light skin, there is the likelehood of the shadow effect caused as the hair shows from beneath the skin.
Finally, shaving can cause razor burn if carried out incorrectly and, in common with waxing, can lead to irritation and ingrown hairs.
Wet Shaving vs Electric Shaving
Shaving with a razor requires a certain amount of technique, and you can shave dry or use a good shaving cream, foam or gel suitable for sensitive skin.
Possibly, if your skin is particularly susceptible to irritation, you may also require a pre-shave oil to act as a barrier and to aid the glide of the blade across your skin.
It is my opinion that the best razor to use on the face to avoid irritation is one with a single blade, such as a safety razor, which needs to be good and sharp. Alternatively choose a facial razor specifically designed for the task.
Although electric shavers are much improved these days, you will still achieve a closer shave with a razor.
The initial outlay for a good electric shaver can be high, but there is less ongoing cost involved than with wet shaving.
Summary of Differences
Our Female Facial Shaving Picks
Pack of 3 multipurpose exfoliating face razors with micro guards to protect skin and extra attachment for precise eyebrow shaping. Around $6.60.
Battery operated face shaver, waterproof, hypoallergenic, rose gold plated, slim, portable and discreet. 2 year warranty. Just under $20 online.
Double Edge Butterfly Open Razor plus 5 razor blades, razor stand and travel case. Great gift idea, use for face or body - inexpensive blades. All for $30.
Unscented for sensitive skin specially formulated to help prevent blemishes and ingrown hairs. Gives a good, close shave. 4oz tube for around $8.
Guide to Facial Shaving
Before you start shaving your face for the first time, it is best to test a small inconspicuous area first to see what reaction, if any, you will get.
If you have broken skin, pimples or acne avoid shaving until it is clear or take advice from your dermatologist about best hair removal methods for you.
Ensure that the skin is cleansed thoroughly prior to shaving, which will lessen the chance of break-outs.
Wet with warm water to soften the hair but if you are not using lubrication, make sure the skin is properly dried as moisture may stop the blade gliding easily across the skin.
Make sure that you are using a very sharp blade to avoid "dragging" and causing irritation.
If you are using cream, foam or oils apply liberally and keep applying more as necessary during the shave and make sure to rinse the blade often to avoid clogging.
Hold the skin as taut as possible with one hand and hold the razor at approximately 30° to the skin.
Glide gently across the area with just sufficient pressure to keep the blade/blades in contact with the skin - do not press down.
Shave in the direction of hair growth to lessen the chance of ingrown hairs.
Try to avoid going over the same area over and over as this may increase irritation.
Ensure that the razor is cleaned and dried thoroughly and stored in a moisture free area to prevent rust.
Replace blades regularly as required.
Moisturize your face after shaving and enjoy the smooth feel of your skin.
Exfoliate your face regularly between shaving, to make sure that the pores are kept free from dead skin cells and oil which can increase risk of ingrown hair.
Face Shaving Summary of Pros and Cons
Pros of Shaving
- Quick and easy - can be done in the shower/bath
- Pain free
- No particular skill required and can be done anywhere - travelling etc.
- Relatively inexpensive
- Exfoliating effect
- Suitable for all hair/skin types
Cons of Shaving
- Short lived results - you will have to shave very regularly, possibly even daily
- Regrowth can be stubbly
- Possibility of shadow effect
- There is risk of ingrown hairs and razor burn
- Ongoing cost of replacement blades and possibly creams/foams etc.
For more information about other methods of facial hair removal see our guide to female facial hair removal.