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Hey, Lady--You Should Be Shaving Your Face.

Updated on October 22, 2014
Woman shaving her face.
Woman shaving her face.

some cats singing in French

Before we start out, let's clarify: women should be shaving their faces if they are interested in hair removal.

If you're not bothered by any hair you might have on your face, more power to you. You can stop reading here and watch this video of cats singing in French.

But. If you have used threading, waxing, trimming, depilating, wishing, praying, to try to get rid of hair on your cheeks, chin, and upper lip, you should be shaving instead.

Here's why.

Yeah, you'll totally miss waxing.
Yeah, you'll totally miss waxing.

Benefits to Face Shaving

  • Waxing, plucking, depilating, etc, are all traumatic to the skin. You're pulling on it, yanking hairs out of it, or pouring hot wax on it! Shaving is good for your skin. It gets rid of dirt and oil on your skin and is a great exfoliator. You're literally scraping your face clean.
  • If you're a makeup fan, getting rid of fine hair on your face will give you a smoother canvas. The difference it makes is staggering. Foundation goes on more easily, lasts longer, and looks more natural when there aren't little hairs in-between the product and your skin.
  • Every woman has hair on her face. I repeat: every woman has hair on her face. We don't all have the same amount, and we don't all have the same color, but it's there because we are mammals. We have fine hair on our cheeks and upper lips, and probably you have a few course hairs hanging out somewhere on your face too. It's not something women talk about. And yet, the average woman spends nearly $13,000 on hair removal in her lifetime.

That's a lot of money, when your standard disposable mutli-blade razor costs under a dollar.

So why aren't we using them?

See? Vellus hairs and terminal hairs are different all the way down to the follicle. One can't become the other.
See? Vellus hairs and terminal hairs are different all the way down to the follicle. One can't become the other.

Because If You Shave, The Hair Grows Back Thicker!

Nope. That's a myth. To understand why, you have to understand the difference between terminal hair and vellus hair.

Terminal hair is the thicker hair that grows on your legs, under your arms, and yeah, "down there." It's the kind of hair you don't have until puberty. That's the kind of hair men have on their faces. Vellus hair is the soft, downy hair that you've had your whole life on your arms, your stomach, etc., because you are a mammal.

The hair on your upper lip that you're waxing off all the time is, in all likelihood, vellus hair. It's always going to be soft and downy. It's never going to grow back as terminal hair. It's scientifically impossible.

Now, if you do have those stray terminal hairs on your face (mine hang out under my chin) then they'll grow back exactly how they were, too. Since they're thicker, they'll grow back with the kind of stubble you see on your legs if you skip a day or two. If that's a problem for you, you can pluck out those hairs, but I've never had an issue hiding the new sprouts under a little cover-up before it's time to shave again.

If you have a lot of terminal hair on your face, it's worth getting your hormones checked, especially if you've had issues with missed or very heavy periods, ovarian cysts, and acne. You might have PCOS, which is super common and really manageable (and the treatment--usually just birth control pills--will get rid of those hairs, too).

Elizabeth Taylor: not a real woman.
Elizabeth Taylor: not a real woman.

But Shaving Your Face Isn't Feminine.

I'll start off with a sweeping, and extremely true, statement: There is no beauty regimen, be it shaving your face, piling on makeup like a drag queen, not wearing any makeup at all, shaving every hair off your body, not touching a single hair you grow, nothing nothing nothing, that makes you less of a woman.

Nothin'.

Marilyn Monroe shaved her face, chicas. Elizabeth Taylor shaved her face. The reason women think it's not okay, and the reason women who do do it call it "dermaplaning," or buy little ineffective razors that cost more and work badly just because they don't look like men's razors, is because that's what's profitable to the beauty industry.

Why would any media make us think it's okay to take a dollar razor to our faces when instead they can make us buy $40 trimmers?

It's a scandal, ladies. It's a freakin' scandal.

What you do in the bathroom is nobody's business but your own. If you want to buy that $40 trimmer, go for it. If you want to buy those ineffective "facial razors," go for it. Or if you want to lather up in the shower and shave your face like a dude in a commercial, do that one, for God's sake, because it's the cheapest and most effective.

And because society doesn't want you to. Because let's be real: being a rebel is kind of awesome.

Facial razors. See, they're in nice little pastels so you know they're for ladies.
Facial razors. See, they're in nice little pastels so you know they're for ladies.

How to Do It

Tutorials by a lot of beauty bloggers who sing the praises of face-shaving specifically say not to use the standard multi-blade razor you might use on your legs or under your arms, but instead to use specially made facial razors, like the one pictured here. If that makes you feel more comfortable, go for it, but there is no reason to buy a special kind for your face. (It is advised, though, to use one specific razor just for your face, so you're not transferring bacteria from under your arms to your face if you nick yourself. That's just bad news all around.) Facial razors are yet another product invented and marketed to women when there are cheaper, better ways to do the same job. Because, guess what--single-bladed razors kind of suck. That's why you don't shave your legs with them.

So buy a pack of razors. Spring for the four-blade ones, if you want. If you want extra money-saving credit, buy men's ones; they're cheaper for exactly the same razors, because the beauty industry exploits the fact that women don't want to use the same razors men do. Scandals, I'm tellin' you.

Shave your face dry, shave it in the shower, shave whenever you want. It takes thirty seconds. And your skin will feel so nice.

So, would you do it?

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