This article tackles the topic of face shaving for women and discusses the biology behind female facial hair growth, the benefits and disadvantages of facial shaving for women, and dry face shaving steps and tips. Also included are some product recommendations.
Additionally, a short list of facial hair removal alternatives is located in the Resource Library here.
Face Shaving for Women
Bodily hair has been a hotly debated and dare I say emotionally charged topic for centuries. If you look back over time, the human race has consistently ascribed meaning and judgment to our locks. Darwin theorized that homo sapiens evolved due to a natural sexual selection preference for more hairless types. The Egyptians and many cultures beyond them equated the prevalence of hair to social status.
At the end of the day, while there are theories, scientists don’t know a lot about hair’s raison d’etre. Ironically, that lack of knowledge has not lessened the many strong opinions about it.
Arguably, nowhere does all of that “hair emotion” focus more keenly than on female facial hair. This includes whether we keep it, the acceptable methods to remove it, and what might happen if we try to get rid of it (hello, Old Wives Tales).
My Shaving Journey
Given this context, as you might imagine, I had many reservations about shaving. Face shaving hearkened back to early preschool memories of watching my very masculine Dad perform this task. No. Just no.
But, as the decades passed and the hair on my face grew thicker (while the hair on my head became thinner!), I knew I needed a hair removal alternative. I had tried many things over the years that seemed…well…a bit more acceptable and ultimately feminine. Waxing, depilatories, threading, tweezing and other nameless (read: painful) procedures.
It had reached a point where these more feminine approaches were too time-consuming, and at the end of the day, really not so feminine.
It’s been about 5 years now since I made the face-shaving leap, and I am glad I did. It’s one of the few beauty rituals that is inexpensive, easy and effective. Its many benefits are a very worthy share, particularly to this over-50 age group.
With all of the misinformation, I believe the best place to start is with facts and known biology about hair.
Types of Facial Hair
The 2 main types of hair on our face and body are Vellus Hair and Terminal Hair.
- Vellus hair, also known as “peach fuzz”, is short, fine, and lightly colored hair that develops all over the human body in childhood.
- Terminal hair is darker, coarser and thicker.
Both hair types are theorized to help regulate body temperature and protect the skin.
Hormones and Genetics
Two variables- and two alone -control our hair type, how much we have and where it is located on the face and body. They are:
- Genetics/Ethnicity-This factor dictates hair type, width, and hair pattern. It also controls how much hair and where.
- Hormones-These amazing body messengers are virtual magicians. They can transform vellus (peach fuzz) to terminal hair and make hair appear in all sorts of unlikely places.
Increase in Facial Hair Growth in Women with Aging
You aren’t imagining it. More hair does often appear on the face with age.
Why? Much of it is due to hormones. As we age, the ovaries decrease estrogen production and then eventually stop post-menopause. As this estrogen decrease occurs, the ovaries and the adrenal glands continue to make androgens or male hormones.
This hormonal balance shift causes 2 things as it relates to hair:
- It thins the hair on our heads (male pattern baldness is one example).
- Increases both the vellus and terminal hair on our face.
It’s worth noting that several underlying diseases and conditions also can cause similar estrogen/androgen hormone shifts that then increase female facial hair. These include obesity, diabetes, and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) just to name a few.
Facial Hair Female Myths
Given the biology behind this, we can easily dispel a few of the more common hair myths:
If you shave, the amount of hair on the face will increase
No, the amount of facial hair is determined by hormones and genetics not shaving
If you shave, you feel stubble on your face
Your face may feel just a little rough for a day or two. This is the result of cutting bluntly across the hair shaft.
If you pull or pluck a hair, 2 will come back in its place
Genetics and hormones control the growth and type of hair. With plucking, hair follicles become damaged which then makes it harder for hairs to grow back. This is why women have a hard time growing back eyebrows that they have plucked consistently over time.
8 Benefits of Face Shaving for Women
The benefits of face shaving are many. It is like an added and important exfoliation skincare routine step.
Here are my top 8 benefits:
- It acts as a physical exfoliator much like a facial scrub, because dead skin cells are sloughed off.
- Dry skin is removed.
- The face becomes a ready and smooth canvas for any skincare or makeup next step.
- Skincare absorbs better as facial hair which acts as a barrier is removed.
- Skin glows more.
- Makeup goes on smoother with a better finish.
- It’s less expensive and quicker than other hair removal options.
- You don’t have to look at the hair on your face any longer!
Disadvantages of Face Shaving for Women
- Shaving is an additional self-care step. Each individual’s hair growth determines frequency.
- It can cause dryness initially. It is important to moisturize well after shaving.
- Sensitive skin may react. Try a small patch of skin first.
How-To Face Shaving and Tips
For this post, I’m going to walk through the steps of dry shaving (no shaving cream or gel). For those of you interested in other hair removal options, I have created a short list located in the Beauty Maestra Resource library here.
Dry Shaving is effective on both facial vellus hair and terminal hair. It is convenient, effective, and quick.
First, begin by choosing what type of razor is right for you. My strong recommendation is to use a razor that is made for use only on the face. And then use it only on the face and nowhere else.
Below are a few product recommendations:
Tinkle Dermaplaning Razor
Click above to buy from Amazon – $5.45 for 6 razors
While the product name could be a little more on point, it is indisputable that this is a great product. It has a guarded blade or cover to minimize the chances of the blade cutting the skin. It can be easily thrown into a makeup or travel bag and works safely and well! Here is a close up of the metal serrated cover that encloses the straight blade.
FT Shiseido Facial Razor
This Japanese alternative to Tinkle has a cult following. I have not tried it yet but have heard great things about it. It operates the same way as the Tinkle.
Click above to buy from Amazon – $7.95
My toe in the water on my shaving journey began with this product some years ago. I liken it to a female version of a men’s electric shaver. My verdict is that it does work, although it doesn’t result in quite as close of a shave as the razor. With that said, if you have sensitive skin, this could be a great option for a dry shave. It is battery operated and the heads can be replaced. Well made.
Click above to buy from Amazon – $19.88
Should you prefer Shaving Cream or Gel, here are a couple of well reviewed options:
Vanicream Shave Cream
Click above to buy from Amazon – $8.99
Click above to buy from Rite Aid – $4.99
Face Shaving Steps
- Ensure that the face is clean and dry.
- Sanitize the razor with alcohol.
- Holding the razor at a 45-degree angle, take short light strokes downward on the cheeks, neck and forehead.
- Pull cheeks tighter and upward while shaving to get as close to the skin as possible.
- If desired, the outside of the nose can be shaved as well. The technique is the same-downward light short strokes.
- The razor works best with the least irritation when held at a 45-degree angle and in the direction of hair growth.
- Avoid shaving moles or pimples as this can irritate them more.
- With the Flawless shaver, I found that working in a circular motion slowly over the skin, is the most effective.
- If you have sensitive skin and want to minimize any possible irritation, consider using a shaving gel or shaving cream. A gel, as opposed to foam, will allow you to see what you are doing.
Use it anywhere on your face:
This post was all about face shaving for women and the biology behind female facial hair growth, the benefits, disadvantages and the how-to and tips of female face shaving. Also included were some product recommendations.
For me, the benefits of facial shaving outweigh the disadvantages, and I’m truly glad I made the leap some years ago. Shaving will continue to remain in my beauty arsenal and as part of my regular skincare routine for now and for the foreseeable future.
If hair removal alternatives interest you, I have compiled a short list that you can access in the menu bar at the bottom of the website or click here- The Beauty Maestra Free Resource Library.
Thank you for reading!