Why it's a terrible idea for women to shave their faces

Shaving Razor

The Daily Mail’s ‘beauty experts’ say women should add shaving their faces to their skin routine. Here’s why you should ignore them

To shave or not to shave? Plenty of women might consider it daily for their legs, ’pits or pubes, but should we follow the advice of experts gathered by the Daily Mail and start shaving our faces? Absolutely not.

Whether you’re shaving to get rid of a slight ’tache or shaving your entire face to make it softer, regrowth as the result of a razor – compared with waxing, threading and depilatory creams – is a colossal ball-ache. And that’s the issue here: as a beauty editor, ensuring my nails don’t look like chipped micro-daggers, and maintaining my hair, makeup and de-fuzzing routine, is enough beauty admin – more than enough, in fact. Does any woman in the 21st century truly have the time or the inclination to shave her entire face for the sake of slightly softer skin?

In a world that chastises any hint of facial hair in women, having it can be distressing psychologically, which is why some women (in particular, those with polcystic ovary syndrome, which causes hirsutism) already resort to shaving their faces. The use of oral contraceptives to lower the androgen production can help, and creams such as Vaniqa slow down the rate of hair regrowth. Lasers (not IPL, which isn’t anywhere near as effective) are ideal for permanent hair removal, and more effective than shaving.

Skin tone also makes a difference to how much facial hair is visible. Asian hair is larger in diameter than caucasian or afro hair, and it’s more resilient (it has more layers of cuticles, making it stronger and thicker). But it also has a faster regrowth rate, and the myth that it will make your hair grow back thicker and faster persists among south Asians. (It doesn’t – it’s just more blunt at the ends, making it look that way.) Shaving doesn’t – in any way – affect the keratin cells that create the actual hair. Asian women also shed fewer hairs on their bodies than other races, which might make any hirsutism more pronounced.

As for the anti-ageing claims of shaving your face, they’re nonsense. Men have thicker, more youthful-looking skin because male androgens cause an increase in skin thickness of up to 25%, compared with women. Men also produce more sebum, which is oil that keeps the skin moisturised and plumper-looking. Finally, men have a higher density of collagen in their skin than women – which is why women age faster.

The bottom line, then, is that men and women are biologically programmed to age differently. Shaving might exfoliate their skin and supposedly keep it soft, but if you’re already using a washcloth, face brush or exfoliator on top, that’s serious scrubbing already. Shaving is not only inflammatory (causing sensitivity), but it also makes the skin look more papery and thin. Add a five-o’clock shadow to the mix and you’re undeniably causing your skin damage – and that’s ageing. Step away from the razor, ladies – it’s definitely not your friend.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Anita Bhagwandas, for The Guardian on Monday 9th February 2015 18.57 Europe/London

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