You'd think only guys would scrape their faces with razor blades, but no -- it's long been a powerful beauty trick for successful women. Sadly, cultural prejudices over the past century have tended to push the practice behind locked bathroom doors. In an increasingly liberated age, it's time that bringing out the full beauty of women's faces entered the bold light of day.
Facial shaving for women isn't a weird cult. It's a widespread phenomenon, adopted with pride by stars like Caroline Laurita-Manzo, the redheaded stunner who rocked Real Housewives of New Jersey, and Jessica Alba, the talented beauty who parlayed a remarkable film career in such breakout productions as "Sin City" into hard-driving success with her consumer-goods firm, The Honest Company.
Going further back, face-shaving may have helped give impetus to the careers of classic beauties like Marilyn Monroe, the strong-willed actress who played a blonde bombshell in roles that gave heart to weary American soldiers across the globe, and Elizabeth Taylor, the famed actress who turned her attention in later years from her tumultuous movie magic to her wildly successful fragrance collection for discerning women.
It's almost impossible now to be certain of the veracity of persistent rumors surrounding this reputed practice, but celebrated beauty advisor to the stars Kate Somerville recently let slip to The New York Times that an unnamed aesthetician who had worked with Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor told her that both women regularly practiced facial shaving. Whatever they did, it clearly worked for them. The years have faded the memories of these two former megastars, but their immortal beauty will live forever in old movies.
Behind these and other famous faces lies a host of equally extraordinary women with clean, defined faces that defy the years. Millions of women have met the daily challenges of their jobs and the manifold joys of raising their children without sacrificing beauty to unwanted facial hair. Beauty is a gift available to all women.
Worried about possible problems from allowing a razor blade to approach your face? Let's examine a few notions that have persisted for years.
. Will your banished crop of facial hair spring back like an angry forest of tiny trees? No! Reputable dermatologists universally pooh-pooh the idea that your face will respond by growing coarser, darker hair. Hair is hair, and shaving away fine hair only means that more fine hair will grow at the same slow pace.
. Does removing your peach fuzz mean having to do it every day? Not at all -- shaving facial hair is no different from any other kind of shaving. Once a week is plenty.
. Will shaving facial hair cause scarring? This question calls for a little thought. Carelessly swiping a razor blade over your face can cause small cuts, but the answer is to pay attention and not rush the job. Taking it slow and easy works wonders.
In addition to smoothing away the tiny flaws represented by hundreds of little hairs, shaving your face is like giving yourself a free session of dermaplaning. As the sharp razor blade effortlessly slices away unwanted hairs, it also quietly removes a thin upper layer of dead skin that might otherwise dull the natural glow of a healthy face. You'll also see increased cell turnover that brings a new vitality to your face, and makeup will cling better to your freshened skin.
Some women pay an aesthetician for an expensive office visit to accomplish an effect substantially similar to the result of home exfoliation.
Starting is simple. Pat your face with warm water to soften up the hair and soothe your facial pores before applying a high-quality shaving cream or gel. You might consider using Kohana Unscented Shaving Cream, which is technically made for men but works wonderfully on all kinds of sensitive skin with its shea butter, white tea and other natural ingredients. Slide the razor blade lightly on your face along the same direction as hair growth, taking care to let the keen edge and not heavy pressure slice away the hair. Don't scrape too much -- you can always return to a problem spot in your next weekly session.
Once you're done, reward your face for being well behaved by first rinsing it with cool water to close up the pores and then applying an antioxidant moisturizer to minimize any after-shave irritation. Some women like to add a quick splash of natural witch hazel astringent after the cool rinse. Plop the razor into a bath of isopropyl or rubbing alcohol for a few moments afterward to keep it sanitized and to avoid the possibility of remnant bacteria later causing folliculitis. In a pinch, high-alcohol mouthwash will do, but be sure to rinse off the razor thoroughly under running water.
Women are just as entitled as men to all the tools of facial care, and gentle shaving promises a better complexion. The clean lines of your improved profile will greet the early light of dawn with grace and joy.