What's the difference between shaving face and dermaplaning? Here's what you need to know

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When Japanese women began practicing a gentle form of exfoliation called kao sori many years ago, they were way ahead of the skincare curve.

Once the technique made its way over to North America, kao sori was dubbed dermaplaning.

Now, dermaplaning is one of the trendiest hair-removal options available, loved for its ability to simply and safely remove vellus hair - also known as peach fuzz - by using a gauge scalpel to gently scrape off dull skin cells.

A dermaplaning treatment takes about 30 to 45 minutes and costs anywhere in between $75 and $150 at a medical spa or dermatologist.

The frequency at which most women had to keep up with dermaplaning treatments turned them on to a newer technique that saves time, money, allows makeup to go on evenly and skincare products to absorb better in between appointments: face shaving.

As mentioned in my last article about face shaving, I discovered the hair removal method when beauty and wellness blogger Lauryn Evarts Bosstick began promoting it as her favourite wrinkle-preventing skin treatment.

Soon after Evarts Bosstick shared her intrigue over reality TV star and pro makeup stylist Michelle Money shaving her face, she posted an article to her blog entitled “I Shave My Face. So What?

And so the obsession began.

Evarts Bosstick loves shaving her face so much that she included the iconic Tinkle Eyebrow Razor in her TSC starter pack and a list of Amazon ride-or-dies.

So, exactly why is she so obsessed?

Well, similar to dermaplaning, shaving the face with a blade like the one that comes on a Tinkle razor painlessly exfoliates the skin to stimulate cell turnover.

Face shaving can be performed frequently, helps makeup go on smoother, and doesn’t make hair grow back thicker or darker (contrary to popular belief).

Plus, it costs much less.

All things considered, face shaving seems like a great alternative to receiving a dermaplaning treatment. But, with women performing the technique on themselves, there must be something they’re missing, right?

At least that’s what I thought when I started my investigation.

For clarification, I enlisted the help of Rikki Kusy - founder of the Arizona Aesthetics Association and CEO of Dermaplane Pro - a world-leader in dermaplaning certification classes, tools, supplies and support.

Read on to find out how face shaving chalks up to dermaplaning, the benefits of receiving treatment and more.

Since dermaplaning requires an aesthetician to literally take a blade to the face, what do you tell women who are apprehensive about receiving treatment for the first time?

“Social media is a great place to start. Look at practitioner social pages to see if they’re certified, read reviews about their services, and look at before and after pictures. Ask if nicks and cuts are common with dermaplaning. If the practitioner says yes, that’s a bad sign - a skilled, experienced practitioner will not nick or cut a client. Certification is really important.”

Who is most qualified to perform a dermaplaning treatment?

“A practitioner who is certified in dermaplaning is qualified to perform the treatment. In order to become certified, the practitioner must hold a license in nursing, aesthetics, barbering, or cosmetology. Whether dermaplaning is within the scope of practice varies by state.”

To find dermaplane professionals in your area, visit dermaplanepro.com and search through the Provider Locator.

A ton of comparisons have been made between face shaving and dermaplaning, but according to Dermaplane Pro, there’s a big difference between the two treatments. Can you explain?

“Shaving is simply the temporary removal of hair at the level of the skin’s surface. This is why when you shave your legs, there’s stubble the next day. A shaving blade is set at a 35 degree angle and typically takes one to three passes to remove hair. Dermaplaning is an exfoliation with the added benefit of hair removal. We use a modified surgical blade that’s held at a 45 degree angle and we perform eight passes over each section to remove the hair. The angle allows for an incredible amount of dead skin cell exfoliation. We are also able to contour above the brows, under the eyes, over the nose and around the mouth. Something that can’t be done with a shaver.”

What advantages come with seeing a professional for a dermaplaning treatment?

“There are many advantages to a professional treatment. Clients get a partner in skin health when they develop a relationship with their aesthetician. Skin health goals can be obtained much quicker without the guesswork. A professional will properly cleanse and prep the skin prior to dermaplaning, perform extractions as needed, then nourish the skin with serums containing high potency active ingredients that will penetrate deeper into the skin. A mask seals it in and rehydrates, soothes and calms. Finishing products and home care are the client’s takeaways that will help them enjoy the results until it’s time for their next appointment four weeks later.”

Does face shaving pose any risks over dermaplaning?

“Nicks and cuts are common when people shave whether it’s legs, bikini or face. Facial shaving is usually focused on the cheeks and above the upper lip. This can lead to uneven skin tone and texture making the face and makeup look blotchy.

What kind of prep should be done before face shaving and dermaplaning for best results?

“We prep using a gel based cleanser, cleanse twice, then begin the exfoliation process using an alpha/beta hydroxy acid prepping solution that’s alcohol and acetone free, since we don’t want to dehydrate or irritate the skin. Next, we apply a fine layer of Nourishe Dermaplaning Oil, then dermaplane. If someone wants the benefits of dermaplaning, their best decision will be to locate a certified practitioner for treatment.”

What product recommendations or tips can you give for recovery?

“While there is no downtime with dermaplaning, we recommend diligent use of sun protection and waiting 24 hours before doing an intense workout. Avoid harsh cleansers and acne treatment products containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, Retin-A, scrubs, extremely hot water and direct shower spray for three days or until sensitivity resolves. Be sure to wash makeup brushes and replace makeup sponges to avoid reintroducing impurities into the skin.

So, when should you head to the dermatologist and when should you shave your face at home?

Cosmopolitan summed it up best: It’s easiest to think of dermaplaning as more thorough and skin-safe, whereas face shaving is a cheaper, D.I.Y option for hair removal.

In other words, to affectively and efficiently clear out coarse hairs, remove dead skin cells and lighten post-inflammatory damage (especially if your skin is super sensitive), it’s best to see a professional for a dermaplaning treatment.

It’s true that face shaving can be done prior to facials, laser, microdermabrasion and chemical peels for better product penetration, but the results may not be as long-lasting.

Either way, the results of face shaving and dermaplaning will differ depending on a person’s hair-growth cycle.

That said, for a little extra cash, a treatment performed with a surgical blade by a licensed aesthetician will result in deeper exfoliation than face shaving ever will.

Still curious about the face shaving tool Amazon customers love? Read about it here.

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