Female shaving: why women are removing their facial hair

Name: Female face shaving.

Age: That’s not a question you ask a lady.

Not you. I meant the practice of women shaving their faces. Ancient, apparently. Japanese prints dating from the 16th century show women shaving; Queen Elizabeth I shaved all her facial hair, including her eyebrows; and Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor were thought to be keen shavers.

Appearance: Hairless, shiny, glowing.

I take it women shaving their faces is in the news? Correct!

What’s driving it? The usual things: lockdown boredom; the quest for beauty and agelessness; and a slew of videos on TikTok and YouTube by influencers such as the makeup artist Jaclyn Hill, who have been praising the glories of shaving.

What’s an influencer? Don’t be ridiculous.

What are the benefits of shaving for women? It gets rid of unwanted facial hair (obviously); removes dead skin; smooths the face; and acts as the perfect platform for foundation and any other beauty products.

And the downsides? The risk of cutting yourself. Sensibly, Hill suggests you do it when you’re sober – and that you don’t use your dad’s rusty old razor.

So, what should you use? Well, if you’re going to try it at home – and we don’t necessarily recommend that you do – there are plenty of purpose-designed razors, trimmers and electric shavers that will do the trick. There is also an array of “dermaplaning” tools available, if you are willing to fork out £50 or more for what is essentially a fancy razor.

Dermaplaning? It’s a type of exfoliation practised by a professional beauty expert. Dead skin and facial fuzz are removed to leave you looking radiant and gorgeous.

Expensive? About £60 for a basic treatment. Closer to £100 if you want peeling, needling and the full rejuvenation process.

Worth it for eternal youth! The effects are said to last about three weeks.

Doesn’t sound like you’re a fan. Beauty treatments try to obscure the fact that we age. They are a way to make money from young people’s insecurities.

I thought that hair grew faster and coarser if you shaved regularly. That’s an old wives’ tale.

Yes, but old wives talk a lot of sense. There is no evidence that shaving encourages more rapid hair growth, although if you are quite hairy in the first place you may be aware of a bit of stubble. Mostly, though, this is about the removal of very soft “peach fuzz”.

Do say: “Five o’clock and shadow-free!”

Don’t say: “Has anyone got a plaster?”