The Benefits of Shaving: Some Surprising Perks
We all know the main benefit of shaving: you rid yourself of your “caveman” look, and transform yourself into the sly, debonair, 007-type you truly are.
Did you know, however, that there are other benefits to shaving, many of which aren’t so obvious?
Below, we’ll go over a few of the advantages to shaving your face, some of which might not be as intuitive as “you won’t look scruffy anymore.”
If you’re a rough-and-tumble gentleman yourself, the first might interest you:
Shaving May Minimize Scars
It’s true: if you have scars on your face from that first time you shaved or those pimples you popped as a teenager, shaving may make them less noticeable over time.
Shaving nicks are pretty common—almost unavoidable, really—and the scars that form after a nick are a natural part of the healing process. As your body tries to heal your wounds quickly, it deposits collagen in the area of a cut. That collagen is thicker than the surrounding skin, and it can form a noticeable scar.
Scars—and particularly, the collagen in your scars—can be broken down through massage, and the daily act of shaving can break down the collagen, and help the area blend in with the rest of your skin.
Doing this is similar to using dermaplaning (which we’ll discuss below). The practice is centuries old, and plenty of beauty bloggers have embraced it—and it’s basically shaving. A doctor or beauty professional uses a surgical knife (usually a scalpel, or something like it), and basically scrapes away the dead skin and some of the scar tissue.
It Exfoliates the Skin
If you’re like many guys, you probably need the following: an explanation on what “exfoliation” is.
So, here you go:
“Exfoliation” is the process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin. When you’re young, your skin exfoliates quickly, but that process can slow down with age.
When all that dead skin accumulates on your face, it can make it look dull and wrinkly—but that dead skin can also build up in pores and hair follicles, increasing the likelihood of acne and facial irritation.
So, many people exfoliate their skin using a scrub or a chemical peel to fade age spots, unclog and minimize pores, and make wrinkles less visible.
And, guess what: shaving is a great way to exfoliate the skin! Every time you run the razor over your face, you remove hair—but you also remove flaky skin and dead skin cells. If you’re a daily shaver, you’re actually also a daily exfoliator—who knew?
Many exfoliants are actually really harsh on the skin—some people resort to harsh scrubs and painful chemical compounds—and shaving can seem kind of tame compared to that.
It Can Provide Anti-Aging Benefits
Some beauty experts believe that men get fewer wrinkles than women as they age because they shave their faces regularly. Shaving is mildly abrasive, and the action of removing the outer layer of skin promotes new skin to develop. That new skin is younger and fresher than the debris that’s been dulling your complexion for years.
And, here’s the surprising bit: shaving your face may have so many benefits for your appearance, that many women are doing it too. If you’ve been paying attention for the last few months, you may have seen a few articles about women shaving their faces to exfoliate, smooth out texture, and get rid of fine lines and wrinkles.
(By the way—the verdict from those beauty bloggers? Some truly like it! They say it feels great, and it makes makeup easier to apply. The jury is still out on the long-term effects, though!).
Not only, though, does shaving promote new skin growth—dragging a razor across your face promotes the production of collagen, which is the fiber that helps your skin maintain elasticity. Remember before, when we mentioned scars and collagen? It’s the same stuff, and your body uses it for multiple tasks. Collagen declines as you age, which is the reason that your skin might become thinner and sag with every birthday. Shaving can help keep it tight and plump.
It May Help Your Skin Stay Cleaner
Bacteria can build up in the tight, moist quarters of beard hair—and if you’re not shaving regularly, or even frequently (or even at all!), the skin underneath all of that hair might not be as clean as it could otherwise be.
In fact, the skin underneath your beard may get pretty gunky and gross, especially when you consider that many men don’t know how to properly wash the skin underneath their beards—never mind exfoliate it.
The truth is that there could be a lot going on underneath that beard, and your bearded friends may experience ingrown hairs, dry skin, or the sharp edge of the hair pushing against the follicle. They might also develop folliculitis, which is a type of skin inflammation that can occur from a bacterial infection. Neglecting to dry your hairy skin completely could also lead to a fungal infection that makes you itch.
We’ve said this before—we said this often, actually: an unkempt beard is really, really gross.
One way to prevent gross beards from occurring?
Taking care of your beard.
Shaving every day! If you’re shaving properly and keeping your razor clean, you’ll create an inhospitable environment for bacteria and fungi and avoid many of the issues your bearded friends face.
Shaving Provides an Opportunity to Nourish Your Skin
The act of shaving may not be particularly nourishing to the skin, but it does give you a chance to use products that benefit your face’s texture and appearance, including:
Shaving cream. While many shaving creams are harsh and can dry you out, there are actually a few options that can actually help fortify your skin, and deliver much-needed vitamins, like:
Vitamin A, which is an anti-inflammatory used in many acne medications;
Vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that can help with the production of collagen; and
Vitamin E, which can protect against sun damage caused by UV rays, and can help diminish the coloring and texture of scars.
Look for ingredients that contain plant-based oils, shea butter, lanolin, and glycerin to keep your skin soft and smooth, and try to avoid shaving creams that include alcohol.
Aftershaves. Using the right aftershave can give you an added dose of protection, and aftershaves generally come in two types:
Aftershave splash, which is the “classic” type of aftershave. Splashes usually have antiseptic properties and can prevent bacteria from growing, which is great if you get nicked a lot while shaving—but they often include alcohol, which can sting / dry you out, so if that’s a problem you may want to consider…
Aftershave balm, which is fairly new. Balms tend to be more hydrating, and can help soothe and moisturize irritated skin. Plus, some of them contain SPF, which can help protect your skin against harmful UV rays that can cause premature aging (and even skin cancer).
You can use beneficial skincare products even if you don’t shave, but many people work them into their shaving routine to save time.
You Might Make More Friends
Obviously there’s a lot to making nice and getting along with others, but research actually shows that people get a better first impression from clean-shaven men than those with facial hair. When the skin on your face is in full view, you might be seen as more trustworthy, too.
This might also depend on your age—because having a beard is becoming / has been trendy, younger people are more likely to find beards attractive—and there are probably cultural factors involved, as well.
Still, you might come across as more likable if your face is as smooth as butter.
You May Look More Professional
Did you know that very few Fortune 500 CEOs or U.S. political leaders have facial hair? Even though a clean shave has gone against fashion trends throughout the years, it continues to be popular for people who are big in business.
Of all the ways to appear professional, shaving may be one of the easiest—you can have a meticulously groomed beard and mustache, but that’s still harder to maintain than an everyday shave if you want to look fastidious, and if you have trouble growing a full beard, any amount of facial hair can look scraggly.
Also—and this is interesting—beards do not improve the image of political candidates, and our last president to have a beard was Benjamin Harrison (let’s be honest: did you know Benjamin Harrison was a president? We didn’t). He was in office well over a century ago—he served from 1889 to 1893—and we haven’t had a president with a full beard since.
We may not like our politicians to have facial hair because it’s been found that men with facial hair look more aggressive—but there may be a few industries where appearing aggressive can help! Bouncers and bodyguards, take note!
It Brings on Passionate Kisses (Maybe)
Even though we’ve seen a resurgence in the popularity of beards, it looks like some women find that facial hair gets in the way of kisses and snuggles. While there are surely plenty of females who dig the way that a beard looks, few love the way mustache hairs poke them, and even fewer like getting hair in their mouth during a passionate kiss.
This, obviously, is a person-to-person thing, and you’ll need to ask about your romantic partner’s tastes—but openness is intimate, right? It’s a great way to find out what you and your better half enjoy!
You Can Contribute to Charity
Beard-related charities have entered the national discourse, with one of the most popular ones being Movember: the non-profit organization that encourages men to grow mustaches during the month of November to increase awareness of diseases and disorders men face, such as testicular cancer, prostate cancer, and depression.
It’s a great idea, and it’s grown very popular over the last few years. If you’re a dedicated shaver—or not!—you can make your shave part of something bigger, and feel good about it!
You’ll Get Better at Shaving
Practice makes perfect. Many men—wet shavers in particular—look at shaving as a skill, and one that you can develop over time.
If you look at it that way, shaving can take on new meaning. Lots of men have a zombie-like routine where they roll out of bed, shower while they’re half-asleep, shave without really paying attention to what they’re doing, and then go to work / class / wherever without ever really being present.
Why not change that? You can do tomorrow morning, when you shave. Take your time, and truly be in the moment. Think about what you’re doing, and try to get the closest—and most cut-free—shave you can possibly get.
After all, if you’re going to be shaving for the rest of your life, you might as well be good at it, right?
It Can Make Your Daily Routine Deeply Enjoyable
This, perhaps, is our favorite reason, and it’s a great place to stop: shaving can be a deeply satisfying part of your daily routine.
So much of what we do is unremarkable—grooming routines, commutes, work / school, making meals, going to bed. It’s easy to fall into a pattern, and if you run that pattern long enough, it can become a drag.
So why not try and make all the parts of your routine enjoyable? And why not do that with shaving?
There are shaving creams that smell amazing—like lavender, lemon / lime, vanilla, sandalwood, and more. Shaving brushes that feel prickly and soft at the same time, that make apply shaving cream a tactile and sensory experience. Razors—like safety razors—that are classic and rugged and a throw-back to a more “classic” era of shaving. And, finally, aftershave splashes and balms that are invigorating and feel great (and protect your skin).
There are a lot of ways to make shaving a truly satisfying experience, and if you’re going to shave every day, why not enjoy it?