If you’ve ever watched one of Huda Kattan’s face prep videos, chances are you’ll have come across at-home dermaplaning - an exfoliating 'face shaving' treatment that removes dead skin cells and that downy 'vellus' hair (aka peach fuzz) which some people find bothersome as it can show up in bright light and prevent your foundation from lasting.
I'd heard that dermaplaning could give you the best exfoliation known to man and as a professional makeup artist, I was keen to see if it could make my makeup look the bomb and I set my heart on having it done in a salon.
I was having one of those days when your skin is a little dry and your foundation ends up looking cakey and heavy and when your powder gets caught in the little hairs on your jawline and you start channelling your great-aunt Cynthia, who used chalky to set her makeup in the fifties. I had a big night out ahead and was rushing through Boots when I spied Veet’s Dermaplaning Sensitive Precision Face Kit , £29.99 and thought ‘men shave their faces all the time, how hard can it be?’.
I am not entirely gung-ho about crazy, out-of-the-box trends that come and go as fast as Kylie Jenner’s hair colour, but this one had history behind it after all: Hollywood’s golden age glamazons like Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe were known to shave their faces. But still, I was nervous, especially when I remembered that the dermaplaning tool of choice in a salon was a scalpel.
What's more, would the hair grow back darker and thicker giving me the ultimate, bearded lady get-up, or would I end up lacerating myself to bits and looking like the baby grinch when he tried shaving for the first time, or would it achieve absolutely nothing but take up my oh-so-precious going out preparation time (I was sacrificing shaving my legs to complete this little experiment).
I turned to facialist and dermaplaning specialist Kajal Nandha for advice on at-home treatment.
“Side effects are rare,” she assured me. “If your skin is sensitive to breakouts you may see an effect from the products included in the kit, or you may nip yourself with the blade - this is nothing to worry about but ensure you clean it [the blade] right away to avoid infection.”
I didn't have breakouts, my skin was squeaky clean and so I was good to go. First I slathered on the Veet Miraculous Oil blend (made of sunflower, sweet almond, apricot kernel, argan and avocado oils among others). The idea is that this provides a smoother glide for the blade. Although it is optional, I would strongly recommend it.
The device itself is a little battery-powered hand-held razor that vibrates side-to-side. The razor itself is more of a trimmer with a serrated edge that's almost blunt to the touch. This, in conjunction with the vibrating, is what removes the hair, rather than a scalpel. It gave me some sense of safety as I wasn’t actually exposing my face to a naked blade. The vibration is light and doesn’t make a huge amount of noise so it still allows for a relaxing experience.
As directed, I worked in tiny movements against the fuzz, which gathered the hairs and the dead skin gunk that came away with ease, thanks to the lubrication of the oil. The whole process took about 30 minutes once I got the knack of it. It could definitely have been quicker for a daily routine but, I enjoyed taking my time, and kept making sure to rinse the razor thoroughly to get rid of all of the debris between stages.
The result? I was left with super baby-smooth skin and there was no redness, as I had expected. I set about with my usual skincare routine. Starting with a hyaluronic acid, and vitamin C serum and finishing with a good moisturiser and rose oil. On my newly fuzz-free face, my creams sank in like a dream.
I moved on to the ultimate test of the effects of dermaplaning - my makeup. My foundation went on much more smoothly and more importantly, it blended better than ever. Usually I use a second sponge to really get the blending into the nooks and crannies of my face but after dermaplaning there was no need and I was left with the most incredible, glowy HD finish. I did find myself setting it with a little more powder than usual as there appeared to be more shine, but all in all, it looked flawless and stayed put for much longer.
As the days went by, however, I did start to notice some effects that I wasn’t best pleased with. After about a week my pores seemed larger than normal, and they started filling up quite badly, giving me some of the worst blackheads, which I couldn’t seem to shift.
I consulted Kajal again. “The blackheads could have been caused by the condition of your skin before you used the kit, and whether it was prepped correctly. A dermaplaning professional will always ensure skin is cleansed and prepped properly before starting any treatment.”
She also said that the oil I’d used could be the culprit. “Home kits may come with an oil which might cause certain skin types to breakout, so the blackheads could be a side effect of this. Off-the-shelf kits are created to be very general and cannot offer a bespoke treatment to each person’s skin, so will affect each person differently.”
Then there was the regrowth, which started within 24 hours and felt rather stubbly and harsh. It wasn’t as dark as I had feared, but I did find the feeling unpleasant. “When your hair grows back it might feel different because it was cut straight across," says Kajal. However, she reassures me that dermaplaning doesn't change the texture of the hair or make it grow back quicker or thicker.
“One reason that your hair could grow back stubbly is because dermaplaning is designed for the vellus hair, aka peach fuzz, but some people also have terminal hairs, which are normal face hairs. These are the ones that could grow back feeling like stubble, but as the hair follicle is not compromised in treatment, the hair won’t be permanently changed.”
The experience of face shaving was fun, and mesmerising in a Dr Pimple Popper kind of way, but I don’t think I'll be signing up for a lifetime subscription, and if I was, I believe it would have to be done at least three times a week so as to prevent the stubble feeling that I would rather find on my man. I wouldn’t say no to using it again if I had a big event that I need to look sublime for, keeping in mind that my skin would have to bear the consequences of stubble and blocked pores afterwards. But, it won’t be becoming part of my usual at-home routine, and will be sticking to my exfoliating scrubs and powders.
And as a makeup artist, I've seen time and again how nothing beats a deeply moisturised skin for a perfect base.
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