FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS STORY,
I just shaved my face. From that, you’re probably thinking I whipped out a Gillette disposable and made a beeline for my upper lip, aren’t you? Rather, I tried a more intense version: a process known as dermaplaning, where a facialist or dermatologist shaves your face with a rounded scalpel, taking off the top layer of dead skin cells and peach fuzz in one swipe. Getting rid of that fine downy layer — aka vellus hair, which most adult women have on their cheeks — wasn’t my sole aim, but now it’s gone, I have to admit it’s one helluva fabulous side effect of the treatment, especially if you’ve ever taken a selfie in full daylight … then proceeded to dump said offending shot in the bin. Dermaplaning can be done at home (more on that later), but if you don’t trust yourself and still want skin that appears as if you’ve swallowed a lightbulb, enlist a professional who comes with a 10-gauge scalpel. I entrusted Sydney facialist Jacqueline Brennan from Inskin Medi Spa, who offers dermaplaning as an adjunct to other services such as a chemical peel, but says it’s often booked as a standalone. “We start with a double cleanse, the actual dermaplaning component followed by a serum, a moisturiser and, of course, an SPF,” she explains.the actual ‘shaving’ part lasts 15 minutes, max. Holding a small sterile blade at a 45-degree angle, Brennan pulls a section of my skin taut then swipes over the area, often passing across that part several times until she is satisfied and moves on to the next. It’s painless, but I wouldn’t classify it as relaxing. think midway between a cat licking your face and the lightest of scratches. I sit up and see piles of what looks like eraser dust on a paper towel. Keep your eyes closed if you’re squeamish. Dermaplaning isn’t new. If anything, it’s very 2016. But, like all beauty fads, it ebbs and flows in popularity. It’s huge in LA, where red carpets are regular events — when women need to have their makeup sit well, with no shadow showing up in photos. Celebrity aesthetician Kate Somerville, who treats half of Hollywood, is a massive fan of dermaplaning and applies acetone to the skin prior, which results in more layers being exfoliated. “many of my celebrity clients shave at home and/or dermaplane,” she says. “it’s beneficial for a smoother makeup application, exfoliation and removing hair — especially today, with high-definition cameras picking up everything. Shaving was a part of Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor’s beauty regimens. Personally, I started it in my twenties and have done it ever since.” Brennan and Somerville are also quick to shut down any talk of hair suddenly growing back beardlike. “hormones are the only things that change hair growth,” Somerville stresses. “it will come back the same colour and thickness as before. I recommend shaving once a week at home for maintenance. If you see a professional, dermaplane every four to six weeks.” Aesthetician Jennifer Brodeur, who looks after the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama, agrees hair texture won’t change, but warns “it may feel different or seem thicker as it’s cut straight across with a razor, versus having a natural point to it”. also, many women don’t realise how much hair they have until it’s gone, so perception changes. what you didn’t consider a problem before may now morph into a pet peach-fuzz hate.and then there’s the issue of hairs resurfacing as ingrown. (Hmmm. we’ve just lost you, haven’t we?) Some women aren’t contenders for dermaplaning. “those with excessive facial hair or hirsutism should probably avoid it,” Brodeur says. “and if you have deep cystic acne, you should wait until breakouts are clear to proceed.” They’re the cons. Along with a lengthy list of others if you go down the DIY route and follow a Youtube beauty-vlogger tutorial in the privacy of your own bathroom. Irritation caused by blades not properly sterilised, nicking yourself, not following correct after-care post-treatment — for starters. All I know is that one session has left my skin smoother than a goddamn dolphin. I look clearer, fresher, less hungover. (Apt, really, considering these days a two-wine outing rates as a big night.) My serums and moisturisers absorb faster because they’re no longer hindered by babyfine hairs, and I’ve now moved on from peach fuzz to nectarine-smooth territory. Who knows? Maybe next I’ll be attempting selfies in sunlight. Each 45-minute session costs $120; contact Inskin Medi Spa, Sydney, on (02) 8095 9317.