In a world where getting a facial has morphed from a mildly pleasant pampering experience to a high-tech medical procedure involving lasers, injections and consent forms, it takes a lot to surprise a beauty editor. But when I was presented with a surgical blade at my last skin-saving sesh, I have to say I was a little shocked.
But I shouldn’t have been: dermaplaning (that is, having your face shaved 😳) has been simmering away on the surface of mainstream beauty treatments for decades. LA celebrity skin therapist Kate Somerville is a vocal fan, and rumour has it Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe were both in on the practice.
Closer to home, Zoe Foster Blake is a recent dermaplaning devotee. “Dermaplaning is exfoliating, brightening, skin-tone-evening, non-inflammatory (so: great for pigmentation sufferes), helps skincare penetrate better, and makes your skin freakishly smooth (because, um, it’s hairless), meaning your make-up will sit PERFECTLY,” she enthused on Instagram before hitting the Logies red carpet earlier this year.
Blake had the treatment at Me Skin & Body in Melbourne’s South Yarra. I tried it at Sydney’s newest luxury beauty clinic, All Saints Double Bay, as part of their Luxe Radiance Facial ($290/90 minutes).
“What people notice instantly after dermaplaning is beautiful, glowy skin,” Dr Joseph Hkeik, aesthetic physician and owner of All Saints, tells me. “We’re removing the dead upper layer of the epidermis, which is what makes your skin looks dull.”
After treatment, skin tone and texture is improved, and skincare products can absorb more easily. The added bonus, Dr Hkeik tells me, is that the process also removes the fine hair women have all over their faces, resulting in smoother make-up application to boot.
My dermal therapist, Chiza Westcarr, gets to work with a patented blade. It doesn’t hurt, and there’s no down time – immediately afterwards, I have an antioxidant peel, LED light therapy and hydrating mask as part of the glow-giving treatment.
I’m warned my skin will feel sensitive for three to five days and I’m not to exfoliate, apply retinol, expose my skin to the sun or have any other skin procedures for five to 10 days post-treatment. My skin feels unusually soft and smooth, and just as Dr Hkeik predicted, the next morning my foundation glides on like a dream.
After a week or so, I notice a slight prickly feeling in some places as hairs grow back, but I’ve been told to expect that: hair will grow back blunt-ended, so it will feel coarse at first, but won’t appear darker or thicker and the dermaplaning won’t stimulate more hair growth.
Dr Hkeik recommends monthly treatments in line with the skin’s regeneration cycle. It’s a big ask for softer, radiant skin, but whenever I have a big event on the horizon I know I’ll be tempted to make a booking.