I’m sure some of you are shocked reading the title. Yes you read it right: I’m going to introduce you a traditional Japanese beauty service which consists in shaving the face in a barber shop.
We have the tradition to get a beauty shave from time to time, where we get the whole face and sometimes even the hairline and the top of the back shaved. We especially do that before important occasions, such as wedding or big parties where you wear nice dresses, but also more randomly just like we go and get a facial treatment service.
Ladies face shave gaining popularity worldwide
While some of you still cannot believe why we would do such thing, the lady’s face shaving is becoming popular worldwide partly thanks to some successful beauty bloggers and YouTubers such as Carly Barbel claiming the benefit of shaving the face.
Why do women shave their face!?
To get rid of the peach fuzz!
First of all, even if you are not very hairy or have dark hair, everybody has some facial hair. It’s like our face is covered by a light veil of hair.
This veil makes our skin look lackluster and creates a barrier that prevents the skincare products to be well absorbed.
To exfoliate the face!
The face shaving doesn’t only remove the facial hair but it removes gently the dead skin on the surface as well and helps the skin cell turnover. It’s the same theory as dermaplaning, recently quite popular in the US and other western countries. However I feel this Japanese face shaving looks much more gentle to the skin as we shave with the special gel on the face, preventing frictions.
So in summary, after you get your face shaved, you have:
- no more peach fuzz
- brighter skin complexion
- smoother skin
- a skin better prepared for skincare
As your skin condition is improved through skincare and this thin layer of unwanted facial hair is removed, it also has a positive influence on your makeup finish. Your foundation will hold better and longer.
However I am not very keen on doing it by myself, like the beauty YouTubers show. The razor has to be handled properly with the right angle in order not to damage the skin and the skin and face have to be properly prepared to be shaved. Hasn’t it happened to you to shave your legs and get ingrown hairs?
Where can we have our face shaved?
- Japanese barber shops: in Japan, only barbers can legally hold a razor. Barbers, just like hairdressers have to pass the national examination and be in possession of the national license. Barber shops in Japan are like hair salons for men but recently some of the barber shops are focusing their business exclusively on women shaving! Indeed only they have the skills and women like the face shaving service!
- Some beauty salons may have the shaving service but as they are not allowed to use razor, they use a substitute razor, therefore the shaving is less tight and professional.
As I have a sensitive skin and feared the contact of the blade on my face would be too harsh, I had never tried the service before. However all the benefits that the face shave can bring were very attractive to me. Also I always thought, just like everybody else, that if you shave, hair will grow thicker but it has been proven to be a myth by scientists (see FAQ part). So I didn’t have any more reasons not to try! So here you go: my review on women face shaving service!
My first time trying a beauty shave!
I went to a very famous barber shop called Hair Salon Azabu Yamamoto in Azabujyuban, a very nice area in Tokyo, next to Roppongi.
They have been operating for more than 90 years! That shows you how much this salon is favored by faithful customers.
They are famous for their barber services for men of course but also for their beauty and relaxation menu ranging from head spa, facial treatment, to special treatment plans for brides, and of course, the beauty shaving service.
Azabu Yamamoto has intimate treatment rooms designed to receive women.
In general, a female barber will be doing the service.
2. Hot towel:
We cover and press the face with a steamed towel. That’s SO relaxing! But that’s not the only purpose! It’s actually an important step for shaving as with the steam, pores are dilated and hair come out better. Also steamed hair is softer and easier to shave.
3. Shaving gel:
In contrast with more traditional barber shops using a shaving cream, which has a strong cleansing power, Azabu Yamamoto uses a milder gentle shaving gel made from seaweed that can be used on even sensitive skin. The Japanese hospitality is felt here again: the gel is nicely warmed and should feel pleasant even in cold winter!
4. Face shaving:
The barber shaves your whole face, starting from the forehead, around the eyebrows, on the cheeks and jaw line, even on the ears! and on the chin and upper lip! The touch is very subtle and pleasant. Thanks to the gel, there is no friction at all. It wasn’t scary at all.
5. Hot towel cleansing:
We remove the shaved hair and gel with steamed towel.
6. Eyebrows trimming:
7. Facial massage:
The final massage is a delight! It’s a mixture of Shiatsu with classical strokes. It’s at the same time relaxing and stimulating.
We finish with moisturizer and sunscreen. According to the barber, the skin is more photosensitive after the shave so we have to particularly pay attention and apply sunscreen in a religious way!
In Azabu Yamamoto, they use a range of cosmetics with almost only pure nutrients such as raw hyaluronic acid, vegetal collagen, etc. They choose the most suited one for your skin to finish the treatment.
Now let’s compare the before and after!!
I have clearly a brighter face tone and a better glow!! It’s especially visible around the cheek, jaw line, around the temple, and on the face contour in general, the veil of hair is gone! And even the pores on my nose got clean! Oh yes, maybe I should also show you all the hair that was removed!!!
Not so surprising to see so much differences between before and after!
Maybe it’s only me but I feel like the final massage had even a face lifting effect!
Shaving my face: what I thought
It was my first time trying and I truly enjoyed it:
- The service is very relaxing; in the hands of the experienced barber, I never felt anxious or scared while the blade was glided on my face. And the treatment doesn’t involve friction at all. Massage was amazing.
- The treatment was respectful of my sensitive skin: it’s really important for me that no irritation is felt during and especially after the service.
- My skin was very soft and smooth afterward, not only for the day but everyday after; I guess it’s because it helps the cosmetic products to penetrate better each time I do skincare. Brighter complexion and soft touch make me feel like my skin got rejuvenated!
I created a FAQ part for this service as it’s still controversial. Personally I really liked it and recommend to other women.
All the pictures of this page were shot by my friend Kazu Matsuo, that I’d like to thank a lot. Kazu is a triliangual (Jp, Fr, En) freelance photographer who knows how to capture people’s natural smiles but is also very skilled to communicate beauty and emotions through photography in sports scenes or landscapes. You can see his work on his website or facebook. Contact him if you are looking for a personal photographer during your trip to Japan to immortalize memories!