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Why Liz Taylor + Marilyn Monroe shaved their faces.

As a child actress, Liz Taylor seldom needed makeup due to this genetic mutation...
As a child actress, Liz Taylor seldom needed makeup due to this genetic mutation...
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There’s nothing I love more than skin care urban legends – it’s like the perfect combination of ghost stories and beauty, which pretty much encompasses the scope of my interests.

Are there ancillary beauty benefits for women who shave their face?
www.beautyundercover.com

Although no skin urban legend (to date) has evoked the same shivers as a good Anne Rice or Stephen King novel (although this stuff comes close), I love hearing beauty rumors and legends because it gives me a sense of how people’s brains work, and it is incessantly intriguing to see what strikes the right chord to warrant being passed down generation to generation.

Chocolate causing pimples? {FALSE!} Olive oil preventing wrinkles? {TRUE!} Latisse turning blue-eyes into brown-eyes? {FALSE!} Some of these urban legends have roots based in actual fact, and others are complete hog-wash. I love them all.

Elizabeth Taylor, known for being absolutely beautiful, is the source of several of these legends. One of the rumors swirling around her is that she had mutant eye-lashes. {TRUE!} Instead of the normal, single row of lashes that most people have, she had an abnormality that rendered her with two rows of lashes. As a child actress, she seldom had to wear eye makeup because she was genetically blessed to have natural eye-definition thanks to her abundance of eyelashes.

Another Elizabeth Taylor beauty rumor is that she used to shave her face. {TRUE! What is with Liz and her facial hair…?!}

Her motivation for shaving was quite different than a man’s though. Instead of trying to prevent 5 o’clock shadow, Liz Taylor instead shaved her face for purely cosmetic, perhaps non-intuitive reasons. The act of dragging a razor against your skin does have its beauty benefits. All of those fine, blonde baby hairs you may notice on your cheeks will be removed, and in addition you will also be sloughing off the surface layer of skin cells. Doing this can leave your skin feeling smoother, looking brighter, and potentially allow for your skin products to absorb into your skin more efficiently. (It’s almost identical to the process of dermaplaning.)

However, what’s good for Liz’s face might not be good for yours.

Similar to using a Clarisonic, this is a treatment method that should only be utilized if your skin is already in good condition. If you have any active acne or open lesions, shaving your pimples off (or electronically whirring them with a Clarisonic) will only further complicate matters. Despite your efforts otherwise, you will be left with an angry, bloody mess, and potentially invite additional infection into the already unhappy pores. When dealing with active acne, you do not want to do anything that is going to mechanically manipulate the skin’s surface.

Additionally, if you are one of the millions of women with facial hair that isn’t all blonde… this might not be the best choice for you. Have you heard the legend about shaving making hair grow back darker and thicker than it started? {FALSE! Shaving has no permanent affect whatsoever on the hair follicle.} Shaving does not make your hair thicker or darker, but it does leave the hair with a blunt edge as opposed to the tapered end it would naturally have. As the hairs grow, the blunt edges will feel rougher to the touch than hairs with their natural tip. If you have dark hair on your face – as a woman – you will not enjoy the feeling or look of stubble on your face. (Not to mention the possibility of causing in-grown hairs.)

It’s ironic that many of the popular skin recommendations should only be utilized by those who already have good skin. I’m sorry to say that at-home face-shaving (and yes, the Clarisonic too) is best for those who are starting out with clear skin.

Never wanting to end on a sour note however, for those of you with acne prone skin that WANT to use skin-gadgets and tools, there are things that will safely improve the quality of your skin. (While eating chocolate, if you want!) For those with dark facial hair (and I can attest to this as I’m in the same club) you can get the same glowing, exfoliating, non-stubble inducing results with a good Retinol. (My product of choice currently is SkinMedica’s 0.5 Retinol cream.)

Now about the one where bird feces and semen makes your skin look younger….? Jury’s still out, I’m not quite ready to rest-drive that yet.