Here's An Idea: Shave A Layer Of Your Face Off

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Everybody who knows me knows that I am 1) extremely good looking and 2) very practical. These two things inform most of my life decisions, and they're why the concept of dermaplaning has always been of great interest to me. The premise is simple: A licensed and trained professional gently sketches a fine scalpel blade over your face to give you the smoothest skin of your life. And my whole-hearted review is that the procedure is amazing and I love it and if you find yourself within spitting distance of a medical spa, you should absolutely try it for yourself.

I should preface this by saying I've tried every exfoliant under the Tuscan sun, but nothing seems to do the job. I just wanted something that worked and dermaplaning seemed to promise that, given it's mechanical, and doesn't rely on invisible acids or barely perceptible granules. It’s skincare for pragmatists really, founded on caveman logic. Don't want that dead layer of skin? Take it away with the sharpest, safest thing around. With a credentialed medical aesthetician at your side. No credentials? That's a dealbreaker, ladies.

Here’s what happens when you want to get dermaplaned. First, you drag your sorry ass through the rain to Dr. Melissa Doft’s office on Park Avenue. Her space is a hearth—literally, the reception desk is designed to look like a fireplace—which is a comforting setting when you're waiting to have somebody drag a knife across your skin. Then you wait a little bit and talk with the receptionist about foundation brushes. Wayne Goss, she tells me, makes the best. The more you know!

Then you meet Yurga Kors, Dr. Doft’s resident medical aesthetician and also my resident favorite person I’ve ever met. She took me back into her exam room, lay me down on a rotating recliner, and went to work sloughing the dead skin off of my face and generally delighting me with epic tales from her life. In addition to being a world-renown aesthetician, Yurga also deep sea dives. As a hobby. My hobbies include watching Real Housewives of New York and eating tacos, while Yurga is scuba diving with hammerhead sharks on the semi-reg. This is the woman you want handling your face.

“The blade is something we’d use in a surgical procedure,” Dr. Doft told me, before adding: “I’m not sure if that’s comforting. But basically, what we’re doing is using a blade to skim over the surface of the skin to remove any extra skin or unwanted hair in a definitive way.” The procedure—I’m calling it that to be dramatic—was not unpleasant, but not a relaxing spa experience either. When Yurga planes my face, it feels like somebody is coloring me in with a pencil, and I’ve endured more discomfort watching Countess LuAnn introduce her scumbag fiancé to the girls in Palm Beach. Yurga followed it up with a soothing facial as Céline Dion crooned in the background, and afterwards, my face was as soft as the lyrics to Because You Loved Me.

There was no downtime after my visit, and that was nice. ("You can walk out and go right to a luncheon," said Dr. Doft, which I thought was delightfully Park Avenue.) For the next two weeks, I had the best skin texture I'd ever had—but then came time to exfoliate again. I don't know if you knew this, but I do not have the resources to get a facial every two weeks. Who am I, Paris Hilton? My solution was something that Dr. Doft does not endorse, and please don't tell her I do this, because she'd probably kill me: I started dermaplaning at home.

This is a perfect time to acknowledge how comical the idea of dermaplaning is—the kind of beauty industry mania that's right there next to placenta facials on the menus of the world's most expensive aestheticians. But if you've ever had trouble exfoliating, or if what you're doing isn't cutting it, then try it. Please, go to a medspa once or twice and have it done and see how you feel. And then when you're a pro, and not a minute sooner, do this:

1) Invest in a dermaplaning device. Mine is the Dermaflash, which comes with a suite of products—Prep, Edge (!), Soothe—so you can be your own Yurga. Adopt her technique when dermaplaning yourself, using feathered strokes that brush the surface of the forehead, cheeks, and chin. Get the look for less with Shiseido Facial Razors, but only if you know how to wield them. They are literally 1% of the price of the Dermaflash but are much harder to use.
2) Treat your skin after. I mean, obviously! Dr. Doft mentions that your face is particularly suited to take in product post-plane, on account of you cleaning it all up, so this is a great time for a hydrating serum followed by a heavy cream. I use my old standbys: Glossier Super Bounce and Sisley's Express Flower Gel Mask.
3) There is no step three, because it's really easy, but I think three steps always looks good in a list. Take a nap? Go in on some RHONY? Don't let me tell you what to do. Unless we're talking about dermaplaning, which, again, you need to try. Have I not convinced you already?

—Brennan Kilbane

Photographed by the author.

Or stick to storebought. Try these mask routines before your next night out.