Does My Facial Hair Become Thicker After I Shave?

Shaving leaves hairs with blunt ends that are thicker than their naturally tapered tips.


There are a few lessons to be learned from the infamous Dress: (1) It doesn’t take much to become an internet sensation; (2) the guy who sits next to you at work is a color-blind monster; and (3) perspective matters when it comes to perceived appearance.

The last one—skewed perspective—is particularly germane when thinking about shaved facial hair.

Shaved hairs look like they’re thicker than before because you’re viewing them at their widest point. The reason why is pretty simple: Shaving leaves them with blunt ends that are thicker than their naturally tapered tips. But that’s it. The hair itself isn’t suddenly pumped up like Hans and Franz. “Neither shaving nor plucking has any impact on the hairs that grow,” says Jeffrey Benabio, Physician Director of Healthcare Transformation at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego.

Which means you have no reason to be concerned that shaving is inadvertently turning your facial hair into steel wool. Any worries about hair thickness should be directed solely at your parents, as genetics are the real determinants here. So stop blaming your razor, and start finding a way to forgive your parents for whatever follicular issues you’re struggling with today.

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