Oilplaning Is One TikTok Skin Care Trend That Doesn’t Make Dermatologists Roll Their Eyes

Here’s how to do it properly.

Originally Published: 
A woman applying a face oil on clean skin.
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If TikTok’s algorithm has served you right, your FYP page has probably put you on to a number of transformational skin care tips since you joined the social media app. Along with learning the wonders of slugging your skin and discovering cult-classic products like Dr. Jart+’s Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment, you’ve probably come across the benefits of dermaplaning, otherwise known as face shaving. And maybe, tutorials on oilplaning face shaving have recently popped up on your feed, too.

While dermaplaning went viral on TikTok because it’s cost-effective, easy to DIY, and also exfoliates by ridding the face of a superficial layer of skin, resulting in a smoother makeup application, it’s controversial among dermatologists. Because despite its benefits, there is a ton of room for error — especially if you’re taking a scalpel razor to active eczema or acne.

However, oilplaning, a method of dermaplaning that’s taken SkinTok by storm, is another story. This gentler take on the hair removal technique involves slathering on face oil before shaving, which can help prevent some of the potential risks.

Ahead, TZR consulted with dermatologists to set the record straight on oilplaning. Read on to find out what this trend entails, who should try it, and which face oils to use when doing it.

What Is Oilplaning?

Like dermaplaning, the goal of oilplaning is to remove peach fuzz (formally called vellus hairs) from the face as well as exfoliate the surface layer of the skin so that your complexion makeup has a smooth, even finish.

“Everyone has fine vellus hairs on their face, but some people's vellus hairs are thicker and more visible than others, so they may want to have these hairs removed,” Dr. Hadley King, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, says. “In addition, getting rid of the superficial layer of dead skin can have a brightening effect and help makeup go on smoother.”

What makes oilplaning different is the pre-shaving step of applying a face oil. The product can act as a buffer for the skin, protecting the barrier from getting compromised when taking a razor to your bare face.

“The idea is that by first applying a facial oil rich in emollients, you’re helping to protect the skin barrier and increase the glide — comparable to using a shaving cream/gel/oil before shaving to reduce the risk of irritation and nicks,” Dr. King explains. Alternatively, you can dermaplane, then apply a facial oil to soothe and moisturize the skin.

What Is The Proper Way Of Oilplaning Your Face?

First, start with clean, dry skin. “If you have any oils, dirt, or makeup on your skin, it can cause the dermaplane blade to slip and give you nicks and cuts and spread bacteria and debris, so cleanliness is key,” says Board-Certified Dermatologist and Founder of MACRENE Actives, Dr. Macrene Alexiades.

Next, apply the oil, and then run the razor over your face in small sections. Dr. Macrene says to “start at the edge of your face, gently pulling the skin taut with one hand, and holding the dermaplane at a 45-degree angle with the other hand.”

She recommends using short, downward strokes in the direction of your hair growth, and notes that it’s important to take extra care around the hairline and eyebrows so that you don’t accidentally remove any hairs you want to keep.

To avoid irritation and infection, Dr. King stresses the importance of using a clean blade each oilplane session and not going over any section of the face more than once. It’s also best to avoid oilplaning if you have active acne or if your skin is flaky, inflamed, or irritated. And don’t overdo it: Dr. Macrene says every four to six weeks is a great cadence for routine oilplaning.

What Skin Care Routine Should You Follow After Oilplaning?

While oilplaning has zero downtime, your skin may be a bit sensitive from the exfoliation for a few days. So, it’s best to use hydrating, nourishing products immediately following shaving your face to help restore the skin barrier and prevent further dryness.

“Gently cleanse the skin to remove the dermaplaned dead skin cells and hair, and then apply an oil or moisturizer that contains humectants to hydrate, emollients to support the skin barrier, and occlusives to lock in moisture,” Dr. King says.

Another benefit to oilplaning? The exfoliation will actually help your skin care products absorb better. So after cleansing your skin, you could use a hyaluronic acid serum for extra hydration.

As for what to avoid? Dr. Macrene says to skip using physical exfoliants for a few days while skin is recovering. However, chemical exfoliants are fair game, and may even work better due to being able to further penetrate the skin.

What Are The Best Face Oils For Oilplaning?

Both dermatologists say a non-comedogenic face oil is best for oilplaning to prevent it from clogging pores. “Make sure the oil is not heavily fragranced with essential oils, which could cause discomfort to your skin, or too heavy, which can clog pores,” Dr. Macrene adds.

The ideal oil is a blend of nourishing and hydrating ingredients that will help rebalance and strengthen the skin from the dermaplaning. (Dr. King personally recommends jojoba or argan oil.)

With the right technique of oilplaning in mind, TZR has compiled a handful of face oils to apply before shaving your face.

The Best Facial Oils For Oilplaning

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