Why Does My Face Look Fatter When I Shave? (4 Reasons)

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two sides of a face showing fatness before and after shaving

Sometimes, a fresh shave is all a guy needs to feel like a brand-new version of himself. Unfortunately, I feel like a lot of us have looked in the mirror post-shave and not necessarily been happy with the result.

As a bigger dude, I definitely notice that my face looks a lot fatter when I shave. This doesn’t really do a lot for my confidence- but I also get tired of the beard sometimes.

So, why does your face look rounder after shaving?

A person’s face looks fatter after shaving if they have a rounder face because it draws attention to their jawline and neck. Some people also experience puffiness from shaving irritation or sagging skin that happens naturally from aging. Finally, a face might rounder because your brain perceives it differently without facial hair. 

Below, I’ll dive deeper into the answers for the question, “Why does my face look fatter when I shave?” I’ll also give you some tips (if you want them) to reduce how round your face looks.

Why Does My Face Look Fatter When I Shave?

In most cases, your face looks fatter after shaving because of the shape of your face, skin irritation from shaving, or because of changes that happen to your skin with age. It’s also possible that you just think your face looks fatter after a shave.

Your Facial Shape and Beard Style

People with rounder faces look more distinguished with facial hair. When you shave it all off, it draws attention to neck and chin fat. This is made worse by the shadows created under your chin.

Plus, if you have a double chin like I do, getting rid of that beard means your chin is going to be front-and-center. If you’ve been wearing a beard all winter, it’s also possible that the shadows are more prominent because you haven’t been getting as much sun on your neck and face- tanned skin naturally looks thinner.

By choosing beard styles that suit your face better, you’re face is more likely to look distinguished instead of round. We’ll get into some tips that you can use to choose the right beard style later.

Skin Irritation

Sometimes, your face looks puffier after you shave because the skin is irritated. Some people are more prone to facial irritation than others, depending on factors like skin sensitivity and how thick the hair is that you are trying to shave. Plus, if you haven’t shaved for a while, your skin isn’t going to be used to shaving and you’re more likely to experience sensitivity.

The good news is that the swelling that comes from skin irritation isn’t permanent and it usually goes down after a few hours. Start by using a sharp razor that pivots, so it moves with the curves of your skin and shaves hairs instead of pulling at them. While shaving against the grain is associated with a closer shave, some people’s skin cannot tolerate this because of the irritation it causes.

Knowing how to shave your face so you aren’t pulling at the skin and using aftercare products (like aftershave or moisturizer) can reduce your risk of skin irritation, too. Finally, if facial hair is long, trim with scissors or an electric razor first to reduce the risk of your razor pulling at hair.


When was the last time that you saw yourself without a beard? If you’re the type to grow out a beard for facial warmth in the winter like me, then you’re usually about a year older than you were last time you shaved your beard off.

While we all like to think that we are aging gracefully, it’s very possible that the reason your face looks fatter is because you’ve developed jowls. By jowls, I mean that extra bit of sagging skin under the chin and jawline that happens as your body produces less collagen as a natural part of the aging process. Collagen is responsible for how elastic your skin is and how well it bounces back when stretched.

While some people never develop jowls, there are several risk factors including making certain facial expressions that stretch the skin, genetics, and looking down at a computer or phone (as many of us do). Lifestyle habits like not protecting your skin from the sun and smoking also reduce the amount of collagen produced.

Finally, losing weight can make a person develop jowls. This is no surprise since loose skin is one of few drawbacks of losing weight, though you shouldn’t let this discourage you from getting healthier if you want to!


Finally, your face might look fatter after a shave because of the way your brain thinks that you look. If you’ve been committed to the beard for a while, whether it’s been several weeks or several years, your brain gets used to the beard on your face when you look at your reflection.

Any time that we change the way we look, even in the slightest, our brain needs time to adjust. This happens because perception and reality are often two different things. When your brain is used to having facial hair, odds are that you’re just going to look strange to yourself right after you get rid of your beard.

Plus, facial hair (or any changes we make) really do play a big role in how we (and other people) perceive us. For example, this group of researchers found that people associated beards with higher social status, age, and male dominance.

Shaving Tips to Reduce Facial Roundness

Facial hair is one of those things that grows on you with time. This means that when you try a new style, there’s a good chance you need a little time to adjust to the new appearance on your face.

Even if your initial reaction is to shave it all off, give your brain a little time to adjust and don’t make any rash decisions about shaving it off completely. Also, check out these tips if you are looking for a way to give your face a slimmer or more defined appearance.

Find Out Which Beard Styles Fit Your Face

While you should always default to the beard style that makes you feel most confident, sometimes we just aren’t sure what looks best on our face. Plus, if you’ve been wearing your beard the same way for a while, odds are you are comfortable with how it looks.

That being said, if you are looking for a fresh look, knowing what is going to look great on your face helps, too. Here’s a Youtube video that goes over some of the basics when it comes to choosing that perfect beard style for your face shape.

Don’t Round Off Under the Chin

If your a bigger guy, one of the biggest mistakes that you can make is rounding off your beard under your chin. Even if your beard is grown out an inch or two, there isn’t really enough cover here. Plus, rounding off your beard here makes your face look even rounder and it creates unflattering shadows under your jawline.

Instead, go with a squared look under the chin. A squared-off beard emphasizes the jawline without making your face look round.

You could also go with a goatee instead, especially if you don’t want to rock the full beard when it’s hot outside or for other reasons. A goatee is going to break up the roundness of your face, but in a way that doesn’t draw too much attention to your rounder jawline.

Opt for a Fuller Beard Style

The best way to reduce how fat your face looks is to opt for a fuller-style beard. Use your beard to draw attention toward the center of your face and away from the sides and bottom, which are areas where facial roundness is most noticeable.

If you opt for a clean-shaven look or shave your beard too close to your chin, it’s actually going to create those shadows under your chin that make your face look fatter than it is. Sideburns are also something you should be cautious with, as they can draw attention to the sides of your face and make it look rounder if you don’t have the beard to support them.

If you don’t like a full bearded look but want to get rid of facial roundness, you could also try some facial hair like a goatee, or a goatee and mustache combo. Leonardo Decaprio is someone with a rounder face shape that pulls off this look quite handsomely.

Remember That Clothes Change How You Look Too

While a man’s beard is arguably one of his greatest accessories, the way that you dress plays a big role in your overall appearance and how thin or fat you look. For example, people who opt for bigger, baggier clothes because they are trying to hide their body actually end up looking bulkier and heavier than they would when wearing properly-fitting clothes.

It doesn’t really matter what your body shape is, but knowing how to dress for your body shape will do wonders for how thin you look overall. Whether you consider yourself big and tall, short and fat, or somewhere in between, use your clothing to help you look and feel your best.

Final Word

So, why does my face look fatter when I shave? It comes down to how round your face is and the way that your beard accentuates it. Your face also could look puffy because of skin irritation or aging. Finally, perception changes how you feel about the way your face looks.

The way that a person wears and styles their facial hair can really change how others perceive them, so how you shave is really a big decision when it comes down to it. This is especially true because it effects how confident you feel in your skin. Hopefully, this article will help you find the beard style that makes you feel the best!

Camila R.

Camila is a body positive blogger and fat activist that's focused on helping people of all sizes live life big! That means accepting yourself at any size and just enjoying life! She lives in New Mexico with her husband and two chihauhuas.

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