How to Shave with an Electric Razor:
A Guide to Doing It Right
The question of whether to use a razor or an electric shaver comes down to whether you’d prefer a quick, easy shave or if you’re more concerned about closeness. The truth is nothing will give you anything nearly as close as a traditional wet shave with either a safety razor or a straight razor, but for quickness, nothing can compare to an electric razor. If you are still considering using a manual razor be sure to check out our shaving articles including the top safety razors, electric razor vs. blade, Beginner’s Guide to Wet Shaving infographic and more.
This isn’t to say that using an electric razor is for everyone, as many men find them quite painful and they can often result in skin irritation if you’re not careful. Still, if a close shave isn’t a priority and you don’t have an overly sensitive face, shaving with an electric razor can definitely come in handy—especially if you just want to give your face a quick touch up when you don’t have time or simply can’t be bothered to do a wet shave.
Furthermore, while there’s no amount of preparation or knowledge that will allow you to get as close of a shave with an electric razor as with a blade, there are a few tips that can help to at least give you a closer shave.
Choosing an Electric Shaver
When it comes to choosing an electric razor, you have quite a few different options, so it’s important to take some time to decide which one is best for you. For starters, you need to decide whether you’ll be shaving wet or dry.
The majority of electric razors can only be used when the face is dry, but this can often lead to irritation and/or razor bumps, while there’s also some debate as to which method gives a closer shave. To give yourself a few options, you could always pay a bit more and buy one of the newer models that can be used either wet or dry.
The other choice is whether you want a foil-type or a flexible rotary shaver with multiple cutting heads. Again, this is really a matter of preference, although it’s safe to say that the rotary shavers are definitely more popular and often easier to use. We have done copious amounts of testing and research and have come up with a list of the top electric shavers for men. Be sure to check it out so you don’t waste your money.
A Quick Note on Maintaining Your Electric Razor
One of the biggest factors that will affect the quality of the shave is how well you maintain your electric razor, as like any other tool, they require some special care to keep them functioning optimally.
This includes making sure to fully clean all the hair out of the head after each use. Some models come with a removable head to make cleaning much easier, but no matter what, you need to use a brush to fully clean out the head to keep it from clogging. If the head detaches, you may also be able to run it under water to help clean it (be sure to read the manual to see whether this is possible).
You’ll also need to use a specially designed lubricant on the blades after every few shaves to help keep them sharp and moving smoothly. It’s also a good idea to replace the foil on foil-shavers or the screens on rotary shavers every 1 to 2 years for best results.
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How to Use an Electric Razor- Preparing Your Face for a Closer Shave
One of the biggest keys to getting a closer shave with an electric razor (or any other type of razor for that matter) is to take a bit of time to prepare your face before shaving. Of course, if you’re just going for a super quick touch-up and don’t have much time, you can just skip to the section on the actual shaving process, but if you want to use your electric razor to get a closer shave with less chance of skin irritation, then you definitely need to follow these tips.
The first step to preparing your face for shaving is to give it a good, thorough washing, as this will help clear away dirt and oil, as well as open your pores, all of which will help you get a closer shave. When washing your face, it’s also recommended to use an exfoliating soap to help scrub away dead skin cells as well.
Washing your face with warm water also helps to soften the facial hair, which is definitely a good thing for most razors, but the verdict is still out whether this is a help or a hindrance when using an electric razor. Some experts say your facial hair should be as dry and stiff as possible, while others still recommend softening the hair. In our opinion, it probably depends on the thickness of your hair, how it grows and the type of electric razor you’re using (whether it’s a dry shave only or a newer wet or dry model). Therefore, don’t be afraid to experiment with both options to see which gives you the best results.
Many men also take the extra step of using an alcohol based pre-shave lotion to help further remove oil and impurities, which is another good idea. Not only that, but many of these products come with the extra bonus of vitamin E and other minerals that can help reduce irritation and limit razor burn.
If you have a wet/dry shaver, you also have a few more options that can hopefully give you a smoother, more painless shave, including gels and creams that will stay on the face to help provide more lubrication while shaving.
How to Shave with an Electric Razor: Tips for a Closer Shave
Once you’ve prepared your face and are ready to shave, there are a few basic tips that will help you get a closer shave, no matter whether you’re doing it wet or dry. Then, once you’re done with the shave, it’s best to follow up by using a good aftershave lotion or balm to help prevent the common problem of irritation. Once again we have done all the research for you so be sure to check out our articles on the best aftershaves and best aftershave balms.
Find the Grain and Go Against It
You’ve probably been told most of your life that you should always shave with the grain, but the opposite is true for electric razors, which always give better results when shaving against the grain. If you don’t know which direction the grain runs, rub your hands across your face—the direction where it feels rough is against the grain, while the smooth direction is with the grain.
Shave At the Proper Angle
Holding the shaver at right angles to your face will help ensure maximum skin contact, giving you a quicker and more thorough job.
Shave With One Hand, Pull the Skin Tight with the Other
One of the most key elements to getting the closest possible shave with an electric razor is to use your spare hand to pull your skin tight while shaving. This helps make the hairs stand upright and will hopefully keep you from pulling the hairs out instead of cutting them off.
Use the Right Strokes
If you’re using a foil shaver, you should only ever shave in up and down or back and forth motions. On the other hand, rotary shavers should always be used in small, circular motions.
Don’t Get Burned
One major problem with most electric razors is that they tend to get overly hot in a short amount of time, usually before you’ve finished the job. For this reason, it’s a good idea to remember to take on the more sensitive areas first (those most susceptible to irritation, like the neck).
How to Use an Electric Razor: One Final Tip
If you’ve never used an electric razor before, it will most likely take a few weeks before your skin will get used to your new shaver, so you can surely expect some extra irritation during this time. However, not only that, but it will also take a few weeks of using a new shaver before you’ll be able to get the closest possible shave, as over time the oils in your skin mix with the oils in the shaver, which eventually makes it cut better.
Learning how to properly shave with an electric razor isn’t at all difficult, and it can provide some pretty obvious benefits in terms of not having to waste so much time on a wet shave. Like any method, it certainly has its drawbacks as well, but by now you hopefully at least have a better idea how to avoid the most common pitfalls associated with electric shavers. If you so happen to shave your head or considering shaving your head, there are also some great electric shaver to do so. Be sure to check out our article on what we found to be the top electric shavers for your head.