Right Way To Use An Electric Shaver – The Definitive Guide

This post was most recently updated on April 9th, 2019

Traditional shaving is making a comeback! It’s an indulgent habit that men want to treat themselves to every now and then and it gives a really nice and close shave.

What about electric shavers? Well, the truth actually hurts- it can’t cut as close as a safety razor.

But why? It’s technologically advanced so it should be able to give a closer shave than the traditional ones right?

We hoped so too. But technology lends a faster shaving experience, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best.

But don’t ditch your electric razor yet! You’ve got to learn the right way to use an electric shaver to get that close cut!

We’ve found some hacks on how you can still get a close shave akin to that of a traditional shave!

Can’t I Really Get A Close Shave With An Electric Razor?

That question has been plaguing manufacturers of electric razors for too long!

We’ll bluntly say that the answer to that is a yes and a no.

No, it can’t provide a close and sleek shave because of how electric shavers were made. Since the blades rotate behind the foils and metal guards, it actually is not in direct contact with the skin. The guards act as a barrier between the skin and the blade, that’s why it’s quite impossible to get a close cut.

But don’t get it wrong, we’re talking about electric shavers that are of the first generation.

Electric shavers were invented by Col. Jacob Schick in the 1930s when men desired for a faster shaving experience. (https://connecticuthistory.org/jacob-schick-invents-the-electric-razor/).

Electric shavers nowadays have tremendously improved from the bulky and complicated metal device to a sleek and easy-to-use razor.

Yes, an electric razor can still give you a close shave. Manufacturers have been adding innovations and features to combat this so-called limitation of electric shavers.

So, here’s the reality. You can still get a close shave with an electric shaver, but you have to consider two things:

  1. You have to get the best electric shaver.
  2. Number 1 is just the beginning! You have to undergo a certain routine to get that close shave.

When everything is done right, how close can your electric razor shave?

Keep on reading!

How Close Can My Electric Razor Shave?

If everything is done right and you got the best razor on hand, we’d say pretty darn close!

  • The closeness of the shave has always been one of the trade offs once you decided to switch to an electric one. You wanted something fast, safer, and more comfortable.  Everything in life is a give and take situation you know, so expect to have something to be taken away from you- that’s the closeness of the shave.

So how can you still get that sleek and close shave?

1. Get An Electric Shaver With A Powerful Motor.

A powerful motor will allow you to get as close as you can with lesser skin irritations. If you’re running on a weak motor, it will surely take a toll on your skin (more passes = higher friction).

2. Look for A Shaver With A High-Quality Shaving Head.

High-quality shaving heads should have sharp blades, this is the most vital feature that you have to consider!

3. Get A Razor That Doesn’t Heat Up Easily!

This will allow you to do more strokes comfortably. You’d be needing more than a single pass to get a close shave with an electric razor.

4. Don’t Skip The Pre-shave Routine!

A pre-shave routine might sound familiar if you’re doing a traditional shaving. But it’s also the key to get that close shave with an electric razor. We’ve summarized a few easy steps for your pre-shaving routine!

  • Trim your beard if you haven’t shaved in three days.

Just grab those scissors and start snipping off that long facial hair. Most electric razors can’t  mow down longer hairs, so it’s best to cut it to a manageable length. We also don’t want the razors to tug your facial hair.

  • Pat skin dry and remove any form of moisture

Since you’re going to be doing a dry shave, you have to ensure that your skin is DRY. To get the closest shave possible, your skin should really be dry. So shaving after showering is a big no-no!

  • You gotta love your shaving cream again!

Who says shaving creams are for traditional shaving only? You can also use creams with your electric shaver!

This will give your skin more lubrication so that the razor can cut closer without hurting your skin. You need that cushion of a soft pillowy cloud to protect your skin from the blades.

  • Say hello to powders and lotions

Powders and lotions eliminate any excess moisture on your skin. You would want to work on a dry canvass to ensure that no stray hair is left behind. The lotion/powder further lifts each strand so it’ll be easier for the blades to pick them up.

5. Always Keep The Blades Clean


A dirty blade is a home of all sorts of bacteria, fungi, and viruses! You wouldn’t want your shaver to be a breeding ground right? Aside from hygienic purposes, keeping your shaver clean will ensure its sharpness. Any stray hairs or products that get trapped within the blades can wreak havoc to its performance. If left uncleaned, it can dull the blades out and even subject it to corrosion.

6. Lubricate Your Blades Diligently

Aside from cleaning, lubricating the blades with oil will ensure that your shaver stays with you for the longer haul. The frequent lubrication will also reduce the heat generated during shaving.

7. Fuel Up Your Electric Razor First!

Make sure that it’s fully charged! Aside from not wanting to be halted in the middle of your shaving sessions, a half charged shaver will not perform at its peak! So better charge it the night before if you’re going to shave in the morning!

8. Ditch Dull Blades

Dull blades are the perfect recipe for a bloody disaster and a blotchy face if you’d ask us. If the blades aren’t sharp enough, you’d be needing more than three passes to get that close shave. The more passes = more friction, and you don’t want your face to look like a pizza pie, do you?  

Once the blades get dull, it’s time to replace them!

9. Learning Is The Key!

Yes, you have to go through a learning curve to determine the best angle for each part. Some parts such as the neck may require a bit more patience and technique to get that comfortable and clean shave. But don’t be discouraged! Once you’ve found the perfect technique for you, everything will be a walk in the park.

As they say, you have to continuously learn!

What’s The Difference Between A Foil Shaver And A Rotary Shaver?

Electric shavers are of two types- foil and rotary.

What differentiates one from the other? Which is better?

You’ll soon find out!

1. What’s In A Rotary Shaver?

It’s quite easy to spot a rotary shaver! Rotary shavers are equipped with round heads and have three discs. The blades are also circular and ‘rotates,’ hence the name.

Let’s take a look of some of the advantages of a rotary shaver:

  • It follows the contours of your face therefore works wonders on the neck, chin, and jawline areas.
  • The blades can pivot 360 degrees allowing for a closer shave on hard to reach areas.
  • Can cut longer and thicker hair.

Note to remember:

Rotary shavers are designed to move around in circles, so never attempt to use this shaver in an upward and downward motion! This can result in nasty hair tugging!

2. What’s In A Foil Shaver?

This type of shaver has oscillating blades that move back and forth. The movement of a foil shaver is up-down and left-right.

Let’s take a look of some of the advantages of a foil shaver:

  1. Can give a close and sleek shave on the cheek areas

Note to remember:

Since the foil shaver is rectangular, it has limitations and can’t pivot that much, hence it doesn’t follow the contours on your face. It would be a challenge to use this on the jaw, neck, and chin area.

So which is better? We have one thing to say, compromise is the key! And ask yourself this question, “What do I need the most?”

How To Use A Foil Shaver For A Close Shave

Getting a close and comfortable shave with a foil shaver also involves a certain technique. So, let’s get into details!

  1. Remember to pre-prep! The guidelines in the earlier part of this article will ensure that your skin is safe and ready for the mowing!
  2. Find the direction where your hair grows. This is referred to as the grain. It has always been a norm to shave with the grain to avoid ingrown hairs and irritations. While shaving against the grain may provide a closer shave but we can’t promise that your skin will be free from irritation and ingrown hairs. But you’re to choose, just don’t say we didn’t warn you!
  3. Remember to shave with back-and-forth strokes. Attempting to do circular motions can lead to a blotchy face.
  4. During shaving, it’s best to ensure that the hair strands are upright, this will give you a closer finish.
  5. Always hold the shaver with your dominant hand. This will give you more control. Use the other hand to hold your skin tight as you shave.
  6. Now the most challenging parts to shave with a foil shaver- your chin and jaw area.
  • Gently bite your lower lip to expose more surface area below the chin. As a result, this will flatten the skin, but be very gentle in shaving!
  • For the jaw area, make sure to have a really nice look at the mirror! So tilt your head up to get the best angle.

It’s a must to start off with the most sensitive areas first such as the neck first. Since electric shavers tend to heat a bit during shaving, so you’d want a ‘cooler’ shaver when you’re mowing the most sensitive parts.

  1. In shaving your mustache area, you may use your index finger to pull the skin downward on your lower lip. This will allow you to cover more areas below the nose.
  2. When shaving your cheeks, begin from the top and work your way down towards the jaw.
  3. Time to shave the sideburns! But make sure to check in the mirror first and use your index fingers to gauge which side is longer. You’d want to have even results!
  4. Wash your face and have a good look in the mirror if you’ve missed a spot!
  5. Don’t forget your after shave care, both for your face and your razor!

How To Use A Rotary Shaver For A Close Shave

  1. As with shaving with a foil razor, you must pre-prep your skin before trimming it!
  2. Now, the shaving proper! For a rotary shaver, you can make small circular motions on your face. So use a combination of clockwise and counterclockwise motion for a more closer shave results.
  3. A note to remember though, avoid putting too much pressure, just allow the razor to do the work for you.
  4. Rotary shavers are more convenient to use if you have more facial hair in areas like the jaw and chin. Since rotary shavers follow the contours of your face this should be easy peasy!
  5. Use the same motion for shaving the rest of your facial hair! And don’t forget the aftercare!

FAQS On Electric Shavers

Can You Get a Close Shave with an Electric Shaver?

Yes, you still can! Although it might not be as close as that of a safety razor, it’s still quite close! You just need to do a simple routine to get the most out of your electric shaver.

Are Foil Shavers Better than Rotary?

Well, that’s very dependent on your needs. Foil shavers can cut closer than rotary ones, but since the motion is back-and-forth, it doesn’t follow the contours of your face and shaving the jaw and chin might be challenging.

Rotary razors, on the other hand, follows the contours of your face but the result is not as close as that of a foiled one. So, like what we’ve mentioned before, it’s all about compromise!

How Do You Lubricate an Electric Shaver?

First, determine what type of oil is suitable for the blades. Low viscosity oils are preferred as they are light. Most clipper oils come in a small tube with a ready to use dropper attached at the end of the container. It’s actually quite simple to oil your safety razors!

Just open up the container, place a single drop on each foil or rotary disc and allow the oil to evenly disperse itself on the blades. If you’ve used too much oil just pat dry with a tissue!

How Long Do Electric Shavers Last?

Electric shavers actually last for the long haul (7-10 years)! Especially if you’re giving it TLC! Some of the parts, such as the blades warrant replacement every 12 or 18 months though.

Are Electric Shavers Better Than Razors?

Now, that’s a very personal question! That entirely depends on your preference.

Is Electric Shaving Better For the Skin?

If you have ultra sensitive skin and don’t know yet the best angle to work with a safety razor, you would find electric shavers convenient!

Final Thoughts

From the first generation electric shavers, these sturdy mowers really did come a long way!

Each shaving method, wet or dry shaving do come with its own pros and cons. You just have to choose where you’re better off and what you need the most. In choosing between a foil or a rotary shaver, the same thing goes. Again, it’s all about compromising and assessing your priority!

If you’re into electric shavers but are missing out on the close shave of a traditional shave, you can still get a close finish by following our simple guidelines above. It might not be as close as that of a safety razor, but you’ll still get a sleek and close finish!

You might like this: 10 Best Back Shavers for Men This 2019

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