Operating an electric shaver isn’t rocket science – but if it’s your first time using one, you may be wondering if it’s worth transitioning from traditional wet-shaving. Though traditional shaving can be very enjoyable and satisfying, electric shaving offers the benefits of greater speed, convenience – and allows you to more easily experiment with different facial hair styles.
Step 1 – The Shaver
The first step is, of course, to choose a high quality electric shaver. Expect to spend a bit of time determining if a foil or rotary-head electric shaver is best suited to your skin type, and hair toughness and density. You’ll encounter lots of features, including water-resistance, rechargeable batteries, self-cleaning – even integrated shaving cream dispensers. No matter which features are important to you, read product reviews and choose a brand with a solid reputation for quality products. Don’t scrimp and get something of low quality to save a few pounds – treat your new electric shaver as an investment. If you’re a bit tight on cash I advise you wait until you can afford something which is going to produce good results and will last.
Step 2 – Preparation
Okay, so you’ve chosen a high quality shaver. That’s great! But before you put that shaver to your face, you need to prep your face. There are in-depth discussions in online forums about prepping technique – which soap, gel or cream is best, whether to lather by hand or with a brush, if pre-shave oil is necessary – but here are the essential basics:
Splash your face liberally with warm water. Doing so opens the pores and softens hairs. Dry your face, unless your shaver is sufficiently water-resistant. Using a pre-shave cleanser forces bristles to stand upright and pre-shave oil helps lubricate and cushion the skin. Apply your gel, cream or soap lather of choice. Just be sure that your electric shaver is compatible with whatever you put on your face – you don’t want to clog the device!
Step 3 – Shave
After prepping, you can begin to shave – but hold on there! As with a traditional razor, there’s no one “right way”. You could shave with the grain, against the grain or across the grain – and what works for one man may not work so well for the next. Until you have a technique down-pat, approach shaving slowly to avoid irritation. Against the grain often gives the closest shave, but may chafe and redden skin; with the grain is often gentler, but may require more passes. Shaving across the grain can be a good compromise – but prepare for a bit of experimentation, and remember that hair can grow in different and sometimes tricky directions – the neckline area is notorious for swirling hair growth patterns.
Step 4 – Finishing
When you’re done shaving, wash any loose hairs off your face and neck. Some men find warm water removes residual lather better, but cool water may soothe the skin and invigorate the senses more. Depending on your skin type, a simple astringent like witch hazel, an aftershave or post-shave moisturizer may be very soothing. Again, you’ll have to experiment a bit until you’ve found what works best.
Just like a normal razor, an electric shaver functions best and provides the closest, most irritation-free shaves when kept in good order. Make sure the blades stay clean and sharp. If your device has replaceable blades or screens, make sure they get changed as necessary (often about once yearly, depending on the frequency at which you shave and the toughness of your beard.)
Electric shavers do feel and function differently than other types of razors. Bear that in mind, especially if it feels (and looks!) like your skin isn’t happy with the new routine. It can take a little while – up to three weeks – for the face and neck to acclimatize to the moving parts of an electric shaver. Remember to start slowly, and avoid excess pressure.
Let the blades do the work. If you’re pressing hard, irritation will occur; if you let the shaver glide across in a few efficient passes, a smooth face awaits you!