Electric Shaver vs Razor – What Is Best for Me? (2023 Guide)
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Let’s take a look at the electric shaver vs razor debate. Women love men that can take care of them, but even more that, men that can take care of themselves. A well-groomed man will attract ladies without even trying. And while looking great has its perks, women do not know the trouble men go through to look like they do. It’s one thing for one to shave once a week and another for one to do it daily.
However, to even start enjoying the shaving sessions, one has to have the right tools. But with the ongoing electric shaver vs razor debate, the choice isn’t straightforward.
So which one should you pick, an electric shaver or a razor? Well, every man picks one depending on which is convenient for them. And though both tools are designed for shaving, they have some differences.
A quality men’s razor has one goal, to deliver a clean shave free of irritations. And most razors require men to moisturize, lather up and be careful with the whole process. On the flip side, the best electric shavers present you with the luxury of trimming facial hair or even head shaving just the way you like it.
So far, it seems like the answer to the question posed by the title is straightforward. Unfortunately, it is not. But luckily, we seek to explain the differences therein and help you make the right choice in the end.
Saves Time and Convenient
Overall, an electric shaver provides control and convenience. Rather than a straightforward option of getting a clean shave, an electric shaver gives you something close to it. Fundamentally, an electric shaver is a razor with tech advancements. This means that you can get a close shave just like you would with a traditional razor, but with more efficiency and convenience. If you use a traditional razor every morning, it means that you’ll have to wet your face, apply some shaving foam, and wait for a couple of minutes before you shave.
As you shave, you’ll have to continually rinse the safety razor under warm water to keep the skin supple and to ensure you don’t get cuts and nicks. If your wet shaving technique is great, and you use quality products and tools, then the process will be satisfying and the results impeccable.
But an electric shaver can yield similar results with a little less hassle. How so? Well, you can use an electric shaver on dry skin and not have to deal with skin irritations later. Dry shaving will inevitably save you a lot of time in the morning and still yield great results.
With that said, if you care about saving time and simplifying the process, then an electric shaver is an investment worth looking into.
But not all electric shavers are the same. They come in different types from foil shavers, rotary shavers, and electric trimmers. Each of the electric shavers mentioned features a different design and excels in different situations.
Rotary electric shavers feature three rotating heads that cut facial hair. The rotary heads are excellent in providing a clean shave. They also require less effort to use.
Luxury of Detailing
For men who aren’t into clean shaves, and prefer facial hair styling and adding details to their grooming, then an electric shaver is great. Electric shavers make it easier for men to maneuver around the contours on the face and add trims exactly as you picture them.
Ideal for Acne-Prone or Sensitive Skin
Yes, they are the better option. If your skin is sensitive, an electric shaver will be perfect. With traditional razors, you might have to purchase moisturizers and lotions to help with the irritations that follow. This being said, some razors are great for sensitive skin. But with electric shavers, pre-shave lotions are not a must. This is because electric shavers, especially trimmers, offer an extra layer of protection.
And if you have acne-prone skin, you know the pain of shaving. Even if you lather up and take the necessary steps to open your pores, you will still feel pain as you will rip off the acne heads and irritate the skin further. Because of this, razors are not the best option for men with acne. On the flip side, the added layer of protection that electric shavers provide keeps you from making things worse.
One might argue that if you wet your face with warm water, the skin pores open and will help improve your electric shaving experience. For some men, it’s true. But for those with acne, opening up the pores can work against you because it makes it easier for bacteria to gain entry into your skin and eventually get blocked. As such, a dry shave is kinder on acne-prone skin.
- It is ideal for men with sensitive skin
- Men with acne-prone skin will experience less inflammation and irritation with an electric shaver
- Electric trimmers make the process more convenient as it reduces the steps involved
- Electric shavers (trimmers) are ideal for detailing. If you need to give your beard or mustache a specific shave, an electric beard trimmer will work wonders.
- In the long run, you save money since you will not purchase new electric razors for decades.
- The shave is not always as clean and close as with a traditional razor
How to Shave with an Electric Razor
Sure, if you are pressed for time, a dry shave will save the day. But even with a dry shave, you need to know how to do it right to get the best results. Below are some of the tips to follow:
- Shave against the grain – you’ve probably always been advised to shave along the grain. While this is true for safety razors, it’s not for electric shavers, going against it will get you better results.
- Angle the shaver – holding the shaver at a right angle will provide maximum contact with the skin ensuring the session is quick and thorough.
- Tighten the skin with one hand as the other shaves – pulling the skin with your free hand will not only tighten the skin but also make the hairs stand upright. This will ensure that you cut the hair instead of pulling the hair out.
- Use proper strokes – different electric shavers need different strokes to yield the best results. If you have a foil shaver, up and down motions will do. But if you have a rotary shaver, then circular motions are best.
- Avoid a razor burn – unfortunately, some electric shavers heat up rather fast. Therefore, it is prudent if you start with the sensitive spots first like the neck, and finish with the chin and cheeks.
Using Shaving Cream with Electric Razors
You can use shaving cream with an electric shaver, but there is a condition; the electric razor should accommodate wet shaving. Some electric shavers are designed for dry shaves only and others are for both dry and wet shaves. Using shaving cream can help prevent razor bumps and ingrown hairs.
We should start by saying that ‘razor’, in this case, is a blanket term for several shaving tools. In this section, we shall delve deeper into the different tools and what you stand to gain from each.
But even before we start, note that razors are ideal for men looking for clean cuts. Razors achieve clean and smooth shaves, especially if you have mastered the art of wet shaving.
For many men, this is the least favorite razor in the bunch. But all the same, we must look into it. Now, disposable razors are ideal for men who are always on the road or love replacing things. As you probably guess from the name, a disposable razor is ‘disposable’ after a couple of uses. You use the razor shaver on your face until the blade is dull.
Though disposable razors are basic, over the years, different brands have added to their features. Some now have pivoting blades and heads, which make it easier to shave. Though they are somewhat hygienic and perfect for those who are always traveling, there are some negatives that many experts cannot get past.
At the top of the list is that they are often of lower quality in comparison to regular razors. But this is because they are intended to deliver convenience more than a quality close shave.
- They are ideal for men who travel a lot
- They allow you to shave while on the move and not to worry about where you’ll store the razor
- They are convenient and affordable.
- The blades aren’t always as sharp as other razors
These are considered the alpha males in the grooming world. They were developed a little after straight razors to make wet shaving a little safer.
From face value, a classic DE razor looks great. And honestly, first impressions mean a lot. If the razor has a mean look and looks like it can deliver great results, why won’t you want it on your bathroom sink? With a safety razor, you will still have to learn how to get the perfect shave, but some are a little more forgiving.
This is great, especially if you are a beginner and still fancy the thought of a close shave. In addition to this, safety razor blades are double-edged as well, which means that you can use either side.
You can use your safety razor on facial hair as well as your head. Yes, if you don’t have the time to make a trip to a local barber or simply like the idea of using a straight razor, a safety razor will work wonders. You will get a bald look in no time without cuts and nicks.
And speaking of cuts and nicks, if you start to bleed, you can use an alum block or a styptic pencil depending on how severe the cut is.
When experts are describing an electric shaver, one fact they never fail to point out is the fact that it is durable. The good news is that safety razors share in this feature as well. Yes, you will have to spend money to get a high-quality safety razor, but in the long run, you will save quite a lot of money.
- They have a stylish look
- They are efficient
- They protect your skin from getting a lot of nicks and cuts
- You can use them to shave your head provided you are careful
- They are ideal for beginners
- Some have short handles. As such, men with big hands have a difficult time using them
What did your great grandfather use to shave? Your guess is as good as ours – a straight razor. They are among the oldest grooming tools in the industry. But this does not take away from their efficiency and sense of style. Also, over the years, manufacturing companies have leveraged technology to improve their features, quality, and longevity.
And though they are slightly dangerous and not as convenient as other tools, they are swinging back into action. Mainly because they offer the best clean and smooth shave in comparison to other tools and because they stir up confidence in men.
A straight razor features a single sharp blade often made from steel and has a wooden handle. Any wrong move with this razor on your skin, and you could end up bleeding. But if you take your time to learn how to use it, everyone will be envious of the results you get.
Despite being labeled as cut-throat razors, more and more barbershops are using them to shave beards. This alone is a clear testament to the quality of shave straight razors offer.
And if you are worried about how you’ll learn to use the straight razor, there are numerous expert videos to guide you through it. However, be prepared to follow a couple of rules, including maintaining the sharpness of the blades through stropping. If you don’t, you might irritate your skin.
We should also issue a warning to men who have acne. You should stay away from straight razors as they might aggravate your acne and make things worse.
Also, these tools are strictly for a wet shave. This means that you should have the best shave soap or top shaving cream in hand for the process. Moreover, you will need a good traditional shaving brush and a shaving bowl to get a good lather.
And while you can purchase the best straight razors for men individually, it is a good idea to purchase a straight razor shaving kit instead. This way, you get tools that work perfectly together. Overall, using a straight razor requires skill and patience. If you are running late in the morning, you are better off skipping your morning routine than using a straight razor in a hurry – it rarely ends well.
- You look like a badass wielding the straight razor
- They achieve the closest and smoothest shave in comparison to other tools
- They have a great shave
- They are not ideal for beginners as they could easily result in cuts
Many men call cartridge razors, ‘classic razors’. This is because it is a generic variation of other razors and one that many people recognize. Cartridge razors are an excellent option for most men because they are functional and, most importantly, safe. You can find this razor pretty much anywhere in your area from pharmacies, stores, and gas stations.
Unlike most razors, cartridge razors do not come with a steep learning curve. You can easily pick a Gillette out in your nearest store and start shaving without having to watch a ‘how-to’ video. There is also the factor of convenience. You can use the cartridge razor to shave your facial hair, head, and even body hair.
So what is the difference between a disposable razor and a cartridge razor? Well, for a disposable razor, you throw it away once it gets blunt, but in the case of a cartridge razor, you simply replace the head. Because of their design and the fact that the blades available aren’t dangerously sharp, cartridge razors are perfect for men with sensitive skin.
As a result of tech advancements, several cartridge razors go beyond the basics and feature electric motors. Such features help in accelerating the process and make the session even more effective. Improved effectiveness is a big deal because of the downside of using cartridge razors, which includes getting a close shave.
So how much do they cost? You’ll be pleased to note that these units will not set you back a fortune. In comparison to disposable, straight, or even electric razors, cartridge razors offer convenience at a fraction of the cost.
However, some of the best cartridge razors cost a little more depending on what they feature. But even then, you cannot compare their price tag to that of straight or electric razors.
Overall, cartridge razors are worth every penny you spend on them. They are ideal for beginners and will get you a decently close and smooth shave.
- They are a perfect choice for men who want convenience
- Varied functions, which makes them ideal for face, body, and head grooming
- You can get a close shave without cutting or nicking yourself
- It is difficult to get to the hard-to-reach spaces
- The shave is not close enough for most men
Unfortunately, as you might have already picked up on now, using a razor alone doesn’t guarantee a great experience. You need accessories to improve your experience as you get a clean and smooth shave. Aside from these accessories, you also need to follow a procedure.
You start by choosing a razor to use and then hydrating your face. To hydrate your face, you can opt to take a shower or wash your face with some warm water. After this, the hairs will be softer, and your skin pores will open, allowing the hair follicles to detach from the skin easily.
Aside from opening the pores, you need to ensure the skin is clean. This means that you have to get rid of the dead skin and excess dirt from your face with the best face scrub before shaving.
Afterward, you should use shaving cream. The shaving cream will ensure the razor glides over your skin and reduce irritation and ingrown hairs. Note that this step is important, whether you have sensitive skin or normal skin. And since most creams have hydrating abilities, they will also help to improve hair health. If you have anything against creams, then you can opt for oils.
Once you are done, the next step is using the best aftershave you can get your hands on. The shaving cream is great for pre-and intra-shave irritation. But on the other hand, aftershaves take care of post-shave irritations, which are the worst.
The aftershave will moisturize and soothe your skin, and some might leave you smelling fresh. At this point, you are done. However, you need another tool; the shaving brush. This tool is important if you are using cream. But if you use soap, you can lather your face using your hands. With that said, a shaving brush helps to lift the hairs in preparation for the slice.
With a safety razor, you need to be careful with the sharpness of the blade. Over time, the blades get blunt and require replacement or sharpening. Using blunt blades will cause skin irritations and razor burns. Always be prepared to switch the blades or sharpen them often if you want to continue enjoying your experience.
Last but not least, the grooming accessories you have on your bathroom skin depend on what you prefer. Also, your shaving kit might be elaborate or simple, featuring the bare essentials.
As for the electric shaver vs. razor, here is a side-by-side comparison to help you decide which one is the best for you.
Switching from a Safety Razor to an Electric Shaver or Vice Versa
If you are using either of the tools and want to make the switch, you’ll need to know how they compare. Here is a quick breakdown of what to expect.
Since the 9/11 tragedy, razors aren’t allowed on planes. So if you plan on traveling by plane, you are better off with an electric razor. On the flip side, if you want to go camping, then an electric shaver may not be the best choice.
A safety razor provides closer shaves than an electric razor. However, the latter does not give the closest shave. But on the flip side, it is far more forgiving for beginners who are learning how to groom. Even as a beginner, it is difficult to get ingrown hairs or a razor burn.
If you are late for work in the morning, an electric shaver will have you decent in a matter of minutes. However, with a safety razor, you need to take your time for great results. If not, you will have to deal with a razor burn.
Here, let’s compare the electric shavers and straight razors. Here you’ll notice a couple of things. First, the electric shaver lasts about twenty years, and the straight razor lasts for life. To get an accurate comparison of costs, we have to look at the long-term use. Generally, an electric shaver requires a higher initial payment as opposed to a traditional wet shave razor. However, the latter requires continuous replacement of blades. From our findings, there is minimal difference between the two tools. Therefore, the price shouldn’t be a big determinant in your decision to choose an electric razor or a safety razor.
Electric Shaver vs Razor: Our Verdict
The electric razor vs. razor debate will drag for many years to come – this much is expected. If you want to feel macho and remain true to what your forefathers believed in, then a straight razor might do the trick. But if you would love to get with the times, then an electric razor will work wonders. Also, whether you have sensitive or acne-prone skin will determine your choice, as explained in the guide above.
Overall, each of the above tools is great depending on your goal and prevailing situations. What may work for your friend may not work for you so always strive to make an informed choice.
Ruiru Kibet is passionate about beard care and male grooming. He believes it’s an art form and is happy to share his insight with men across the globe. He’s into wet shaving and evidence-based grooming, a passion that helps him analyze men’s grooming brands, products, and wet shaving practices presenting you with the best recommendations and advice.