How to Use An Electric Shaver

Are you just starting out with your new electric shaver? Just received your first electric shaver as a gift? Decided to use an electric razor instead of blades, just to see what the fuss is about and whether it saves you time?

Whatever the reason, below we give you some tips on how to use an electric shaver, including foil and rotary head shavers when using wet and dry – because the techniques do differ. We also tell you how to clean your unit.

In addition to our tips, don’t forget to read the instruction manual that comes with your razor for more tips specific for your particular unit.

How To Use A Rotary Head Shaver

Philips Norelco are the biggest name in rotary shavers, though you may see Remington and Wahl models too. Most of the best models use 3 rotating heads nowadays.

  • The general rule is that you will hold the razor at approximately 90 degree angle to the face to maximize the exposure of the heads to the beard and stubble.
  • As you move the shaver over the chin and neck areas the angle will vary – you can adjust to what’s most comfortable for you.
  • Move the shaver up “against” the grain and down “with” the grain as you are shaving – this will give you the closest shave possible.
  • With a rotary head shaver you can also move in a circular motion, from side to side – which is a difference in technique to using a foil shaver (see below).
  • Another good technique is to pull the skin of the area you are shaving taut with your free hand and this exposes any short or flattened hairs to the blades of the shaver.

Over time you will find the right balance of motion and pressure with your shaver. It’s best if you don’t press your razor too hard as this can cause irritation, but if you have a cheaper shaver with less power you may not get a close shave without a little pressing.

How To Use A Foil Head Shaver

Foil shavers are made by Braun, Panasonic, Remington and Wahl. Most of the best ones these days employ “floating”, hypoallergenic, super-thin arc foils over the blade system – up to 5 of them!

  • Most of the techniques for using a rotary shaver also apply to using a foil shaver.
  • Maintain a 90 degree angle to the face.
  • Use an up and down motion.
  • The circular motion of a rotary shaver is not usually used with a foil shaver.
  •  Stretch the skin for a close shave.
  • Try to keep the pressure you apply to a minimum.
  • Start shaving in the most sensitive areas of the face and neck first as foil shavers generate heat and feel rather hot against those areas.

Again, the relative power of your shaver’s motor and efficiency of the blade system will dictate how hard you have to press and whether you have to repeat shaving motions to get a close shave; the best units aim at one-pass shaving but this will vary, depending on thickness of beard.

Persevere with your shaver – after a couple of weeks you should almost be able to shave with your eyes closed, no matter how awkward it felt at the first attempt!

Wet Shaving With An Electric Shaver

Many foil and rotary head shavers these days can be used wet or dry, meeting the demand to use the appliance cordlessly in the shower or bath or at the sink with shaving gel or cream; this has been made possible by extended and rechargeable battery lives and is now a common feature that users look for.

As well as the convenience of shaving in the shower, many users prefer the smoothness that shaving with foam or gel gives you. many also claim that you get a closer shave this way.

For best results treat the shave like you would with a blade shave – so wash your face first with warm water and apply the shaving cream or gel. This will make the whiskers easier to remove.

With a waterproof shaver you can rinse it under the tap or shower head after every few strokes- especially if you are using gel or foam, as the heads will get clogged.

With a dry shave it’s usually quicker and can be performed in a hurry – even when not at home; you can shave in the car or at work, for example.

Cleaning Your Electric Shaver

The options for cleaning razors these days are a lot more varied than the old way of just brushing the heads clear of stubble and hair.

What hasn’t changed is that it’s very important to keep your unit clean to maintain proper functionality – preferably after every use.

Many of the top shavers now come with a cleaning and charging system – this applies to both main types of shaver. The top brands all have models with these systems and they mean that you can dock your shaver, charge it, clean it, lubricate and dry it all at the press of a button. You also need to keep the cleaning solution cartridges stocked up when cleaning this way; this is an added expense in addition to extra costs of the actually cleaning unit, but some people like the convenience of these systems.

Others still prefer the manual way of cleaning, but this is more sophisticated than it used to be, with many models. A turbo-clean mode, whereby you press a button and the motor of the razor speeds up, allows you to effectively clear the heads under running water.

With many shavers being wet dry models now the help of running water in cleaning the heads free of debris, makes cleaning a bit easier.

With the cheaper electric shavers it may still be a case of you, the razor and a brush doing the job. Most foil shavers allow you to take off the foil to make life easier and rotary heads may also allow you to remove and clean the blades for extra thoroughness.

You should brush each cutter and foil guard separately to maintain the quality of the shave and to extend the life of the cutters.


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