Can you get an extremely close shave with an electric razor? The hot towel straight razor shave is the gold standard when it comes to shaving. Not only is it extremely close but your face is exfoliated and left feeling fresh and moisturised. However, for most of us it isn’t practical to get one each day and for some of us it isn’t any option at all. There’s a large number of men out there whose skin doesn’t react well to wet shaving. Shaving rash, dry skin, ingrown hairs and breakouts are just some of the problems that can result.
So what’s the alternative? It is possible to get a close shave without the irritation and do it every day as part of your grooming routine. My skin is very sensitive to any chemicals and even water can severely dry it out. Wet shaving would leave me red and irritated. Having to face a day looking like that doesn’t take long to get you down. This is the routine I found works after 15+ years trying every product and routine under the sun.
The best electric razor to use
First off, let’s start with the basics. If your skin is sensitive and easily irritated, you need to stick to dry shaving with an electric razor. There will be less chemicals in contact with your skin, the blades are not as harsh and there won’t be any water left behind in your pores. There are two main types of electric razors, foils and rotary. Foils are by far easier on your skin and also easier to shave with. Having tested a lot of rotary shavers, I’ve found them to almost as bad as wet shaving blades for causing razor burn. Foils are much easier to control and neater when trying to be precise.
Which foil razor to go with then? I’d recommend any Braun foil razor that uses an Optifoil head. These foils are designed to catch hairs growing in different directions, eliminating missed hairs and reducing the need for extra passes over certain areas. The less passes, the less potential for razor burn, always a good thing. Your hair grows in different directions on your neck so this is especially important there as the neck is the most sensitive part you shave. The Optifoil heads are excellent for cutting the hair just above the skin, and not just below, the main cause of ingrown hairs. Some Braun models can vary the speed of the cutters for shaving more sensitive areas. My own model does, but I haven’t found it to be a noticeable difference.
Pre Shave Powder Sticks: the secret to a close shave
Creams, gels and lotions can all have a detrimental effect on your skin. The single best product I found to shave with is an electric shave powder stick. I cannot emphasis enough how good they are. Once you try shaving with them, you will never go back. I use them religiously and I get a shave almost as close as a cutthroat razor. I use Derma Bloc sticks, they have a light fragrance and do an amazing job of protecting your skin. Do not believe anyone who tells you talcum powder is just as good. Talcum powder is far too drying and stops you getting a smooth shave.
Post shave care
Next you need something to tackle ingrown hairs. A sharp tweezers is essential to free any ingrown hairs when they do occur. There are some tweezers designed specifically for this, but any sharp tweezers will do. Try using Tendskin solution post shave to exfoliate and prevent ingrown hairs occuring in the first place. It is alcohol based so be sure that your skin is dry or else it can sting!
Lastly, get a decent soap free scrub to use on your face in the shower after you shave. I personally use L’Oreal Men Expert Pure and Matte Scrub, but generally any soap free, non foaming scrub should work. Anything that foams will both dry your skin out and irritate you.
How to shave with an electric razor
Always shave before you shower or wash your face. Apply Derma Bloc powder to your face and neck. Don’t put it on too thick as it’s not necessary. A thin layer all over the face will suffice. The powder will dry up any oil or moisture on your face and forms a protective layer between your face and the foil. You want your face as dry as possible.
Begin by shaving your neck. This is the most sensitive area and over time the foil blades will heat up and can cause irritation. Shave the neck while it is still cool. Stretch the skin where you are shaving and shave against the grain of your beard. Your beard grows in different directions on different areas of your face, get to know yours and it will allow you to cover your face in less passes of the razor.
The first pass on your face should be considered a rough pass. Some hairs will be missed and it won’t be as close as you wish. There is no need to keep going over the same spot trying to get a closer shave. Apply another layer of Derma Bloc powder. Again start with the neck, but this time go a bit slower. With most of the hair out of the way, the razor glides smoothly over your skin on the powder, getting very close but not causing any irritation. This second pass is where you get your extremely close shave.
After shaving, put some Tendskin solution on a cotton ball or pad and apply to your face and neck. This will prevent new ingrown hairs from occuring. Use your tweezers at night to remove any existing ingrown hairs. Don’t do it straight after shaving, give your skin some time to recover.
Use your face scrub in the shower after shaving. This will remove dead skin cells, powder and anything else from your skin, leaving it smooth and refreshed. Your face shouldn’t tingle when you use it, or feel dry and tight afterwards. If it does, try a different product.
Some important things to remember
Many Braun electric razors come with a cleaning station now. These cleaning stations do not work with Derma Bloc shaving powders. The powder will clog the station. You only need to buy the electric razor itself.
Clean your razor after every shave with the brush provided. It can easily get full of hair and powder and the foils won’t adjust to your face properly.
Lubricate your foil blades every week. Braun provide a bottle of machine oil for this. Put a drop on your finger and rub it along the foils to keep them sharp.
Braun recommend changing foil heads every 18 months. I have found they can get dull after 9-12 months and pull the hairs sometimes rather than cutting them cleanly. I would advise changing them more often, as a sharper blade gives a much better shave. The foil heads are not expensive, certainly when compared to the likes of Gillette blades.