Electric Wet Shaving: tips, tricks and why you should try it

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Electric Wet Shaving: tips, tricks and why you should try it

Most men turn to electric shaving out of necessity.

They either don’t have the time for the traditional blade and brush or the nicks, razor burn and ingrown hairs that some of us experience made electric shaving the only viable option.

But can you take electric shaving to the next level? In this article you’ll find out precisely how you can do it.

For me, shaving with a blade often ended up in a bloody mess. Literally.

I tried lots of shaving creams, pre-shave oils and quality razors, but for my type of skin and facial hair none of them seemed to work. I particularly suffered from razor burn and having a coarse beard didn’t make things any easier.

After the foil of my old Braun razor finally gave in, I bought a wet/dry Panasonic that could be used in the shower or with shaving cream. Without having very high expectations I decided to give it a go. And I’m so glad I did it because for me it was a massive improvement.

I tried various techniques, shaving creams and electric razors throughout the years, some of them very good and some pretty terrible ones as well.

Without further ado, here are my 9 simple tips for a close and pain free wet shave with an electric razor:

1. Preparation is key.

As it’s the case with traditional wet shaving, there are some things you should do prior to the actual shave: wash your face and neck with a cleansing or exfoliating gel and use plenty of warm water.

This will get rid of all the dirt, oils, dead skin and other nasty stuff. A hot shower beforehand is also highly recommended. For more information on this topic, check out my in-depth article on how to develop a simple and effective pre electric shave routine.

2. Use a quality shaving cream.

If it came out of a spray can, it’s probably not that good.

A quality shaving cream contains, among other ingredients, substances that act on the tough outer layer of the hair called the cuticle, causing it to swell and absorb water.

This makes it a lot easier for the shaver to cut through the hairs. A good shaving cream also soothes, hydrates and conditions the skin.

Flaky skin is much more prone to razor burn and irritation. My favorite is by far Speick, an inexpensive and natural shaving cream that outperforms everything I’ve tried so far.

Speick Shaving Cream

Check the price on Amazon.com

Out of all the creams I’ve used with my electric razors, this one is the best. It provides excellent lubrication and protection, making the shaver much more forgiving and allowing me to get the closest possible shave.

The post-shave sensation is incredible, with the skin feeling smooth, hydrated and most importantly, irritation free.

There are of course other great options out there and you can check out my detailed guide on the best shaving creams here.

3. Massage the cream into your face, gently lifting the stubble.

If you have a good badger hair brush, that’s even better.

I use the one below from Edgar Jagger and it works great, I’ve had it for at least 10 years and the quality is outstanding for the price.

Edwin Jagger Shaving Brush

Check the price on Amazon.com

Leave the lather on for at least 5 minutes before shaving. Remember, the hair has a very tough lining that the alkaline components in the shaving cream must soften. Give it some time to do it.

This is one of the easiest and most important things you can do for a comfortable and close shave. If the lather gets too dry, use a bit of warm water and reapply.

4. Use only a thin layer of lather.

Using too much can actually have a negative impact on your results. Use thin layer, just enough to cover the stubble.

I find that a more watery consistency of the lather works best with electric shavers.

5. Shave against the grain.

If your beard grows in different directions, use your free hand and run it across small areas to determine the direction of growth. After some time you’ll have a mental map of the grain and you’ll naturally adjust the direction of the strokes.

Do not use excessive pressure on the shaver. Reapply some cream over an area that needs multiple passes, but don’t overdue it as the razor may get clogged. Again, a thin layer works best

Try and experiment with different techniques to find the one that yields the best results for you.

For example, if you have a rotary shaver, you can use overlapping, clockwise and counter-clockwise circular motions, but also up and down and from left to right.

6. Make sure your razor is not running low on battery.

Because of the shaving cream the blades will face more resistance when oscillating and will need more power. Also, pulling and tugging can be experienced as some electric shavers can’t maintain peak power if the battery is almost out of juice .

7. After you’ve finished shaving, wash your face with cold water, pat dry and apply your favorite aftershave balm.

Just because you ditched the blade it doesn’t mean you should skip the post-shave treatment. Stay away from products that contain alcohol, they just sting and dry your skin.

You can check out my recommendations for an aftershave balm here.

8. Clean you shaver after every use according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

This is particularly important after using it for wet shaving. If you want your razor to last a long time and to perform great, don’t skip this part.

It’s also a good idea to lubricate the blades with a drop or two of fine machine oil as a thorough cleaning will remove any form of lubrication and that can lead to excessive heat and wear of the foil and blades.

9. Take your time and enjoy your shave.

For me, shaving has evolved from something I loathed into an enjoyable ritual that I actually look forward to.

And the use of a suitable wet/dry electric shaver along with a quality shaving cream have contributed massively to this.

Over to you

I know that this seems like a lot to be done, but it really isn’t so. Yes, it does take a bit more time than just a quick dry shave but in my opinion it’s totally worth it. I personally shave dry only when time is really an issue.

With wet electric shaving you get the best of both worlds: a close shave that is almost as good as shaving with a blade and the comfortable and pain free experience of an electric razor.

My advice? Give it a try on weekends and see how it works out for you.

You can check our reviews section if you’re on the look for a shaver that can be used for both dry and wet shaving. It goes without saying that you should only use a razor that was designed with that in mind.

Have you tried using shaving cream with your electric shaver? Let me know know your thoughts in the comments below.

32 comments on “Electric Wet Shaving: tips, tricks and why you should try it

Leave a comment
  1. Mike

    I love wet shaving in the shower with my Panasonic ESLV61, but I find it works well with just about any shave cream/gel, even inexpensive stuff from a can. But whatever works for you.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hey Mike,
      the fact that you can get quality shaves even when using canned shaving cream is great. I also use a Panasonic as my go to shaver, but I could never get the best of it by using other products except from the ones that get along with my skin and technique (the cream from Speick being one of them). The only reliable way of finding what works best for you is by trying different products. 🙂

      Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

      Reply
  2. Mike

    I should have also said in my last post that the shave takes a lot less time for me when I shave wet in the shower. Not including prep, it takes about 2 minutes less time.

    Reply
  3. Prasad

    Hi Ovidiu,

    Recently I purchased Panasonic shaver (ES3833S) after reading one of the articles posted on this site. It is especially for the head. Could you please give me some tips on usage and your opinion on the product?

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Prasad,
      thank you for your comment. I haven’t personally used the ES3833S, but I’ve used similar small shavers in the past (like the Braun M90), so hopefully I can give you some useful tips. First of all, these type of shavers are primarily designed to be carried around. Being small, lightweight (and inexpensive), they cannot match a full-fledged, powerful shaver in terms of performance. Even though they get the job done, I don’t think that I would enjoy using one as my daily shaver. The closeness of the shave and comfort simply aren’t good enough for me. Because of this I’ve only been using them while traveling. But then again that’s just me and I have a pretty long list of things that don’t get along with my skin. If you don’t have this kind of problems, then your recently purchased shaver should be ok. Like I said in the article, I am a big fan of wet shaving and if you have the time, I would definitely suggest to give it a try. Especially since the ES3833S is not a particularly powerful shaver (and has a single blade) this could have a major impact on the quality of the shave you’ll get. I’m thinking mostly at reducing razor burn, it’s something that I’ve been experiencing when using these small shavers. Try to follow the tips from the this article.

      Take your time, enjoy your shave and let me know how it goes.

      Ovidiu

      Reply
      1. Prasad

        Hello Ovidiu,

        I seriously need your help in selecting right head shaver (zero shave). The one I bought is totally blunt and struggles to even give a very ordinary shave. I have already spoked with Amazon representative and about to return it tomorrow. Can you please recommend a good head shaver (zero shave) that comes between 2000 to 3000 rupees (Indian currency)? I will be waiting for your reply.

        Thanks in advance.

        Prasad

        Reply
        1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

          Hi Prasad,

          Given the fact that your budget is around $49, your options are rather limited. I personally prefer foil shavers, but since you’ll be using it for shaving your head, rotary razors are also a good choice. I have written an in-depth article about electric shavers suitable for shaving your head here. Unfortunately those shavers are pretty expensive; I will however mention two shavers that you should definitely check out:
          http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JITDVCI/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00JITDVCI&linkCode=as2&tag=shave0b-20&linkId=THWEM6KEZ3LZBO5O
          http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0043DMNHS/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0043DMNHS&linkCode=as2&tag=shave0b-20&linkId=4NLZQ2CM6XO4IH4L

          Hope this helps,
          Ovidiu

          Reply
  4. jeff

    Great tips. I was relieved to hear that you use a real, high quality shaving soap. I am switching over to an electric after wet shaving for years, although I’ve been traditionally wet shaving for two years. O swtiched from cartridges to DE’s to save money. Lol. You should see my collect that I am slowly selling. I still love my DE’s (I have tried straights and I just can’t shave well enough with them. I think my stubble is too tough.) All that being said, I don’t want to give up my high quality shaving soaps, like my PAA soaps and my boar brush. I am waiting on my norelco 4700 wettec in the mail. I look forward to this new experience.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi jeff,

      thank you for your comment! My switch to electric shaving followed pretty much the same path; I was having a real hard time using (expensive) cartridges that left my skin looking and feeling awful. Quality shaving creams, along with a suitable DE razor (I still have my Edwin Jagger DE89) definitely improved the experience, but it was still far away from a pleasant one. I always enjoyed having and using quality shaving creams; there is absolutely no reason to give up on them after switching to an electric shaver. On the contrary, this just might be one of the best decisions you can make. It certainly was for me. Hope you’ll enjoy your new shaver!

      Reply
  5. Jeff

    Ok. I have 8 shaves down now with my Norelco 4700. Today I had to recharge for the first time. I shaved 5 wet and 3 dry. I definitely prefer wet shaving when using my shaving soaps as it gives a closer shave and is more akin to traditional wet shaving. My dry shaves get the job done just not as close as when wet shaving. Overall using either method of electric shaving, I find I am getting just as close a shave compared to traditional wet shaving with the added bonus (and this can’t be stressed enough) without any redness or irritation.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Jeff,

      I’m glad to hear that you’re enjoying your new shaver. It’s not always this easy for someone new to electric shaver to find the right product, so I’m really glad that it worked out so smoothly. I’m totally with you when it comes to wet shaving—it definitely improves the closeness and the overall shaving experience. To be perfectly honest, I can’t really remember when was the last time I had a dry shave.

      Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us!

      Ovidiu

      Reply
  6. Pete

    Great article! I’m always looking for good pre and post shave tips. I actually just tried electric wet shaving for the very first time today. Wow! I’ve never felt a razor glide like that before. I used a 3-head Remington Rotary with an oil called Shave Secret and lots of warm water. Shaving is always uncomfortable but this actually felt really good, and the best part is that it didn’t leave any irritation or dryness whatsoever. I’ve suffered from severe razor burn for over 20 years, so this is pretty awesome to me. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Pete,

      that’s great! I think everyone should give (electric) wet shaving a shot when nothing else seems to improve their shaving experience. For me at least the difference was night and day (in terms of both comfort and closeness). I use the pre-shave oil from Truefitt & Hill and also a shaving cream – my current pick being Taylor of Old Bond Street Avocado. I agree that there’s more work do be done, but the end result is definitely worth the hassle.

      Thank you for your comment, I really appreciate it!

      Reply
  7. Pingback: What's the Best Shaving Cream? The Ultimate Guide - ShaverCheck

  8. Marc

    Great article. Currently I’m looking to upgrade my electric razor to one that allows wet shaving. I read your sensitive skin article and am wondering if those 2 electric razors are your top recommendations for wet electric shaving? I’d like to find an electric razor to use with shaving cream. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Marc,

      thank you for your comment. If your budget allows it, I would go for the Braun Series 7 799cc, it is a better choice for sensitive skin than the 790cc mentioned in that article as it can be used with shaving creams and gels. Other than that they are absolutely identical. Another excellent choice, but priced much lower is the Panasonic ES-LA63-S. Please keep in mind that the Panasonic doesn’t come with a cleaning & charging dock.
      Hope this helps.

      Ovidiu

      Reply
  9. Mick Longley

    Hi Ovidiu
    I live the other side of the world New Zealand I have wet Shaved all my life from the age of 13, I just need your thoughts before I go ahead and try an electric wet shaver, I shave my head as well as my face and have done from the age of 30 I’m now 61 would these shavers work for me I do get wee Knicks now and again and scrazing as well I use Bodyshop cream put on with a badger hair brush and rinse of and use Bodyshop shaver relive and also face protector, your advice would be of great value.
    Cheers Mick

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Mick,

      thank you for your comment. Regarding your question, there isn’t a straight answer as there really isn’t a one size fits all solution to this particular problem. For example, while some electric shavers can be successfully used for shaving both face and head, I would personally go for a dedicated razor for my head, something like the Bald Eagle Smart. Its design makes it very practical for shaving hard to reach areas and I also think that rotary shavers are more suitable for shaving the head. As for your regular shaver, a very good choice that is also budget friendly is the Panasonic ES-LA63-S. Since you wet shave, another solid option would be the new Braun Series 7 799cc. It is more expensive, but if your budget allows it, it is one of the best products out there and also comes with an excellent cleaning & charging base. You can use both the Panasonic and the Braun for shaving your head as well, but again, it won’t be the experience you’ll be getting from a razor that was specifically designed for shaving the head. So you’ll be making a compromise. You can also try a rotary (better suited for head), but since it will be your first electric shaver, my recommendation is to go for a foil shaver like the two mentioned above. Try them on your head as well and see how that goes. If you are not satisfied with the result you can buy a second razor (like the Bald Eagle) to be used for the head. Also, please note that the skin needs around 30 days to adapt to an electric shaver, so please take that into consideration. You may experience some razor burn and irritation at first and your technique will also get better in time.

      I hope this helps. Please let me know how it goes if you find the time.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  10. Kartik Gohel

    Hi Ovidiu,

    I am planning to buy panasonic arc 5 eslv65. Can you tell me is it worth buying. Is arc 5 better than arc 4?

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Kartik,

      more blades don’t always mean a better product and in most cases 4 blades should be sufficient. The Braun Series 7 for example has only 3 blades, but it is one of the top performing electric razors out there. There’s more to a quality shaver than the number of blades.

      I haven’t personally used the ES-LV65-S so far, but I have no reason to believe it won’t perform excellent. I had great results with most Panasonic shavers I’ve tried and this one is marketed as a premium product – it definitely costs like one. An extra blade (compared to a Panasonic Arc4, like the ES-LA63-S for example) usually means a larger shaving head, thus faster & more efficient shaving (it can also make the head bulkier). At least in theory, the ES-LV65-S should be better than an Arc4. How much better? That is hard to tell, as the performance of a particular shaver is also a very subjective matter; there are many factors at play, like your skin type, the coarseness of your facial hair, shaving habits and technique – to name just a few. Then there’s the price, an Arc4 being considerably cheaper.

      Hopefully this will help you make a decision and buy a razor that is right for you.

      Ovidiu

      Reply
  11. Chris B

    Hi Ovidiu –

    I am just now switching back to electric after using a blade for many years and then having a beard for the last couple of years (while still using a blade for my neck and cheekbones). Like you, blades left my skin red and raw.

    I had used Braun and Panasonic in the past, but my dad has sworn by his Norelco for years and when I was visiting my parents recently and forgot my razor, he let me try his Norelco 9000 series. I used it dry, but was surprised at what a good job it did.

    The 9000 series is a little pricier than I wanted, so today I picked up the Norelco 7370 for sensitive skin and am looking forward to using it in the shower.

    My question is whether using a shave oil along with shaving cream/gel is ok with an electric. Norelco mentions using shaving cream in their owners manual, but says nothing about oil. I assume that as long as I’m cleaning it after each use that the oil won’t cause any problems with the shaver?

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Chris,

      thank you for your comment. Glad to hear that electric shaving has worked out well for you again. The 7370 is an excellent compromise in terms of price and performance and I think it’s a very solid shaver.

      Regarding your question, I assume you are referring to a pre-shave oil. If that’s the case, there shouldn’t be any problems as long as you thoroughly clean your razor after every use like you mentioned in the comment above. I personally use a pre-shave oil myself along with a shaving cream and haven’t had any problems with my shavers. With that said, I do prefer the ones that have a more watery consistency, like Ultimate Comfort from Truefitt & Hill as the thicker ones tend to clog the razor and make shaving more difficult. I highly recommend it, even though it’s a bit pricey. On the plus side, one bottle should last a very long time as you only need a few drops per shave. Hope this helps.

      Best,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  12. Chris B

    Hi Ovidiu –

    Thanks so much for your response. Yes, I was referring to pre-shave oil. So far, I’m loving this shaver. Used it in the shower for the first time 2 days ago with just regular shaving cream and was amazed at what a smooth shave I got. And my neck didn’t look red and beat up like it normally does – my wife said – in a good way – that it did not look like I had just shaved.

    Reply
  13. Matt

    Hi Ovidiu – I have just completed reading all these interesting posts, I have used wet shave since age 16 and am now 50 but felt like trying electric wet/dry, I have just ordered the new Braun Series 9-9290 and should arrive in 2 days time. It was the latest Braun model but I was treating myself with birthday money from my 50th. I am looking forward to giving this a try and hoping for a cut free smooth shave.
    I have read other articles about wet electric shaving and some say best to shave without softening the stubble?
    Am also thinking about using alcohol based pre electric shave lotion with vitamin E?
    This is all very new and looking forward to trying my new shaving routine.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Matt,

      I am yet to personally try out the Series 9 from Braun, but given all the praise it has received and the fact that it is basically a beefed up Series 7 I expect it to perform brilliantly. I can think of no better shaver to use after making the switch from wet shaving.

      Regarding you question, there is a very important distinction to make. If you’re going to wet shave with your electric razor, then pretty much everything you would normally do to prepare your beard for shaving with a blade still applies here (hot shower beforehand, cleaning/exfoliating your face, lots of warm water, even a pre-shave oil). In other words, yes, it’s ok and highly recommended to soften the stubble before shaving WET with an electric razor. If however you will be using it dry, it is a total different story. You will want your face to be as dry as possible. A pre-electric shave lotion will also help with this. If you do not have overly sensitive skin then an alcohol based lotion is great for your pre (dry) shave preparations. I wrote two articles on these topics, you can check them out here:
      A Simple and Effective Pre Electric Shave Routine
      Electric pre-shave products: should you use one?

      Hope this helps. Happy birthday and enjoy your new shaver!

      Reply

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