How To Lubricate an Electric Razor

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How To Lubricate an Electric Razor

Alongside cleaning, lubrication is a key aspect in prolonging the life of your razor and ensuring optimal performance.

Just like your car’s engine needs oil for lubricating the moving parts and reducing the wear, so does your electric razor.

In order to provide a close shave, the blades, foils and metal guards of your electric razor are machined with very low tolerances. These parts actually come into contact with each other.

During use, this friction causes heat and wear. To reduce these effects to a minimum, regular lubrication of the moving parts is vital.

Why is lubrication so important — Advantages of lubricating your razor

  • It reduces the heat generated by the friction between the blades and foils, improving the comfort during your shave. This will reduce the risk of razor burn, irritation and blemishes.
  • It prolongs the life of the moving parts, so you won’t have to replace them as often.
  • It improves the closeness of the shave. As you constantly use your shaver, the wear of the blades and foils will gradually affect their performance. In some extreme cases the blades will actually eat through the foil, so you’ll definitely want to replace them before it gets to that as the risk of serious injuries is real. With a properly lubricated shaver, this process is slowed down and you’ll be able to get close and comfortable shaves for a longer time before the parts need to be replaced. Another bonus side effect is the reduced generated heat, which in turn allows you to do more passes and even apply a bit more pressure to get a smooth and close shave.
  • It puts less stress on the motor. A lubricant allows the moving parts to glide with minimal resistance, meaning the motor will work less hard to keep them moving and most of its power will be used for actually cutting the hairs, with minimal loss in the form of heat.

How to lubricate your electric razor

Now that we’ve seen why lubrication is important, let’s see how to actually do it and what the different options are.

1. Spray lubricants

Spray lubricants are a very easy and practical way of cleaning and lubricating a shaver. For the cleaning part I do however recommend using a brush beforehand to remove the bulk of hairs and dirt.

If you use your razor with a shaving cream or gel, then definitely give it a thorough cleaning — hot tap water and a bit of liquid soap should do it (always make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning your razor).

After that, generously spray the blades and foils and let them air dry for a few minutes.

If you have a rotary razor, then you should disassemble the shaving head and spray the blades as well as the inner housing of the metal guards.

Make sure to put them back together exactly the same after drying.

There are quite a few options of good spray lubricants out there; the Remington Shaver Saver is one of the more popular ones and comes in a 3.8 oz can.

Remington Shaver Saver

Check the price on Amazon

The Shaver Saver spray is reasonably priced and works great as a cleaner and lubricant.

2. Light, low viscosity oils and lubricants

The other option is to simply use a multi-purpose light oil. Hair clipper oil and sewing machine oil work great.

Some manufacturers (like Braun and Panasonic) sometimes include a small bottle of lubricant in the package, but that’s not always the case.

I personally use some light sewing machine oil with all my shavers as it’s very effective, inexpensive and widely available.

Applying it is extremely simple and straight forward. For foil shavers, just put a single drop on each foil and also on the middle trimmer as it can get even hotter than the foils during use.

Put the shaving head back together and turn it on for a few seconds to allow the oil to evenly spread across the foils.

If needed, gently pat the foils with a paper tissue to absorb any excess oil. Remember, a little bit goes a very long way.

For rotary razors, you don’t necessarily have to take the shaving unit apart; place a few drops on each shaving head (on the slits and holes), then let it run for a few seconds and you’re all set.

That’s pretty much it. If you use a cleaning station with your electric razor, then there’s no need for additional lubrication as the solutions used for cleaning also act as a lubricant.

How often should you oil your shaver?

Lubrication frequency must take into account how you use and clean you razor. My recommendation is this:

  • Twice a week if you don’t use soap and water to clean your razor. A spray lubricant is probably more practical this situation as it also helps with thoroughly cleaning the parts. Twice a week is a good rule of thumb for men who prefer dry shaving.
  • Before or after every use if you shave with gel / shaving cream or you clean your razor with soap and water. This cleaning method will also strip off the blades and foils of any form of lubrication. I personally put a few drops of lubricant before shaving, but there’s no right or wrong way of doing it.

Conclusion

Hopefully this article helped with clearing some of the stuff regarding proper lubrication of an electric shaver.

And it really is THAT important, as it will save you money in the long run, improve the comfort and ensure optimal performance of your shaver with every use.

26 comments on “How To Lubricate an Electric Razor

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  1. Ian Rose

    Can you advise whether it is ok to use WAHL (model 3313) hair clipper oil to lubricate my series 7 braun shaver? It’s a USA brand of oil.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Definitely, in fact any light oil that doesn’t cause residue buildups will work just fine. The hair clipper oil from WHAL passes both requirements, so you can safely use it for your Series 7. Just make sure to also clean it thoroughly after the shave (I assume you don’t have or use the cleaning station since that takes care of the lubrication too).

      Reply
      1. Sara

        Thanks. What about WD 40, coconut oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil or castor oil to lubricate the trimmer part of an electric razor? (I don’t want to buy a whole container of oil just to put one drop on the trimmer blades.)

        Reply
        1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

          Hi Sara,
          WD-40 is a penetrating oil and I don’t recommend it in this case. The other oils you mentioned have a very thick consistency and ideally you’ll want to use a light oil to lubricate the trimmer. Sewing machine oil is very cheap, comes in small containers and works great.

          Hope this helps.

          Sincerely,
          Ovidiu

          Reply
      2. Shaver

        My Braun Series 5 shaver comes with a C&C, but after wet shaving the directions say you have to wash it with soap and water. And the directions state that if you regularly wash it with soap and water you have to add 1 drop of light machine oil per week. So my question is, if I regularly wash it with soap and water will using the C&C once per week fulfill the need to add a drop of oil?

        Reply
        1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

          I am aware of Braun’s recommendation and while the effectiveness of it also depends on how often you shave (and clean your shaver) per week, I personally don’t think it’s enough. As I said in the article, soap is very effective at removing lubricants from the cutting parts and I actually add a drop of light oil after every soap & water cleaning.

          Reply
  2. Rob

    I used to use the aerosol sprays to lubricator my Braun shaver. To save costs I’ve tried spraying a squirt of rubbing alcohol onto my shaver … it seems to work as well and is much cheaper but I have read on the internet that isopropyl alcohol is toxic and can be absorbed in the skin…
    Thoughts ?
    Is there a non toxic way to lubricate ones electric shaver ?

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      I’ve never used isopropyl alcohol on an electric shaver, but I would advise against using it. While it does a good job at sanitizing the shaver, its lubricating properties are non-existent. It’s actually used quite often to dissolve oils. As mentioned in the article, a cheap and effective alternative is to use a few drops of light/fine machine oil.

      Reply
      1. Kevin

        If you by a First-Aid / Antiseptic Alcohol it will generally be Isopropyl Alcohol, or one of a few types of SD Alcohol, so it’s fine to apply Isopropyl Alcohol to your face, and to your skin in general. It’s not safe to drink and shouldn’t be use on large areas of skin, so don’t, for example, soak your feet or bathe in it. But, it is normal to use it on small areas of the skin.

        SD Alcohol 23-A, SD Alcohol 40, and SD Alcohol 40-B are all specially denatured alcohols (Ethanol) which are acceptable (ATF/FDA) for use in various cosmetics.

        Isopropyl Alcohol is chemically similar (but not the same as) Ethanol. Isopropyl Alcohol and SD Alcohol are all manufactured with a denaturing agent added to make it poisonous (and undesirable) to drink.

        The Braun cleaning cartridge used with my shaver’s charge/clean station indicates it contains a lubricant with SD Alcohol 40-B (50/50 mix with water). When the cartridge is empty, I generally refill it with Isopropyl Alcohol (also a 50/50 mix with water) a few times before disposing of it and replacing it with a new one.

        For the shavers with a cleaning station, you usually initiate a cleaning cycle after you have already finished shaving (usually performing a charge at the same time). So, by the time you use it to shave next time, all the alcohol has evaporated and it’s completely dry. You really don’t usually get any alcohol on your face.

        If you are manually cleaning your shaver with alcohol, it’s best to follow a similar procedure and clean it then let it dry completely and finally lubricate it before using your shaver again. But if it is still a little damp with alcohol when you use it, it’s still safe for your skin.

        Reply
    2. interested reader

      Isopropyl is only toxic if you ingest quantities but it is great for disinfecting your shaver and killing bacteria that live on the dead skin cells. It does have some lubricant qualities but it is only effective before it evaporates. For a haircutting shaver the wetness offsets the benefit since hair sticks to the wet surfaces. On a razor/shaver avoid inhaling the fumes. Failing disinfect often results in minor skin infections that require prescription cremes and will reoccur once established. Barbers have kept their tools in disinfectant for decades for good reason.

      Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      A light oil (hair clipper oil, sewing machine oil etc) works best for lubricating electric shavers and trimmers. Teflon lubricants are non-oily and I’m not sure they’re ideal in this situation.

      Reply
  3. Alex

    Ovidiu, can you advise on Braun spray?
    If I wash the head with soap then I should just spray and let it dry or I should remove spray residues somehow?

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Alex,
      If you just apply a small amount after thoroughly cleaning the shaving head with soap and water, then you can just let it air dry. Braun Shaver Cleaner also acts as a lubricant, so leaving it on is a good idea. If you use it to remove stubborn buildups of hair clippings and dirt, you’ll want to spray the foils and the inner part of the cassette abundantly, let it act for 5-10 minutes, then wash the shaving head with warm water and let it air dry. This shouldn’t remove all the lubrication, but if you see it fit, you can spray it again or use a few drops of any light oil.

      Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi,
      I don’t recommend using WD-40 or any other water displacers or penetrating lubricants as they’re far from being ideal here. As mentioned above, you can’t really go wrong with hair clipper oil or any other light lubricants like sewing machine oil. You can also choose a spray lubricant like the Braun Shaver Cleaner or the SP-4 from Remington.

      Reply
  4. Matt

    Very helpful article, and you, Ovidiu, are a very helpful person. I’m buying sewing machine oil today. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Thank you for the kind words, Matt. Glad to hear you found the article useful.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  5. DaveM

    Is it best to allow the shaver to dry first so the spray (shaver guard ) doesn’t mix with the water? Concerned that the lub will trap the water which may act as a cutting oil or increase chances of oxidation.

    With thanks. Dave

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Dave,

      Yes, it’s best to apply the spray when the cutting elements have dried.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  6. Leo

    Thank you SOOOOO much I did exactly what you’d said on the site: ordered a shaving powder, oiled up the blade, keep the face dry. The only thing I forgot was to charge the shaver.

    But in the end I got an incredible shave! On par with what a normal (non-disposable) cartridge shaver would give and fairly close to a very good DE shave. Heck it beats a bad DE shave by a mile and it saves all the troubles.

    Thank you again, I’ll go back to electric shaving again much more often. To speak against the bad rep about electric shaving. You, sir, are the man!

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Leo, thank you so much for the kind words! I’m really glad that it helped you out and you’re enjoying electric shaving again.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  7. Mike

    Hi Ovidiu,
    Thanks for your great article!
    Are you familiar with a product called ‘Shave Secret’ – a pre-shave oil intended to replace (and perform better than) shaving creams/gels? Their website says it’s a proprietary blend of base oils (cold pressed seed & nut oils), essential oils, RX grade menthol and natural fragrance oil.

    I’m wondering if using this product while shaving would reduce or eliminate the need to lubricate as often?

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Mike,

      You are very welcome. Shave Secret is actually a shaving oil, not a pre-shave oil; pre-shave oils are formulated specifically to only be used with a shaving cream.

      I haven’t personally used Shave Secret or any other shaving oils with an electric razor, so I’m afraid I can’t tell you anything regarding how well it will perform. There’s always the possibility of the razor getting clogged which will be detrimental to your results and overall experience. You could give it a shot, just make sure to use the oil sparingly.

      Regarding the lubrication, the blend of oils we have here is a lot thicker than the light oils normally used to lubricate shavers and clippers, so it won’t be ideal. I guess if it’s not excessively thick it can work, allowing you to lubricate your shaver less often.

      However, the main issue here is how well the shaver will perform when used with a shaving oil.

      Let us know how it goes if you decide to try it out.

      Hope this helps.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply

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