Shaving can be unpleasant and even painful for some of us.
But apart from the common problems we all face, black men often have to deal with some specific issues due to the particularities of their facial hair.
Therefore, choosing a suitable electric razor can have a major impact on the quality of the shave and reduce some post-shave skin issues.
Finding what would ideally be the best electric shaver for a black man is a matter of understanding the specific problems that may arise and choosing the shaver accordingly.
Not all shavers are made equal and some of them are simply better than others in certain situations.
And there’s also the problem of budget constraints; luckily, there are electric razors available at various price points, some of them offering excellent value for money without making significant compromises.
In this article, we’ll go over the most common problems faced by African American men when it comes to shaving and also check out a few suitable electric shavers.
Table of Contents
- Black men and shaving: what are the most common problems?
- What are the hallmarks of an electric shaver suitable for black men?
- What are some of the best electric shavers for black men ?
Black men and shaving: what are the most common problems?
Even though men of all ethnicities may have to deal with the unpleasant side of shaving, African American men seem to be affected to a higher degree.
The main reason for that is their curly, wiry, coarse facial hair and its tendency to become ingrown, leading to painful razor bumps and irritation.
A razor bump forms when one hair that was cut close to the skin starts growing and curls back into the skin.
To make matters worse, a typical shaver will cut the hair at an angle (since the hair often stays flat on the skin), leaving the stump extremely sharp and making it even easier for the hair to penetrate back into the skin as it grows.
The body then sees the ingrown hair as a foreign object and an immune response is triggered in the form of an inflammatory process.
It’s easy to see why hair that naturally curls is much more likely to cause razor bumps.
However, there’s also the situation where a hair that was cut at skin level gets covered by skin tissue and can’t emerge at the surface, leading to a similar outcome.
In more severe cases, these bumps can break out all over the face and neck, and shaving before they heal can even cause scarring. In this case, seeing a dermatologist is highly recommended.
What are the hallmarks of an electric shaver suitable for black men?
Considering the above-mentioned aspects, along with other common requirements for sensitive skin, here are the most important characteristics of an electric razor suitable for dark-skinned men:
It must capture flat-lying, wiry and curly hairs efficiently.
As mentioned previously, the fact that a typical shaver will cut the hair at an angle, leaving it sharp and prone to penetrating back into the skin will only increase the odds of becoming ingrown.
A suitable electric shaver will lift the hair and cut it clean and straight. Also, it must effectively catch and cut longer hairs that grow in different directions.
Someone with sensitive skin may have to wait a few days before shaving again to allow the skin to heal.
Therefore, the shaver must be capable of capturing and cutting longer hairs as well.
This is usually the Achilles’ heel of most electric razors and because the hair of black males also has a natural tendency to curl, it will only make things more difficult.
Also, multiple passes over tricky areas like the neck can irritate sensitive skin.
Fast motor, sharp blades, and gentle to the skin.
Hairs getting pulled instead of cut is usually the result of a low-quality shaving head, dull blades and/or a motor that is not quite up to the task.
A suitable shaver will provide fast and smooth shaves, will need little to no pressure applied and won’t get hot during operation.
Also, changing the blades and foils regularly is a must, especially for men with sensitive skin.
It is a vicious circle: dull blades won’t cut hairs efficiently, thus requiring additional strokes and increasing the chances of irritation and razor burn.
A razor that doesn’t shave very close may be beneficial to black men.
And if someone doesn’t have any issues with ingrown hairs and razor bumps, it makes perfect sense to get one.
However, black men usually have these issues and using an electric shaver that cuts the hairs at skin level can often make things worse.
As we saw, a really close shave makes the hair more likely to become ingrown.
For this reason, choosing an electric shaver that doesn’t shave extremely close would be recommended.
In my experience, Braun electric shavers represent an excellent compromise between closeness and comfort.
They still shave adequately close while remaining gentle and providing a comfortable shave.
Dry and wet shaving capabilities.
Even though this feature is not a must, it can improve the shaving experience for some men.
Using a quality shaving cream with your electric razor can yield better results in terms of both closeness and particularly comfort.
Some will say that wet shaving pretty much defies the purpose of using an electric shaver and it’s a fair point.
But if you’re not seeing the improvements you were hoping for, you should at least give it a try.
If wet shaving is a no-go, using a pre-electric shave lotion could improve the results of a dry shave.
Now that we have a clear picture of the common problems and the traits of a suitable shaver, let’s take a look at some of the best electric razors for black men.
What are some of the best electric shavers for black men ?
1. Braun Series 9 9390cc
The Series 9 is a powerful foil shaver from Braun and has taken over the Series 7 as the company’s new flagship shaver.
While the recently launched Series 9 Pro is a slightly improved shaver, the standard (and cheaper) Series 9 is still an equally good option in most cases.
In fact, in my experience it is actually a bit gentler, so I would even recommend it over the Pro models in this case.
The Braun Series 9 is a highly capable razor, especially in the areas we’re most interested in.
With an improved shaving head, an additional cutting element designed specifically for capturing longer, flat-lying hairs and a powerful motor, the Series 9 would be a top choice for black men provided it fits within your budget.
While it manages to offer close shaves, this doesn’t come at the expense of comfort. On the contrary, the Series 9 is arguably one of the most comfortable electric shavers you can currently buy.
Even the latest Series 9 Pro, a slightly more powerful version of the standard Series 9 at number 1 in our list, isn’t quite as forgiving and gentle.
Due to its unique shaving system, the Series 9 deals with longer hairs better than most other foil electric shavers on the market.
So shaving daily is not a requirement here in order to get a smooth, clean shave. You can safely give your skin a break for a few days before shaving again.
This, along with its powerful motor and the skin-friendly shaving head make the Series 9 an excellent choice for black men.
It deals impressively well with wiry, coarse black hair.
The Series 9 is available in several variations, all of them offering the same shaving performance.
You can opt for a model with a cleaning station like the 9390cc or 9370cc, or go with a cheaper solo model like the 9330s.
All current Series 9 variations are suitable for wet & dry use.
Regardless of your preference for dry or wet shaving, I recommend choosing a variation that includes an automatic cleaning station (these are the models ending in cc).
Braun cleaners are very practical and do a great job of sanitizing and lubricating the shaver.
While the Braun Series 9 is arguably one of the best electric shavers for black men, it is pretty expensive.
The replacement shaving heads are also rather pricey, but on par with the parts needed for other high-end shavers from the competition.
Let’s now take a look at some alternatives that cost less.
2. Braun Series 7 7865cc
The Braun 7865cc is a wet/dry variation from the highly popular and acclaimed Series 7 line that was widely regarded as one of the best electric shavers you could buy.
It takes all the positive aspects of the 790CC and adds the benefits of wet shaving. However, the Series 7 is extremely comfortable even during a dry shave.
So if wet shaving is not your thing, you can of course use the 7865cc dry or even opt for a dry-only model like the 790cc, especially if you can get it for a better price.
Like its predecessor, it features the same ActiveLift system that lifts and cuts flat-lying hairs.
And it pretty much works as advertised. In the context of dealing with curly hairs that tend to grow at an angle, it’s easy to see why this shaver would be a suitable option.
Also, it comes with a powerful motor, a triple-blade cutting system and a thin foil that was designed to be gentle to sensitive skin and to capture hairs very efficiently.
The micropulsations technology of the Series 7 makes the experience of shaving feel more like a gentle massage.
All of the above features help maintain the number of strokes to a minimum while providing close and comfortable shaves.
Being an advanced and feature-rich razor, the 7865cc is not exactly on the cheap side, but the performance and comfort are excellent.
That, plus the fact that its price is usually quite a bit lower compared to a Series 9 for example, makes it in my opinion the right pick for most users.
It’s also worth mentioning that it comes with a cleaning and charging station that uses an alcohol-based solution and does an excellent job of cleaning and sanitizing your shaver.
For more details, make sure to check out my Series 7 7865cc review.
UPDATE: Since Braun discontinued the Series 7, this shaver is getting very difficult to find in 2023. I recommend the Braun Series 8 as a widely available alternative.
3. Braun Series 8 8457cc
Deal alert: If you don’t need a cleaning station, you can check out the Braun Series 8 8417s instead.
Since the Series 7 above has been phased out, the next best thing is the newer Series 8.
While the performance should be superior for a Braun series with a higher number, the old Series 7 was however slightly better.
But the differences are rather minor and the Series 8 represents a very compelling option in the mid-range segment.
The price of a Series 8 is significantly lower compared to the number 1 choice, the Series 9.
You can save even more by getting s solo Series 8 model like the 8417s and cleaning it manually, but I think the station is a useful accessory.
Just as important, the replacement shaving head for the Series 8 costs less than what would you pay for a Series 9 shaving head.
The Series 8 still offers the same excellent shaving performance, being very gentle to the skin.
Since its shaving head is almost identical to the Series 7, the Series 8 is also a capable and suitable option for black men.
All Series 8 models are suitable for wet/dry use.
My recommendation would be to buy the cheapest you can find as the actual shaving performance will be identical.
That said, the models starting with 84 (like the 8457cc) come with a better cleaning station than the 83 Series 8 (like the 8370cc).
Precisely, the station included with the 84 Series 8 has 3 cleaning modes and an active drying system that helps the cleaning fluid evaporate faster from the shaving head.
The S8 would be the mid-range pick of 2023, however, if you’re after a budget-friendly option, check out the next shaver.
4. Braun Series 3 ProSkin 3040s
Finally, the most cost-effective option in my list of recommended shavers for African American men is a model from Braun’s Series 3 ProSkin line, the 3040s.
The Series 3 is Braun’s entry-level range of electric shavers.
While their performance can’t really match the one of the Series 7, 8 or 9 above, they can definitely be a viable and budget-friendly alternative, especially when used daily.
Despite having a dedicated cutter for capturing longer hairs that lie flat on the skin, the 3040s doesn’t quite manage to do so without additional strokes.
It’s therefore recommended for shaving more often when it will give you the best results.
You can however get away with using it less frequently, especially if you have a light to medium beard.
If your budget is limited, the Series 3 ProSkin is probably your best option as it is the most comfortable entry-level electric razor out there.
Moreover, this particular variation is completely waterproof and can be used both wet and dry.
This also means that you can clean it with ease by simply rinsing it under the tap.
The replacement shaving head (32b) is inexpensive and should only be replaced once every 18 months.
However, if you know from previous experience that a rotary shaver would be more suitable for you, then by all means you should stick to using one.
But in most cases, a capable foil electric shaver would be a safer choice.
As we saw, the facial hair of black men has certain particularities that make choosing an electric shaver somewhat challenging.
This article aims at putting you on the right track and helping you narrow down your options.
There are of course other excellent electric shavers in addition to the ones listed here, so consider it a starting point and also check out my reviews.
Last but not least, your technique and prep are just as important, so make sure to take a look at these resources as well:
If you have any other questions or you’d like to share your experience, please leave a comment below.