Shaving can sometimes be an unpleasant and even painful experience for some men.
Apart from the common problems we all face when it comes to shaving, black men often have to deal with some specific issues due to the particularities of their facial hair.
Therefore, choosing a suitable electric razor should come as a priority.
Finding what would ideally be the best electric shaver for black men is a matter of understanding the specific problems that may arise and choosing the razor accordingly.
Not all shavers are made equal and some of them are simply better than others in certain situations.
And then there’s 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 the performance department.
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 ?
- Final word
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.
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 typical 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, 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 straight. Also, it must effectively capture and cut longer hairs that grow in different directions.
Someone with sensitive skin may have to wait a few days before shaving 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 the job 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 and snagged are usually caused by 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.
An electric 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.
However, black men usually have these issues and using an electric shaver that cuts the hairs at skin level can often make things worse.
Precisely, a really close shave makes the hair more likely to dig back into the skin and 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 definitely 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 typical 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 the latest and greatest offering from Braun and has taken over the Series 7 as the company’s new flagship shaver.
The expectations were high and the Series 9 definitely delivers, especially in the areas we’re most interested in.
With an improved and more advanced shaving head, an additional cutting element designed specifically for capturing longer, flat-lying hairs and a powerful motor, the Series 9 is one of the more capable electric shavers you can buy today.
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 2021 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 advanced shaving system, the Series 9 deals with longer hairs better than most other foil electric shavers.
So shaving daily is not a requirement here in order to get a smooth, clean shave.
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.
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 shavers are more difficult to clean manually than other foil razors and the cleaning station does a great job at sanitizing and lubricating your shaver.
Your overall costs won’t increase by a whole lot (there are cheap third-party cleaning solutions available) and the station is genuinely useful and practical.
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 budget-friendly alternatives.
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.
3. Braun Series 5 5140s
The Braun Series 5 represents a very compelling option in the mid-range segment.
Performance-wise, it’s very similar to the Series 7 above.
However, the price of the Series 5 is lower. Just as important, the replacement shaving head for the Series 5 costs less than what would you pay for a Series 7 shaving head.
The Series 5 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 5 is also a capable and suitable option for black men.
It is available for wet & dry or dry only use. You can also buy it with an automatic Clean & Charge station, which I also recommend.
Please note that the station is available only with the cc variations, like the 5090cc/5190cc that we reviewed in great detail here.
This model used to be our pick for its reasonable price and useful cleaning station. However, it has become more difficult to find, particularly in the USA.
The solo 5140s is however still widely available and usually for a reasonable price.
4. Braun Series 3 ProSkin 3040s
Finally, the most cost-effective option in our 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 5, 7, 8 or 9, 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 yield the best results.
You can however get away with using it less frequently, especially if you have a light to a medium beard.
If your budget is limited, the Series 3 ProSkin is probably your best option as it is arguably 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 difficult.
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 out there than the ones listed here, so consider it a starting point.
Last but not least, your technique and prep work are just as important, so make sure to check out our recommendations as well:
- Electric Wet Shaving: Tips, tricks and why you should try it
- Dry electric shaving tips: get your best shave ever!
- A Simple and Effective Pre Electric Shave Routine
- How To Eliminate Razor Burn And Irritation From Electric Shavers
If you have any other questions or you’d like to share your experience, please leave a comment below.