In a previous article, I shared my recommendations for shaving with an electric razor and shaving cream.
For the gentlemen out there that don’t have the time or just don’t want to mess around with creams and gels since the days of the brush and blade are way behind, here are 10 effective tips for getting the closest and the most comfortable dry shave.
1. Keep it dry.
This goes for both the shaver and your skin.
One of the most common mistakes is to wash your face or take a shower right before you shave.
And while that’s fine and even recommended in the case of wet shaving, you’ll want the exact, you’ll want your face to be as dry as possible to ensure a comfortable dry shave.
Any moisture will likely have a negative impact on the quality of your shave and will cause discomfort and the closeness will suffer as well.
For some men using a pre-electric shave lotion or powder works wonders, especially if the environment has high humidity.
Tabac and Speick are my personal favorites, while Williams Lectric Shave is one of the more popular pre-shave lotions, particularly in the USA.
Also, most modern electric shavers can be safely washed with water, so make sure yours is completely dry before using it.
2. Ensure your razor is properly charged.
Not all electric shavers can maintain peak power when the battery is almost out of juice.
This will likely lead to pulling and tugging and the closeness of your shave will take a hit.
To avoid this from happening, make sure your battery level is at least at the 50% mark.
And no, charging a modern shaver more often will not negatively impact the battery life.
3. Do not apply too much pressure.
Always move the shaver over the skin without pressing too hard.
Some shavers tend to get warm after a while and this will only make things worse.
Pressing harder will not give you a closer shave, nor will it capture those flat-lying hairs more efficiently.
Also, it’s a good idea to put a few drops of fine machine oil on the foil and cutters to minimize friction and wear.
For a complete guide, here’s my post on how to properly lubricate your electric shaver.
4. Shave against the direction of hair growth.
Unlike shaving with a razor blade, you should always move an electric shaver against the hair grain.
You can use your free hand to feel the stubble and stretch the skin.
Use short, controlled strokes against the grain when shaving with foil shavers.
You’ll want to use a combination of straight and circular motions when using a rotary razor.
You can also try various techniques and see what works best for you.
5. Trim your beard if you haven’t shaved in a long time.
Long facial hair is a big problem for any electric shaver, regardless of how good it might be.
Just use a regular hair trimmer to reduce your beard to a more manageable length.
Most shavers also have an integrated pop-up trimmer, but it would take a long time to trim your entire beard with it.
It’s best to use those for light grooming and for cutting some stubborn stray hairs.
6. Keep your shaver clean.
Dead skin, hair clippings and dirt on the cutting elements are never good for performance and hygiene.
Always clean your razor thoroughly after every use according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
If your shaver is washable, use some liquid soap and warm tap water for effective cleaning.
7. Replace worn parts.
That includes foils, blades or the whole assembly. Spending money on replacement parts is no fun, but it will eventually have to be done.
Depending on how frequent you shave and how coarse your beard is, you may need to replace these parts sooner or later than what the manufacturers state.
Here‘s a detailed guide on this topic if you want to check it out.
8. Use a quality, soothing, alcohol-free balm.
After you finished your shave, wash your face with cold water, let it dry or gently pat it dry with a clean towel and apply a soothing aftershave balm.
Hydrating your skin is the single most important thing you can do after a shave.
9. Find a razor that suits your skin, facial hair, and habits.
There isn’t such a thing as the best electric shaver, but rather one that is right for you and your needs.
It could be one that shaves very close, one that is very gentle to the skin or one that can deal with a 4-day beard. Or maybe one that can do everything reasonably well.
Finding it takes a bit of research and some trial and error.
You can check my guide for finding the best electric razor and also the reviews section to narrow down your options.
10. Take your time and enjoy your shave.
Shaving should be pain-free and enjoyable, not something we loathe.
Hopefully, these simple tips will help you improve your dry shaving experience and you’ll be looking forward to your next shave.
17 thoughts on “Dry Electric Shaving Tips: Get Your Best Shave Ever!”Leave a comment
there are some helpful tips for my shave
Hi. I use a talc stick that I found to be best for me. However, because talc is a mineral, it wears the blades out fast. I do clean my razor, but have never lubricated it. I was concerned that the oil would actually attract the dry talcum powder and clog it up right away. Have you ever reviewed the use of talc? I’ve tried the Lectric shave and the Gillette product, with not as good a shave. I currently have an Arc 4 that I’ve had for a year or so. I purchased a new set of blades about 3 months ago, and because of the abbrasiveness of the talc, I need to either purchase another set of blades or a new razor again. I also was wondering if the new Panasonic or Brauns with the cleaning systems still requires lubrication after cleaning. I have a beard, so I only have to shave my neck, cheeks and the area on my chin. I’ve thought about the new Arc 5, but maybe that would be a little difficult to use because of the size of the shaving head. I was even considering the Braun 7. There is a lot here, but any thoughts would be appreciated.
I was never fond of talcum powders as I found the whole experience too messy for my liking. I think I still have a stick of Remington Face Saver lying around, but I only used it once or twice. I prefer pre-shave lotions, Lectric Shave being the one I use the most. Regarding your question, the use of talc and no lubrication will exponentially increase the wear of the blades. Even hard water alone can do that. You can try a light lubricant like sewing machine oil. I don’t think this can make things worse, but again, I haven’t done it personally. A cleaning spray like Remington Shaver Saver would be a more viable option as it also lubricates the blades, but it evaporates completely so the risk of clogging is minimal.
The cleaning stations of both Braun and Panasonic shavers take care of lubricating the blades as well, so you won’t have to do it. Given the fact that you have a beard and have to shave around certain areas, an Arc 5 will probably make this more difficult as you mentioned above. The Series 7 is gentler and more comfortable compared to the Arc 4, I have both and I can even get away with shaving without any pre-shave with the Series 7. So you just might be able to get a decent shave without the use of talcum. The Arc 4 is a bit too aggressive for me, even though compared to the Series 7 it shaves slightly closer.
I hope this helps.
I know this is an old post, but I also find that powder gives a much better glide than any pre-shave lotion I’ve tried. I have a new Braun series 9, and just started using cornstarch baby powder. I find it to be super smooth and get a close, clean shave, no irritation at all. There is also a some good stuff in the baby powder to soften skin. I do use a tiny amount of cutter lube each time since the power probably absorbs it all after every shave. I am hoping that cornstarch powder will not increase blade wear since it is not a mineral, I will find out… any thoughts on cornstarch powder?
Strictly from a performance point of view and how much it improves the shave, powders are definitely at least as good as lotion. I do however recommend lotions most of the time because they’re widely available, easy and less messy to apply and don’t have any potential effect on blade wear. As you’ve mentioned, mineral-based powders might increase that effect. Cornstarch baby powder does usually contain talcum (a mineral), so the same concern remains.
Remington says that during their tests the powder pre-shave didn’t cause the blades to go blunt prematurely, so this effect might be a bit exaggerated. At least in the case of rotary razors, I’m pretty certain the effect is negligible. With foil shavers though, especially the ones where the friction between cutters and foils is really high (for example in the case of Panasonic shavers), it could increase the wear. I’m afraid I cannot say by how much from my own experience as I’ve only used powders occasionally — I just prefer the convenience of lotions.
Do you think it could be more helpful to create a beard map(like some wet shavers do)to most accurately figure out the direction of growth?
The purpose of having a beard map would be the same here as in the case of wet shaving, so it could definitely be useful. I personally rely on feel (using my free hand) and also by looking in the mirror to see the grain.
I appreciate all of the shaving advice, and I know everyone’s shaving experience and routine is different. However, I am a bit confused by the order of operations for a dry electric shave. You say not to shower before hand because electric shavers work best dry. So I should shave first and then shower. But then when should I apply the after shave balm? If I apply the balm after the shave and before the shower, then it would get washed off in the shower. So logically, I should shave, shower, then apply the balm. Is this the correct order of operations? Also, can I use a gentle face wash in the shower after I shave? I currently use either St. Ives apricot scrub or Aldi “Lacura Exfoliating Scrub & Foaming Cleanser”. Here is what I am thinking should be the order of operations for dry shaving (by mashing together advice from several articles from this website): 1.) DO NOT wash my face or shower before hand, 2.) apply williams lectric shave, 3.) shave, 4.) splash face with cold water, 5.) shower (and wash face in shower), 6.) apply after shave balm. Does this seem correct to you? Are there any corrections you would make?
Thank you for the comment, much appreciated.
That would be the correct order — in my opinion it’s the best approach when you need to shave dry and take a shower. I always apply the aftershave balm last (for obvious reasons). I also avoid washing my face with warm water in the shower, but that’s just personal preference (my skin is really sensitive post-shave). I use a cleanser and an exfoliating gel daily (morning + evening), however, I simply skip on that on the morning of my (dry) shave.
I have been shaving with Norelcos since the 1990s. Currently using a new 5300 (same heads as the 7000 series), and an older Quadra Action 7610x from the early 2000s. The 7610x was recently sharpened using the Vollco Sharpening Heads, cutters and combs were cleaned with rubbing alcohol, and mineral oil was applied. Great shaves with both, but with half the face tests the Quadra seems to shave a bit closer. Perhaps it is due to holes for shorter stubble on the Quadra vs just the slots on the 5300? Too bad, in the early 2000s I seem to remember that all the Quadras, even at lower price points, had holes. The 5300 is a much larger body than the old Quadra, but the head diameter is the same-although the heads are farther apart on the 5300.
In addition to the previously mentioned tips, I try to “puff” parts of my cheeks and neck out and shave with very light pressure. To finish up I focus on one cutter, apply slightly more pressure, and cut straight strokes against the grain on my lower neck hairs that grow out sideways. For really stubborn/flat lying hairs, I will use my hand to roll neck skin and use the other hand with the shaver to cut. I always wash my face right after with Noxzema to cool and prevent shaver burn. Last time I applied a thin layer of Noxzema and did a very light and quick second shave. I was shocked to hear so many hairs being cut. Myself and my girlfriend both noticed a closer shave than before when I just used Lectric Shave. Perhaps rubbing Noxzema on positioned my hairs in a different direction/stood some of them up? Perhaps Noxzema helped grip/pull the hairs up when the shaver passed? I can’t come up with a reason, but will try this method a few more times and report back.
Thank you for taking the time to share this, Mike.
Regarding the closeness, I think there’s more to it than just slots vs holes. The slots should be more effective at catching flat/long hairs, but aren’t intrinsically better or worse when it comes to closeness. In my opinion that has more to do with the thickness of the combs, the distance between the blade and the inner part of the comb and how it rotates against it.
I haven’t tried Noxzema as a moisturizer, let alone as a pre-shave, so I’m afraid I can’t weigh in on that. But since it has menthol and eucalyptus, that could be beneficial for a closer shave. A regular pre-shave works by making the hairs stand straight and loosening the shaft from the surrounding skin. Perhaps something similar is happening with the Noxzema cream.
Really good tips regarding finishing the shave with one cutter and going against the grain.
I read another post on here about beard mapping and that helped too with regards to going against the grain. For whiskers that are missed due to lying flat or at an angle I use the attached trimmer and go against the grain to pop them up and then the shaver usually will cut them. I typically shave in circular motions first and then go against the grain. I continue to shave with a thin coat of Noxzema after I have mainly shaved with Lectric Shave, and I am still getting the best rotary shaves of my life. Closest and with the least irritation. I do not wash the Lectric Shave off before adding Noxzema-I apply Noxzema to my face and shave. For me there is definitely something about the one-two punch of Lectric Shave and Noxzema that leads to closer and smoother electric shaves.
Curious if anyone else will try this and report back?
Thanks for the comment, Mike. That’s a really interesting approach, I’ve never tried shaving with Noxzema. Can you tell me the model of your rotary shaver, I’m really curious as I usually don’t get along well with rotaries, not even top-of-the-line Norelcos.
Ovidiu, I am using a new Norelco 5300 model S5588/81 and an older Quadra Action 7610x. The new one is more comfortable with less irritation, the older one cuts closer. The other day I was in a rush and applied Lectric Shave and then Noxzema on top and it produced a much worse shave than Lectric Shave first, shave, apply Nozema, shave again quickly to clean up. Like any shave the more time I spend the closer and cleaner shave I get.
Thank you for the follow-up, Mike. These newer Norelcos are really comfortable (same with the Series 6000, 7000 and even entry-level models like the 3000), but the closeness isn’t quite remarkable.
I think the workaround with Noxzema works well post-shave for a second pass, when the bulk of the shaving is already done. Using it as an actual pre-shave just doesn’t work well.
Btw, I kind of discovered this a few months ago by accident. I had already shaved and put Noxzema on to rinse the Lectric Shave off and cool my face. I just happened to due a quick shave with Noxzema and noticed a closer shave. I will say this, the Noxzema does not provide a lot of lubrication so the second pass needs to be much quicker than the first with Lectric Shave.