9 Electric Shaving Mistakes You’re Probably Making (And How To Fix Them)

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9 Electric Shaving Mistakes You’re Probably Making (And How To Fix Them)

For many men, electric shaving is the only way to bypass some of the problems associated with traditional shaving.

After making the actual switch, some of us will be faced with the sudden realization that it isn’t exactly what we were hoping for: the shaving experience hasn’t improved to a significant degree or, even worse, it hasn’t improved at all.

Things will eventually get better once your skin will adapt to the new shaving method and your technique will improve, but there are still some simple and easy to implement tweaks that can really make a difference.

And these adjustments mainly imply correcting a few frequent errors.

Without further ado, here are 9 of the most common electric shaving mistakes and how to fix them.

1. Applying too much pressure.

An electric shaver will never shave as close as a blade; there is a physical barrier between your skin and the cutting blades.

Some shavers will get really close, but the aforementioned aspect still remains true.

Therefore, in order to compensate for this drawback or to get a few stubborn hairs, you may be tempted to apply more pressure.

My advice is to absolutely avoid doing so; it won’t do much in improving the closeness, but it will give you painful razor burn and irritation.

If you constantly find yourself in this situation, having to press harder and go over certain areas multiple times, make sure that:

  • The foils and/or cutting blades are still in good condition. Depending on your particular razor and shaving habits, these parts can wear out pretty fast. Make sure to replace them when this happens.
  • The battery has enough juice in it. A dying battery will have trouble powering the motor and cutting the hairs, forcing you to go over the same area multiple times. Pulling and tugging can also occur, increasing the chances of irritation.
  • Your particular shaver is up to the task — which leads us to the next point.

2. Not using a shaver that’s suitable for the job.

The straight fact is that some electric shavers are simply better and more suitable in a particular situation than others.

Some are better for sensitive skin, others are better at dealing with longer hairs, others are small and light and great for traveling and so on.

If you have a two or three days beard for example, with coarse stubble and different growth patterns you’ll definitely feel the difference when using a powerful and advanced razor.

The Braun Series 9 is a very capable electric razor.

I’m not saying that you have to spend big money on the most feature-packed razors; there are definitely some very capable budget-friendly shavers out there.

Just make sure you do some research prior to buying one. Our reviews section and comparison chart are two good places to start.

Remember, there isn’t such thing as the best shaver, but the one that is right for you, considering all the above aspects and your budget.

3. Not giving your shaver a proper cleaning after each use.

Not all electric razors come with a cleaning and charging station. In fact, this is usually a perk of the more expensive ones.

If yours doesn’t have one, a manual cleaning is absolutely mandatory after each use in order to keep your shaver functioning properly. Hair, dead skin and dirt will alter the performance and aren’t good for hygiene.

Cleaning your shaver regularly is a must.

Fortunately, almost all electric razors can be easily cleaned with a bit of liquid soap under running tap water (provided that they are waterproof). Just make sure you follow the procedure recommended by the manufacturer.

4. Not lubricating your shaver.

Lubrication is vital for a close and comfortable shave and will prolong the lifespan of your shaver’s foils and blades.

Unless your electric razor comes with an automatic cleaning station that also takes care of lubricating the cutting parts, you’ll have to do it yourself.

Lubricating an electric shaver is key for optimal performance and durability.

Fortunately, it’s an extremely easy operation.

You can use clipper oil or just a light lubricant like sewing machine oil. I personally use the latter for all my shavers as it’s inexpensive and works great.

A single drop on each foil is all it takes.

Having a properly lubricated shaving unit has multiple benefits; it will reduce the heat generated by the friction of the foils and blades, will prolong their life and improve the performance of your shaver.

As a rule of thumb, you should lubricate your shaver after each cleaning that involved the use of soap.

For more details, you can check out my complete guide on how to lubricate your shaver.

5. Not trimming your hair if it’s too long for the shaver to handle.

Dealing with longer facial hair continues to be one of the weak points of all electric shavers.

Trimming your facial hair with a basic hair trimmer prior to shaving is highly recommended if you have a long beard.

6. Not using a pre-electric lotion.

Keeping your beard and razor dry is extremely important for the comfort and closeness of the shave. In addition to that, you can also include a pre-electric lotion as part of your prep work.

A pre-electric shave lotion can improve your results during a dry shave.

Williams Lectric Shave or Afta by Mennen are two of the most popular products and they do a good job of drying and also lifting the hairs that lie flat.

7. Not including a post-shave treatment.

Just because you’re not using a razor blade anymore doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow up your shave with a soothing and hydrating balm.

Using a quality aftershave balm after your shave is highly recommended.

Avoid the ones containing alcohol, artificial fragrances, and parabens as they can cause irritation.

8. Not giving wet shaving a try.

Ok, this is not an actual mistake, but more like something you could be missing out on.

Wet electric shaving can make a significant difference to your results, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Panasonic electric shavers usually work great with shaving cream.

If your razor is suitable for wet & dry use then go ahead and add a quality shaving cream. You can also check out our tips and recommendations for wet electric shaving.

If you think that all this hassle pretty much defies the purpose of an electric shaver that you just grab and use and job done, that’s totally understandable. But if it can yield significantly better results then I think the extra work is totally justified.

9. Switching back and forth between electric and traditional shaving.

A razor blade shaves off a thin layer of skin cells, while an electric shaver does not — at least not to a significant degree.

As a result, after shaving with a blade, the body produces replacement scar tissue and it takes around 2 to 3 weeks to get rid of it.

Do not switch back and forth between an electric shaver and a razor blade.

During this time you won’t get the best results with an electric shaver. That’s why it’s highly recommended to stick to a method for at least 3 weeks before trying something else.

Over to you now: which were the most annoying things about using an electric shaver in your experience? Please comment below.

32 comments on “9 Electric Shaving Mistakes You’re Probably Making (And How To Fix Them)

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  1. Jeff

    Great article. I agree with each point. Being only 4 months into electric shaving, I too, have found that I must remember that I won’t get as close a shave as I use to with a blade. However, I can still wet shave with my brush and soap and get zero irritation and/or weepers any more. It’s the best of both worlds! Keep the articles coming!

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Jeff,

      thank you for your comment. I’m glad to hear you found the articles useful. A trade-off in the closeness is to be expected with any electric shaver, but comfort and a pain free experience should come as a priority, so in my opinion it is a good compromise. Adding a quality shaving cream or soap in the mix just makes everything better. And like you said, by doing so we don’t have to give up wet shaving.

      Ovidiu

      Reply
  2. Mark

    Periodically I tire of shaving with a blade and will go electric. But before too long I’m faced with the choice of shaving with a brand new Gillette cartridge or an electric with a foil that has some mileage on it, needs a cleaning, a charge, etc. It makes me appreciate the closeness of the blade after having not used one for a while. Especially on the neck.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Mark,

      Thank you for your comment. Every shaving method has both pros and cons and choosing one comes down to your personal needs and lifestyle. Yes, an electric razor will require cleaning, but some are easier to clean than others. A cleaning station can also be considered as it takes care of cleaning and charging your shaver. And some electric shavers shave a lot closer than others.

      On the other hand, multi-blade cartridges are expensive and they don’t last much. But yes, a razor blade will get you the closest possible shave.

      It’s all about compromises and personal preferences.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  3. Don

    Hi Ovidiu,

    First of all, thanks for publishing all of your articles and reviews on this site. It’s been a wealth of information for me as I am currently researching electric razors.

    After not having used one for quite some time, I bought the Phillips Aquatouch AT891 a couple of years ago. It didn’t give a great shave but I thought it was because it was just an entry level razor.

    Then I recently read this article and came to point 9 and realised that this is exactly what I was doing. I only wanted the electric to provide a quick reasonable shave for a few days a week and the rest of the time I use a blade. Now I understand why my electric shaves were disappointing and why the manufacturers recommend a few weeks adjustment period for your skin and beard to get used to the new shaving method.

    I’m currently trying (on a 60 day money back guarantee promotion) the Phillips S5620/41 rotary shaver and the Panasonic ARC 4 ESLF-51 which you mentioned in your 2018 review as being a quality razor.

    But now I’m wondering if I have to allow 2-3 weeks of shaving dedicated to each razor without switching between them as per your recommendation to not switch between blade and electric shaving. I had intended to use them on alternating days so I could compare and contrast the performance and then send the loser back to the manufacturer within the 60 day trial period.

    I’d appreciate your thoughts on this.

    And also, I find the ESLF51 to be quite loud. Has there ever been reports of hearing loss with noisy electrics that you are aware of? The razor is not close to my eardrums for very long but when I shave near there, it’s quite loud and the ESLF51 has a higher pitch than the Phillips so it just sounds louder.

    Thanks,

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Don,

      Thank you for your comment, I’m glad you found the information useful.

      3 weeks should be enough even if you’re using both shavers. While they are using different technologies — rotary vs foil — both have blades that rotate/oscillate behind a metal guard, so it’s pretty much the same shaving method. Just make sure to use them in similar conditions (same length of the hairs, same time of the day, fully charged batteries and so on) so you can make a more accurate assessment regarding their performance.

      As for the noise, foil-based shavers are louder than rotary razors. That’s because their motors operate at much higher speeds and also cause more vibrations. However, while it can be annoying, it would be extremely unlikely to cause any hearing loss or other serious issues. These devices must pass through rigorous testing and certifications before being released to the public, so there’s no reason to worry about this.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  4. Jeff M.

    I find my biggest pet peeve with electric shaving is that the electric blades of today do not shave nearly as well as they did 30 years ago and need replacing more often then then used to in order to get a decent shave. I think companies are trying to just get money money out of consumers and parts like the protective head cover are so cheap now and easily break and one does not get a decent razor cover like they used too.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Thank you for your comment, Jeff. I agree, many of the replacement blades/foils of today’s shavers are over-priced. We can however minimize our cost ownership by implementing a few adjustments to our routine, mainly consisting of regularly cleaning and lubricating the blades. Before ditching the blades and buying new ones, try using a spray cleaner and lubricant (like Remington Shaver Saver). I find them extremely efficient for reviving dull blades that aren’t completely worn off.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  5. Gary Lupo

    I have used Gillette Atra for the past 45 years they stop making the blades, and I was lost I bought the new 5 blade system and hated it. I switched over to the disposable 2 blade they are ok, and have had my fill with them too. I have decided maybe it’s time to switch to electric? I figured it would take some time “change over”. I looked over your chart Braun 60 days way too long for me. I would feel like a BUM. A wet shave using an electric I could probably handle 10 days maybe 14 days. So I am willing to try that. So I will purchase the Panasonic and see.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Thank you for your comment, Gary. It will be quite the change, so do take your time and take advantage of that money back guarantee — you may need at least a couple of weeks before getting some satisfactory results. Let me know how it goes if you have the time.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  6. Erick Yi

    I have a question regarding using an electric razor. When using one should we switch or use a different razor when shaving different body parts?

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Erick,

      Ideally yes, you’d want to have a dedicated body groomer for shaving below the neck. Also, electric shavers are really designed to work on short, dense hairs, so they’re not ideal for shaving body hair (unless the hair is really short).

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  7. Sasha

    Hi Ovidiu

    Thank u for your detailed article.

    I’m a transgender and as u can see close shave is very important to me. I have used electric shaver since i was 18 and now its 3 years. I believe my beard area is not as dark and full like other men which i appreciate.

    But i can’t get close shave by every morning shaving. So now i want to change to razor blade.

    I was wondering if my beard gets filer and thicker by switching to a razor blade?

    Sorry for bad english dear.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Sasha,

      You are very welcome, glad you found it useful.

      Shaving doesn’t make facial hair thicker, denser or darker. However, depending on the method of shaving, it may influence how it is perceived.

      For example, a razor blade will cut the hair clean and straight, so the hair will feel coarser to the hand and may appear thicker, even though it isn’t. Cutting the hair with an electric shaver will leave behind a more ragged stump, which could make the beard seem as less thick or dense. But again, the actual thickness of the hair will never be influenced by (the method of) shaving.

      You could try an electric shaver that shaves closer; the ones from Panasonic are in my experience the best in this regard. Depending on your budget, you could consider an Arc 3, Arc 4 or an Arc 5 model. I wrote a very detailed guide on Panasonic shavers here if you want to check it out.

      Hope this helps.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  8. Michael

    I use a Braun series 9, with cleansing station. I used to wet shave with the Gillette Fusion, 5 blade cartridges, but they are so expensive. I have often wondered when we’ll see a six or seven blade razor, and how far will they go with adding another blade every few years.

    With the electric shaver, I find I get a better, closer shave if I shave every other day. The only downside to electric shavers is that they tend not to be so good under the chin.

    One thing that makes me less happy with the cleaning station is that it uses the same fluid in the same cartridge over and over during the three to four weeks each cartridge lasts. If you look at the cartridge after a couple of weeks, you can see how murky it is. Yuck.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Thank you for your comment, Michael. I would also be interested to see if they will actually come up with 6 blades or more. That would be beyond ridiculous.

      Shaving under the chin can be tricky. Try tilting your head backward, lifting your chin up and using your free hand to keep the skin taut — this will also cause the hairs to stand upright, making it easier for the foils to cut them.

      Regarding the cleaning solution, the cartridge has a very fine mesh filter inside the larger opening, so the liquid that gets pumped into the shaving head is filtered and at least the visible grime and hairs will actually remain trapped inside the cartridge.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  9. Andy

    I would like to know if anyone has addressed the “hair dust” that’s generated when shaving. I have used a Norelco shaver for years and I noticed it causes me to cough when I have to open my mouth when I shave some parts like the corners of my mouth. Has there been any issues concerning this very fine dust like hair?

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Andy,

      That fine hair dust that doesn’t end up in the hair chamber can definitely induce a cough or other similar issues. Some shavers are better than others at catching these fine hairs, but the differences are generally minor. The user is still the one that can make some tweaks and get around this. For example, I try avoiding as much as possible opening my mouth — instead, try to apply counter-pressure using your tongue when shaving the corners of the mouth. Also, avoid breathing through your mouth when you do open it which will cause a lot more hair dust to enter.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  10. Ranveer

    Thank you Ovidiu, very valuable article.

    I took to electric shavers when I started feeling that the Gillette blades weren’t lasting as long as they used to. This was few years ago.
    So, I use a Braun 7series and I use it with shaving foam. I finish with a blade shave (yes, still Gillette). It gives me a close shave and the blade lasts longer……overall, a satisfying shaving experience.
    I do recognize that not many may want to make that much time for their daily shave.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment, glad you found the article informative.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  11. Paul

    Wife bought me an electric shaver but, honestly doesn’t seem as good as a razor. The problem is not the cut length, rather the problem is that even after doing circles on my face multiple times there are still random uncut hairs everywhere. I invariably find myself pulling out the razor to clean up because even if I go over the area with the e-shaver multiple times it will often fail to cut the isolated hairs. This is when shaving with say 3-4 days growth.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Paul,

      It would be really useful know the type and model of your electric shaver. It may simply be a bad product or there might be something you can do to improve the results.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      1. Paul

        Hi, it’s the Phillips aqua touch. I shave after a shower, putting water in my face again before I do but no shaving cream.

        Reply
        1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

          Try alternating the direction of the stroke (clockwise, counterclockwise) and also try going against the grain. Rotary razors can be trickier than foil shavers which only require straight strokes against the grain. I’ve never found shaving with water alone to bring any benefits — on the contrary, some shavers tend to stick to the skin and won’t glide as easily. Try a dry shave as well or even a thin, watery layer of shaving cream/lather if you prefer to shave after showering.

          Sincerely,
          Ovidiu

          Reply
  12. Phillip Smith

    I have changed from a blade to a Braun Series 9 and it seems to get better each week that I use it. I am very happy with the change to electric. Thank you for your excellent article. I am going to implement your tips.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Thank you for your comment, Philip. That’s great, glad you’re happy with the Series 9 coming from a razor blade.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  13. Anthony

    I went from a braun series 5 to a series 9. It was expensive but so far it’s just as reliable as the series 5. I use the brush after shaving and tap the foil cartridge til I get all the crud out. Then I put the shaver into the cleaning station. Every 1-3 days I’ll shave. I gotta use my pre shave more. All in all great article I’m going to tweak some things in my routine like you mentioned. Great article. Great website.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment, Anthony. Glad you found the site useful.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  14. Andrew

    Great article – thank you.
    I recently bought my first electric razor after years of wet blade shaving. I purchased the Braun Series 9 shaver after it was highly recommended. Despite reading that rotary shavers are better for men who don’t shave everyday, I accepted the advice of the salesman and went with a good quality foil shaver. Unfortunately when I leave my beard to grow for a week, the series 9 struggles to pick up random hairs and I’m left going over and over my face. It is now actually taking longer than a blade shave which is what I was hoping to avoid with going electric. I’m really disappointed because I enjoy using my new razor, it offers a nice close shave otherwise. I see your point about trimming the hair first which I can and will do, but I was really hoping the series 9 could cope with a few longer, coarser hairs. Am I expecting too much? Do I just need to get into the habit of shaving every other day? Any comments would be appreciated.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Andrew,

      Thank you for your comment.

      I’m afraid the answer is yes — one week between shaves is a lot for an electric shaver, even for the Series 9 which is in my opinion one of the best foil shavers out there in these situations. The Philips S9000 Prestige is arguably the most capable to tackle longer hairs, but even with that one, I cannot guarantee that you’ll get a decent shave after one week of beard growth. Electric shavers are designed to be used on short facial hair. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to shave every other day, it really comes down to how fast your beard grows (and how coarse it is). Some men can get away with quite a few days between shaving sessions.

      There are really only two ways of solving this: either to use a trimmer before your shave or to simply shave more often.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply

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