Just like your car’s engine needs oil for lubricating the moving parts and to reduce the wear, so does your electric razor.
In order to provide a close shave, the blades, foils and the metal combs of an electric razor are machined with very tight tolerances and these parts actually come into contact with each other.
During use, this friction causes heat and wear. To reduce the effects to a minimum, regular lubrication is vital.
Here’s everything you need to know about how and when to do it.
Why is lubrication so important — Advantages of lubricating your razor
Here are the main benefits of lubricating your electric shaver:
- 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 foils and blades, 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 its performance. In some extreme cases the blades will actually eat through the foils, so you’ll definitely want to replace them before that happens 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 of the reduced friction is less generated heat, which in turn makes shaving more comfortable and allows you to be more thorough and get a close shave.
- It puts less stress on the motor. A lubricant allows the cutting parts to move with minimal resistance, meaning the motor will work less to keep them moving and most of the 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. Light, low viscosity oils and lubricants
The first option is to simply use a light mineral oil, like hair clipper oil; basically, any highly refined mineral oil will work great for lubricating the blades of an electric shaver.
Side note: you’ll sometimes find sewing machine oil among the recommended lubricants on various forums and articles.
While I’ve used it in the past with good results, it’s best to stick to the aforementioned options in order to avoid any potential skin reactions.
Some manufacturers (like Braun and Panasonic) sometimes include a small bottle of lubricant (which is basically a highly refined mineral/paraffin oil), but that’s not always the case.
An excellent and inexpensive lubricant that works great with electric shavers is the clipper oil from Wahl.
Wahl Clipper Oil
It’s very effective, cheap and widely available (you can also get it from Walmart).
Another equally good option is the Oster Blade Lube, again a very reasonably priced and effective product.
Oster Blade Lube
Both contain highly refined white mineral oil.
Other brands should work just as well as long as they have a light consistency.
Applying the oil is extremely simple and straightforward.
Just remember that the shaving unit must be dry, so if for example, you washed the shaver with water, allow it a few hours to dry.
Here’s how to do it.
For foil shavers, just put one or two drops on the outside of each foil and also on the pop-up trimmer as it can get even hotter than the foils during use.
Again, a little bit goes a long way and two drops (at most) on each cutting element will suffice.
After applying, turn the shaver on for a few seconds to allow the oil to spread evenly across the foils while holding the razor in an upright position.
You can also use your index finger to spread it over the entire length of the foils.
If needed, gently pat the foils with a paper tissue to absorb any excess oil.
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 regularly 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.
2. Spray lubricants for electric razors
Spray lubricants are a very easy and practical way of cleaning and lubricating a shaver.
They also degrease the blades from skin oils and break down mineral deposits (from hard water).
Before applying the spray I recommend removing the bulk of hairs from the shaving head.
You can use a small brush (but not directly on the foils) or gently tap the foil frame on the sink.
A can of compressed air will also do the job.
If you use your razor with shaving cream or gel, then definitely give it a thorough cleaning beforehand — warm tap water and (optionally) a bit of liquid soap should do it (always make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning your razor).
Note: the shaving head should be completely dry before applying a spray lubricant.
Generously spray the blades and foils while holding the can 2 to 3 inches away. You can then put the shaving head back and let the shaver run for a few seconds to distribute the lubricant evenly.
If you own a Braun shaver for example, spray both the outside and the inner part of the cassette (that integrates the foils and blades).
With a rotary razor, you should take apart the shaving head and spray the blades, as well as the inner part of the combs.
Make sure not to intermix them as the combs and blades are matching pairs and failing to do so will affect the performance of your razor.
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
The Shaver Saver spray is reasonably priced, widely available and works great as a cleaner and lubricant.
Out of all the brands I’ve used, I find it to be the most effective.
Alternatively, you can also get the Andis Cool Care Plus which is a good (and cheap) option, especially in Europe where the Remington spray is getting more difficult to find.
It smells nicer too, but in my experience, it’s not quite as effective as the one from Remington.
Spray lubricants can be used as stand-alone products or in conjunction with the first lubricating method described above. They’re not 100% necessary, but I find them very effective, easy to apply and they’re also fairly inexpensive.
Cleaning & lubricating sprays make a noticeable difference to the performance of my shavers (particularly Panasonic) and I highly recommend getting one, especially if you clean your electric razor with soap and water.
They’re particularly effective when used on an older shaver that doesn’t seem to cut as well as it used to.
For a comprehensive guide on the various spray cleaners and how to use them properly make sure to check out this post.
How often should you oil your shaver?
Lubrication frequency must take into account how you use and clean your razor. My recommendation would be this:
- Twice a week if you don’t use liquid soap to clean your razor. A spray lubricant is probably more practical in this case as it also helps with cleaning the parts.
- Before or after every shave if 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 as long as the shaving head is dry.
Hopefully this article helped to clear some of the confusion regarding the 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 closeness and ensure optimal performance for your shaver.
If you have any questions, make sure to post them in the comments below.