What Shaver Do I Use? My Shaving Kit For 2024

In this rather personal post, I’ll show you what I currently use in my electric shaving routine.

I often get comments and emails about my shavers of choice, so I decided to share everything I use, how I use them and why I chose those particular products.

I switched from manual razors to electric shavers 25 years ago and along the way I’ve owned and used dozens of shavers and I’ve actually kept most of them.

It’s also convenient to own different shavers for a direct comparison with a newly launched one and I do post these comparison reviews quite often.

But with all those shavers that I have as a result of my unusual hobby, many readers of this website wanted to know what exactly I use whenever I’m not reviewing a particular shaver.

So let’s get right to it.

My shaving setup in 2024

If you’ve been a reader of this site for a bit longer, you probably know that I shave dry but also wet depending on the situation.

But most of the time I shave dry, usually every other day or every two days.

However, when I have more time to spare or I want an extra close shave for an event, like a Christmas party or dinner at a nice restaurant, I treat myself to a wet shave. With an electric razor, of course.

For these two scenarios, ie shaving dry or wet, I use two different shavers and different shaving products.

So let’s start with the dry shaving routine because that’s how I shave most of the time and I know many other men prefer a quick dry shave as well.

1. Dry shaving kit

Shaver: Braun Series 9

For the past 2 years or so, the Braun Series 9 has been my electric shaver of choice whenever I shave dry.

Braun Series 9.

And that’s because in my case, the Series 9 is the most effective, comfortable and enjoyable shaver out there right now.

Before the launch of the Series 9, my shaver of choice (again, for shaving dry) was the legendary Series 7 (currently discontinued).

While the Series 9 isn’t drastically better than the old Series 7, it just feels more capable, faster and smoother.

It’s also in a league of its own for catching those stubborn flat-lying hairs that I have a lot on my neck.

I mentioned earlier that I generally shave every other day or every two days.

That’s because I have very sensitive skin and coarse hair and it’s just better to allow my face at least a day of rest between two shaving sessions.

The Series 9 can easily handle two days (or more) of growth and it’s very forgiving and effective and I’m able to get a smooth shave faster than with other razors.

The closeness is easily good enough considering how comfortable, fast and effective this shaver is.

I could get a slightly closer shave with an Arc 5 or Arc 6, but those aren’t nearly as effective as the Series 9 on a slightly longer beard.

I have really difficult hair on my neck and some of the older Arc 5 models like the ES-LV65 can be a bit too aggressive for my skin when I shave dry.

So the Series 9 is simply more suitable for what I need.

You may be wondering why I don’t use the Series 9 Pro or Series 9 PRO+. After all, those are objectively better, albeit by a small margin.

Series 9 PRO and Series9 PRO+.
Series 9 PRO and Series9 PRO+.

Well, that’s simply because the regular Series 9 is a bit gentler and more forgiving.

And for me, that is more important than the slightly more powerful Series 9 Pro/PRO+ that could get me a slightly closer shave.

I just find it more enjoyable to shave with the standard Series 9 as that one is really comfortable even if I’m sloppier.

But again, the differences aren’t by any means huge and I’d be perfectly happy with the 9 Pro as well.

In fact, if your skin isn’t particularly sensitive and you want the one with the (slightly) better performance, I think you can’t go wrong with the S9 Pro or PRO+.

But for me, the non-Pro Series 9 is the one that makes a bit more sense.

I shave with a 93xx (9385cc/9390cc) S9 model with a cc station. I do not use the station after every shave though, but rather once a week.

Braun Series 9 cc station.

This way I’m able to use a cleaning cartridge for a lot longer (I also take it out of the station and put the cap back on).

When I don’t use the cc station, I give the shaver a quick cleaning with warm tap water and a bit of liquid soap.

This does require a few drops of lubricant before the next shave as soap will get rid of any traces of oil.

Pre-shave lotion: Speick

I always use a pre-shave lotion when I shave dry and I highly recommend giving it a try.

It’ll make your shave closer, faster and more comfortable.

The best pre-shave lotions.

I only shave without a pre-shave when I review a new shaver and want to know how much of a difference the pre-shave makes to the quality of the shave.

My pre-shave of choice is the one from the German brand Speick. It’s a bit pricier in the USA compared to Europe, but I think it’s well worth the money.

The Speick pre-shave lotion.

It just works wonderfully with Braun shavers and makes my dry shave a real treat.

Speick has recently updated the packaging, so you will probably find the lotion with the new design (bottle on the right):

Speick pre-shave lotion old and new packaging.
Speick pre-shave lotion: old and new packaging.

The composition is fortunately unchanged, so the performance is still excellent.

Aftershave balm: Tabac Original

Finally, I always follow up my shave with a soothing balm.

Once I finish shaving, I rinse my face with cold water, gently pat it dry with a towel and apply the aftershave product.

For the last couple of years, I’ve been enjoying the aftershave balm from Tabac which is another German brand with great heritage and high-quality shaving products.

Tabac aftershave.

Their triple-milled hard shaving soap is legendary among wet shaving enthusiasts.

However, the Tabac aftershave balm can be used by anyone, regardless if you’re shaving with an electric shaver or a manual razor.

I like it a lot because it’s very calming and soothing, the smell is classic Tabac — warm, manly and with a hint of vanilla — and doesn’t leave any greasy residue on the skin.

There are of course other excellent and inexpensive balms out there like the Proraso Sensitive or Nivea Sensitive, so those are really good alternatives if you can’t get it.

During the cold months, I sometimes alternate between the Tabac and the Pacific Shaving CO Caffeinated aftershave.

The latter is a great product as well, but I’m not too fond of the menthol scent and it’s a bit too heavy for a very hot or humid environment.

Lubricating oil: Oster blade lube

If you don’t have a cleaning station or you don’t always use it, you should lubricate the blades once a week or after every cleaning that involves the use of soap.

Braun doesn’t include lubricant with their shavers anymore, so I just use some clipper oil like the Oster Blade Lube or Wahl clipper oil.

Oster Blade Lube

These are inexpensive and work great.

Alternatively, a lubricating spray for clippers or shavers will also work really well. The Andis CoolCare Plus spray is widely available and reasonably priced.

Just one of them is enough, you don’t have to use both oil and spray.

I usually apply the oil right before I shave (the blades must be completely dry).

Cleaning and lubricating your shaver is important.

If I’m using a spray, I apply it the night before since I shave in the morning and the product will evaporate completely overnight.

I don’t use Braun cartridge refills for the cc station since there are other affordable third-party cleaning solutions available that work really well.

In the USA there’s CCRREFILLS.COM and in Europe, there are a few more options, like Cleanerist or Wessper.

2. Wet Shaving Gear

Shaver: Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65-S

My shaver of choice whenever I have the time and mood for a wet shave is the Panasonic Arc 5.

The Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65-S next to ES-LV9Q-S.
The Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65-S next to a newer ES-LV9Q-S.

The Arc 5, along with a quality shaving cream or shaving balm, will give me the closest shave of any shaver, similar to a razor blade.

Yes, this combo is that good.

I went with the Arc 5 instead of the Arc 6 simply because it’s a bit more manageable (5 vs 6 blades) and with shaving cream, it is also adequately comfortable.

However, it’s still not quite as forgiving and an older model like the ES-LV65 will give me some razor burn if I press too hard.

And speaking of the venerable ES-LV65, that’s the one I use the most, despite also owning other newer Arc 5 models.

The Arc 5 ES-LV65-S is a very capable electric shaver that can deliver a really close shave.
Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65-S.

There’s just something about it that I like (can’t really put my finger on it).

It’s a phenomenal shaver that outperforms a lot of the newer and more expensive ones and excels at providing a close shave.

Shaving cream: Speick or Jack Black Shaving Lube

For my skin, this Arc 5 is a bit too aggressive during a dry shave (definitely doable, but I have to be extra careful), so I generally use it with shaving cream.

Speick shave cream.

It’s why I picked the Braun Series 9 for shaving dry; plus the fact that the Series 9 can catch flat-lying hairs in fewer passes if I haven’t shaved in a while.

The Arc 5 works best on short facial hair, so it’s a great razor if you shave more often.

But with a high-quality shaving cream, the closeness provided by the Arc 5 is just unbeatable.

My favorite is again from the brand Speick, but I also like the classic Nivea shaving cream and Proraso menthol.

Just make sure you avoid canned foam and always use shaving cream that comes in a tube, it is vastly superior.

Lubricant: Andis CoolCare Plus or Clippercide

For my Panasonic shavers, I prefer to use a lubricating spray with superior lubricating properties instead of oil.

The friction and generated heat are a lot higher compared to the Series 9.

To keep the blades cool, especially in the case of the ES-LV65, I will use a lubricating spray for clippers or shavers.

The Andis CoolCare Plus spray lubricant.

I’ve noticed that sprays do a better job of keeping the foils cool after a prolonged session compared to using a lubricating oil.

Again, this is necessary if you don’t use a cleaning station (I never use Panasonic stations because they don’t have resealable cartridges as Braun stations do), so I always clean my Panasonic razors with water and liquid hand soap.

Cleaning the ES-LV65-S is very straightforward.

I apply the spray on the dry foil and blades and let everything dry completely before using the shaver.

I usually shave in the morning, so I apply the lubricating spray the night before, so there’s plenty of time for the product to evaporate completely.

My shaver of choice for traveling

Panasonic Arc 5 ES-CV51, my shaver of choice for traveling.

Shaving while traveling/on vacation is a very specific use case.

The requirements for such a shaver, at least in my case, are the following:

  • It must provide a close and comfortable shave
  • It must be suitable for wet/dry use
  • It should be compact and portable
  • It should have an integrated pop-up hair trimmer
  • A full battery should last for at least 4 shaving sessions

I’ve tried many of the so-called travel shavers and most of them just don’t shave well enough.

The only one that ticks those boxes is the Panasonic Arc 5 ES-CV51 (ES-CV70).

This is a fantastic little shaver — it’s basically a full-fledged Arc 5 but crammed into a tiny form factor.

Panasonic ES-CV70/ES-CV51 held in hand.

The only compromise is the fixed shaving head, but I didn’t find that to be a problem.

It uses the same foil and blades as the standard Arc 5, it has the same punchy 14 000 CPM motor and in terms of shaving performance, it simply obliterates any other compact shavers out there.

The bad part? It’s expensive.

But if you have the budget for it, you’ll definitely be satisfied with the performance.

I usually shave wet with it — I always carry a small travel-size tube of Proraso shaving cream in my toiletry bag.

But it also works well enough for a dry shave provided I use it every two days or so.

With more than two days between shaves, I have to work extra to catch the flat-lying hairs on my neck (as I would do with any other Panasonic shaver).

A full battery allows me to get at least 4 shaves, but I also carry a USB cable specifically made for Panasonic shavers.

Panasonic USB cable.
The Panasonic USB cable.

This way I don’t have to bring along the Panasonic charger and I simply use my phone’s USB A charger or a USB wall socket.

What shaver do you use?

So there you have it — these are the shavers and products that work really well for me.

I think these will be a safe choice if your shaving habits/requirements are similar to mine, but if not, you may want to consider other options.

But let’s see yours — what shaver/products do you currently use? Make sure to leave a comment below, I would love to see your shaving kit.

Article by

Hey. I’m Ovidiu, the founder and editor of ShaverCheck. I independently buy and test electric shavers and I’ve been sharing my findings on this site for more than 10 years, hopefully helping others choose a suitable shaver.

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61 thoughts on “What Shaver Do I Use? My Shaving Kit For 2024”

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  1. My shaving kit:

    Shaver: Norelco 5300 or Quadra Action 7610x
    Pre-shave lotion: Lectric Shave or Speick. Original Noxzema Facial Cleaner for the second pass.
    Aftershave balm: N/A
    Lubricating oil: Oster blade lube
    Head sharpener: Vollco

    I have used Norelcos since the 1990s. I haven’t tried a foil shaver yet but one is on my list. Which Norelco I use depends on my mood-the 5300 is a more comfortable shave but the 7610x is a closer shave. I only dry shave, but open to trying wet. I literally got Speick pre-shave last week and have only used it a few times-initial impressions are a closer shave, less oily, and better smelling product than Lectric Shave.

    After I shave with either Lectric Shave or Speick I apply a thin coat of Noxzema and quickly finish up. There is not a lot of lubrication so you can’t take too long on this step. For whatever reason the Noxzema seems to produce a closer shave and hairs that were missed usually get cut right away.

    I do not use an aftershave but I almost always shave right before I shower and then I wash my face and neck with Noxzema which is very cooling. After each use I always rinse my shaver using the faucet in the shower-I find this does a better job cleaning and is less messy than using the sink.

    A key part of my kit is the Vollco head sharpeners that I used to sharpen the 7610x. Old Norelco heads can be very difficult to find and this shaver was purchased second hand. After cleaning and sharpening it cuts as well as my new 5300. (Hopefully I can find a sharpener for the newer 7700/5300 heads.)

    This routine is not set though and I am always up for trying new things.

    Reply
    • That’s awesome, Mike, thanks so much for taking the time to share this.

      If you ever get a foil shaver, I would really like to know your thoughts on it and how it compares to your rotaries.

      Never used a head sharpener, but seems to get the job done on your Quadra shaver.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      • I just ordered the Panasonic Arc4. Should have it next week. Curious to see how it compares to my Norelcos. Will report back in a few weeks…

        Reply
        • Getting the basics right is the most important with any shaver in my opinion. I would use a foil shaver on relatively short stubble (no more than 3 days) and make sure to always use short, straight, controlled, overlapping strokes, always against the grain, while keeping the head flat on the skin. You can use just one or two foils when shaving below the nose or other tricky spots. You may not get the best or the fastest shave at first since the Arc 4 is different from the rotaries you’ve always used, but I’m sure it’ll get better. You will also probably be surprised by the noise and sheer speed of the motor.

          Out of curiosity, what’s the Arc 4 model you got?

          Sincerely,
          Ovidiu

          Reply
          • My Arc 4 arrived today. This is not a fair review-just initial impressions as the shaver only had 40 percent charge and this is literally my first foil shave.

            A totally different shaving experience than rotaries. The first thing I noticed is the noise-it doesn’t bother me though. It seems to just glide over your face and you don’t “feel” the hairs being engaged and cut like a rotary. Overall closeness, especially on the chin and jawline is better than my two Norelcos. Zero irritation. Easy cleaning like the Norelcos. Looking forward to getting better with my technique and going through the adjustment period. I paid $112 on Amazon and I can’t imagine spending 2x-3x on another foil as this shaver performs so well.

          • Mike, thanks so much for the follow-up — that’s great, I’m glad your experience with your first foil shaver has already been excellent. The Arc 4 is very close to the Arc 5 performance-wise, my only (personal) gripe with it is that for someone with very sensitive skin it can sometimes be a bit more aggressive than the Arc 5, especially when compared to the newer Arc5s which are more forgiving than the first generations. But if that’s not a problem, it’s a fantastic shaver, especially at that price point.

            Enjoy your new shaver, it seems like you made an excellent choice with the Arc 4.

            Sincerely,
            Ovidiu

          • Ovidiu, I am glad I found this site as it has helped improve my electric shaving. In the last month or so I have improved my technique with the Arc 4 and continue to get great shaves. I think it does require a bit more input and understanding of beard mapping than the rotaries as they can just go around in circular motions (although straight against the grain works well with both of my Noreclos too.)

            I have added Sterlings Gold Preshave spray lubricator and it has a nice lemon (although artificial) scent. I have also added the Andis Cool Care Plus spray as well. I think there is more of a difference with the rotaries with these sprays as the Noreclos just glide across one’s face when sprayed.

            The Spieck preshave has become my travel preshave if I am not checking a bag since the bottle is small enough to be brought in carry on bags. Although I do use bubble wrap since the bottle is glass. Curious, which ingredients in the Spieck do you think allow it to produce a closer shave than Lectric Shave?

            Next up is wet shaving and from you have written the Arc 4 is probably going to do a great job.

          • Mike, that’s great — glad you’re already getting along with your new shaver. Your observation is correct, you will need to go against the grain with a foil shaver and actively adjust the direction, whereas with the swirling and overlapping motions of a rotary, you will eventually tackle the hairs against the grain and have them cut.

            Unfortunately, I never managed to find a vendor willing to ship the Sterling’s spray to my location. I always wanted to try it since it seems to get stellar reviews.

            Looking at the ingredient lists of both pre-shaves, I think there are a few that ultimately make it so effective. Speick always includes their trademark Speick extract in every product they make (it’s like a local valerian strain), but I doubt it’s the only one that makes a difference. There are some really high-quality ingredients that the less expensive Lectric shave doesn’t have, like various oils/linalool (Citrus and Lavender), citronellol, limonene.

            Lectric Shave is in my opinion a fair and decent pre-shave given its price, but it’s effective mainly because of the alcohol and Isopropyl myristate, two ingredients that are almost universally present in all pre-shave lotions.

            Sincerely,
            Ovidiu

          • Ovidiu, too bad you can’t get the Sterling’s in your part of Europe. It definitely has a better scent than the Andis Cool Care Plus. The Sterling’s is more expensive per volume. I think the Cool Care keeps foil heads a bit cooler than the Sterling’s, but other than that I see and feel no performance difference between them. So no, Sterling’s by itself is not reason enough to come visit the US, haha.

            Forgot to mention also, I am still using a thin coating of Noxzema to quickly finish up. I was researching some other sites and like you said, some people definitely think that eucalyptus and menthol help to provide a closer shave, and there are shaving products that contain both-although they seem to be targeted at blade shaving.

          • Thank you, Mike, much appreciated. In that case, the spray lubricant I miss the most remains the Remington Shaver Saver, it was simply outstanding and would bring to life even a blunt shaving head (of course it still needed to be in relatively good shape).

            Sincerely,
            Ovidiu

          • The little details really make a difference with electric shaving. Last week we were on vacation in Europe. I brought my Norelco 5300 and Lectric Shave. Yesterday I shaved with the same combo but also used the Sterlings Spray and a thin coat of Noxzema for the second pass and it was definitely a closer shave than with just Lectric Shave.

            (Btw, this might be too deep in the weeds, but in Portugal at a couple malls I just saw Nivea products, no Speik or Proraso. Atlhough maybe this is because these malls were outside of Lisbon.)

          • Hey Mike,

            Definitely — even if it’s some unusual tweak, if it works, that’s all that matters.

            Regarding the Speick products, I’d say it is a lot more likely to find them in small shops than malls. Online shops in various European countries also carry them. By the way, Portuguese men are quite fond of their own shaving products (Musgo Real, La Toja) and those are quite nice also.

            PS: Enjoy your vacation!

            Sincerely,
            Ovidiu

  2. My kit:

    -Braun Series 7 (Old version)
    -Synthetic brush from West Coast Shaving
    -Cyril Salter hard tallow solid shave soap (lavender); sometimes other hard soaps like Tabac

    Like you, I have a tough beard and very sensitive skin.
    I shave daily and I wet shave with my Braun Series 7.

    The best shaves are after face-washing and lots of hot spray in the shower; however, I sometimes shave without showering. In those instances I simply lather up with the shaving soap, shave, then use the extra lather in the brush to wash the rest of my face (eyes, nose, forehead, etc.).

    I have a second Series 7 that I use (occasionally) dry. I also use it on a dry face after my wet shave to clean up any little missed bits of stubble (a little dry-skin touch up really completes the process for me).

    This routine is so skin-friendly that I can use it day-in-day-out. Most other methods have left me pretty beat up if I shaved before work each day. But this one really nails it for me. So much so that I bought a THIRD Braun old-series 7, which I’m keeping in the box until my existing one gives up the ghost.

    For me personally, this is the best regimen I’ve found after experimenting with lots of different equipment (blade and electric). Braun is the king of comfort; I find lathering up with Cyril Salter just perfectly complements its performance and leaves my face smooth and without redness.

    Reply
    • David, that is awesome, thanks so much for taking the time to describe your routine in such great detail.

      I’ve never had the chance to shave with the Cyril Salter soap and even though I just palm lather a soft cream whenever I wet shave, I still have quite a few brushes from the old days and I would really enjoy lathering a hard soap.

      The Series 7 was a fantastic shaver and I’ve also used them for many years. It’s good that you were able to secure three of them as they’re getting really hard to find. I 100% agree that Braun shavers are the most comfortable. For me a dry shave with the Series 9 or even the 7 is perfectly adequate considering how quickly I’m able to get a reasonably close and comfortable shave.

      Thanks again for your comment, I really appreciate it.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  3. Even when shaving dry, I wash my face first. It just seems sensible that clean skin will be easier & more comfortable to shave. A pre-electric lotion is a must for me, and LectricShave works well. The Braun Series 8 is my favorite for dry shaves, though the Proskin is more than adequate & is my preferred travel shaver. I haven’t tried a Series 9, but as I shave daily, I’m guessing the extra trimmer on the 9 would be redundant for me. I sometimes use my Arc 5 dry, and my experience is like yours: slightly less comfortable but slightly more closeness.

    Wet shaving, usually in the shower, with a little shave gel or oil – the specific brand doesn’t make much difference for me – yes, the Arc 5 is the gold standard, though the Wahl LifeProof (which is too harsh for me to use dry) is surprisingly close & is perfectly comfortable used in this manner.
    I seldom use aftershave; simply washing my face a second time seems to be the most soothing thing I can do.

    I’m curious about one thing: with your ES-LV65, which is the model I use, do you stick with the original shaving head, or use one of the updated ones with the rollers?

    Reply
    • Hi Barry,

      Thanks so much for the comment.

      Since you shave often and the performance you’re getting from a Series 8 is satisfactory, I don’t think getting a Series 9 will bring a significant improvement.

      I use my ES-LV65, LV95 and LV67 with the original foils (no rollers), although I did try some of the newer ones from my newer Arc5s. I choose to do so mainly because it helps me better notice the differences between the older and newer Arc 5 models and I can communicate that clearer in a review/comparison post. I tried the newer foils as well on the LV65 and as expected, doing so simply transforms it into a newer Arc 5, meaning it shaves just as close, only more comfortable.

      But when I need a gentler Arc 5 I simply pick one of the newer ones instead of just putting the new foil on the LV65. For example, the ES-CV51 that I use when I travel comes with a new and more comfortable foil which is really handy for me as I can also get a reasonably comfortable dry shave.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidfiu

      Reply
      • I wonder if I might pick up on a point you made, and explore it with you a little further.

        You said:

        “Since you shave often and the performance you’re getting from a Series 8 is satisfactory, I don’t think getting a Series 9 will bring a significant improvement.”

        This interests me and confirms my suspicion that much of the top-of-the-line offerings (Braun Series 9 and 9 Pro; Panasonic Arc 5 and Arc 6) are designed primarily to offer benefit to men who shave only every few days.

        Ovidiu, what’s your view on the differences between “middle-models” and “premium models” for DAILY SHAVERS? Is it possible that (again, for daily-shave-only) there’s a “Braun shave” (without much difference among models) and a “Panasonic shave” (again, without much difference among models)?

        Reply
        • That’s a great observation, David. In my experience and from what I’ve learned after talking to thousands of users over the years (not an exaggeration, there are almost 11000 comments on this website alone), the advantages of top-tier models are a lot more noticeable when shaving less often. That’s why I tend to recommend mid-range and sometimes even entry-level shavers if I know they will be used daily/every other day and there aren’t any other special requirements. Flagship shavers like the S9/S9 Pro or the Arc 5/Arc 6 are objectively better, but not a lot better than let’s say a Series 8 and an Arc 4, respectively, especially when used on short or a light to medium beard.

          And the S8 and Arc 4 would definitely be my picks for highly capable, mid-range shavers that will perform great in most cases when used daily/every other day — even more in the case of the Series 8. In the past, the old Series 5 used to be my pick, but since Braun discontinued that one and replaced it with a new and far inferior Series 5, the Series 8 is now the one to get. The only Arc 4 that’s still widely available is the ES-LA63AA which is an excellent shaver for the money. Panasonic seems to have abandoned the Arc 4 line completely, with zero updates or prospects of reviving this series. And it’s shame since those were and still are really good shavers.

          If the budget is rather limited or the user doesn’t mind spending a bit more to finish his shave or to get a smoother result, the cheaper Series 3 ProSkin or the Arc 3 would be perfectly viable options as well. The shorter the hair, the better a lesser shaver can do the job. I wrote a detailed Braun comparison guide as well and from all the different series Braun currently sells, I picked only 3 — the Series 3 and 8 being my picks for budget and mid-range Braun shavers, respectively. I will be posting similar guides for Panasonic and Philips shavers as well.

          Hope this helps, if there’s anything else please let me know.

          Sincerely,
          Ovidiu

          Reply
  4. Hi Ovidiu,

    I have an Arc5 (ES-LV6Q) and it takes me 5-6 minutes every morning to get my face perfectly smooth. It feels like forever as I press and pull on my skin with one hand to get the hairs to pop out and use my other hand to pass the shaver in different directions.

    I only shave dry and wash my face with warm water and liquid soap afterward.

    Am I doing something wrong? Is there another model that would get me similar results in less time?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Andrés,

      The time it takes you to complete a perfectly smooth shave is actually really good. It may seem like a long time, but it really isn’t. I would also consider using a pre-shave lotion like Speick. You just work it into the beard right before you shave, it takes only a few seconds but can make a big difference. Apart from that, make sure your shaver has enough charge and the blades are clean and lubricated.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      • Thanks, Ovidiu!

        Do you think a Braun Series 9 Pro would be better for me?

        Some of the hair between the sides of my lower lip and my chin, and in my neck around my Adam’s apple and to to is tough to get at because it grows in different directions and close to the skin, which makes me think it would work better.

        But I shave every day and I read that the Braun’s main advantage is with longer hair…

        Reply
        • You are very welcome. I personally don’t think a Series 9 Pro would be that much better if you shave daily, you would still need to change the direction of the stroke and always go against the grain in order for the shaver to be effective. I think the S9 Pro would have been better if the hairs stayed flat on the skin and you shaved less often. But in this case not so much.

          Sincerely,
          Ovidiu

          Reply
          • Thanks for the advice!

            For now, as per your recommendation I have ordered some Speick pre-shave lotion and Andis Cool Care Plus to clean and lubricate my Arc 5.

            I hope that that alone will make things much better.

            I am also looking into getting a new foil + blades replacement, since I’m still using the set that came installed on the shaver 2 years ago.

            Is eBay the best place to get them if you live in Europe? I saw some ES9038/ES9040 for about €60-€65 shipped from Japan, which is the lowest I’ve seen but still seems very expensive.

            Regards,

            Andrés

          • You are very welcome. It is indeed expensive and unfortunately the prices for Panasonic replacement foils and blades have gone up regardless if it’s an Arc 3, Arc 4 or Arc 5. eBay is a good option for buying replacement parts but only if the vendor is reputable with many positive user reviews or if it’s the storefront of a large/well-established online shop.

            Sincerely,
            Ovidiu

  5. The previous writer Andres raises a couple of questions I’ve had in the back of my mind:

    First, how long do most shaves take? Panasonic uses 3 minutes per shavve when calculating how many shaves you should get from a charged battery, but I’m lucky to finish a shave in twice that time. So what is the 3 minute figure bases on? Any idea?

    Second, in areas with hair growing in multiple directions, a circular motion, similar to what Norelco recommends, would seem logical irrespective of the type of shaver, and in my experience it actually works especially well with my Panasonic. But I only ever hear about this technique with Norelco. I wonder why that is.

    Reply
    • Hi Barry,

      Excellent questions as well.

      Electric shaver manufacturers use that 3-minute figure because it’s convenient. It has nothing to do however with real-world use of a shaver. The lower the figure, the more shaves per battery charge they can put in the specs sheet. Convenient. It takes me roughly 4 to 5 minutes to complete a close dry shave with the Series 9 for example, but other men with more difficult hair may need more. And that’s perfectly fine. 6 minutes is actually pretty good considering that you have hair growing in multiple directions.

      Regarding the second question, a straight stroke using a foil shaver that has thin, straight foils will always be more effective because the stroke will always be against the grain. The slots are set in a circle with rotaries/Norelcos, hence circular motions make more sense in order to have the best chance of tackling the hairs against the grain. With foil shavers, using circular motions will almost always lead to the foil going over certain areas with the grain or sideways. And that means hairs left behind and some of them getting yanked as well or even the skin getting nicked (really painful). I definitely wouldn’t recommend it.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  6. Love all of the information you provide on this site–it has helped me immensely.

    I have a new Braun Series 9 Pro and am enjoying it so far, it seems less irritating to my sensitive skin than my old Norelco rotary. I am tinkering with my shave routines. I have been alternating the time of day I shave to give my skin a break. For instance, if I shave on Monday morning, I will shave next on Tuesday evening, then again Thursday morning, and so on.

    I see you recommend when “dry” shaving to do so prior to a shower or washing your face. If I want to use a post shave balm, do I wait until after showering/using facial cleanser? Or apply it and wait before showering (if possible). On one hand, if applied right away it would seem to have the best effect on calming the skin down but washed off shortly after. Would it be more effective to wait until after showering/washing face? Appreciate your thoughts.

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for the comment, Matt, I appreciate it.

      I actually faced the same dilemma a while back and after trying a few variations, the approach that works best for me is to shave, then immediately shower, and lastly apply the aftershave. Otherwise, I would need to reapply the balm as it gets washed off from the steam and water. I also try to avoid hot water from touching my face right after I shave because my skin gets really red and itchy.

      This works for me as I always shave in the morning or around noon. When I dry shave in the morning I do not wash my face or use a facial cleanser because doing so will affect my shave (some men can get away with it just fine). I also don’t use a cleanser right after I shave because again my skin is unfortunately really sensitive. You may not have this problem at all though. In my case skipping the face washing part is not a big deal because I would have fashed my face with a cleanser the previous evening.

      If for example I plan on shaving around noon (I work from home so this is often an option), I cleanse my face and shower normally in the morning since there’ll be a few good hours until I shave.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  7. Thanks Ovidiu, your advice has changed my shaving habits for the better, the Speick cream is excellent and I wet shave every day as a consequence of your website. One thing that I now do is replace the head of my Series 7 (old) every year, something that made a surprising different.

    Thanks again,
    Ashley.

    Reply
  8. Hello Ovidiu,
    have you tried Freelette preshave? i like the Spieck but find the thin consistency difficult to apply. Seems have good reviews. As always, thank you for this wonderful information source.
    Phil

    Reply
    • Hi Phil,

      Thanks so much for the comment.

      Yep, I did try it. It’s like a runny pre-shave balm (works as an aftershave as well, but I’ve only used it before my shave). It is thicker than Speick or any other splash, so definitely easier to apply. I didn’t however continue using it because it’s a tad too oily for my liking and for me it just doesn’t work well enough during the hot months as I prefer a product that is more effective at drying moisture. The scent is quite nice but a bit too potent.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  9. Products for my routine:

    Shaver: Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65-S
    Dry shave pre-shave lotion: Williams Lectric Shave (although I also have Afta in my cabinet)
    Wet shave cream: Monat Black cream shave (fantastic product, but quite expensive)
    Aftershave balm: Nivea Sensitive post-shave balm

    I have thick and coarse facial hair that grows quickly, so I dry shave every day. Wet shaving with Monat Black is a special treat that I save for the weekends when I have more time in the morning. The Lectric Shave and Nivea post-shave balm work really well, but those choices are mainly the result of availability and convenience, as they’re about the only two products I can find in my local stores. Anything else, I have to order online. I would love to try Speick and Blue Stratos pre-shave, but can’t yet justify the cost (maybe they’ll be a birthday or Christmas present some day). Although I prefer Lectric Shave overall, I also rather like the Afta. I don’t think it deserves the bad rap it seems to get sometimes. It never clogs my razor; if someone has trouble with it clogging the razor, they might be using too much. It’s very easy to use and not at all messy, unlike Lectric Shave. After applying Lectric Shave, I always have to wash my hands before picking up my shaver just because it’s so oily. Not so with Afta. Just put it on and go. But the shaver seems to glide a bit better with the Lectric Shave and I also prefer the scent over Afta, so it’s my go-to most of the time. The Arc 5 gives a fantastic shave regardless of whether I use Lectric Shave, Afta, or wet shave with cream. For years, I always used entry-level shavers, both Braun foil and Norelco rotary, and now that I’ve made the plunge and upped my shaver game, I think the Arc 5 has spoiled me for good. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to use anything else!

    Reply
    • Greg,

      Thanks so much for the awesome write up of your routine, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

      That Monat Black shaving cream is really intriguing and I just might need to try it. It is pricey though and I will need to import it as I cannot find it anywhere around here.

      I agree that the Afta gel is a lot easier to apply. I just can’t get over the scent and even though I use it sparingly, it always seems to gunk up into these tiny beads on my skin. I think Lectric Shave is a very fair and good pre-shave and you can’t really go wrong with it especially at that price. I think you would like the Speick pre-shave, so definitely treat yourself on the next special occasion.

      Thank you again for taking the time to share your kit.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      • Our different experience with Afta must be due to different skin types. Mine is a bit on the oily side and I can see how that might keep it from balling up in my case. I’ll use up what I have then probably try Speick and ultimately stick with Lectric shave. The Monat Black is a premium product, so if you get the opportunity to try it, I highly recommend it. By the way, nearly every improvement to my routine came from reading your web site, so thank you!

        Reply
        • You are very welcome, really glad you found the site helpful. I agree, I do have very dry skin and always have to account for that when I shave or choose any related products.

          Sincerely,
          Ovidiu

          Reply
  10. Hi Ovidiu,

    I have an S9 Braun shaver and do dry shaving. Do you recommend shaving against the grain or in the direction of grain? I do against and ultimately i have been getting razor bumbs, but then I had heard that with electric shaver it’s better to go in the direction, rather than against.

    I do the whole ritual of pre-shave speick and aftershave proraso.

    Reply
    • Hi Amin,

      Always against the grain with electric shavers. With razor blades it’s recommended to go with the grain or at least across the grain if you get razor bumps. But it’s the exact opposite if you’re using an electric shaver.

      If you try to go with the grain with your S9 not only will it miss some hairs, but you’ll need many passes for a smooth shave which can make the razor bumps problem worse. Also it may even snag and pull some of the hairs.

      My suggestion would be to maybe slightly tweak your shaving routine.

      – use gentle pressure and short, controlled strokes against the grain, keeping the skin taut
      – rinse your face with cold water after your shave and gently pat it dry
      – consider using an alcohol aftershave. I’ve seen few to no razor bumps while using the Tabac original aftershave balm. It doesn’t sting and doesn’t dry the skin which is a problem with most alcohol-based aftershaves
      – avoid using hot water on your face right after you shave (when taking a shower for example) and also avoid touching it.

      These are the things that made the biggest difference in my case.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  11. hi, I have a braun 9 pro series that I use mainly dry with speick pre-shave but during the summer I have difficulty shaving as the head does not slide … it certainly depends on the sweat and humidity of the skin on particularly hot days . How could I solve? I prefer dry shaving to wet shaving. thank you all

    Reply
    • Hi,

      I can relate as I also suffer from this very issue. A pre-shave lotion can only do so much and unfortunately the only solution that truly works is to shave in a cooler environment. I know it’s not the most actionable advice, but there’s really no other way. I also try to shave very early in the morning when it’s still a bit cooler or I just crank up the AC when I shave dry. I’ve tried other options in the past like baby powder, but it ended up being a just a sweaty mess.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  12. hello, some parts of this site mention being against shaving oils and others mention that you oil the blades before shaving. i would like to say that this is largely equivalent and that the trace mineral oil results in a better shave than most readers can expect to get

    Reply
    • Hi,

      I always recommend lubricating electric shavers with the right products (light oil or spray lubricants for clippers/shavers). By shaving oils do you mean the ones you apply to damp skin prior to shaving? I don’t recall ever being against oiling the blades, would it be possible to elaborate on that or maybe share a link to a specific post? I would like to rectify it if there’s any ambiguity.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      • hello, i remember people asking about beard or shave oils and getting a no but then you talking about lubing the blades, it’s the same thing if you lube every time, it makes a shave difference beyond saving the blades. blah blah blah blah blah

        Reply
        • Hi,

          Thanks for clarifying that.

          The two are different in my opinion. Lubricating the blades by placing a drop of clipper oil on the outside of the foils will indeed also have a positive effect on the way the shaving head glides over the skin. I have very dry skin and it’s quite noticeable.

          But using a shaving oil which you’d apply over the wet skin is something else. I’ve tried it and it’s just too messy, the clipped hairs will stick to the skin and it just won’t be a good experience, at least not for me. My shaver would also be slippery and require some additional cleaning, both the shaving head and the body. But if you can get over these and your shave gets noticeably better then by all means you should use a shaving oil.

          Sincerely,
          Ovidiu

          Reply
  13. Typically I use a Philips Norelco one blade for regular daily shaving, using this with cremo for a wet shave gives very nice results. It’s not quite as close as a blade or foil shaver but it’s close enough for a normal day. It does an excellent job of cutting the thicker flat lying hairs on my lower neck, even better than my braun series 9. If I am going to a fancy event or taking my wife to dinner I like to pull out the braun series 9 and I’ll dry shave with lectric shave lotion. The braun series 9 gives me an effortless shave that is as close as a blade everywhere except my lower neck, that is a problem area. Even with the series 9 and lectric shave I’ll still get occasional ingrowns and/or irritation on my lower neck if I use it repeatedly so I accept the comfort of the oneblade for daily use and save the braun for special occasions. I dont use the cleaning station with the braun. Instead I blow the hair out, rinse really well with warm water, wash the head with liquid soap and more warm water, then I disassemble and leave it to dry while I shower. After the shower I dump some 70% iso alcohol on the shaver head and after that dries I give it a small spray from aerosol clipper lubricant. I live in an hot tropical climate so aftershave is usually a small amount of alum on the face followed by witch hazel, balms are just too greasy for me. Occasionally I’ll use Osage Rub because the menthol tingle is wonderful and the scent is minimal after it dries.

    Reply
    • Ian,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to share your routine — I enjoyed reading it a lot.

      The lower neck is always tricky and also gets irritated a lot. I’m also fine with a few stray hairs that can’t be cut as close as I’d like. Well I can eventually get it done but now without razor burn and redness. And I don’t think it’s worth it.

      Balms are clearly not the best choice if the humidity is really high. Given your preferences, I think you’d like the Speick After Shave lotion. I don’t use splashes as much, but that one was really good and by far my favorite.

      Thank you again for the comment, much appreciated.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  14. Last year I returned the Philips 9000 prestige because I didn’t think it shaved the upper lip very well. I spent a lot of money on the Panasonic Arc 6 but it shaves so close that I get ingrown hairs. The wet shave with the arc 6 is amazing but I want to shave dry most of the time. Can’t return it now as I’ve had it a few months. Not sure what to get next.

    Reply
    • Hi Ian,

      From what I can tell the Series 9 would make the most sense to get. It’s not exactly affordable, but definitely less than the Arc 6. I think it’s especially good when shaving dry and because it doesn’t cut the hair quite as close as the Arc 6, ingrown hairs should also be less of a problem.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  15. Hi Ovidiu,
    I have a Series 7 790s-4 that’s 9 years old, is missing paint around the head, and seems like it runs a little rough when you first turn it on. I shave every third day and use the cleaning/charging station every time I shave. I was wondering if I should get a Series 9, or just wait until my Series 7 dies. The money isn’t a problem and I was wondering what you would do?

    Reply
    • Hi Kent,

      Thanks so much for the comment.

      9 years is impressive from an electric shaver that gets used constantly. Some wear is definitely there — the fact that is running a bit rough is usually an indicator of that — but as long as it still gives you a decent shave I think there’s no rush in getting a Series 9 right away. I would however keep an eye out for a good deal on the S9/S9 PRO even if the budget is not a problem.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  16. Hi Oviliu,

    I have extremely coarse beard overall, and in some spots I can’t manage to cut the hairs even with a gillette 5 blade razor since they are very flat. On the one hand I can’t simply pass along the grain because it doesn’t get professional enough, but on the other hand if even if I cut against the grain, although some of the hair will cut better and get to a closer shave, the coarser spots still remain and I get razor burn/foliculitis. This makes my beard look unbalanced and unprofessional. Perhaps this is related of me having curly hair.

    Do you have any tips on how I can deal with this and get a presentable shave? This is really affecting my well being so any help would be much appreciated.

    Reply
    • Hi David,

      If you want to stick to a manual razor, be it a cartridge razor or a safety (DE) razor, my advice would be to switch to a better shaving cream (my two favorites from back in the day were the TOBS Avocado and Speick — I still use the later) and also add a pre-shave oil to your setup. I liked the one from Truefitt & Hill, it is a bit pricy, but very effective and easy to apply. Wash your face generously with warm water before your shave (as warm as you can handle), lather the shaving cream with a brush (I recommend the Edwin Jagger best badger brush). You should apply the pre-shave oil to the wet face and then the lather. Let it sit for a few minutes then proceed to shave. Add more water if needed. I would do one pass with the grain, re-lather and do another one across the grain (not against). This should be a good compromise for a close enough shave while minimizing the risk of folliculitis.

      If you want to give electric shavers a try, I would consider either a Panasonic Arc 5 (but you must shave daily or every other day since your hair stays flat to the skin) or a Braun Series 9/Series 9 PRO. The later would be more effective with that type of hair, but won’t shave quite as close as the Arc 5. But it just might be better to keep razor bumps to a minimum.

      Both can be used with shaving cream as well for a closer and more comfortable shave, but you will need to do some tweaks compared to using a manual razor (I have a detailed guide here).

      Hope this helps.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      • Hi Oviliu,

        I sincerely appreciate your comment.
        I have researched the products you mentioned here, as well as in your other guides, and by also comparing to what is available in my country, I have ordered the TOBS lavender (avocado wasn’t available) and the Proraso White Pre-Shaving Cream (I couldn’t find Truefitt & Hill here).
        Once I save some money I’ll think about buying the Braun Series 9 Pro you mentioned.

        Hopefully, these will help my problem.

        Thank you so much.

        Reply
        • Hi David,

          You are very welcome. Great, hope you’ll see an improvement with your shave. Haven’t tried the Lavender variation, but should be great. The Proraso pre-shave should also help (I personally find the oil a bit more effective, but the cream is probably the next best thing).

          Sincerely,
          Ovidiu

          Reply
  17. Ovidiu, your reviews and comments are excellent. I always check out your site for anything new.
    For over 60 years of shaving I was a Norelco user. I have purchased the most expensive models as well as Ovdiu in the middle. I currently use the Phillips 5000X (I prefer the round head design) shaving wet with Edge gel. Very comfortable with acceptable smoothness. As good as the Prestige when used dry. As you say wet shaving takes longer with prep and cleanup time.
    I also have a Braun S9 Sport that I use dry with Lectric shave or Freelette. Definitely a closer shave but the noise and vibration gets to me and I seem to get more ingrown hairs.
    So the OCD side of me loves the foil shaver but the softer side loves the rotary. I’ll be 80 next year maybe by then I’ll figure it out.

    Reply
    • Mike,

      Thank you so much for the feedback and for taking the time to share your experience.

      I agree, those are a couple of intrinsic downsides of foil shavers. I think I’ve gotten so used to the noise that I’m just not bothered by it anymore. But I would of course prefer a quieter shaver with the same performance if I had that choice.

      A closer shave can increase the risk of ingrown hairs, so there’s nothing wrong with owning and alternating between two different shavers. And it certainly seems to make sense here.

      Thank you again for being a regular reader and for your insightful comment.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  18. Hi Ovidiu,

    I’m in the process of researching my next electric razor and your site is incredibly informative, detailed and unique. I’ve found nothing on the web like it. Thank you for all the work you’ve done!

    My shaving routine is unique. I only shave about once every three weeks and I let my beard grow in between shaves. On the days that I do shave, my goal is to get the closest shave possible. I prefer to use electric over blade razors and I have somewhat sensitive skin. My current routine is to use my Remington Beard Trimmer VPG6530 without a guard to remove my beard. I lightly pass the trimmer on dry skin and end up with 3 day-looking stubble. I then wet shave at the sink with a Norelco 2300 and Traders Joes Cream Shave. This process does not give me a very close shave and tends to leave razor burn around the lip and chin area since I have to spend a lot of time getting those spots shaved close.

    Based on your excellent reviews, I am deciding between the Panasonic ARC5 ES-LV65 and Braun Series 9 Pro 9419s without cleaning station (price is not an issue). In your opinion, which razor and which technique (wet or dry) would deliver the very closest shave with a lower chance of burn or irritation to the skin? If I were to dry shave, would I use the Speick pre-shave lotion and if I were to wet shave would I use a cream like the Speick or Proraso Sensitive Shaving Cream. When using a shaving cream, is it best to apply with a brush or fingers? I plan to finish with Proraso After Shave Lotion unless you recommend something that might be better.

    Also, if there is a better method of removing the beard before shaving. I’d appreciate a recommended trimmer or technique.

    Thanks,
    Stuart

    Reply
    • Hi Stuart,

      Thank you so much for the feedback and comment, you’re very kind. I’m glad you found the info useful.

      Because you’ll be using the trimmer before shaving (a must on a 3-week beard), both the Panasonic and the Braun will work very well. However, for the closest possible shave (and also with minimal irritation), the Panasonic Arc 5 + your favorite shaving cream is just unbeatable. The Braun Series 9 + Speick would give you a satisfactory close and comfortable shave (in less time), but in terms of closeness, a wet shave with the Arc 5 is the best.

      I prefer to use my hands and apply the lightly palm lathered cream, massaging the product very well into the stubble. You should also generously wash the face with warm water before applying the shaving cream. I wrote a guide on wet shaving with electric razor and if you have the time, definitely check it out. My favorite shave cream is Speick, but Nivea, Palmolive and Proraso are also very good (not the canned versions though). But if the Trader Joes cream works great for you then you should continue using it.

      The best aftershave balm is the one that works best for you. The Proraso Sensitive is a safe and very good product. I’m currently using 3 and constantly rotate them: Tabac Original balm, Clinique For Men Post-Shave Soother and Pacific Shaving CO Caffeinated after shave. All of them work great and I never get any razor bumps.

      Using a beard trimmer is by far the best way to prepare for a close shave when you’ve been growing a beard for a few weeks.

      Hope this helps.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply

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