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 more than 20 years ago and along the way I’ve bought, 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 2023
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.
Obviously, for these two scenarios, shaving dry or wet, I am using 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
- Pre-shave lotion: Speick
- Aftershave balm: Tabac Original
- Lubricating oil: Oster blade lube
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.
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, smoother and really in a league of its own for catching those stubborn flat-lying hairs which 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 any other razor.
The closeness is easily good enough considering how comfortable, fast and effective this shaver is.
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. After all, it is objectively better, albeit by a small margin.
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 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.
But for me, the non-Pro Series 9 is the one that makes a bit more sense.
I use a 93xx (9385cc/9390cc) model with a cc station. I do not use the station after every shave though, but rather once a week.
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.
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.
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):
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 I 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.
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.
Lubricating oil: Oster blade lube
If you don’t have a cleaning station or you don’t always use it, it’s recommended to lubricate the blades once a week or after every cleaning that involved 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.
These are cheap 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).
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
- Shaving cream: Speick or Jack Black Shaving Lube
- Aftershave balm: Tabac
- Lubricant: Andis CoolCare Plus or Clippercide
Shaver: Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV65
My shaver of choice whenever I have the time and mood for a wet shave is the Panasonic Arc 5.
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.
It’s just something about it that I really 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 really excels at providing a really 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.
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 came in a tube, it is vastly superior.
Lubricant: Andis CoolCare Plus or Clippercide
For my Panasonic shavers, I actually 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.
In order to keep the blades cool, especially in the case of the ES-LV65, I will use one of the aforementioned sprays.
I’ve noticed that they 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.
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
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.
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 during 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 special USB cable specifically made for Panasonic shavers.
This way I don’t have to bring along the Panasonic charger and I simply use my phone’s USB A charger.
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.