Shaving the neck with an electric shaver deserves its own topic in my opinion.
Among the many things that make shaving a real chore for many men, the neck is almost always in a top spot.
As a former wet shaver, I can recall it was literally a pain to shave my neck.
Switching to electric did improve things quite a bit, but it took some serious trial and error until the comfort and closeness improved to a level where I could finally say that I am happy with the results.
In this article I will share what I consider to be the most important adjustments you can make in order to drastically improve your experience and actually look forward to your next shave.
The problem with shaving your neck
There are quite a few problems, actually.
- It’s the part that has the most sensitive and highly vascularized skin, so any irritation and razor burn will cause a higher discomfort. It’s also the area where hairs often grow parallel to the skin, making ingrown hairs a lot more likely to appear.
- There are multiple areas on the neck where the hair changes the direction of growth and you must do some sort of mapping to be able to shave it efficiently.
- The shape of the neck and all the nooks and crannies offer little leverage and just make shaving more difficult.
- Stray hairs are often left behind when using an electric razor, requiring additional strokes.
- The constant rubbing of collars makes the skin on the neck susceptible to irritation.
So let’s see how we can address all these issues.
Tips for shaving your neck with an electric razor
Before getting to the actual specifics of shaving the neck, I want to mention that it is extremely important to get the basics right.
This means two things: using the right shaver — especially if you have coarse facial hair or sensitive skin — and having an effective pre-shave routine. I highly recommend reading those topics as well.
With that out of the way, let’s get started.
1. Always start your shave with the neck.
The reasons for this are plentiful; it requires the most time, attention and strokes, so you’ll want to be patient and thorough.
We tend to be more sloppy and impatient toward the end of our shaving sessions, so it’s a good idea to start off with the tricky parts.
Moreover, the foil of the razor tends to get hot as you use it and cause irritation and discomfort. And that’s bad for the sensitive skin on your neck.
2. Use a pre-shave lotion.
This is included in the pre-shave routine mentioned above, but it doesn’t hurt to mention it explicitly.
If you don’t use shaving cream with your electric razor (and here is why you should give it a chance), a pre-shave lotion is the next best thing.
It makes the hairs stand up, offers a layer of lubrication and absorbs the moisture of the skin. This can make a significant difference for most men in terms of comfort and closeness and it’s particularly effective for the neck.
3. Shave regularly.
Longer hair can cause problems for even the most advanced shavers.
It’s also more likely to experience some pulling if you haven’t shaved in more than three days (depending on how fast your beard grows).
Hairs also tend to lie flat on the neck more than on other parts of your face, and having not shaved for a few days only makes this worse.
You should however allow your skin a few days to heal between shaving sessions if you suffer from razor burn or ingrown hairs.
It’s a good idea to use a facial hair trimmer to reduce the stubble to a more manageable length prior to shaving if you haven’t shaved in a long time; you’ll be avoiding the discomfort of unnecessary passes, hairs getting yanked and the frustration of stray hairs that would get left behind.
4. Adjust the direction of the strokes so that you’re always shaving against the grain.
The neck is one area where it’s more likely to have hairs growing in different directions. Then there are the flat-lying hairs and going with or across the grain is pretty much futile.
So unlike traditional shaving, you should always go against the grain with an electric shaver.
If you’re using a rotary razor, the direction of the circular pattern should also be against the grain, even though this is less of a problem in this case.
5. Adjust the angle and length of the strokes.
Depending on which particular area of the neck you’re shaving, you’ll need to use longer or shorter strokes.
Use long strokes for large areas with hair growing in one direction, like the front part of your neck, starting from just beneath your chin and down to your Adam’s apple.
You’ll also want to use short strokes to tackle the usually smaller areas where the hair grows in a different direction.
Also, just below the jawline, there is a tricky area where you’re also better off with using short strokes, always making sure to adjust the angle and direction of the razor.
Again, going against the grain is the key here.
6. Tilt your head back, raising your chin to stretch the skin on the neck.
You can also use your free hand to further stretch the skin and make the hairs stand up.
7. Experiment with various approaches regarding the shaving technique until you find something that works best for you.
This includes dry/wet shaving, more/less pressure, and longer or shorter strokes.
8. Always follow up with a soothing, hydrating balm.
Just because we ditched the blade doesn’t mean the post-shave treatment is obsolete. It’s actually just as necessary. And the neck is the most sensitive area for most men, so definitely don’t skip this step.
Hopefully these tips will come in handy and make shaving the neck less of a chore.
As mentioned previously, you will have to experiment with different techniques and probably different electric razors in order to get satisfactory results.
9 thoughts on “How to Shave Your Neck with an Electric Razor: 8 Tips for a Smooth Shave”Leave a comment
I have done all these things and my Braun 6S still does not shave my neck very well.
Sorry about that. The S6 is in my opinion the limiting factor here — it’s just not a particularly capable shaver. Performance-wise, it’s more similar to a Series 3 than it is to the (original) Series 7 for example.
I do everything you suggest here but I’m curious to know your thoughts on tilting the head down (sort of scrunching up your neck) in order to make the hair stand up.
I switched to electric shaving about 6 weeks ago and overall am happy with the results, as I no longer experience the ingrown hairs and cuts associated with traditional wet-shaving. Up until this point I’ve been tilting my head back (as you suggest) and experiencing no cuts, but still a rather patchy result on the neck. Today I also titled my head down and got every single hair, but also wound up with a razor-burn on my Adam’s apple.
Any tweaks that are safe and help you get a better shave are worth a shot. I’m not exactly sure how tilting the head down makes the hairs on the neck stand up as it’s the opposite of keeping the skin taut. Any wrinkles and sogginess can make it more likely for the shaver to inflict some nicks and razor burn.
I would also take extra care when shaving over the Adam’s apple as the skin is very thin and sensitive (only apply the lightest pressure). Also, the Adam’s apple is a hard cartilage without much give, so if you press too hard even a mild shaver can cause some razor burn.
Thank you Ovidiu, that’s a good point. Perhaps I’ll try one pass with my head level (as opposed to tilted down), and then one tilted back.
I just wanted to follow up and share the great success I just had!
I tilted my head back (but not too far), and also I’ve recently switched to Cremo and the alcohol based AS; wow is all I can say. I have zero irritation, and the shave is comparable to a wet-shave.
I’m using the newer Braun S5 but perhaps in the future I’ll upgrade when this razor has run it’s life. For now I’m more than satisfied.
That’s awesome, Chris, seems like you found a winning setup.
I need a new electric razor. I have always had better luck with foil types. Do you think a Braun 7 series or a one of the Remington series would be better. I do have issues with my neck but because of a large scar. I don’t have sensitive skin issues. I do have a budget. I have also many negative comments a about the 9 series. What do you recommend
If you can still find one of the older generation Series 7 and it’s a good deal, I’d say go for it. It’s one of the safest buys when it comes to electric shavers. I wouldn’t really recommend any Remington if you’re usually having a difficult time shaving your neck. None of the ones I’ve used for the past 10 years were particularly good at that. The Series 9 had some reliability issues and hence the mixed reviews. Performance-wise, it’s also a great shaver, with a profile very similar to the Series 7. I find the standard S9 smoother and a bit more enjoyable to use compared to the newer S9 Pro. The Pro does have more power and gives maybe a slightly closer shave, but at the expense of comfort.