While no-one can deny the unparalleled clean cut you get from a traditional razor, a good electric shaver can do an equally good job. More and more men are adopting the use of electric shavers, primarily because they make shaving and trimming a lot easier.
At first, using an electric shaver seems to be pretty straightforward. All you need to do is to flip the switch, get to shaving, rinse the blades, dry it off, and tuck it back in. Literally a rinse-and-repeat experience. But here’s what separates the boys from the men: lubricant.
If you’re not lubricating your electric shaver, you’re doing your entire shaving routine wrong. Here are the reasons why.
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Why Do I Need To Lubricate My Electric Shaver?
Lubricant allows the blades of your electric shaver to glide past each other, which reduces heat, increases their cutting power, and makes for a more comfortable shave. This also means you’re less likely to experience the usual side effects of shaving like irritations, cuts, or any blemishes.
Not lubricating your shaver can do a lot of harm. You know all of that shaving cream and beard oil that you keep using? That doesn’t just slide off the blade after you give it a quick shake and a rinse. It seeps into the gaps and holes in the blades, coats the edges, and just interferes with the function of the machine. Together with the tiny hairs that can cling between the blades, it’s a recipe for disaster.
How To Lubricate Your Electric Shaver
So now you know how bad it can get, let’s talk about how to prevent things from getting to that point. How do you lubricate your electric shaver?
Clean Your Razor
Never oil a dirty shaver! If you do that, not only are you wasting some high-quality lubricant, but you’re effectively gluing all the gunk and bits that have stuck to your razor blades. Make sure that you’ve cleaned your shaver before putting even a drop of oil on it, which may or may not require you to take it apart.
For the best results, run the head under running water for a few seconds, and brush any hairs that may be trapped in the blades with a small brush. If there are any stubborn pieces of gunk that you can’t remove (usually if you don’t clean your shaver immediately after use) a few rinses with warm water should loosen them for easier removal.
If they’re really stubborn, one excellent solution I’ve found is to blast the area directly with a can of compressed air. Never blow on it yourself because it can make a good breeding ground for microorganisms and other bacteria that could be in your mouth.
Make Sure All Surfaces Are Dry
On the other end, don’t be too excited to lubricate that you don’t wait for your shaver to dry after you clean it. A wet shaver is a slick shaver, and that means most lubricants won’t work as well. The worst-case scenario is your lubricant gets inside the motor to places where it’s not supposed to, and that will definitely guarantee you a broken shaver the next time you turn it on.
But how do you know if it’s dry? Unfortunately, your naked eye won’t be enough to determine that, especially if you’re using a foil shaver. What I do is usually leave my shaver air-drying for three hours in an area with good circulation, so there isn’t any moisture that gets trapped inside the blades.
Know Your Shaver And Lubricant
There are two things to remember here: the type of shaver you have, and the type of lubricant that you’re using.
- Foil shavers are straight-bladed shavers that use spinning blades to suck up the hair. They’re the most common type of shaver you’ll encounter and work well if you’re looking for a clean look or shave regularly.
- Rotary shavers usually have three circular blades that follow the contours of your face when you shave. They’re favored by men that have thick and long facial hair and don’t trim it often.
There are also two types of lubricant that you can choose from:
- Oil lubricants are light oils (usually made of mineral oil) that are specially designed to work with electric shavers. They’re relatively inexpensive, though they can be tricky to use if you have shaky hands.
- Spray lubricants break down any mineral deposits or oil buildup from your shaver head. They’re a little more expensive, but they’re a quick and easy way of applying lubricant thoroughly.
Once you’ve figured out which is which, you can start putting on your lubricant.
A lot of guys often ask me “should I disassemble my shaver before applying lubricant?” The simple answer: it depends.
If you’re using an oil-based lubricant, you don’t have to. Simply put a few drops of oil on the outside of each foil or rotating shaver heads, run the shaver for a few seconds to make the oil spread evenly, and that should be enough. Gravity (plus the action of the shaver itself) will disperse the oil across your blades.
If you’re using a spray-on lubricant, then you will need to disassemble your shaver. Spray the blades, foils, shaving head, and the inner part of the combs, then put it back together and let the shaver run for a while. Because spray lubricants need to be applied evenly, you might end up using more of your product than oil.
But once you’ve gotten past those, it’s that easy! Blot up any excess lubricant with a paper towel and you’re done.
Establish A Routine
Like any maintenance of any machine, lubricating a shaver is a long-term obligation. You can’t just apply it whenever you feel like it. Establishing a routine might seem like a bore, but this is the step that I’ve seen so many guys skip and end up with patchy beards and broken shavers.
How often should you lubricate your electric shaver? In an ideal world, every time you’re done using it. But if you leave your shaving last minute (or don’t shave that often), two times a week should be enough. A good rule to follow: the more you shave, the more you should lubricate.
Follow all these steps, and I can guarantee you that your shaver will be happily buzzing away at whatever cut or trim you need to have for a long time.
How To Choose The Electric Shaver Lubricant
If you’ve never really used an electric shaver before, you might be a little worried about the type of lubricant that you need to use. There are a lot of brands out there, so I can understand why it’s difficult to pick.
My advice? Just choose the one that the manufacturer recommends for your shaver. They’ll usually show on the packaging what kind of lubricant works best for their product, and that’s the best option for you. I don’t recommend being adventurous with lubricant, it makes a mess and stops you from getting a clean shave.
Other oils to avoid are:
- Motor oil
- Sewing machine oil
- Food-derived oil
- Baby oil
- Any gel or creams
Not only can this stuff wreck your motor and dull your blade, but your skin will probably be allergic to these compounds. And the last thing any man needs is trying to get a clean shave over acne breakouts.
Like any tool in your toolbox, your electric shaver needs a little maintenance to make sure it keeps running for a long time. I know it’s difficult to muster up the motivation to apply that bit of oil now and then, but trust me, it’ll pay off for the next five years.
That’s the most important thing you need to keep in mind: aside from buying the right lubricant and applying it to the right spots, you need to maintain your shaver regularly. Not only does this prevent you from getting a busted razor, but it gives you a smoother cut overall.
If you’re not sure how to care for your specific brand of electric shaver, you can always consult the packaging or the manufacturer’s website for details. There’s also an entire community online that you can check for more tips on maintenance: I find that just typing the model of the shaver on YouTube is a great place to start.
Choosing the right lubricant and keeping up a maintenance routine isn’t the only way to keep your electric shaver in good shape, but it’ll definitely help keep your facial hair well-groomed and maintained for years to come.