How To Shave With An Electric Razor: A Novice’s Guide To Shavers

So you’ve just picked up your first electric razor. Now what? An electric razor isn’t used in quite the same way as a manual razor, so it’s time to learn a new set of tricks.

But just how different is an electric razor compared to a manual one? And what about rotary shavers? In this guide, I’m going to cover these questions and more. I’m going to take you through the differences between foil and rotary razors, what you should do before, during, and after your shave, and how to make the most out of your grooming session.

If you’re wondering how to shave with an electric razor then read on to learn all about it!

Table Of Contents

Foil vs Rotary

We’re going to start with the device itself because how you shave is directly affected by the type of electric razor you have. There are two general types of shaver available, foil and rotary. They may do the same job, but which type is better for you depends on your specific needs. Consider their qualities so that you can choose which type may be better for you.

Foil vs Rotary

Foil shavers use blades protected by a cylinder with holes that let your hairs through. Usage is most similar to manual razors since all you have to do is put the foils to your face, then move it up and down. Compared to rotary razors, they shave closer and aren’t as likely to irritate the skin. They don’t deal as well with thick hair, and they’re not as good at following the contours of your face.

Rotary shavers have circular blades arranged on a head. They’re used by rotating them in circles on the face. The head lets them follow contours better than foil models, so you get a more even shave, and they’re better at dealing with hair growing in odd angles. They’re also a lot better at dealing with thick hair. However, they don’t shave as close, and they’re rougher on the skin.

Both types of electric razors have a foil that prevents the blade from coming too close to the skin. This means that you won’t get cut unless you press too hard, but it also means that your shave won’t be as close as that of a manual razor. If you’re looking for the closest possible shave, manual is the way to go. But if that isn’t a concern, then an electric razor will give you as good a shave as you can ask for, and it’ll go much faster.

Note that while some electric razors are waterproof, this doesn’t always mean you can wet shave with them. Always pay close attention to the manual to be sure whether or not your electric razor is wet shave capable. Wet shaving helps a lot in reducing irritation, so if you have sensitive skin, best to look for a model that’ll let you shave wet.

Before The Shave

First and most important, find the grain. ‘Grain’ is the direction your hair is growing. Rub the places where your facial hair is, and note how it feels. The direction where it feels smooth to your finger is the grain. Shaving directions go ‘with the grain’ or ‘against the grain’, so finding the grain of your facial hair is important. Do this first before anything else, including getting your electric razor.

Make sure you’re charged. There’s nothing more inconvenient than your electric razor dying on you because it ran out of battery partway through. Always check your battery levels before and after you shave, and plug the charger in when you see it running low.

Trim your facial hair. Electric razors don’t work well on facial hair that’s too long. You may need to give your hair a pass with a trimmer first so that it’s short enough for your razor to handle.

Wash your face before you begin, whether you’re going for a wet shave or a dry shave. Use hot or warm water. This will exfoliate the skin on your face and open up the pores, and you’ll have a more comfortable shave with lower chances of cuts or irritation.

During The Shave

If your electric razor is wet shave capable, then apply shaving cream or the shaving product of your preference. This will help reduce irritation and let your electric razor cut closer to the skin. Massage the shaving cream into your facial hair, but don’t use too much. This isn’t like shaving with a manual razor, where you want as much lather as possible.

During The Shave

If you’re doing a dry shave instead, you can use a pre-shave lotion or powder, depending on your preference. These fulfill the same function as shaving cream, only they dry the skin instead of adding moisture. If you’re not using a wet shaving product, then drier is better, so that your electric razor moves smoothly and without any friction.

Don’t press too hard. Put the working end to your skin and press lightly. Let the shaver do the work. If you press too hard, you might irritate the skin, or your skin might actually push past the foil guards and thus suffer cuts from the blades. Gentle pressure is all you need.

How you move your electric razor depends on the type. If you have a foil razor, move back and forth. It’s very similar to a manual razor, just roll the foils along the area you’re shaving. If you have a rotary shaver, move in circles. The direction doesn’t matter, so do both clockwise and counterclockwise based on grain. But don’t feel limited by circles! If you think going straight will shave an area better, do it.

To minimize the chances of injury, use your free hand to pull the skin taut. This gets more of the blade in contact with your skin while also avoiding any snagging that may cause injury. This will also help in dealing with contours and get you a closer shave.

Start with the hard spots. Usually, this is the neck, as the skin there tends to be sensitive, the hairs lie flat, and the grain is typically different compared to other spots. If you already know your trouble spots, start there as well. It’s best to start with the hard spots because they’ll need more attention and give you more hassle. Your electric razor will heat up and use more battery charge as usage continues, so get the hard spots out of the way while you and your shaver are rested and still at 100%.

If you want the closest possible shave, shave against the grain. Electric razors have this a little easier because you’re not going to be injured as you would be with a manual razor. Since your shave won’t be as close as with a manual razor, going against the grain with an electric razor is a lot easier to justify than with a manual one.

After The Shave

After The Shave

A post-shave routine is important. You might not get a blade directly on the skin like with a manual razor, but you can still face razor burn, skin exfoliation, and maybe micro-cuts if you pressed your razor in too hard. Your skin still needs post-shave care. Wash with cold water to close the pores and help soothe any cuts that may have occurred. Pat your face dry with a towel, then apply a moisturizing aftershave. Check the ingredients to be sure you don’t use anything with alcohol, as that’ll sting. Instead, look for ingredients like witch hazel or aloe vera, which will soothe the skin.

Don’t forget to clean your shaver! How you’ll do this depends on what kind of electric razor you have and whether it’s waterproof. If it’s a waterproof model, then cleaning is simple, just run it under a faucet for 30 seconds to a minute, and you’re fine. If it’s got a cleaning station, it’s even easier – just stick it in the cleaning station and let it run. This goes double if you use shaving cream because you don’t want your electric razor getting gunked up by leftover shaving cream.

Most importantly, don’t give up too early. It can take some time for your skin to adjust to your electric razor, especially if you’re already used to a different type of razor. There might be some irritation as you start, but it should subside after a few weeks of use. (If it doesn’t, consult your doctor.) Also, don’t feel bad if your first few shaves go slow. You’ll get faster once you’re used to your electric razor. Better to make sure to get it right the first few times, and once you know what to do, you’ll get faster.


An electric razor might take some getting used to, but once you’ve got your bearings, shaving with one is a fast and hassle-free experience. If you need to save every possible minute, or you just don’t want to have a sharp blade so close to your face, Remember, keep your electric razor charged, don’t press too hard, and don’t overlook your post-shave routine.

If you don’t want to spend any more time than necessary keeping yourself clean-shaven, then learning how to shave with an electric razor can pay off for you.

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