Grooming

100% Irritation-Free Shave: Electric Razor

electric razor irritation free shave razor bumps

When I started shaving as a young lad, I’d never considered an electric razor and was using blades and cream like everyone else.

I was able to get a close, comfortable shave on my face, but every time a blade went anywhere near my neck, razor burn ensued.

Nasty, painful, whitehead-riddled, ingrown hairs that just get cut the next time you shave.

I tried every shaving technique and razor ranging from 1,2,3, 4, or 5 blades paired with gels and creams, but nothing helped.

After several years of misery, my dad gave me a Braun Series 3 electric razor for Christmas.  Thanks to Pops, I experienced an immediate increase in comfort and a reduction of ingrown hairs.

Within a month or so, I was able to achieve a baby butt smooth shave everyday or every other day with minimal irritation.

After a little more trial and error, and some luck, I discovered the secret ingredient to a close, irritation free shave.

If you’re tired of the torture and want relief from the daily pain in the neck, this guide is for you.

To get started you will need:

Step 1 – Prep 

It’s best to use an electric razor with about one to two days of growth. It’s possible to shave with more, but will be a little much for the razor to chew through.

If it’s been a few days since your last shave, run over your face with a beard trimmer first to take the growth down a notch.

Don’t shower or rinse your face at all. You want the skin to be as dry as possible at this point.

Step 2 – Apply the secret ingredient!

Buy yourself some talc powder. I use Clubman Pinaud Talc because it works great and smells like a barbershop.

Put some in your hand and rub it in really well over your entire beard area until it’s well coated. A

t this point, you should look like a raving madman with a powder beard.

I came up with this idea when I noticed that the electric razor would glide nicely over my face if it was dry, but if the humidity was high and I was sweating, the razor would stick, pull, and skip across my skin.

So it only made logical sense that if I could somehow make my face even drier, the razor would glide more smoothly.

Think about how smooth baby powder feels on your skin – that’s what we’re after.

I cannot stress enough the improvement I noticed by adding talc to my routine.

I have tried the gels made specifically for use with an electric razor, but all they did was foam up and prevent me from being able to see what I was doing and made my skin to slick to pull tight to get a close shave.

Step 3 – Shave

Think about gliding the razor over your skin without adding any pressure.

Unlike blade razors, using an electric razor requires that you go against the grain.

The hairs will be guided into the holes of the foil surface, and the cutter head does its work inside.

If you go with the grain, the hairs will just get pushed down against the skin and not make their way inside the razor where they can be cut.

It will actually take awhile to map the direction of every hair but the advantage of an electric razor is that, as long as you aren’t using too much pressure, you can go over a single area many times until you get it right.

Step 4 – Clean the electric razor

Remove the foil head, brush the cutter (with the little brush that will come with your razor), blow out the dust and you’re done.

It’s actually a good idea to do this a few times during the shave because the hair and powder collects inside and can slow down the cutter head speed.

Step 5 – Shower

As I said earlier, avoid showering before you shave with an electric razor as the skin will be soft and tacky, causing the razor to skip and pull.

Showering at the end also gives you the advantage of being able to exfoliate after the shave and to apply moisturizer right out of the shower for a smooth, comfortable, healthy feeling.

Since you haven’t actually removed the the outer layer of skin as with a blade, your face will be more resistant to over drying after using an electric razor.

Wrapping it up

Give yourself some time to learn the correct pressure and the direction of hair growth.

To get completely smooth, you’ll need to manipulate the skin by puffing your cheeks, pulling the neck, or curling your lip. This is part of the learning process and will be well worth it.

Give talc a chance.

I really think this is the main reason most men don’t like electric razors – guys are trying to shave tacky, post-shower skin as they might with a typical wet-shave routine. And it just doesn’t work.

I’ve been using this technique since December 2001 and I’m currently on year 4 of my second Braun Series 3 razor.

The large upfront investment (compared to disposable razors) is well worth it in the long run as the cost per shave is almost non-existent.

And you can’t really put a price on not having to deal with ingrown hairs.

Oh, and did I mention it’s fast?  Yeah, I can achieve a baby butt smooth shave on my face and neck in less than 10 minutes.

Have you used a similar method?

Got anything better? Let me know in the comments section.

All the best,

Nate

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13 Comments

  • Reply
    Mike
    June 2, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    Hey Nate,
    Just now coming across this post. Finally an alternative that makes sense (in theory, I still need to see if it works ;) I have the exact same problem; razor touches the neck, instant razor burn! I just ordered some talc and the series 3…here’s hoping! Thanks for the post.

    • Reply
      Nate
      June 2, 2015 at 10:53 pm

      Mike, I’m super pumped to have someone else try this!

      This was one of my first posts and I feel like I’m sitting on a gold mine that no one is reading. With this technique, I was able to get an extremely close shave with so little irritation that I could splash aftershave on my face and not even feel a tingle.

      Like anything else, it’ll take a little time to get used to the light touch needed to get it done so feel free to ask any questions you want. I’d love to see this catch on!

  • Reply
    Mike
    June 24, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    Okay, back to report.
    I wanted to leave it a little longer than a week so I had a good amount of time to try this out more than once. I want to provide a real “review”.

    The Pinaud talc: awesome. Smells great and does what it’s supposed to, reduce skin moisture albeit a little messy.
    The Braun Series 3 razor: Good compact, simple razer (mine came with an edge trimmer!)

    My experience: First time I did it was the most frustrating and time-consuming process on the planet. I was ready to toss this out the window but figured I would give it another go. The second, third and fourth time were significantly better, faster and smoother. I realized the first time I did it, my neck stubble was a little too long and the razor was having a hard time with it, increasing the number of times I had to go over the same area.

    Now that I have a few rounds of practice, it’s my go to way of shaving. Zero ingrown hairs, no cuts to re-open next time I shave and ALMOST zero irritation (I still get a few bumps but WAY less than with shaving with a blade). Thanks for this! Now I’ll have to try to convince others to try it.

    • Reply
      Nate
      June 24, 2015 at 11:04 pm

      That’s exactly what I was hoping to hear!

      I’m really glad you that stuck with it. There are a few techniques you have to get used to, but the results are well worth it.

      You’re going to continue to get better and better until you’re able to get a perfectly smooth, irritation free shave in just a few minutes.

      For me, the ideal frequency was to shave on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. After 48 hours your whiskers will be the perfect length for the next shave.

      Keep at it and let me know how it’s going in a few weeks!

      P.S. Don’t forget to remove the “foil” and tap it out in the sink several times during the shave so the Pinaud doesn’t build up and slow it down.

  • Reply
    Another Mike
    August 2, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    Some series 3 razors as well as other brands/models are wet-dry and can be used with cream in the shower. Some find that even faster and less irritating. Have you tried that?

    • Reply
      Nate
      August 2, 2015 at 10:33 pm

      I have tried using my electric with shaving gel, but didn’t like it. I prefer to be able to pull the skin tight to get every bit of stubble and the slickness prevented that. I know some people have good luck with that method, though.

  • Reply
    Andy
    August 16, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Nate,

    Tried this out for the first time yesterday. My face feels good but dry. Do you have any suggestions for a good after shave or moisturizer?

    • Reply
      Nate
      September 6, 2015 at 1:53 pm

      I (used to) like to shave with this method before showering. Since an electric razor doesn’t exfoliate like a blade, I would use some kind of scrub and then follow up with a good lotion after the shower. I’ve had really good luck with products from SheaMoisture for men. They have an amazing scent and work great!

  • Reply
    Mahomed
    September 10, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    Hi Nate

    Just wanted to say thanks for the tips. Like others, I found your site through B&D. I didn’t have the Clubman Pinaud Talc (and TBH it’s a bit expensive here in the UK), so I just used some baby powder (probably a bit too much but I was going to jump in the shower anyway). I must say that the powder combined with not pressing as hard resulted in a nice close shave in half the time (I also have the Braun Series 3 ironically). Just wanted to say these tips are gold and thanks! I’ll probably be purchasing Casual 101 and heading out shopping next week to change my appearance too. I’ve been reading through your blog and I’m inspired!

    • Reply
      Nate
      September 10, 2015 at 6:14 pm

      It’s a wonderful feeling isn’t it? That’s a shame that Clubman Talc is expensive there, but it’s good to know that baby powder works just as well. All of the barber shops I’ve been to use it to dust your neck so it nice to have that”fresh cut” smell at home.

  • Reply
    Mahomed
    September 11, 2015 at 11:19 am

    I may still buy a bottle of Clubman Talc just to compare. I guess it’s a bit unfair to say it’s expensive, but it’s certainly more than I feel is worth paying for it (approx. £10 which is about $15)

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