: Electric razors versus blades

May 17th, 2010, 11:33 PM
Got out of the habit of shaving daily with my usual multi-blade and shaving gel. I have no issue with the quality of the shave.

Chemo = no hair so the habit got busted.

Now I find I let my beard go a few days then it's a chore.

How good are electrics these days on a beard a few days old?

I'm thinking of getting an electric and keeping it by the desk so insteand of the ritual of blade and creme and softening the beard ..yada yada....

I can just do a quick electric clean up.

In particular how well do they do on neck and around lips.
Neck from an irritation standpoint.
Lips - don't like little bristles.

Specific models and experience appreciated.

Especially recent switchers in either direction.


May 17th, 2010, 11:41 PM
I would not bother. On stubble a couple of days old you will get lots of blade dulling and pulling which will lead to ingrown hair and damage to follicles. A decent multi-blade (my favorite is the Gillette Mach 3 with vibration) will give a better shave and takes less time than an electric. Overall the cost of blades which seems quite high will probably not be more than the cost of electric and the subsequent replacements you will do over the years (they don't last long in my experience) and the blades need to be replaced in electric as well.

May 17th, 2010, 11:48 PM
I use a Mach 3 - standard - as I mentioned I'm quite happy and blades last a long time for me if I lather up properly.

Thanks for comments.

May 17th, 2010, 11:52 PM
The solution here is not more blades but fewer. Best bet would be old fashioned straight razor. A safer choice would be the good old double edged Gillette safety razor. Since the blades contain zero plastic they are also environmentally friendlier than the multi-blade alternatives.

You should get three to four weeks out of a blade. Blades are about $1 apiece

May 18th, 2010, 12:03 AM
I shave three different ways, depending on the situation. I use a four blade Gillette, a Philips electric and a straight razor handed down to me by my grandfather.

I use the electric about 75% of the time. It is my third Philips in 30 years at about 240 shaves a year. During that time I had one set of blades sharpened in the 12th year of service of the middle razor which lasted 14 years and was working when I gave it away to one of my son's friends. All were the three head model. The two head version do pull and I would stay away from them. I had a battery powered travel portable version which was a nightmare and it got tossed early on.

A Philips will last far longer than any other brand. My current razor is now just over eight years old and works just fine and has never had a blade sharpened. I frequently skip a day or even two since retirement and it will clean me up with nary a pull and I have never had an ingrown hair from a Philips.

Considering I shave on average four days a week with the electric, the math makes that over 1,600 shaves and trouble free. That compares favourable to my first two Philips which both lasted around the ten year mark.

I'm not sure what model it is, but it is similar to the one shown below. Clean up is a breeze, just run hot tap water over it and let it dry out. Cost me about $90 as I recall and they are about the same price now.

It won't compare to a four blade shave of course, nor does a four blade compare to the straight razor. But if a clean up is all you want, it's a dependable good quality, long lasting razor. And yes, it will take off a two day growth without any pulling whatsoever.

But do not buy it for the sideburn and mustache trimmer. That is a cruel joke on these razors. I have used it in a pinch, but it sucks and I use a mustache trimmer for that purpose.

May 18th, 2010, 12:05 AM
Have never found an electric anywhere close to the performance of blades.

May 18th, 2010, 12:48 AM
Have never found an electric anywhere close to the performance of blades.

Ditto. I would need an arsenal of electrics to cover the convex and concave undulations of my face and neck.

May 18th, 2010, 01:02 AM
Ditto. I would need an arsenal of electrics to cover the convex and concave undulations of my face and neck.

OMG! That calls for a pic! :D

May 18th, 2010, 03:02 AM
Have never found an electric anywhere close to the performance of blades.


I cannot shave daily however. I have to wait for at least two days of growth to have a decent shave. Otherwise I become a razor burned mess. Shaving with the grain also does nothing for me, I must shave up against the grain. Always been that way.

May 18th, 2010, 06:24 AM
I often use as Philips very similar to the one Sinc posted. Not as close as a blade but no chance of razor burn and it's quite close and consistent. Takes less time and is less messy, too. Alas, it's not as effective under the jaw, I find. The unit cleans up very nicely under the tap - shake out the excess water and let it dry out, hey presto. This is the first of many electrics I've tried over the years that I actually enjoy using.

For closer shaves it's your classic lather up job and a three-blade razor.

As an aside, I continue to be dismayed by the egregious prices these tiny hunks of metal and plastic cost us, but women have it much worse. This razor business looks like a license to print money.

May 18th, 2010, 08:09 AM
Max, what you are paying for is cutting edge technology. The new 10 blade will put all of your others to same, and with the signal gel strip to let you know, not only the blades are getting dull, but when you need to shave, who can complain about a device that makes you look like Charles Atlas in the morning all for $16 each.

The Doug
May 18th, 2010, 08:18 AM
Have never found an electric anywhere close to the performance of blades.

+1. I'm not going to waste any more money on electric models in the hope they'll give me acceptable results. I'll stick with my three-blade disposables and some good shaving cream (current favourite is Life brand ultra-rich something or other - it's very nice and, well, rich).

As an aside, I continue to be dismayed by the egregious prices these tiny hunks of metal and plastic cost us, but women have it much worse. This razor business looks like a license to print money.

Yep. I bought some Gillette three-blade disposables last week... more than $9 after tax for a four-pack. Galling price but the shave is great and these are pretty well the only ones that don't give me skin irritation & ingrown hairs.

May 18th, 2010, 08:38 AM
Have never found an electric anywhere close to the performance of blades.

+1. But I am forced to use a Braun electric. Bloody (literally) mess otherwise.

May 18th, 2010, 10:40 AM
As an aside, I continue to be dismayed by the egregious prices these tiny hunks of metal and plastic cost us, but women have it much worse. This razor business looks like a license to print money.


May 18th, 2010, 11:03 AM
I used to use the Schick 3 blade razor. It worked well. I actually like the scruffy look, so I shave every 4 days or so. I found blades would irritate my skin.

I now have a Phillips Cool Skin electric... switched about a year and a half ago. It's the one that works wet or dry, and has little "pouches" of shave gel that you can squeeze onto the blades as you shave. If you're looking for "as close as a razor", the wet shave with the gel will do it. It is literally no different than a razor. But I find it a bit awkward to use, and my sensitive skin didn't like it. (However, that could be because I was doing it on 4 day old growth) Shaving dry works very well for me. 95% as close as a razor. Works very well around the lips. Does irritate my neck a bit, but I find using a good after shave reduces that a substantially (currently using Gillette Fusion HydraSoothe). Very rarely do I get hair pulling now that I am used to using it (gentle small circles works best). Clean up takes 10 seconds. Cordless. Portable. Love it. As mentioned, using on 4 day old growth, for a year and a half, and original blades are still working as good as the day I bought it.


Lichen Software
May 19th, 2010, 07:22 AM
Of the electrics I have used, only Phillishave is of any value. I get at least 10 years out of one.

That being said, a blade will always shave closer especially with a good lather.

Shaving after a day or two of growth with an electric, shave against the grain, pressing lightly and using several passes. It is really easy to end up with in grown hairs. Many passes lightly seems to help with this.

For blades, I have been using cheap 2 blade disposables, Bic I think ( It has been awhile). They have been most servicble and I get about a week out of one if I am using it regularly. The shaving soap really makes a difference. I was using a gel from Guillet for sensitive skin. It seemed to really cut down on rash. I had tried a Barbaral soap and it was too harsh and dried everything out. Same thing with a soapcake with a brush.

May 19th, 2010, 10:12 AM
I haven't used an electric since the day the Braun I had stopped in mid cut on my face and would not let go of the beard - it literally hung of my face!!! :mad: Serious ouch pain!! :mad: It required careful scalpel work by a trusted friend to cut it loose beard hair by beard hair. Even so there was blood and careful scrutiny can still find small scars to this day.

Lately I've been using a Gillette Fusion (the un-powered version) and the cut is good and they last a long time.

I've given up on special shaving cream/gel/soap since I found that I get great results with a simple olive oil soap.

May 19th, 2010, 10:25 AM
I used an electric (Phillishave) in my twenties and early thirties when my beard was still relatively soft. I had to give it up when I started getting constant ingrown hairs, as it just wasn't cutting my hardening beard very well.

I have had a goatee for years so I only have to shave about half my face now and I usually only do it every other day. A blade is just as fast when you don't have all those extra contours to go around and provides a superior cut so it is a blade all the way for me.

May 19th, 2010, 05:00 PM
I use a fairly inexpensive Conair trimmer on my beard usually and shave up the the neck with a Mach 3 when it gets bad. I tried an electric razor for shaving once and hated it. It pulled on the hairs and they grew back way too fast.
I recommend trimming with the occasional touch up shave for best results.

Also, running your 3 blade razor against a piece of leather or jeans helps increase the longevity of the blades.

May 19th, 2010, 07:01 PM
Also, running your 3 blade razor against a piece of leather or jeans helps increase the longevity of the blades.

Essentially what you are doing here is what I've been doing for forty years. Using the material as a strop.

I sharpen my straight razor this way all the time with a hanging leather strop:

Razor strop - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Razor_strop)

May 19th, 2010, 10:01 PM
I've had to shave daily since I was 13, and found the irritation on my neck incredibly painful. So much so that I grew a beard in my second year of university. I use an electric (Braun) razor on my neck and for trimming every second day, and it looks good and isn't painful. Since 1979, I've had 3 electric razors, a Remington that lasted about 13 years, then a Braun corded that I used for another 14, and a cordless Braun since. I find that they have worked great for me.

May 20th, 2010, 08:27 PM
Electrics are adequate, in a pinch or if you have a special circumstance; traveling or if your beard grows noticeably throughout the day and you need a fresh shave for some social reason and can't make it home in between work and event.

But, razors are the only way to go if you need a superior shave.

About 10 years ago I tried shaving oil instead of foam/gel/shaving soap/etc.

I've been using it since, with store-bought disposable razors. It's sad that you can't buy a decent razor these days and have to resort to disposables, which actually do come with fewer than 5 blades. I can't use Bic's (think of the cover to the Frank Zappa album "Weazels Rip My Flesh") but a 2 or 3-blade works fine.

They can handle being rapped against the sink to clear whiskers while the fancy handle/disposable blade units just explode under that ordinary non-abusive use, throwing the blade into the drain in protest.

The oil is basically a few aromatic oils cut with large amounts of vegetable oil; Canola is fairly common. At about $5 for a 2-ounce bottle, it's expensive for what it is, but a bottle lasts much longer than a can of foam or gel, so you can put up with the cost if you want.

For about the last five years I just refil the bottle with straight Canola Oil. Works fine, costs literally pennies.

I really love being able to see the entire beard when I shave with the oil, and it's super-quick; I can shave from entering the bathroom to being dry and out in two minutes. It would take me five with foam or gel; and I get a very close shave.

Splash with water; put three drops oil in the palm of your hand; rub with the other palm; apply to face. You're supposed to wait 30 seconds for the next step, but I just go straight to it: splash again a few times with water. Shave.

Like any change in shaving habit, you may have to use it for three weeks or so to see if you like it. Chances are any change (eg blade to electric) is going to cause some issues with the first shaves but you get accustomed to it quickly.

If after three weeks you still don't like it, keep looking.

To refill a bottle; put a few ounces of your handy vegetable oil in a cup, put the bottle upside down in the oil, and squeeze the air out, letting the bottle suck up the oil when it expands back to it's regular shape. Or, if you want to skip buying the first bottle altogether, use a medicine bottle with an eyedropper. Three drops ... that's all you need.

If you do end up liking it and your girlfriend/wife/friend-with-benefits seems interested, go straight for the canola only for her. The aromatics in the oil designed for men's faces will be a little sensitive on the usually shaved parts for her.

May 20th, 2010, 10:07 PM
I use, or used to until i let the beard grow, an old Gillette Sensor handle, with the twin blades from the ladies version of the sensor, since they have an aloe strip on the edge rather than teflon, which makes me itch. Also use shaving soap with a badger hair brush. Formerly used Williams shaving soap, but now use Wilkinson shave soap. Still do when i do a neck trim. every week or so.

Even better is going to a proper men's barber and getting a straight razor shave and a beard groom. A nice treat every few weeks.

While we are on the subject of grooming, guys, treat your self to a proper manicure once in a while. And say yes to the clear top coat. Your nails will look nice for quite a while. After almost 50 years i somehow managed to suddenly stop biting my nails and let them grow, and a manicure every once in a while keeps them looking good. Learn how to use a nail file.