Every man, young and old, at one point in their lives has to take a stand in the debate between “wet shaving” with a razor and “dry shaving” with an electric device. Both methods are widely used, and which you choose is a mostly a matter of personal preference that often has to do with what feels best for your particular skin type.
When to Use Electric
In a rush
We all know the feeling of waking up and remembering that you’ve turned off your alarm while half-asleep and slept through your wakeup call. When you’re stumbling around your place, trying to get your clothes on properly and get out of the house as quickly as possible (but still need a shave) it’s best to go with electric. Not having to apply shaving cream, water, and aftershave is a blessing under these dire circumstances. You won’t get the closest shave, but it will be better than nothing. Best to have an electric razor in the bathroom cabinet, if only for desperate times like these.
Curly hair (razor burn)
If you’re someone who has naturally curly hair this can be a problem when attempting to shave manually with a razor. Curly, dry stubble can quickly produce ingrown hairs—a nasty side effect of hair growing back “in” toward the follicle of the skin which creates the uncomfortable irritations known as “razor burn”.
There are many ways to protect against razor burn, but electric razors tend to be softer on the skin than a blade and are an easy way to avoid it.
Trimming a Beard
Obviously, if you have a well-maintained facial ornament that you’d like to groom but not eradicate, electric shavers with various shave lengths are ideal. Consider a “beard trimmer” for longer facial hair. These electric devices are also quite useful for those in the process of growing a beard—as you proceed through some of the awkward stages of uneven growth, regular trimming with an electric shaver will help keep your mane uniform across the whole face.
When to Use Razor
Need a close shave
If you have some time on your hands, and you’re preparing for an important job interview, auditioning as a face model, or whatever else may require a good close shave, then a wet shave is your best bet. Although electric razors have come a long way in recent years, their effectiveness in terms of closeness of the shave still doesn’t come close to the manual method.
Looking for freshness
There are other benefits to wet shaving aside from just the closeness of the shave. It also is a method of exfoliation, since when you shave manually with a razor you also remove some of the dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. So the crispness you feel after a well-executed wet shave is not only a function of washing and applying lotion to the face. It’s a quite practical way of keeping your skin healthy, if you do it right.
Alternatives (double blade, straight razor)
If you are neither a fan of the standard wet shave nor the electric, there are other options out there.
The double edged safety razor can give you quite a smooth shave and may irritate the skin less than other razor heads with multiple blades. They are also easier to clean and a clean blade is the key to a smooth shave.
If you’re really looking to switch it up, you can always go with a classic straight razor. It may be intimidating at first, but those who use it swear by it and there’s no denying its respectable aesthetic.
The debate goes on, but hopefully this information helped clarify that there isn’t one tried and true method to a good shave – much of it depends on the face, and every face is different. Choose your weapon accordingly.