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July 25, 2010 7:58 AM   Subscribe

Should I use an electric razor on my newly-bald scalp? And if I don't like the shave, will I be able to return it?

I had my head shaved about 3 weeks ago. Then last week, I bought a Headblade and shaved it myself for the first time. My shower looked like a scene from a slasher flick. And I looked, in the words of Mrs. Distance, "Like I was attacked by a cat."

I assume I'll get better with practice. But even if I do, I don't want to take the time (and risk) of shaving with a regular blade every few days.

So I'm thinking about switching to an electric razor. I tried using one or two on my face years ago and I didn't like it -- my hair was (is) really fine, and the razor pulled out more hair than it cut. Also, the cut was not nearly as close as a regular blade.

I don't need a cue-ball-smooth scalp, though, and I think my hair is thicker than it was. So...

-- Will an electric razor work for me?
-- And if not, would I be able to return it? (The things are damn expensive, and I know I wouldn't want to use a shaver that's been returned.)

posted by PlusDistance to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I can't tell you about the head stuff, but most stores that take returns on opened products mail the back to the manufacturer who either dispose of them or clean and sell them as refurbished. Did you open it yet? Either way, call the store and ask if they take returns on open products and what exactly their definition of "open" is.
posted by griphus at 8:03 AM on July 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I think a set of clippers with a default 0, 00, etc. setting or an outliner like one of the Andis t-blade series would fit your purposes better

Basically, a foil shaver will cut slightly closer but will be more difficult to use on all parts of your head given the shape of the skull and the grain of the hair (and I imagine a rotary shaver would be a huge pain in the ass on the whole skull and take forever). A clipper or outliner will cut anything that gets fed into the comb with a plowing motion rather than anything that sticks up straight enough to get through a shaver's foil.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:04 AM on July 25, 2010

I wouldn't recommend an electric razor for your head, no. I use electric hair clippers, and that's the right tool for the job, IMHO. The headblade is the thing if you want that Telly Savales sheen, but if you're just fine with a little bit of stubble, the hair clippers are fast and easy and won't chop you to bits.

In the past I have also used beard trimmers and regular razors and both were problematic. You know about the razor issue. Beard trimmers don't do well with thick hair on your head if you've let it grow out at all and will jam.
posted by ursus_comiter at 8:05 AM on July 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

I have used Headblade, and while it's a nifty gimmick I ended up returning to the same gillette razor I use on my face.

blade shaving your head does take a bit of getting used to if I remember right, and when you get it wrong you do tend to bleed like a stuck pig (as you've discovered).

if you don't care about absolute cue-ball smoothness, I'd recommend a cheap-ish set of clippers with no comb attached... clippers are cheap, and a #0 cut is pretty close to a proper shave when you can't be bothered shaving (or just need some more practice).
posted by russm at 8:09 AM on July 25, 2010

Never used the headblade (and now likely never will - thanks for the 411!) but I have shaved my head a couple times with my clippers. Once I took that a step further and cue-balled myself with a disposable razor. I had zero problems and zero blood on my first shot. I did, however, take my time in front of a mirror.
posted by FlamingBore at 8:21 AM on July 25, 2010

Best answer: I've never tried an electric on my head because they've always done a poor job on my face. I've been using a Headblade for a few years now and have learned a few things:

-Use a good aftershave. I use Nivea for Men

-Do not apply excess pressure when using it; just use the weight of your hand.

-Let your hand lay relaxed on your head while shaving.

-Go with the grain. If you go against the grain, you'll probably be sore for a day or two (though if you consistently go against the grain, and shave often, your skin will adjust).

-Depending on how fast your hair grows, if you've gone more than 5 days without shaving, give your head a once over with electric clippers.

-Let your thumb be your guide

Here's my shave pattern. It sounds crazy and complicated, but I've found it to be the most efficient way to shave (and it only takes a few minutes).:

From my forehead, straight up the middle to the nape of my neck. Next, I do a line on either side of the first shave line.

Next, I do a line straight back over each ear, ending in the clear path of the first set of strokes, followed by a second set of strokes just north of the first ear path.

This will leave you with a few thin strips up top. Each of these can be easily mopped up with a single stroke.

Now, all that's left if the back of the neck and behind the ears. Lean your head forward for the smoothest path.

Take it extra easy behind the ears; it's way easy to nick yourself on the mastoid process (the bone lump behind your ear).

And again, use only the weight of your hand and DO NOT APPLY PRESSURE!

If you do it regularly, you'll become a pro in no time!
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:31 AM on July 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

I haven't tried an electric razor. I have, however, used electric clippers, and they do work, as people are saying, though I've since found that it's faster and easier to get an even cut with a garden-variety cartridge razor. I would suggest giving that a try before spending more money and time on special-purpose tools.

I tried using one or two on my face years ago and I didn't like it -- my hair was (is) really fine, and the razor pulled out more hair than it cut.

I wouldn't worry about comparisons with shaving your face. I don't use the cartridge razors on my face because it's really painful for me, but they work just fine on my scalp where the skin is much less sensitive.
posted by enn at 8:31 AM on July 25, 2010

Hmmm, I've gone from conventional razor to clippers to electric to headblade, and the headblade gives me the best performance. The electric razor worked fine, too, but took longer and wasn't as smooth.

With the headblade, good shaving cream is essential.
posted by JMOZ at 8:31 AM on July 25, 2010

Another thing:

When you get out of the shower, do NOT rub your head with a towel! This will irritate the hell out of the freshly shorn head. Just gently pat dry.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:33 AM on July 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I used razors for awhile, and had the same problems: occasional large patches of razor burn, cuts, nicks, etc.

I use a Wahl Balder now, and it's perfect. No problems and almost nearly as close.
posted by kcm at 9:24 AM on July 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

IMO/experience, an electric is never the answer. Clippers are fine for trimming but electric razors never leave me feeling shaved. I use a conventional razor - a Mach 3, specifically - with regular old Barbasol and it works just fine. Like anything else, it takes practice and patience. If you're not into taking the time for a razor shave every couple of days, that's your call, but I'm telling you: a couple months of practice and the slasher flick effect will be a distant memory. A couple years of practice and you'll be mighty quick cleaning your scalp and able to do so without looking in a mirror.
posted by EatTheWeek at 10:53 AM on July 25, 2010

One more thing; you write:

I had my head shaved about 3 weeks ago. Then last week, I bought a Headblade and shaved it myself for the first time. My shower looked like a scene from a slasher flick.

Shaving a day or two of hair is much easier than shaving two weeks' growth.
posted by enn at 12:03 PM on July 25, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers, everyone -- very helpful! Just to clarify a couple of things:

FlamingBore, don't let my experience discourage you from trying the Headblade -- I think the problem was my inexperience and bad technique.

enn, I used a trimmer before using the headblade, so the hair was very short before I shaved.
posted by PlusDistance at 12:16 PM on July 25, 2010

I've never shaved my head, but electric razors have been very disappointing on my face. They will do an okay job when I can't use a blade for whatever reason - but if you want to do the job right, use a blade. You'll get the best results at the end of or immediately after a shower.
posted by L. Ron McKenzie at 3:39 PM on July 25, 2010

I used to blade shave my head regularly. The first time, I used electric clippers to trim the hair as short as I could, then I smoothed it out with the blade. The first couple times took some trial and error and were time consuming. Fortunately, practice makes perfect and after two or three shaves, I was fast and clean with the blade and never went looking for a faster solution. I was doing it all by feel in less than 15 minutes after a month.
If you put in a little practice with a blade and find what methods works well for you*, then the time and risk involved in blade shaving your head a couple times a week will disappear entirely and eliminate your need for an electric shaver.

*For me, it was lots of shaving cream, a fresh quality blade, and shaving against the grain FWIW.
posted by Jon-o at 5:33 PM on July 25, 2010

Seconding KCM's recommendation of the Wahl Balder clippers. I used the Balder just two weeks ago to shave my own head. It's great if you don't mind a little head stubble.

Personally, I wanted a closer shave and tried an electric razor. The electric razor did fine for me. I found it worked MUCH better when fully charged, but even then I have to make slow passes in several directions for a really close shave.

The electric razor also does better when I shave every day. Shaving is rougher and slower after a weekend of not keeping my head shaved. If I were to go a whole week, I'd probably use the Balder to trim first, then razor it smooth.

I don't use aftershave. I use Eucerin daily lotion. It really helps relieve the irritation.
posted by Anephim at 10:13 AM on July 26, 2010

get a Wahl Peanut and you will never anything else.
posted by Sprocket at 1:02 PM on July 26, 2010

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