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July 11, 2007 2:36 PM   Subscribe

Which Electric razor is the best for sensitive skin?

I just landed a job were I will have to shave daily. I want to switch from a manual to an electric razor for ease and speed of use. I've tried my dads cheap one but my face always burns afterwards. I assume this is because his is old. I am willing to spend up to 200 dollars so I assume there has to be one out there that will work for me.

Also I would like one I could use in the shower if possible. Many people suggest it reduces irritation to shave with the steam and such. I've seen the Norelco one with the lotion that comes out... any thoughts on if this actually works to reduce irritation?

I've read almost all of the posts here on askme so please, no need to mention those. I ask again because this is a very specific question and the last thread was almost 8 months old.

If it makes any difference I currently use a Mach 3 Turbo. My hair is medium in terms of thickness and medium to light in terms of density.

If I was a wealthy man I would simply go out and buy several until I found the right shaver, but it would be great if the hive mind could help me nail it on my first purchase, since I am indeed not a wealthy man!
posted by crewshell to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Every electric razor I've ever tried irritates my skin eventually. They start out okay, but as the blade and foils age they start to make my face red, puffy, and itchy. It's like I'm allergic to the little bits of my own hair and skin I can't get out of the razor completely. I can buy some time by replacing the blade and foils more often than they recommend, but I switched to using a blade for the past year, and haven't had any problems again. It's really not any slower, unless you were planning to save time by taking your electric with you in the car.
posted by rossmik at 2:48 PM on July 11, 2007

I've never used a blade. Well, I tried it once, and that irritated my skin more than an electric razor ever did.

Norelcos are crap, in my opinion. I've been using Braun Synchros (warning: flash with sound) for a few years. The one I have came with a stand, which charges and cleans the razor (you can also just charge it with the cord alone), and overall am very satisfied with the product.

The trick with keeping your skin un-irritated is what you apply afterwards. Most commercial aftershaves are too strongly scented for my taste, so I use Aveeno Lotion, which is unscented, nice and thick, and soothes my skin wonderfully.
posted by jeffxl at 2:53 PM on July 11, 2007

I always feel like I've been hit with a lawnmower after using an electric. So lemme tell you about the single best shaving situation of my life -

Baby oil. Seriously. Gel lubricants and foam are not your friends Daily doses make your skin thin as tissue paper. But if you instead use baby oil and a regular razor (mach 3 is just fine) you'll soon toughen your skin up a bit. You'll have to go slow at first, but after about a week, your chin will grow quite durable.

After that, shaving is stupid easy. Your oiled blade can glide through your whiskers in just under a minute, and your tougher skin will allow for a closer shave. It really works!
posted by EatTheWeek at 3:36 PM on July 11, 2007 [2 favorites]

Doesn't answer your question, but I'd stick with the blade. Every year or two get sick of the blade and buy the most recommended electric and can't stand it. Shaving with steel wool would be preferable.

If time is a problem I recommend Gillette fusion (the 5 bladed one) Get the one with the vibrate-y handle and use a non-foaming shave gel and you'll shave about twice as fast. At least for me. The primary speed increase is that I don't have to shave the same area twice and/or in a different direction to get all the hairs.

Brauns have been the best electrics I've used, but they both miss way too much hair and irritate my skin.
posted by Ookseer at 3:36 PM on July 11, 2007

I find the Norelco Cool Lotion razors really great - smooth, works in the shower and they even offer a 'sensitive skin' version of the lotion.
posted by filmgeek at 3:44 PM on July 11, 2007

I haven't used an electric for ages, but when I was everyone I tried had a 90 day satisfaction guarantee. Which I used a few times, no questions asked.

but a 'good' electric shave will take just as long as a blade, and the shave is never as good. If you don't like blade shaving, or it is taking too long, you might not be doing it right. Take a look at these videos. They'll teach you everything you need to know about shaving. For me, shaving went from long and painful to short and delightful.
posted by nazca at 4:23 PM on July 11, 2007

I have to second the auto-cleaning Braun models. I have tried many different blades (and a zillion different kinds of shaving oils, foams, etc) and several electrics. The Braun is the first one that gives me no problems with irritation or razor bumps.

The auto-cleaning is not only convenient, it lubricates the blades as well, which probably has a lot to do with how well it works.

Doesn't meet your desire to use it in the shower, though -- it works best to use it beforehand when everything is good and dry.
posted by SpookyFish at 5:35 PM on July 11, 2007

Some important things about electric shavers:

Sensitive or not, some guys are rotary guys, and some guys are foil guys. Rotary guys will get a crappy, irritating shave from a foil shaver, and foil guys will get a crappy, irritating shave from a rotary shaver. Foil shavers tend to be less irritating in general and give a closer daily shave. Rotary shavers are the best bet if you leave a couple days' growth occasionally.

Both guys will get a crappy, irritating shave for the first few weeks of using it. And even then it won't compare to a blade -- one of the benefits of a blade is "gets it over fast and then leaves the skin alone". But you do get used to it.

But because it takes a month or so of daily use for your skin to get used to an electric shaver, both Braun (primary manufacturer of foil shavers) and Philips (Norelco in the US, primary manufacturer of rotary shavers) have at least 30-day money-back guarantees -- if after two months you don't like the shave or it's hell on your skin or whatever, they'll take it back and refund your money.

And don't use them around shower time -- unlike with a blade you want your pores closed when you shave with an electric to minimize irritation.
posted by mendel at 7:10 PM on July 11, 2007

I used to use an electric and found that when I used it right after I got out of the shower (mine wasn't an in-the-shower type), my face was more irritated than when I did it at some totally different point of the day. I thought I was just weird until I heard mendel mention it. Anyway, YMMV, and I was using a Remington rotary.

I've thought a bunch about getting one of those cool self-cleaning Braun units (the 'hair dust' in the Remington was obnoxious), but overall I'm pretty happy ever since I switched to Mach 3s.

The Remington wasn't a bad shaver or anything, it was tough as nails, for starters -- I beat the tar out of it when I was in the Army -- and it was sometimes nice to be able to shave without water and without getting wet, but I don't think I'd ever go back.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:29 PM on July 11, 2007

For religious reasons I don't use a straight blade, and have always used an electric. Don't get me wrong, I long for the smooth shave of the blade, but it's as much an option as ham. Which is to say, it's not.

I've been using the Norelco 8894XL for about two years. It's just about conked out on me (well, the heads have), but it's been a good ride. There has been irritation, but I find it's better if I shave before rather than after the shower.

It doesn't do a great job with the straight pop up trimming thing, but I have a separate beard trimmer for that.

I'm actually also in the market for a new shaver, but if I don't see anything better recommended in this thread, I'll probably just get some new heads for my 8894XL.

Here's a lengthy review.

Oh, and James Bond used it, so it's good enough for me.
posted by prophetsearcher at 7:49 PM on July 11, 2007

Echoing the first post, blade shaving is quicker and smoother every time; maybe you should consider shaving in the shower but with the mach3 rather than an electric. You can save a lot of time by shaving in the shower. You can get one of those fogless mirrors. I do that sometimes when i'm in a rush and its very quick to shampoo and shave in one shot. Keep some Edge Gel next to your shampoo.
posted by jak68 at 9:00 PM on July 11, 2007

I've used electrics for a long time and have to say my skin is sensitive. I prefer it over blades for daily shaving. For me a blade works best with a few days growth when it gives an awesome shave. Any type of shave will irritate the skin until you become used to it. I thought I would never get used to a blade after shaving with an electric for several years. I would constantly nick the hell out of my face and my face would always feel like raw liver.

I prefer a Norelco rotary and have gone through about 5 of them in all my years of shaving. The best method for me is to use a wash cloth with cold water to moisten the face thoroughly and to contract the skin. This will make the hairs stand out. It then is easy to grip the damp skin and stretch with your free hand. Two separate passes with another massage with the cold, damp cloth in between will give a baby smooth shave. Afterwards I use a touch of Lubriderm on my face to help repair the skin.

If you want a good shaver that will last for a long time, avoid rechargeables. The NiCads will die out after a few years and will be too expensive to replace. Replacement blades are expensive enough.
posted by JJ86 at 9:48 PM on July 11, 2007

Every man's beard seems to be a little bit different. My data point is that if you're using a Mach 3 Turbo now, and you are happy with the shave you get, you're going to waste your time trying to switch to electrics. You will spend maybe 85% of the time shaving, but you will never feel like you've just shaved. You will instead walk out of the house with what feels like 5 o'clock shadow every day.

I found that I was pressing harder on the electric, trying to get it to shave me closer, which it wouldn't do. However, when I did push harder, that's when my skin got irritated.
posted by ikkyu2 at 12:55 AM on July 12, 2007

Looks like I'll be trying Aveeno Lotion and Baby Oil for the heck of it.

I've got some Neutrogina unscented lotion I'll try as well. I usually don't moisturize my beard b/c in the past it's irritated or stimulated small cuts and such. Why the heck are unscented lotions so damn hard to find? I'm sure a lot of guys don't give a crap about their skin, but come on.

I use my Mach 3 Turbo just after flashing my beard w/very hot water in the shower.

I use my Braun electric before a shower and for touch ups for my nose and under my earlobes. I still always get razor bumps and an occasional ingrown hair from it...

I always splash w/only cold water several times after the shave to handle any micro cuts. I remember using a (sp) styptic pencil a few times. They seemed nice. Forgot about those.

I use my hair clippers on my beard before either method if I've more than 3 day's growth, hehe.

Happy to say I kind of converted one IT dept. I worked at from semi-formal to casual after wearing more and more jeans and less dress shirts and more simple button-ups. Oops, I was getting at the fact that I also got to a point where I shaved every other day or so - took a while. Oh and my 5-o'clock shadow is ready by noon. Time to ramble some where else...
posted by prodevel at 1:39 AM on July 12, 2007

My skin has never been irritated by any electric shaver. But I will say that using a blade is almost always faster, just not quite as convenient.
posted by ericales at 1:53 AM on July 12, 2007

If you can find a Panasonic electric, I absolutely love mine. I had one of those "Cool Skin" shavers, and it was ok, but when it died, I got a Panasonic (based on the reviews on some electric shaver forum) and it was like night and day.

FWIW, I got a Panasonic ES 8043 and I will definitely be getting another one when this one dies.

I shave in the shower and use a small squirt of Dove(?) baby body wash for lubrication.
posted by Nodecam at 8:00 AM on July 12, 2007

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