Both rotary and foil electric razors provide a similar shave. According to a Consumer Reports test, however, foils won "by a whisker," with the best shaves feeling similar to 1,000-grit polishing sandpaper [source: Consumer Reports].
It's best to give your skin two or three weeks to adjust to an electric razor, whether you're switching from a blade razor or switching from one electric shaver to another, because the change might irritate your skin. Since electric razors commonly come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, you'll have time to experiment.
Softening facial hair isn't only for conventional razor blades -- it can also lead to a closer and more comfortable electric shaving experience. Four quick steps will do the trick. First, rinse your face with warm water, and then apply a hot washcloth. Pat your face dry, and dust with powder.
With sensitive skin, it may be helpful to shave the more tender areas of your face first, such as on your neck. Some razors heat up a bit with use, and the heat can sometimes be irritating [source: Hudson's].
Which direction should you shave, against the direction of growth or with it? Again, this is something you will need to experiment with, but many men find that with an electric razor they get a closer shave by shaving against the direction of the growth of their beard. This is also more likely to cause irritation, however, so pay attention to how your skin reacts.
Foils, cutters and rotary heads eventually wear down. When this happens, you might start pressing too hard or going over the same spot repeatedly, which could lead to irritated skin. Replace parts according to the manufacturer's recommendations, and follow directions for cleaning the unit as well.
For more information about which electric razor is right for you and how to get the most out of it, see the links on the following page.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Consumer Reports. "Electric Razors." (Aug. 18, 2009)http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/home-garden/beauty-personal-care/electric-razors/index.htm
- DiBacco, Thomas. "The Razor Blade: History's Cutting Edge." Los Angeles Times. July 26, 1992. (Aug. 27, 2009)http://articles.latimes.com/1992-07-26/news/vw-4938_1_razor-blade
- Hudson's. "All About Shaving." Hudson's FTM Resource Guide." (Aug. 29, 2009)http://www.ftmguide.org/shaving.html
- Mark, David. "Schick, Jacob." American National Biography Online. Feb. 2000. (Aug. 27, 2009) http://www.anb.org/articles/10/10-02294.html
- Remington. "Men's Shavers." (Aug. 19, 2009) http://www.remington-products.com/mensshavers/tips.htm
- Trex, Ethan. "Shaving History Begins with Shark Teeth." Aug. 17, 2009. (Aug. 29, 2009)http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/08/17/mf.shaving/index.html?iref=24hours