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To Wet Shave or to Dry Shave?

TO WET SHAVE OR TO DRY SHAVE?
TO WET SHAVE OR TO DRY SHAVE?

To Wet Shave or to Dry Shave

(aka blade — vs. electric-shaving)

Whether to wet shave or to dry shave is a question that men have struggled with since … well, the invention of the electric shaver. Men have been removing their facial hair for thousands of years, and they have been using various means to do so. For many men, shaving their facial hair is at the heart of the grooming process — the shaver is the key that unlocks and starts their day. Since both blade shaving and electric shaving methods are so effective, it really comes down to a matter of personal preference and depends on factors such as individual expectations and shaving habits. We’re going to cut through the mystery so you can pick the best option for yourself.

What’s the Difference?

The fundamental difference between blade shaving and electric shaving is how the hair is cut.

  • RAZOR
    Illustrated Close Up Shaving With A Traditional Razor Blade — Gillette
    In blade shaving, the hair of the beard is cut with a single stroke of the blade.
  • ELECTRIC SHAVER
    Illustrated Close Up Shaving With An Electric Razor —  Gillette
    With an electric shaver, the hair is cut between two blades like the motion of scissors.

The Basics of Wet Shaving

Blade shaving and the Hysteresis Effect
  • Illustrated Close Up With A Multiblade Razor —  Gillette
    Razors use what is called the “hysteresis”, which is a fancy way of saying that when a blade touches the hair, it lifts the hair up from the follicle before cutting it.
  • Illustrated Close Up How a Multiblade Razor Works —  Gillette
    Nowadays, razors have a second and third blade added (or more—like the Gillette Fusion5™ ProShield, which has 5), positioned in such a way that the lifted hair is cut and then pulls back below the skin’s surface giving you that smooth shave.
  • Illustrated Close Up Getting a Close Shave With Wet Shaving —  Gillette
    This means a close shave can be accomplished; when precisely engineered, this provides a comfortable shave.

The Basics of Dry (Electric) Shaving

An electric razor has two parts to cut hair: a thin, perforated metal foil, and the “undercutter,” a set of tiny blades that move back and forth very quickly under the foil. The tiny, perforated holes in the foil are smooth on the outside, but sharp on the inside, acting like a second blade.

  • Illustrated Close Up Shaving With An Electric Razor —  Gillette
    Electric shavers use the skin’s elasticity for prolonged shaving results. The shaver presses down on the skin and moves it, like a ship creating a bow wave.
  • llustrated Close Up Shaving With An Electric Razor —  Gillette_1
    As a result, the skin contacts the holes of the foil, causing the hair to become more exposed.
  • Illustrated Close Up Getting a Close Shave With Dry Shaving —  Gillette
    After it has been cut, the remainders of the hair pull back into the skin’s surface giving you that close shave.

There are two basic types of electric shaving systems: rotary and linear. Both systems use a foil that stays in contact with the skin while a blade (the “undercutter”) moves beneath it. The main difference between the two systems is the direction in which the undercutter moves.

  • ROTARY ELECTRIC SHAVING
    Rotary Electric Shaving Electric Razor — Gillette
    In the rotary system, the cutter goes in circles underneath the foil.
  • LINEAR ELECTRIC SHAVING
    Linear Electric Shaving Electric Razor — Gillette
    In the linear system, the cutter moves from one side to the other in a linear movement. All Braun shavers are linear foil shavers.

Which is Right for Me?

Both blade razors and electric shavers may deliver the comfortable, close shave we’re all after — if one shaves wet or dry is a matter of personal preference and depends on factors such as individual expectations and shaving habits. It is worth noting that it takes your skin about a month to adjust to a new shaving method. If you’re making a switch, give your skin a little time to get used to the new method.


Whatever method you choose, remember to rinse the sink afterwards.

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