How to Shave With a Rotary Electric Razor: Complete Guide

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If you are thinking about switching from traditional Gillette multiple-bladed razors to rotary electric shavers, it is never too late to do so. Electric shavers have always been here since the 1930s, and the good news is that you can own one right now. But for some men, especially those who want to walk down the beard grooming aisle for the first time, deciding on the best rotary shave can be a real hard tackle.

Another concern that men who are crossing over to electric razors have is the using of electric shaving razors the right way. Remember, there two types of electric razors namely rotary and foil shavers. In this post, we will not be comparing the two, rather, help you get started with using rotary shavers. While they often look simple, settling on the ideal one means you take note of a few things. But before taking you through the rotary electric razors user guide, you would ask, what are they and how do they work?

Defining Rotary Shavers

We wouldn’t want to assume that everyone reading this post is a rotary electric razor enthusiast. Chances are high that someone may be reading about them for the first time. So, here is the first question we want to help you answer. What is a rotary electric shaver?

First off, manufacturers of rotary shavers such as Remington and Norelco have had to keep up with the pace ever-changing shaving technologies. From the 1930s when rotary shavers were first gaining traction to present-day models, earlier versions do not look exactly as modern gadgets. While the principle behind their functionality has remained the same, particularly the shaving (rotary) head, there are noticeable modifications.

Definitively, a rotary shaver comprises a shaving head. The shaving head further consists of circular shaving discs. It is a design that has stood the test of time since the invention of these gadgets. Inside the discs are blades that spin as soon you power on your shaving razor.  To assure you of safe shaving, rotary shaving heads have a mesh-like foil that covers the blades. For those who have always wanted to test between rotary and foil razors before choosing the best, let’s reserve that debate for another post.

How to Shave With a Rotary Electric Razor: Complete Guide 1

Shaving with Rotary Shavers: Everything You Need To Know

Let’s say, you have just bought your first rotary shaver. With that, there are probably many questions going through your mind right now. For example, how do you power on a rotary shaver? Do you go for dry or wet-shaving? Should you beware of nicks, cuts, and burns? 

Like traditional shaving razors for men, using a rotary shaver is not rocket science. We would say electric razors are the easiest to use any day. For starters, you should know that as soon as you power your shaver, hair enters through tiny perforations in a foil that covers shaving blades. Rotating blades then cut your beards.

Rotary shaving razors are for shaving tough, long and thick stubble. When shaving, you must move it in a circular motion for the best result. At this point, you should have decided whether you want to go the way of a wet or dry shave. From our experience, you will get a closer shave with both, albeit, wetting your beards before running a rotary electric shaver over them often brings out the best results.  

Steps to shaving with a rotary shaver

Step 1: Make sure you have the best shaver

You should decide whether you want to wet or dry shave. From our experience, rotary electric razors do a good job when wet shaving. If you choose to check out men’s forums on the best features to look for in a great gadget, that’s okay.

Step 2: Wash your face

Wash your face using warm water. You can take a hot shower altogether. It helps soften your stubble. However, if you don’t have enough time for showering, dump a piece of cloth in warm water and put it on your stubble for say, 2 minutes.

Step 3: Apply a pre-shave

Apply a pre-shave. We suggest alcohol-based options because they are effective in removing dirt and sebum, albeit, they will leave your skin feeling dry afterward. Your hair should straighten ready for shaving. In any case, the application of pre-shave oil and optimizer will improve the effectiveness of your rotary razor.

Step 4: Get shaving

Now you are set and set to start shaving. Power on your shaver put it on the areas you want to shave and gently move it over your stubble in a circular motion.  A word of caution: Do not press your shaver hard on the skin or shave the same place multiple times lest it irritates.  You should always hold your electric rotary shave with your dominant hand. The other hand should hold your skin as tightly as possible as you run the shaver over your stubble.

When Shaving, do it in the direction of the grain.  It is a sure way of getting a close shave. Moving the gadget against the grain is always likely to cause ingrown hairs, razor bumps, and even nicks. Shave as much facial hair as you want. From mustache, under the chin/lip/ side, sideburns, cheeks, and neck area, a rotary shave can reach even the most difficult places that often prove difficult for foil shavers.

Step 5: Always use a mirror

An electric shaver may leave hair on some spots, especially if you do not use a mirror. Hard to reach areas are often the main culprit.  If you cannot feel patches of hair on your skin using your fingers, a mirror will not go wrong.

Step 6: Apply an after-shave

Now with a clean-shaven face, you are probably asking, what next? Well, you should always apply an after-shave but first, consult a dermatologist for the best one for your skin type.

How do you clean a rotary shaver?

Chances are always high that a few strands of air and dirt (dead skin) will get stuck inside the foil.  So, after shaving, the next question is what is the best way to clean a rotary shaver? Cleaning an electric shaver is easy because it involves a few steps. Most models have a shaving head you can lift to access the razors. It involves a few cleaning steps, thusly:

  • Brush off clutter and dirt from the blades.
  • Run the razor with the head open and spray a lubricant on them. You should use an ideal lubricant for cleaning electric shavers.

Advantages of using rotary shavers

Rotary electric shavers regardless of the model will give you the closest shave. You should also note that not everyone who uses these gadgets know whether they are effective or not. Thus, another question men who use electric shavers often ask is which advantages do they have compared to cartridge razors?

Well, if you prefer rotary shavers to any other, it could be because of the following advantages:

Rotary shavers work best with long hair

We know long and thick stubble can be difficult to deal with, especially if your gadget is not sharp enough to do a close shave. However, with rotary razors, there is nothing about which to worry. They will always deliver perfect hair trimming or cutting action regardless of the direction of shaving. Whether you decide to go against the grain or you have not got a good result with other razors, the circulation motion with which these razors shave makes the perfect choice for long and thick hair.

You don’t need to be an expert to use rotary razors

The truth about shaving with these gadgets is that you don’t need to be an expert. As sloppy as the movement may be, you can always rest assured of realizing the perfect cut.  It is because while other shavers like foils require a lot of handling precision, you don’t need much effort when handling a rotary.  A simple movement on the jawline, cheeks, and chin should be able to deliver a close shave, especially after applying a pre-shave.

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Quiet operation

Men who use electric shavers have always raised a concern. They say that these gadgets produce a distracting noise. The truth is that some gadgets, especially foil shavers do produce noise, but not as loud as people claim. Rotary shavers, on the other hand, operate quietly. You can always wake up early in the morning to use these gadgets without having to worry about waking up anyone. It is something that makes rotary shavers a top choice among men because they are not like foil shavers that have fast-running motors, often producing noise.

Ideal for men who shave less often

A question of “is it okay to shave too much or how often should one shave?” dominates most discussions in men’s shaving forums. But here is the catch. Would you like to let your beards grow for a few weeks or months before shaving?  Studies comparing rotary and foil shavers have confirmed that rotary razors do shave well. They are particularly effective on long and thick stubble.  It may have to do with their design, but it is something you can experience firsthand by getting hold of a rotary shave like Braun Series 9.

Factors to consider when buying a rotary shaver

You are not going to find it easy cutting through marketing speaks about rotary electric shavers. Some marketers will tell things that are different from personal experiences while others will aim to sell them, caring less about the truth. But let’s face it. Even with all the information available on the web, you need to get it right with electric shaving razors from the start.

The big question, therefore, is which considerations should you make when buying one? Do you have to listen to what a friend says regarding these gadgets? Do you go for cheap shavers because you want to save money? These questions could go on and on. In the end, you must make a final and right decision. Based on our experience with difference electric shavers, our advice on choosing the best rotary razors is premised on the following factors:

Charging speed and battery life

Electric razors should bring into your morning grooming routine, simplicity and ease of shaving your beards. Thus, whether you choose to own a cordless or wired rotary shaver, how long it stays with battery charge is crucial. Also, you need to ask, does it charge faster?  Before settling on one with a power cord or that which runs on lithium-ion batteries (cordless), how often you are on the road should equally play significance.

If you are not worried about being stuck in traffic heading to work every morning, you would not mind owning a rotary electric shaver that takes more than an hour to charge. However, for a man who desires convenience and ease of use on the go, a rotary shaver that uses a rechargeable battery is the best option. Most importantly, any shaver whose battery lasts long with charge and also charges fast is always is arguably the best bet.

Does it come with a storage case?

Whether you choose to call it a storage bag or pouch, it is okay. The catch here is that while you will want to quickly access your shaving razor every time you need to cut your facial hair and beards, safety should come first. Thus, consider buying a rotary shaver that comes with a storage case/pouch if you want to ensure the longevity and integrity of your shaving device.

Moreover, a storage case is all you need to cushion your rotary razor against damager when on the road. Most importantly, you should ensure the pouch has enough space to accommodate other shaving accessories such as pre-shave creams, scissors, creams, and after-shave gels/creams.  

So, here is another important question: Do all rotary shavers ship with storage casings? Well, you should find the right answer from manufacturers or e-commerce stores. But given the rising demand for electric shavers and the ever-rising competition in this enterprise, we bet all modern rotary shavers come with storage pouches.

Consider the method and ease of cleaning an electric razor

We have to admit that cleaning an electric shaver can be quite time-consuming if you don’t get it right with shopping. Because it is imperative that you clean your shaver often, preferably after every shave, how to power it on should be an integral part of a purchase decision. If you are always on the road, a rechargeable shaver is ideal because you can always power on the blades anytime and anywhere. For someone who only shaves in the house, a corded shaver is the best bet.

Yet, there is another vital consideration to make. Cleaning an electric rotary shaver is an option worth exploring. You will note that ease of cleaning these gadgets vary from one model to another. Thus, you should weigh into how much spare time you will have for this specific task after every shave or every other day.

Ease of operation and comfort

You wouldn’t want to put money on a rotary shave that will feel big in your hands. Rather, we advise that you go for one that fits easily into your grasp and is comfortable when shaving. What does it mean? Ergonomics, which denotes the comfort and weight of your razor, is something you must factor in when shopping for an electric shaver.

Do remember that depending on the manufacturer, rotary-bladed shaving razors come in various shapes, designs, and weight. Thus, how operable a gadget is and the comfort you realize when holding it are vital features to consider when shopping.

Battery charge indicator

Electric shavers can be your greatest undoing, especially in the morning when rushing to beat the traffic. Think about it this way: You wake up early to shave your beards and before running a rotary shaver over your chin to get rid of hair, it goes off. You realize the battery has depleted its energy and so, recharging is the only way out. 

Situations like these happen and they can be very annoying and even more irritating than nicking your skin with a shaving blade. Our advice, therefore, is that when shopping for a good rotary shaver; go for one that has a battery indicator. You would rather know in good time that your gadget is running out of power than bear the brunt of inconvenience that comes with a sudden shutdown.

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Auto charging shut-off

You should buy a rotary shaver whose battery lasts long. We also emphasize the need to put money on one that charges fast. However, a question many men forget to answer is, should an electric shaver have an automatic charging shut-off? Imagine running late for work but since your shaver is still charging, you have to leave it plugged on the socket. Is there real danger associated with such an action, both to the gadget and your house?

The truth is that apart from worrying about power bills, a shaver that does not have an auto shut-off is likely to get damaged should you leave it plugged to a power source. Thus, auto shut-off is an important feature worth considering when shopping. With it, you can always go to work while your gadget is charging. As soon it is fully charged, it shuts off automatically. How cool is that?

Cost does not always define quality

You don’t want to spend less on a rotary shaver only for it to break down after a few weeks of use. Also, you should not always think high-value shavers are pricey. Sometimes cost has nothing to do with quality. It is because different manufacturers price their gadgets based on certain factors and features. Thus, whether you choose to go for a cheap or expensive rotary, weigh into its properties to ascertain quality and durability.

Brands vs. quality

There are more than a dozen brands of electric shavers. However, not all will offer you a close shave. Some are imitations of a concept that gave rise to these beard shaving gadgets. And so, a question many people have been asking “is brand directly proportional to quality?” Some of the best brands from which you can choose a befitting rotary shaver are Philips, Remington, Braun, and Panasonic. How popular these brands are and buyer ratings and reviews in leading e-commerce stores are often indicators of the best gadget.

Wet or dry shaving with rotary electric shavers: Which way forward?

We indicated earlier that electric shaving razors clip hair that gets through perforations on a foil before cutting it. In rotary shavers, spinning blades cut hair as you move them on your cheeks, chin, and neck. However, when it comes to answering whether they are ideal for dry or wet shaving, we do not have an objective answer.

Depending on whether you desire a clean-shaven beard or you just want to trim your facial hair a bit, one can opt for wet or dry shaving. Someone would say you get the best of both options, something that we cannot dispute. For a close shave, however, wet shaving is the best bet because pre-shave wet the hair. Your hair then straightens hence easily get cut by rotating blades as they enter perforations on the foil covering the blades on a rotary shaving head.

Moreover, since rotary shavers are best suited for shaving the hair on countered facial skin, it is a feature that equally makes them ideal for difficult-to-shave areas. The circular movement with which you shave your face is even more effective when you use a pre-shave and an optimizer.

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Are you at risk of ingrown hair with rotary shavers?

Razors bumps, nicks and burns are common occurrences provided you run a blade on your skin. Thus, experts advise extra caution among men who like to keep clean-shaven beards. However, something that often bothers many regardless of the quality of electric razors is an ingrown hair. You would want to ask, do rotary shaver cause ingrown hair? The answer is no.

Rotary shavers do not cause ingrown hairs, rather how you shave, and skin type does. Shaving against the grain is a known cause, not to mention that men who have thick facial skin are more like to be victims than those with thin skin.  

The truth is that ingrown hairs occur when you shave below the skin using a blunt blade. Thus, instead of hair growing from the follicle, it bends and pushes its way up through the skin. The resulting pimple-like swellings, often red, are ingrown hair. Now, to prevent that from happening, especially when using a rotary electric shaver, you should do the following:

Always wet your stubble

You should opt for wet shaving. Moistening your stubble before running a rotary razor is a proven way of reducing or even preventing ingrown hair. Wash your beard with warm water if you cannot afford a pre-shave. It opens up skin pores, exposing hair to an even smoother and clean shave. The danger of using cold water is that it would cause goosebumps on your facial skin, and that is a recipe for disaster.

Don’t go against the grain

Shave in the direction of the grain. Use a mirror to determine the direction in which your hair grows. While it shouldn’t be necessarily a concern when using a rotary razor, it would help reduce the chances of having ingrown hair.

Shave with sharp blades

Avoid using dull blades because instead of cutting your beards clean, they pull hair causing unnecessary pain and irritation. You should always replace or sharpen blades in your rotary razor because sharp ones do not cause ingrown hair.

Apply an aftershave

You should wash your face with cold water as soon as you finish shaving then let it dry. It closes the hair follicles. Most importantly, apply an after-shave cream or balm.  We recommend fragrance-free and alcohol-free aftershaves for the best shaving results.

Final Thoughts

In the end, having the best of a rotary electric shaver makes all the difference for a man who wants to keep the thickness and length of his stubble in check.  From an experience point of view, rotary blades come with more advantages than foils or any others you may have used.  More, for the mere fact that they are an ideal choice for contoured skin and stubborn hair, this post couldn’t have come at a better time.

Talk about realizing the closest shaving with electric razors, a rotary shaver will always come to mind. You can always choose from more than a dozen brands in the market. You have also learned that a good shaver should be comfortable in your hands and retains charge for long. We wouldn’t want to restate reasons for using rotary blades.

However, we believe if you are going to use them for the first time, tips and practices explored in this post should help you get started.  Lastly, if you asked, are rotary shavers better than cartridge razors? The answer is yes, especially if you are looking for speed and ready to go the extra mile in realizing a close shave.