There’s nothing like a fresh shave to make you feel clean and ready to take on the world.
While we’ve come to know shaving as a quick and painless experience, it hasn’t always been that way. It’s been recorded that Julius Caesar plucked every single beard hair with a tweezers. No wonder the Vikings let their beards grow out!
Luckily for us modern folk, hair removal technology has come a long way since then. However, with all the various shaving options out there, you might find it difficult to decide which one is the best for you.
In this post, we explore all the different types of razors at your disposal so that you can properly make the choice between an electric shaver vs. a classic manual razor.
Manual razors were probably the first set of shaving tools you encountered growing up. They’re known for being super easy to use and handle compared to other razor types.
Here’s how they work:
- The sharp end of the razor lifts and cuts the hair on your skin.
- The lifted hair snaps down below the skin to give a smooth shave.
Different types of manual razors
There are four different types of manual razors on the market. They are: cartridge razors, disposable razors, safety razors, and straight razors.
Cartridge razors were first introduced by Gillette in 1971 and have since been in use by households around the world because of how simple they are to use.
Cartridge razors have a replaceable multi-blade razor (consisting of up to six blades) that can cut the hair either against the grain or with the grain by lifting and cutting.
When compared to other razors, the cartridge razor provides the closest results. Add that to how beginner-friendly they are, and you might be thinking they’re the perfect tools for the job.
However, they usually aren’t very cost-effective and have been known to cause razor bumps for many men.
Most people grew up with a disposable razor. It was also most likely the first shaving tool you ever owned when you started growing facial hair.
They were designed to be a more modified version of the cartridge razor. But unlike the cartridge razor, the shaving blades aren’t replaceable thus the name “disposable razor.”
And even though as the name suggests, they don’t necessarily have to be single-use. Their lifespan is determined by the coarseness and thickness of your beard as well as how sharp the blades are.
In fact, most men can use them up to three times. Which is a good thing considering how big of an environmental risk they are due to the plastic material.
Safety razors are more old school than the ones around today, but are making a strong comeback.
The double-edged safety razor was first introduced by Gillette in 1903 and was considered revolutionary due to the upgraded shaving technology of the safety bar. This reduced the chances of suffering from a cut by flattening the skin.
The safety razor (apart from its very Victorian looking design) is unique because of its single-cutting blade.
Even though it was designed to reduce the chances of getting a cut, it’s still very much possible to suffer surface cuts and irritation especially as a beginner.
Plus, getting replacement blades might not be easy compared to the other ones mentioned earlier.
Who can forget the classic straight razor? You’ve probably seen them in old Hollywood movies and for good reason.
Introduced in 1680, the straight razor is the oldest known shaving tool. The fact that it’s still being used today (and not just by people obsessed with the Victorian era) speaks of its efficacy.
Used by a professional or someone with experience, you can get a clean and close shave.
The straight razor can be used over and over again but needs regular maintenance to maintain its sharp cutting blade. With professional maintenance, you can add a significant amount of years to your straight razor.
Pros and cons of manual razors
Manual razors – Pros
- Manual razors give the closest shaves when compared to electric razors. The reason being that you have full control over how much pressure you’re applying to the blade.
- Manual razors are a more affordable alternative to electric shavers.
- Manual shavers are lighter and more convenient when traveling.
Manual razors – Cons
- No matter how fine your hair texture might be, after a few uses you’re going to want to get yourself a new razor or replacement blade.
- Dull razors can lead to painful ingrown hairs.
- Manual razors cut very close to the skin which is a good thing, but can increase your chances of suffering from nicks and cuts.
- Manual razors can get really expensive over time, especially when you have to replace the blades or the entire razors after only a few uses.
- When it comes to trouble areas like moles, you might find it difficult to maneuver your way around those spots and can easily nick yourself.
- Manual razors are more time consuming to use since you have to be careful not to cut yourself and ensure a clean shave.
With advancements in technology, electric shavers have attempted to overtake their old-fashioned counterparts.
Electric shavers are based on a cutting action that’s similar to a scissors. Here’s how they work:
- Hairs enter the perforated screen of the shaver.
- The moving blades inside the shaver cut the hair.
Although the electric shaver greatly reduces the chances of getting cuts and razor bumps, there is still an ongoing debate between using an electric shaver vs. razor.
Regardless, the electric shaver is still an excellent piece of technology and a great tool for shaving.
Different types of electric shavers
Electric razors, like manual razors, also come in different types. They are: the rotary and the foil shaver.
Rotary electric shavers cut hair in a circular motion. Even though they’re not ideal in giving you that close shave they easily follow the natural contour of your face and are easy to navigate.
Foil electric shavers are the closest thing to manual razors that an electric shaver can get. They cut hair in a back and forth motion which allows for a close shave.
However, their design, which consists of a large head, makes it difficult to use in the mustache area.
Wet vs. dry shaving with electric shavers
When using a manual razor, you’re expected to wet your skin to provide lubrication and lower the risk of getting razor bumps.
But, electric shavers were modified to save you that extra step. Still, many people argue that no matter what shaving tool you’re using, you should still wet your face for a better experience.
In a nutshell, dry shaving is less time consuming and saves you the added expense of buying shaving foam.
The advantage of wet shaving with an electric shaver is that it offers a closer shave. It also reduces the chances of getting bumps or razor burn. And for those who enjoy the ritual of lathering on shaving foam, wet shaving offers more of a traditional shaving experience.
Pros and cons of electric shavers
Now let’s look at the pros and cons of electric shavers in general.
Electric shaver – Pros:
- Shaving is much faster with an electric shaver.
- Electric shavers protect the skin from nicks and cuts.
- This is a better option for people with birthmarks, scars, or other skin irregularities.
- Electric shavers reduce ingrown hairs.
- Many come with trimmers for detail work.
- Some are 100% water resistant and can be used in shower.
- The blades are more durable and last longer.
- Electric shavers can be easily cleaned and rinsed out.
- Electric shavers are less costly over long run.
Electric shaver – Cons:
- Electric shavers require a higher initial investment.
- They don’t offer as close a shave as a manual razor.
- They’re heavier and not as easy to travel with.
- They’re more complicated to use than a manual razor.
At the end of the day, deciding on an electric shaver vs manual razor comes down to personal choice.
Personally, I (Jesse) find the wet electric razor to be the most convenient option. It’s quick and easy to use and doesn’t leave my skin feeling irritated.
For special occasions that require an extra close shave, I opt for my manual cartridge razor. I also keep a few disposable razors on hand for traveling.
That said, tools are only half the battle of a perfect shave. That’s why we here at JESSE JIMZ offer these shaving essentials to leave you with that coveted soft and smooth babyface:
- CLEAN SLATE Purifying Face Wash + Toner – For cleansing before your shave
- PRIME CUT Shave and Beard Oil – To use as a pre-shave or shaving oil for both a manual and electric razor
- SAVING FACE Age Defense Moisturizer + Aftershave – For hydrating after-shave protection of your skin.