I’ve seen this question pop-up on forums and comment sections quite often and it usually leads to an unfair, collective bashing of all electric shavers.
People often ask this question online, sparking negative comments about electric shaver does not work. This is unfair because most issues can be identified and fixed.
Usually, the problem is with a newly purchased electric shaver not meeting expectations—leaving hairs, not shaving closely, causing razor burn, etc. This may be someone’s first time using an electric razor, but not always.
If your electric shaver isn’t working well, a few factors might be causing the problem. Let’s explore them and find solutions.
Top 10 reasons why your electric shaver doesn’t shave
For many guys, using an electric razor is the best way to avoid problems that come with traditional shaving.
But once we switch, some of us realize it’s not as great as we thought. The shaving experience might not get better right away, or it might not get better at all.
Don’t worry, though. Things usually improve as your skin gets used to the new way of shaving and you get better at it. But there are also some easy changes you can make to see a real difference.
Most of these changes just mean fixing a few common mistakes. So, here are the most common mistakes with electric shaving and how to fix them.
1. Your shaver is just not good
I know that might sound straightforward and extreme, but it’s usually the main reason why your shaver isn’t doing a good job.
There are many electric shavers available, with different types, brands, and prices. However, some of them just don’t work well.
For instance, I’ve had bad experiences with Remington shavers, and I recently found a Panasonic shaver that performed really poorly, which surprised me because Panasonic is usually my favorite brand. This just goes to show that you should evaluate specific models or series, not just the brand as a whole.
- Panasonic Milano men’s 3-blade wet-dry shaver uses three ultra-sharp 30° honed Nanotech blades for maximum durability and close, comfortable shaving.
- Pivoting Arc3 shaver head and stainless-steel Arc foils effortlessly glide and conform to the individual contours of the face, chin, neck and jaw.
- High-speed motor maintains peak shaver power up to the end of every battery charge for consistently close and even shaving.
- Cordless, fully waterproof shaving machine lets you shave in the shower with foam or gel, or dry on the go for total wet dry convenience.
- Rinses clean under running water, pop-up trimmer adds the perfect finish to mustaches and sideburns; Includes AC charging stand/travel holder.
The Panasonic ES-SL41-S shaver didn’t impress me, and there are better options for the same price. I suggest returning the shaver and getting a better one that matches your beard/skin type and shaving habits. You can check our reviews section for recommendations.
Here are some additional resources that might help you:
- What’s The Best Electric Razor For Men? The Ultimate Guide
- Which Electric Razor Gives the Closest Shave?
- What’s The Best Affordable Electric Shaver?
2. Applying too much pressure
An electric shaver can’t shave as close as a blade because there’s a barrier, like a foil or guard, between the blades and your skin.
Even if some shavers get really close, there’s still this barrier.
So, if you want to compensate for this and catch those tricky hairs, you might think about pressing harder.
But, here’s the thing: don’t do it. Pressing harder won’t make it much closer, and it can give you painful razor burn and irritation.
If you often find yourself pressing harder and going over the same spots many times, check these things:
- Make sure the foils and blades are still good. Depending on your razor and how you shave, these parts can wear out sooner than you think. Change them when needed.
- Check if the battery has enough power. A dying battery struggles to cut hairs, making you go over the same spots more. It can also cause pulling and tugging, leading to irritation.
- Make sure your shaver is right for the job — which we discussed earlier.
3. Your shaving technique needs improvement
If you’re just starting with electric shaving, don’t judge your razor too quickly. Electric shaving is different from using traditional razors.
Your skin also needs time to get used to this new way of shaving. If your razor is right for the job, a little preparation and adjusting your technique can make a big difference in your shaving experience.
Check out these guides to help you get better at electric shaving:
- Shaving with an Electric Razor for the First Time
- How to Shave with an Electric Razor – A Practical Guide
- How To Get Hair Out of a Razor: Shaver Cleaning Guide
- Aftershave 101: A Comprehensive Guide to Post-Shave Solution
4. Your facial hair is too long.
All electric shavers, even the fancy ones, work best when your facial hair is a reasonable length. Basic shavers are great for daily shaving when your stubble is short. More advanced ones can handle slightly longer hair.
If your hair is too long, the shaver might pull and miss some hairs, especially the ones lying flat. Going over those areas multiple times with more pressure can lead to discomfort and frustration.
To fix this, try shaving more often or use a regular trimmer first to shorten your beard. Some electric shavers are better at handling longer hairs. Learn more about them here.
5. You’re using the wrong shaver for your beard type
Even if you have a high-quality shaver based on others’ experiences, it might not be the right one for you. I’m not just talking about foil vs. rotary razors.
Some foil shavers are better for thick beards, some for sensitive skin, and others for longer, wiry hairs.
Start by checking our detailed electric shaver buying guide and recommended shavers chart to find the right one for you.
6. Clean and take care of your shaver.
If you’ve checked everything and your shaver isn’t working well, it’s time to give it some attention.
Hair, dirt, dead skin, or leftover lather can mess up how your shaver works. Depending on if you use it wet or dry, you might need to clean it more often.
If your shaver has an automatic cleaning station, and you use it regularly, you’re good. Most modern electric shavers can be cleaned with liquid soap and warm water. Always follow what the manufacturer says about cleaning.
7. Not lubricating your shaver
Lubricating your electric razor is crucial for a close and comfy shave, and it helps your shaver’s foils and blades last longer.
You need to lubricate your shaver regularly. You can use a light oil or a spray cleaner & lubricant. Here’s when and how to do it.
Unless your razor has a fancy automatic cleaning thing that also lubes up the cutting parts, you’ve got to do it yourself.
But don’t worry, it’s super easy.
You can use clipper oil or any light, refined mineral oil. Personally, I go with clipper oil because it’s cheap and works well. Just put a drop or two on each foil.
Properly lubing up your shaver has a bunch of good effects: it lowers the heat from the foils and blades rubbing, makes them last longer, and makes your shaver work better.
Here’s a simple rule: lube your shaver after each cleaning with soap or once a week. If you want more info, check out my complete guide on how to do it.
8. Choose the right replacement parts and Change in time
Depending on how often you shave, how thick your beard is, and how good your shaver’s foils and blades are, you might need to replace them more often.
If your shaver starts pulling on hairs and works much worse, get new parts.
And most importantly choose the right replacement head / parts which is really made for your definite electric shaver.
9. Not giving wet shaving a try
Okay, this isn’t exactly a mistake, more like something you might not be doing.
Using an electric razor while your face is wet can make a big difference, especially if your skin is sensitive.
If your razor is meant for wet and dry use, try using a good shaving cream along with it.
I’ve got some tips and recommendations for wet shaving with an electric razor that you can check out.
I get it, using an electric shaver is supposed to be quick and easy. But if adding some lather can make your shave much better, I think it’s worth the little extra effort.
10. Jumping between electric and manual razors
A razor blade takes off a tiny layer of skin cells, but an electric shaver doesn’t do this much, if at all.
So, it’s not a good idea to switch back and forth between an electric shaver and a razor blade. When you shave with a blade, your body makes new scar tissue, and it takes about 2 to 3 weeks to heal and go away.
During this time, using an electric razor might not give you the best results.
That’s why it’s a good idea to stick to one shaving method for at least 3 weeks before trying something different.
All shaving ways have good and bad points. If you had a bad experience, don’t be too extreme. Figuring out and fixing the problem is better.
For electric shaving, it’s often about picking the right shaver and adjusting your technique. This post should help you make your electric shaving better and get the advantages it offers: speed, comfort, and a good close shave.
Now, it’s your turn: What bothered you the most about using an electric shaver? Feel free to share your thoughts below.
Hey. I’m Bradley, the founder and editor of Trimmereo. I independently buy and test trimmers; electric shavers and I’ve been sharing my findings on this site for more than 8 years, hopefully helping others choose the right shaver.
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