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Electric Razor, Straight Razor, or Multi-blade Razor– Which is Right for You?

Shaving can be a pain. Literally. 

Whether for uniform compliance or personal preferences, a lot of guys shave on a regular basis. Most of us get handed a multi-blade razor– your standard, multi-bladed razor you can find at the drug store–  as a teen and are expected to figure it out from there. 

While multi-blade razors are great and generally get the job done, they aren't the only option for shaving. Along with the standard multi-blade razor, straight razors and electric razors are both currently having an uptick in popularity. 

Let's chat briefly about each option and what they're best used for. 

Multi-Blade Razors– Quick, Close Shaves

Multi-blade razors are often the go-to for a reason. They're easy to use, allow for a fairly close shave, and allow you to quickly remove stubble and short growth. 

Within a multi-blade razor, the blades are in a fixed position behind a guard, which pushes down the skin while allowing the blades to cut through hairs. This reduces your risk of nicks and cuts while you're shaving, which is one of the main reasons they're such a popular choice. 

Multi-blade razors can also be used to shave body hair and pubic hair. However, they do not do well with thick, bushy hair, so if you use them for body grooming, you may need to trim with scissors or an electric trimmer first. Plus, they do best when your skin is taught, so certain parts of your body will have to be stretched and approached with caution if you're going to use a multi-blade razor on them. 

Cons of Multi-Blade Razors

Multi-blade razors are quick and easy, but they have several significant drawbacks. First and foremost is the cost. Blades for these razors are notoriously expensive. Companies like Dollar Shave Club and Harry's have popped up specifically because of the cost of razor blades. If you end up liking a brand that isn't a budget razor brand, you can expect to pay a ton each time you need to replace your blades, which can get very expensive, very fast for hairy guys. 

Plus, multi-blade razors can cause razor bumps and ingrown hairs for a lot of guys. If you have sensitive skin, dealing with ingrown hairs can be a nightmare. Exfoliating prior to shaving and using a good aftershave can help, but it's not a perfect system. I'm not a very hairy guy, so my razors don't have to work too hard to get the job done, and I still get razor bumps and ingrown hairs each time I shave with a multi-blade razor. 

Straight Razors– Slow, Indulgent, and Incredibly Close Shaves

Damascus-Straight-Razor

For a long time, I assumed that straight razors were a thing of the past. I associated them with my great grandfather and his generation. 

In recent months, though, I was delighted to learn that not only are straight razors still around and an option for shaving, but they can be a great option at that. Straight razors provide for an incredibly close shave. For me, shaving with a straight razor has also prevented me from developing razor bumps and ingrown hairs after shaving, which is phenomenal. 

Cons of Straight Razors

Why aren't straight razors more popular? Well... they're hard to use. Shaving with a straight razor takes time. You have to go slow or you will slice your face open. Plus, you essentially have to learn how to shave all over again if you're not used to shaving with a straight razor. I had planned on recording a video of my first time shaving with a straight razor to use in this blog post, but I ended up slicing my cheek and didn't think seeing me drip blood would be very appealing. 

There's a reason that, for a long time, barbers were the ones who used straight razors and you would go to the barber for your shave. Using them on yourself is awkward at first and there's a steep learning curve with them. Plus, you absolutely should NOT use a straight razor on body hair or pubic hair. That is an embarrassing trip to the ER waiting to happen. 

Electric Razors or Trimmers- Fast Shaves, Visible Stubble or Hair

The easiest method of shaving is with an electric razor or trimmers. Once you turn on a pair of trimmers, they quickly cut through hair. If you have particularly thick or bushy hair, they're often the only way to get through your forest– though you may have to invest in a decent quality trimmer to do so without nicking or pulling.  

When you shave with an electric razor, you're typically not going to get a perfectly smooth shave. They are going to preserve stubble. If you're using a trimmer with a guard attachment, they can even leave your hair at a uniform length. 

This makes electric trimmers the perfect shaving option if you want to keep your facial hair or body hair intact while still grooming it and keeping it neat. They're also great for trimming pubic hair; using a short guard will protect your skin and delicates while trimming the hair back so that it isn't too bushy or scratchy.

Cons of Electric Razors

Electric razors represent a really broad spectrum of products. Cheaper ones are readily available at drug stores and places like Wal-Mart or Target. If you don't have particularly thick hair, they can be great. However, if you do have thick hair to trim, cheaper trimmers are going to snag and pull the hairs, making for a really uncomfortable shave. 

On top of that, electric razors require some kind of power source. If you forget to charge your trimmers or if the batteries run out, you can be left scruffy (or half-shaved) and have to wait until it recharges to finish the job. 

Don't Put Square Pegs in Round Holes

You have to pick your razor based on your needs and preferences. Use the right tool for the job. 

Personally, I own all three– a multi-blade razor, a straight razor, and electric trimmers. I mainly use the straight razor on my face because of their effectiveness at getting a close shave without razor bumps, but if I'm in a hurry and need to shave before work or a date, I reach for the multi-blade razor since its quicker. When I want to let my facial hair grow out a bit, I use electric trimmers to keep it groomed and neat while still getting some length. I also use electric trimmers for personal grooming... wink wink, nudge nudge

Using the right razor for your skin and shaving needs can change how you think about shaving. Shaving may never be your favorite grooming task, but it doesn't have to be an inconvenience either.