How to choose the right electric shaver for your skin

Let's be honest – shaving is a chore. And if you have the kind of skin that, no matter how much you prep or how sharp the blade, ends up looking like you've received a facial at the Fred Krueger School of Beauty, it can be a form of torture.

It could be because you're one of the lucky gents whose beard follicles grow in all different directions (it's more common than you think). This means every shave is literally shaving against the grain (a home shaving no-no).

Add to that sensitive skin and you've got one of two choices – grow a beard or invest in a decent electric shaver.

Why you should go electric

"Men often overlook how much a shaver can influence how their skin looks and feels," explains Ben Wilson from Braun Global R&D. "The human face can be compared to a landscape full of curves and contours – keeping close contact with the skin at any time during the shave is thus a challenge for any shaving system."

Electric shavers are also designed to go against the grain. This means men with chaotic growth patterns needn't worry about scalping their own chins, and will achieve a better finish in the process.

Busting some myths

A common misconception people have with electric shavers is that they don't provide the same kind of close shave that a standard blade does. Once upon a time this may have been true, but brands such as Braun – and Philips, Remington and Panasonic – have regularly released increasingly more advanced machinery that guarantees the closest shave possible, but also minimises the potential for irritation.

"Men today lead busier lifestyles than ever before," says Wilson.

"Their everyday environment has become more extreme as a result of frequent travel, challenging jobs and busy social lives. With these additional challenges, it's no surprise that they are struggling with their skin more than ever before, including sensitivity."

The new Philips 9000 shaving head, for example, has three specialised trackers – including slots for normal hair, channels for long or flat laying hair, and holes for the shortest stubble on your face – guaranteeing that the most stubborn whisker will be whisked away.

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Then there's the whole dry shave issue – again, not the case anymore. Plenty of shavers, including Braun's beast Series 9, can be used on wet skin or over shaving cream with no impact to the machinery.

Which one is right for you?

The first step is identifying your exact needs. Is it a daily trim you're after, or something more intensive?

"Beard thickness is something to keep in mind when choosing a shaver," suggests Jules Tognini, shaving and grooming ambassador at Philips.

"Electric shavers are definitely best when it comes to maintaining a thick beard – look out for those with well-designed shaving heads. For a heavy beard, I'd even recommend a quick trim down first to cut through the bulk before using your shaver."

Choose your weapon

Then, get to know the difference in shaver types:

Foil shavers are the most common, where the blades are hidden underneath a metallic foil. Great for those with sensitive skin or light stubble who don't necessarily even need to shave every day. Or maybe you do and just like a nice close finish.

Rotary shavers comprise of three separate cutting heads and are designed for thicker, heavier beard growth. It can take a little while to get used to the handling, but ultimately provide a seriously close shave.

Going to the source

More often that not, it's the canvas not the instrument that is causing the problem. In this case, taking proper care of your skin is the only way to address the issue.

"Sensitivity from shaving can be caused by dry skin but also an accumulation of dead skin build up around the hair follicle, especially with thick hair growth," explains Cathriona Flanagan, head therapist at men's grooming salon Face of Man.

"Having regular facial treatments, such as microdermabrasion, is a great to help solve this problem as it gives a very deep exfoliation and allows for a deep infusion of hydrating products afterwards which makes the skin super soft allowing a razor blade to glide easily over the skin."

Some final words

Once you've migrated from that pesky hand razor to grown man's electric one, there are still some general housekeeping tips to both maintain your face and your new toy.

"Cleaning your shaver is important!" asserts Tognini.

"With regular cleaning and a little maintenance, your electric shaver will be a friend for life. You can use a little soap and water or a special cleaning fluid, rinse the parts in clean hot water, then leave out to air dry."

Check out the gallery above to see some of the best electric shavers for men right now.