Whilst social norms used to dictate that young men should be clean-shaven and wear a full head of hair, this trend is reversing at an incredible rate.
In fact, the number of men sporting facial hair increased from 37% in 2011 to 42% just five years later, whilst the current generation of males are being encouraged to shave their heads by studies which have shown that individuals who are bald are perceived as being more masculine and dominant than their counterparts.
However, if you are one of the many young men who choose to shave your head in the modern age, you’ll need to decide whether an electric shaver or a traditional razor is best-placed to help you achieve this aim. Here’s some advice to help you make an informed choice!
Let’s start with the Basics – Introducing Electric Shavers and Razors
Before we delve into the pros and cons associated with both electric shavers and razors, it’s important to consider the origins of each tool.
This will help you to understand these grooming accessories in greater detail, whilst equipping you with some handy trivia that may come in handy at the next office party!
The Electric Shaver – How has it Evolved?
An electric shaver is best described as a device with a rotating or oscillating blade, which is capable of removing the hair from your scalp without the use of water, soap or shaving cream.
You may be surprised to know that electric shavers date back to the end of the 19th century too, at which time the world’s first product of this type was patented. It was an American by the name of John F. O’Rourke who filed this patent back in 1898, paving the way for other designers and brands to enter the marketplace.
During the formative years of its development, the electric shaver was used for dry shave usage only, and products of this type remain popular to this day.
However, most contemporary models allow for both wet and dry shaving, which in turn means that the device can be cleaned with running water or a specialist machine.
Throughout the ages, we’ve also seen two main types of electric shaver dominate the marketplace (namely foil and rotary products). Foil shavers are the oldest types of electric shaver, and it features oscillating blades which move back and forth in a linear motion.
The foil head is also slightly rectangular, and this creates significant restrictions when it comes to seamlessly follow the contours of your face and scalp. In fact, it can be particularly difficult to shave along the curve of your scalp, which can occasionally create a slightly uneven finish that’s far from ideal.
This type of electric shaver is also louder and heavier to hold, whilst its inability to move in a circular motion can prove really disconcerting to users.
It’s arguably these issues that led to the development of a rotary head shaver, which typically features three discs that spin at high speed and are able to cut through hair without creating friction on the scalp.
Even more impressively, the rotary head design lends itself to more flexible use, creating a product that can bend and move to follow the contours of your scalp. Rotary heads are capable of pivoting 360 degrees and flexing inwards towards the centre of all three blades, creating an even and close-cut regardless of the shape of your head.
We’ll explore the difference between these two types of electric shaver a little later on, but there’s no doubt that this type of product remains widely-used by bald men throughout the UK.
Make no mistake; electrical shavers have become increasingly popular as the product range has diversified, as products are now available with either rechargeable batteries or a traditional mains connection.
What About Razors? Here’s Everything That You Need to Know
Whilst electric shavers may date back to the late 19th century, the trusty razor boasts an even more impressive and extensive history.
This can actually be traced back to the Bronze Age when residents utilised rudimentary razors that were typically oval in shape and manufactured using bronze or obsidian.
Straight razors subsequently became commonplace in the 18th and 19th centuries, before the so-called safety razor made its debut during the 1900s. Contemporary safety razors are specially designed with a bar that forms a barrier between the skin and the cutting blade, which protects the skin and minimises damage during each individual use.
These razors typically feature a removable blade or cartridge too, enabling users to regularly replace the most important part of the product without having to invest in the brand-new handle.
In the current market, it’s removable cartridge razors that are undoubtedly the most widely used in the developed world, as they typically feature between two and five blades whilst delivering a more effective shave. The entire cartridge is also designed to be removed and replaced as and when required, so it offers flexible and efficient use across the board.
If you do use a blade razor, however, you’ll typically own a product that boasts a 4-cm razor which is double-edged and equipped with two open edges. This is still the most common tool used for shaving the face and scalp in developing economies, despite the fact that it lacks the effectiveness or the safety features of a cartridge alternative.
The nature of blade or cartridge razor shaving naturally lends itself to the principles of wet shaving, which typically provides a close shave that removes hair in an effective and even manner.
Electric Shavers vs. Razors – The Key Considerations
Whilst this information may enable you to understand these products in greater detail, it doesn’t necessarily help you to determine which one is right for you.
This should not come as a surprise, as there are pros and cons associated with both electric shavers and razors. So, here are three of the most important considerations that can help you to make an informed decision as a consumer:
What Type of Shave are you Looking For?
Often, people make the choice between electrical shavers and razors based on their preferred type of shave and (in some instances) their skin type.
If you enjoy the feel or the close finish of a wet shave, for example, you’ll most likely use a traditional cartridge razor to remove the hair from your scalp.
Conversely, if you want to minimise the stress placed on the scalp and enjoy a smooth shave, you may be best served by using an electric rotary razor with a minimum of three circular blades.
Your skin type may also influence your decision, as those of you with sensitive skin will typically strive to minimise friction and the irritation that can occasionally follow a wet shave.
Of course, the use of cartridge razors can help to minimise irritation, but electrical shavers may offer superior value as they don’t get as close to the skin or cause bleeding over a period of extended use.
What Type of Look do you Want to Achieve?
This is another important considerable, and electrical shavers and razors deliver different types of shave that contribute to variable looks and finishes.
In simple terms, wet shaving with a traditional cartridge razor provides an inflexible close shave, which in turn creates the type of sparse look worn by Vin Diesel.
Whilst this is a great and bold look, it may not be to everyone’s tastes, and in this respect, electrical shavers offer a little more flexibility to anyone who regularly shaves their scalp.
More specifically, rotary shavers provide greater control over the process of removing hair from your scalp, whilst also enabling you to leave stubble and slightly longer hair on your head.
This look may be particularly ideal if you’ve begun to lose your hair or only recently shaved your scalp for the first time, as it can create a transitional look that helps you to adapt to your new reality.
What’s Your Budget?
Interestingly, there are different costs associated with electrical shavers and razors respectively, meaning that you may have to make your final choice based on how much cash you have to spend as part of your monthly grooming budget.
In general terms, electrical shavers carry a bigger upfront cost, whereas cartridge razors and a fixed number of replacement blades can usually be sourced for less depending on your choice of brand.
However, electric shavers will undoubtedly help you to save cash over an extended period of time, particularly if you regularly maintain them and keep them clean.
This is because you will have to invest in new blades and cartridges on a regular basis when shaving with a razor, and the cost of these accessories will quickly accumulate over the course of the year and beyond.
Ensuring that you use the best and most durable electrical shavers also helps, as this will boost longevity and enable you to achieve the best value for your hard-earned cash!
The Last Word
They say that a good workman is only ever as good as his tools, and this definitely applies when shaving your scalp!
This not only means that you’ll need to make an informed choice between an electric shaver and a razor, but it also requires you to invest in good quality products that protect your skin at all times.
Ultimately, the final choice is a deeply personal one, but understanding how each product works in relation to your own unique preferences should enable you to make a genuinely informed decision.