Face Shaving Tips

To Wet Shave or to Dry Shave?

Whether to wet shave or to dry shave is a question that men have struggled with since, well, the invention of the electric shaver. Men have been removing their facial hair for thousands of years, and they have been using various means to do so. For many men, shaving their facial hair is at the heart of the grooming process – the shaver is the key that unlocks and starts their day.

Since both blade shaving and electric shaving methods are so effective, it really comes down to a matter of personal preference and depends on factors such as individual expectations and shaving habits. We’re going to cut through the mystery so you can pick the best option for yourself.

Whats the Difference?

The fundamental difference between blade shaving and electric shaving is how the hair is cut.


In blade shaving, the hair of the beard is cut with a single stroke of the blade.

Electric Shaver

electric shave
With an electric shaver, the hair is cut between two blades like the motion of scissors.

The Basics of Wet Shaving

Blade shaving and the hysteresis effect

Razor hysteresis
Razors use what is called the “hysteresis”, which is a fancy way of saying that when a blade touches the hair, it lifts the hair up from the follicle before cutting it.

Nowadays, razors have a second and third blade added (or more—like the Gillette Fusion5™ ProShield, which has 5), positioned in such a way that the lifted hair is cut and then pulls back below the skin’s surface giving you that smooth shave.
Hair follicle after shaving
This means a close shave can be accomplished; when precisely engineered, this provides a comfortable shave.

The Basics of Dry (electric) Shaving

An electric razor has two parts to cut hair: a thin, perforated metal foil, and the “undercutter”, a set of tiny blades that move back and forth very quickly under the foil. The tiny, perforated holes in the foil are smooth on the outside, but sharp on the inside, acting as a second blade.

electric shaving

Illustration of electric shaver on skin
Electric shavers use the skin’s elasticity for prolonged shaving results. The shaver presses down on the skin and moves it, like a ship creating a bow wave.
Hair exposed during dry shave
As a result, the skin contacts the holes of the foil, causing the hair to become more exposed.
Hair follicle after close shave
After it has been cut, the remainders of the hair pull back into the skin’s surface giving you that close shave.
There are two basic types of electric shaving systems: rotary and linear. Both systems use a foil that stays in contact with the skin while a blade (the “undercutter”) moves beneath it. The main difference between the two systems is the direction in which the undercutter moves.

Rotary Electric Shaving

rotary electric shaving
In the rotary system, the cutter goes in circles underneath the foil.

Linear Electric Shaving

liner electric shaving
In the linear system, the cutter moves from one side to the other in a linear movement. All Braun shavers are linear foil shavers.

Which is Right for Me?

Both blade razors and electric shavers may deliver the comfortable, close shave we’re all after — if one shaves wet or dry is a matter of personal preference and depends on factors such as individual expectations and shaving habits. It is worth noting that it takes your skin about a month to adjust to a new shaving method. If you’re making a switch, give your skin a little time to get used to the new method.

Whatever method you choose, remember to rinse the sink afterwards.

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Gillette Editor

Gillette Editor

Writer and expert