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Do Vibrating Razors Really get a Closer Shave?

Michael Pollick
Updated May 21, 2024
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Every so often there is a revolution in the shaving industry, and one of the latest innovations has been the development of vibrating razors. These razors utilize a small 1.5 volt motor inside the handle to generate a gentle but noticeable vibration as the user shaves normally. At first, many consumers were a little dubious about putting vibrating razors with sharp blades against their skin, but the action turned out to be more of a gentle hum than a violent shake. Many shavers now prefer the performance of razors that vibrate to the multiple blade razors competing for their attention.

The principle behind vibrating razors is rooted in sound scientific principles. One of the main problems faced by shavers is the elusive nature of individual hair follicles. An ordinary razor can only shave the hairs which rise above skin level and remain there. Other hairs may lay flat against the skin and escape the wrath of the blade. Vibrations are believed to stimulate the muscles around hair follicles which cause hairs to stand on end. Once these hairs have been raised, they are quickly shaved off by the blades. The result is often a perceived closer shave, although it may be more accurate to say it is a more thoroughshave.

Vibrating razors are also said to aid shavers by reducing the sensation of drag often created by other manual razors. The vibrations appear to create a gliding sensation as the blade is drawn across the skin. The motor assembly and battery contained in the handles of these razors also change the balance, which many shavers find to be an advantage over lightweight razors. By improving the grip and balance, vibrating razors encourage shavers to use more definite strokes.

But do vibrating razors successfully address problems such as ingrown hairs and shaving bumps? Any razor is capable of cutting a hair too close and creating ingrown hairs or other shaving irritations. The vibratory action of the razors does not appear to aggravate the problem, however. Ingrown hairs are often the result of poor shaving technique, not the razor itself. Stretching the skin while shaving or overshaving a particular area can cause sharpened hairs to go below the skin line and grow inwards or puncture surrounding tissues. Users should avoid the types of shaving techniques which encourage ingrown hairs or shaving bumps, such as stretching the skin, overshaving an area or shaving against the grain.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Pollick
By Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to BeautyAnswered, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range of topics. His curiosity drives him to study subjects in-depth, resulting in informative and engaging articles. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael honed his skills as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.
Discussion Comments
By anon1002584 — On Dec 27, 2019

Done with Gillette SJW. Harry's works for me now, but considering the Microscreen.

By anon1001624 — On May 25, 2019

Came to this site looking for a replacement to Gillette. I refuse to buy their SJW products, but I haven't found a vibrating handle yet, which I love.

By MrMoody — On Jun 12, 2011

@SkyWhisperer - I'm glad the electric shaver works for you, but for me the blade wins out hands down. I love watching the old classic movies on television and watching scenes in the barber shop where they use the straight shaving razors. The guys always look so clean shaven when they’re done and I can’t imagine any consumer grade blade or shaver giving you that kind of quality shave.

I use the Merkur razors-they’re the closest thing, I believe, to a barber shop shave. I like them because they’re steel and they have a variety of settings. I can adjust the setting and always get just the shave I want without cuts and nips.

By SkyWhisperer — On Jun 12, 2011

@David09 - I use the Remington MicroScreen and it works like a charm for me. I gave up the razors a long time ago. I too thought that no electric shaver could ever come as close as a blade but Remington proved me wrong.

I’m not pushing their stuff mind you; whatever works for you is fine. But it’s been years since I’ve had scratchy, after burn from a shave and my wife says my skin is as smooth as a baby’s you know what.

By David09 — On Jun 11, 2011

I use the Gillette Mach 3 razors. These have swiveling blades separated by soft cushions so that the blades don’t go down too hard on the skin.

These razors shave very close and leave my skin feeling silky smooth without the abrasive, rough feeling I used to get with a disposable razor. Yeah, you have to pay a little more for the Gillette razors but I think they’re definitely worth it.

By Charred — On Jun 10, 2011

I can only speak from experience, but the best razor for me has always been the trusty old blade. I’ve tried just about every kind of vibrating razor or electric shaver out there, and despite exaggerated claims that they “shave as close as a blade or your money back,” none of them has ever been good enough for me. I never did try to get my money back; I just let them sit and collect dust in my closet.

The problem is that I have a very hairy face, Middle Eastern style. So I think my skin has a lot of the bumps and valleys that are especially challenging for electric razors as they try to navigate my rough facial terrain. Blades don’t have a problem doing so; they just scrape my skin, but I’ve learned to live with it and splash on some aftershave.

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to BeautyAnswered, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide...
Learn more
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