When it comes to removing unwanted hair on your body, whether that be on the face, legs, or wherever else you have hair but don’t want it (we’re not going to judge), there is a number of different options out there and knowing what is right for you can be tricky.
Wet Shaving vs Dry Shaving
This is probably the single biggest decision someone makes when it comes to shaving.
There are pros and cons to each and deciding which is right for you depends on knowing those pros and cons.
Wet shaving is the older of the two methods, having said to have been used in ancient Egyptian times.
The safety razor design used today was first popularised in 1847 in Sheffield by a man named William Henson.
The idea of disposable razor blades didn’t come until a travelling salesman by the name of Camp Gillette saw Henson’s razor and combined with it with a double-edged blade.
In 1903, the first Gillette razors went on sale in the USA.
Of course, the method has evolved in recent years, thanks to more advanced razors with a higher number of blades, pivoting heads, and lubrication top and bottom of the blades to help reduce irritation.
Pros of Wet Shaving
There are several pros to wet shaving over dry shaving. These are:
- Closer shave – if you are looking for the closest shave possible to remove hair then wet shaving will beat dry shaving every time. This is because hair soaked in foam and/or water becomes softer and easier to cut. Modern razors with a higher number of blades and moving head are more effective than before.
- Exfoliating the skin – when wet shaving, the razor can be used on sensitive skin and when doing this, also remove dead skin cells leaving the skin smoother.
Cons of Wet Shaving
When wet shaving, there are a couple of things that need to be considered:
- Risk of cutting – because of a lack of dexterity, though modern razors are much better at this, not being precise when it comes to moving the razor on the skin can cause small cuts on the skin.
- Irritation – Razors over time need replacing, and not doing so can cause irritation on the skin. Knowing when to replace the blades, this depends on the blades and how often you use it, is important to know when wet shaving.
Dry shaving, of course, is a more recent invention than wet shaving, with the first patent for an electric powered razor first appearing in 1898.
It wasn’t until 1930 when American Jacob Schick patented the first electric shaver that is seen today.
Schick’s idea was further developed by Dutch company Philips, who created the iconic rotary blades that it is known for today, in 1937.
Another vital contributor to the development of the modern electric shaver is the German company Braun, who introduced both metal and rubber elements to their shavers.
It’s no surprise to see Philips and Braun be the two main players today when it comes to dry shaving.
Pros of Dry Shaving
Dry shaving has a number of pros over wet shaving that should be considered:
- Ideal for sensitive skin – because dry shaving only cuts the hair at a distance from the skin, it doesn’t remove the layer of skin, which is perfect for anyone who has sensitive skin.
- Easy to use – unlike wet shaving, which requires preparation, dry shaving is a simple as switching it on and go. And if it needs charging, just plug it into a socket using the charger.
- Adjustable – if you do not want to remove hair completely and just trim it down to a more satisfactory level, then many dry shavers nowadays have what you need,
Cons of Dry Shaving
When thinking about dry shaving, you should think about the following:
- Not as effective – in pure hair removal terms, a dry shave is not going to remove as much hair as a wet shave.
- Initial cost – if you are looking to dry shave, the cost of a shaver, good ones especially, will cost significantly more than any razor for wet shaving.
- Cleaning and maintenance – when using an electric shaver, you will have to regularly remove the head and clean it out, removing any hairs that are stuck inside.
Choosing the Right Option for You
Only you can decide which shaving option is right for you.
There are many different razors and shavers within the sectors alone to do a comparison of what is right for you.
But as with anything, when you get to it, it’s down to pure personal choice.
Something right for one person won’t be for another.
Other things to consider
Whether you are wet or dry shaving, there are things to consider that relate to how you shave.
Finding what works for you when using your razor or shaver is just as important as which one you choose.
Going Against the Grain
You may have heard that phrase, going against the grain, or not when it comes to shaving.
What it means is that instead of shaving in the direction of the hairs, which is down on the face or legs, you go upwards.
People say that going against the grain actually means a closer shave.
However, the reality is a bit more clouded.
When you shave away from hairs, instead of cutting them, it will actually pull at them before cutting.
This may mean a closer shave, but what it does do is increase the likelihood of ingrown hairs, which form horrible red bumps on the skin.
So should you do it?
We would say no, shaving regularly can offer a close shave without risking further irritation and ingrown hairs in the skin.
Once you have shaven, there are a number of options that you can do in order to get the most out of the shave.
These options will ensure that the skin doesn’t irritate and keep the skin as smooth as possible.
These balms are particularly aimed at men for applying after shaving the face, particularly those who suffer from razor burn and irritation on the skin.
These balms also work as moisturisers to help prevent the skin from drying out.
Skin moisturisers are ideal after shaving as any redness or dryness caused by shaving can be reduced by helping to get moisture back into the skin.
This can also help pores to close that were opened when shaving.
Open pores can lead to dirt getting under the skin.
Aftershave, whether it’s an eau de toilette, eau de cologne, or an actual aftershave, can be used to provide a freshness after a shave.
Often, when using one after a shave, men may feel a stinging sensation afterwards.
This is because of the fragrance getting into the pores of the skin that have been opened during shaving.
Unless it is described as an aftershave, fragrances won’t help moisturise the skin and as a result, you may experience irritation in the skin.
This is why it is not recommended.
What about waxing?
For the legs, waxing is a legitimate option that is effective at removing unwanted hairs.
Women and men (yes, men can and do wax their legs, think about competition swimmers who remove hairs on their legs in order to reduce drag when swimming. Isn’t aerodynamics great?) who wax their legs will get smooth legs that are hair free.
Waxing the face is not recommended at all. The skin on the face is much more sensitive than the legs, so the hot wax and strips would hurt quite a bit.