Last updated on August 16th, 2018 by Garrick Dee
One of the toughest things a man can have is sensitive skin.
And we’ll be taking about the best electric razors for sensitive skin, how to choose one and some tips on shaving with sensitive skin.
If you suffer from such, you know that one wrong swipe of a razor can trigger a bad reaction.
Not just the bleeding but the burning sensation that’s downright hideous.
The default tool men have would be a cartridge razor. However, there’s one caveat, these tools have as much as 6 blades!
Imagine the irritation that 6 blades raking across your skin.
Safety razor would be our tool of choice
Another tool that experts recommend would be a safety razor. This in my opinion is one of the best tools for shaving sensitive skin.
It comes with a replaceable single blade system that’s cheaper, easy to clean and gentler on the skin because there’s less blades that’ll touch your skin. Since the blades are replaceable, you can put in a fresh blade every day and still spend less than a disposable or cartridge.
But the learning curve for a safety razor is steeper and it takes longer to shave. So this may not fit the needs of a busy individual who needs to get his shaving done quickly.
Enter the electric razor. Recent advances in electric shaver design deliver closer shaves with less irritation. And there are options to choose from that allow you to wet shave.
Here’s a disclaimer: Don’t expect electric shavers to shave as close as a safety razor. That’s simply isn’t possible because there isn’t enough blade exposure. These tools are meant for convenience and speed.
To help guide you in this review, I’ve created a table of contents section…
- Why choose an electric shaver?
- How to choose an electric razor?
- Our Pick: Braun Series 7 7865cc
- High Tech: Braun Series 9 9290CC Wet/Dry
- Best Rotary Option: Philips Norelco 7500
- Better Than the Arc 5: Panasonic ES8243A Arc 4
- Budget Option: Philips Norelco 2100
- Some Tips on Shaving with Sensitive Skin
- To Wrap Up
Braun Series 7 7865cc
Braun Series 9 9290CC
Philips Norelco 7500
Panasonic ES8243A Arc 4
Philips Norelco 2100
The biggest selling point of a cartridge (and disposable) razor is shaving close with less passes.
Their theory that the multi-blade system they utilize will cut facial hair close fast. Combine that with the shallow learning curve and availability, you have a great tool for the masses.
The problem isn’t really the effectiveness. Good brands like Gillette will shave close fast. One big issue would be cost.
The more blades you pack in, the smaller the gap. Dead skin, hair and other contaminants fill those gaps quickly.
See what I mean? The best course of action would be replacing the read with a fresh cartridge. But since these cost a lot of money (around $30++ for a pack of eight), you hold back.
When you shave with a dirty cartridge, guess what happens?
Irritation and possibly ingrown hair because a dull clogged and dull razor will pull and tug. This is a hellish scenario for men with sensitive skin.
Best option would be a safety razor
The best option in my opinion would be a safety razor. It’s cheap, will have the least amount of irritation and shave the closest. But there are two issues that hinder a lot of men from going this route – learning curve and time.
Learning the proper technique will take some time. And the actual process of shaving with a safety razor will take longer.
Electric shaver is a good compromise
This is where an electric shaver comes in. It won’t shave as close as a safety razor but it won’t take as long cutting the process in half.
Modern variants come with a multi-blade design that will not irritate as much since there isn’t too much blade exposure. And these heads flex so as to follow the contours of your face.
But don’t expect these tools to shave as close as a cartridge or safety razor. These tools are meant for convenience and speed more than anything else.
Before grabbing the cheapest electric shaver you can find consider these.
Remember that you’re deal with sensitive skin. And the last thing you want is an inferior product touching your face causing more discomfort.
Perhaps the most important feature would be blade quality. Not only should be blades be sharp, it has to last a long time in order to make get the most out of every dollar you spend.
A dull blade is sensitive skin’s worst enemy because it pulls and tugs resulting in ingrown hair.
Good brands like Braun use a multitude of blades coated with titanium to comb through and cut facial hair that grows in different directions.
Panasonic uses nano blades at 30 degrees to cut facial hair more efficiently.
One great way to protect skin during the shaving process would be using shaving cream. In order to do this, you will need to choose an electric razor that has wet/dry functionality. This means it will allow you to shave dry or with shaving cream on.
Please do check our guide on shaving creams to give you an idea what’s best and what will work for an electric shaver. One of our recommendations would be the latherless Cremo shave cream.
This product is slick and does not produce a lather which works great with an electric shaver since it has better visibility.
Easy to clean
Another enemy of sensitive skin is a dirty blade so make sure that the product you choose is easy to clean. The top brands will give you the option of purchasing a cleaning station that does this job for you. But it’ll cost more in terms of the cleaning station itself and cost of cleaning cartridges.
As long the cutting elements are removable and it comes with a cleaning brush, it’ll be easy to clean.
Foil or Rotary
One thing that’ll sure make you pull your hair out would be choosing between a rotary and foil shaver.
Both have their strengths and weakness and I’ll outline some of them here.
First difference would be the blade design. In a foil shaver, blades oscillate in a linear back and forth motion. While a rotary shaver goes in a circular motion much like a grass cutter or blender.
This difference in blade movement will necessitate different technique. For a foil razor, you’ll need to move it in a linear motion during shaving. Rotary shavers require a circular motion.
In terms of aggressiveness, the consensus is rotary shavers will be more aggressive and shave closer versus a foil shaver.
This means foil shavers will cause less irritation against a rotary.
But a rotary will better on areas like the mustache and chin area because of the more compact design.
Whereas a foil works better on flat spaces like the cheek and neck area. Men with a more contoured face will benefit more from a rotary because the cutting heads are smaller and will follow tight contours better.
Without further ado the best electric razors for sensitive skin
Here are 5 of the best electric shavers for men with sensitive skin. You won’t see any cheap Chinese brands here because I don’t want to risk recommending something that’ll cause more irritation in the long run.
Put this side by side against the Series 9 9290cc, the older Braun Series 7 7865cc may not shave as close. But it’s hard to ignore the price difference of close to $50!
Men who don’t have really thick beard growth may want to look close look at the Series 7 7865cc.
It’s got almost the same features as the 9290cc. Aside from the cutting element and motor, both these shavers are almost the same!
Three cutting elements
This razor has one less cutting element than the top of the line 9290cc. But it still retains the SkinGuard feature that helps minimize friction and lessen irritation.
One downside to the lack of cutting elements would be the shave itself. It will not shave as close as the Series 9 because it lacks the extra cutting element.
The good news is less cutting elements means less friction which bodes well for sensitive skin.
Another feature that’ll benefit sensitive skin would be the ability of this to shave wet or dry. This means you can use with or without shaving cream!
If you have not read my ultimate guide for wet shaving, please take a few minutes to read the benefits.
It’ll help change the way you shave.
Series 7 has 5 shaving modes from gentle to aggressive. This will help you adjust aggressiveness depending on how sensitive your skin is. You can use the gentlest setting on the neck area which tends to be more sensitive. And then bump it up to the most aggressive on areas that aren’t as sensitive.
8-D contour adaptation
To help adapt to the contours of the face, this shaver comes with free floating cutting elements that moves in eight directions. The foil design makes this best to use on flat surfaces like the cheek and neck area. But the ability to pivot will allow this to work on areas like the chin as well.
Bottom line: I like this electric shaver of the Series 9 9290cc because it’s cheaper and will almost perform as well. It’s got almost the same features as the newer variant and this one allows you to select shaving modes to adjust the aggressiveness.
The 9290CC from Braun is one of their newest and best shavers to date. Unfortunately it’s also one of the most expensive at over $250!
A close look at the shaving head reveals why this is a great option if you have sensitive skin.
Four cutting elements
There are four cutting elements, each with a specific task.
Unlike the hair on our scalp, facial hair will grow in different directions. And the two trimmers at the middle (one coated with titanium) will help straighten out and capture even the trickiest beard growth.
The two foil blades that flank the trimmers will then mow down any hair left and give you a decently close shave.
To protect the skin from irritation, it comes with a skin guard feature that shields the skin unnecessary friction.
10-D contour adaptation
To help with the different contours on our face, Braun equips this shaver with flexible, floating cutting elements that move in 10 different directions.
This feature will help it shave even the steepest contours like the chin area.
Wet/Dry and waterproof
You can use this shaver to shave with and without shaving cream. This is a huge deal because shaving cream does add a layer of lubrication that protects the skin from friction and irritation. It also will hydrate skin and protect it post-shave.
Being 100% waterproof will allow you to clean use in running water which helps remove any excess gunk, dead skin and facial hair on the cutting head.
You can even use this inside the shower even if it isn’t the best practice.
This razor will run for 50 minutes on a full charge. A quick charge feature is also available if you’re in a hurry.
Bottom line: The Braun Series 9 9290cc is one of the best electric shavers right now thanks to the contour following 10-D cutting head and SkinGuard feature that minimizes irritation. It’s also the most expensive at over $250 but it checks nearly all the boxes and will perform better than the Series 7.
Not all men have the same facial features. And the Philips Norelco 7500 is best suited to a man with a more contoured face. It’s a good mid-priced option if you cannot afford a $200++ rotary.
This comes with a special anti-friction microbead coating that helps lessen irritation from friction of the cutting element and skin.
Flexible cutting head
The three individual cutting elements move in five different directions and work best in highly contoured spaces like the jaw line and chin area. Men with sharper facial features will appreciate the flexibility of the cutting head.
AquaTec is Philips’ fancy term of a waterproof design that allows you to use this shaver wet or dry shaving. Again, one of the best ways to protect the skin from friction would be using a shaving cream.
And this feature allows you to do so without damaging anything.
This system refers to the clean and charge station of Philips shavers. Like the Braun Series 9, this tool will charge and clean the razor at the same time.
One downside to the SmartClean system would be the extra expense of buying cartridges that contain the fluid for cleaning the shaver. Another issue would be size. You wouldn’t be able to bring it with you on business trips because of the size and weight.
The good news is you can easily clean this with or without the base.
Bottom line: Men looking for a shaver that works great on the mustache and chin area will appreciate the Norelco 7500. Its flexible cleaning head works great on high contour areas. Comfort rings also prevent unnecessary friction thus great for sensitive skin. Lastly, you can use this for both wet and dry shaving, giving you more options on how you want to shave.
It may not shave as close as the Arc 5 but don’t sleep on the Panasonic ES8243A Arc 4. The four cutting elements will still able to shave pretty close with the benefit not having less irritation.
One big downside of the Arc 5 would be the sheer size of the head that makes it awkward to use around the mouth and chin area.
Can you imagine five linear blades raking on your neck? I cannot so I firmly believe that if you have sensitive skin, this is a good compromise.
Flexible Pivoting Head
This shaver may lack the individually pivoting cutting elements found in the Braun and Philips. But Panasonic makes up for it by making the head pivot, side to side, forward and backward.
You can also lock the head in place once you find a comfortable setting which gives you more flexibility.
Not Just a Beard Shaver
Another benefit of the flexible head would be versatility. You can use this to shave scalp hair and leg hair!
Multi-ft Arc Foil
To help giving you a closer shave, shaving head of the Arc 4 has a slight curve. This helps the foils get more traction on the area its shaving. Having a slightly curved head negates the need for individually pivoting heads found in more expensive shavers.
One great thing about this design is it allows you to move the shaver head in a circular motion. Great if you’re coming from a rotary shaver transitioning to a foil.
Wet shaving is almost an essential for sensitive skin because a good quality shave cream will act as a barrier that protects skin from direct contact against the blade. Having this option will give you the option to try both wet and dry shaving to see how your skin reacts.
Of course, clean up time will be longer if you wet shave. But the benefits will outweigh the extra time requirement.
Bottom line: Panasonic is another good option for sensitive skin thanks to the wet/dry shaving options, four-blade system, pivoting and curved head that will perform 90% that of a disposable minus the irritation. Yes it won’t shave as close but your skin will look better and you’ll save some $$$ in the process.
Never in my wildest dreams would I’d expect a Norelco trump Braun when it comes to sensitive skin.
But here we are, the consensus does not lie. Most men who use this were happy with the results. And the best part is you don’t have to spend too much to buy this.
Four-direction Flex Heads
At the heart of this rotary shaver is three cutting heads that pivot in 4 directions individually. This pivoting motion allows the blades reach and cut facial hair off skin, resulting in a closer shave. The only thing it does not do is pivot outward.
But do not expect this to cut as close as a cartridge, disposable or a safety razor. This razor is for the busy individual who simply does not have any time to do a proper wet shave.
Close Cut Blade System
To help get as close a shave as possible, Philips uses what they call self-sharpening blades that automatically sharpens itself. I’m not sure how this system works so please take it with a grain of salt.
Also you’ll need to replace the cutting head once every 12 to 18 months depending on how often you use this.
Another reason why to choose this would be its ability to shave wet or dry. Again, this is a must have feature if you’re looking to minimize irritation on sensitive skin.
Bottom line: The Philips Norelco 2100 is proof that you don’t need to spend lots of $$$ for a decent electrice shaver. Sure it does not have the bells and whistles found in higher end variants like the Braun Series 9 or Philips Norelco 7500 put it will perform.
Shaving in itself is tough. Add skin sensitivity that toughness multiples 5-fold. But shaving with such need not be agonizing with these practical tips. If you want to learn more please visit this link to something with more detail.
1. Take a hot shower prior to shaving
One of the best ways to prep your face to the grind of shaving would be taking a hot shower. Hot water will soften hair follicles making it easier to cut.
This step also helps clean out excess oil and dead skin. Without any contaminants, the cutting elements have a clear path and will shave closer and more efficiently.
2. Apply shaving cream
One of the best ways to prevent razor burn is to apply shaving cream. Whether or not to use a shaving brush would depend on your preference.
If you have extra time then by all means do so. A shaving brush is a great tool not just to apply cream but also to exfoliate and lift up hairs. So the blade has an easier time to mow down hair follicles.
But if you don’t want the hassle of a shaving brush, the next best thing would be using a latherless cream.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with such, a latherless cream has similar properties to a shaving cream. It provides a layer of protection and lubrication so the blade slides effortlessly on skin.
The difference would be the absence of lather. Yes, you heard that right, latherless creams do not have lather. It goes on clear so you’ll have no problem with visibility.
3. Use a sharp blade
Sensitive skin’s worst enemy is a dull blade. It will pull and tug on hair causing major discomfort and possibly ingrown hair.
One way to prevent this in an electric razor is regularly replacing the cutting elements if you feel the slightest tug. It should last anywhere between 12 to 18 months.
Make sure to clean it thoroughly after every use to extend service life.
4. Post shave is equally as important
Don’t ignore what you do post shave. What you do after shaving is equally as important. Apply products like an aftershave balm will provide post shave protection that your skin desperately needs.
These products help nourish, hydrate and protect skin from irritation, razor burn and possible infection.
If you don’t want the high cost of using a cartridge razor or the steep learning curve of a safety razor then an electric razor is a good alternative. The five variants above are the best electric shavers available right now in terms of price, features and overall performance.
Why the Series 7?
The Braun Series 7 is hard to pass up because of the huge price difference against the Series 9. But it still retains most of the features. It won’t shave as close but lesser blades mean less irritation.
You can’t have it all.
Series 9 will shave closer
If you want something that’ll shave closer then go for the Series 9. It has an additional cutting element that’ll shave a little bit closer. But you’ll have to pay around $50 more for this.
The other options in this list will depend on your preference. Go with the Panasonic Arc 4 if you want a no-nonsense foil shaver that’ll work not just on the face but on the head or legs as well.
Budget conscious shoppers should go with the bare bones Norelco 2100. It’s the cheapest and the simplest of the four.
Please share this guide with your family and friends if you find it helpful.
Garrick spends his days researching and writing about grooming. When he’s not in front of his computer, you can find him hanging around with his wife and son.