Scatman Dan was talking about “Open Source Shaving” and I had to chime in on my shaving experiences.
I was in college. I was getting ready to go out to a very fancy dinner with my girlfriend. I spent extra time in the bathroom lathering and shaving extra close, put on a nice suit and went over to her place. She welcomed me at the door, gave me a kiss, brushing her cheek against mine and immediately pulled back, saying sternly, “Didn’t you even shave?” The next day I went out and bought an electric razor, a Norelco 5825 XL rotary shaver.
My dad had previously shown me his old “bar” electric shaver and I was unimpressed. It pulled at my hair and didn’t do a very good job, leaving some hairs even after several passes. But I had this image in my mind of that claymation santa claus riding the rotating blades through the snow, apparently giving Norelco razors to all the good little girls and boys, and that serious voice repeating, “Shaves as close as a blade or your money back.” I was not disappointed.
I have a rough scratchy beard. I switched to a Norelco rotary head electric razor (Norelco 5825 XL) in 1990 and have NEVER looked back. Shaving takes under 2 minutes (yes, really, I timed it this morning), is closer than any blade I’d used (girlfriend confirmed), and in 19 years (wow, I’m getting old) hasn’t cut me once. I can shave in the car and the built-in trimmer attachment is convenient to cut down nose and ear hair. I bought an extra razor for the car and haven’t spent a penny on blades in all that time. My first expense, last month I spent $10 replacing the rechargable batteries in both razors. I hope to get another 10 years out of them though I’ll grant that one of the razor’s motors now seems to be failing.
Caveats: It shaves poorly when my beard is wet: right out of the shower or when I’m sweating, so it is a poor choice if you live in a hot climate with no air conditioning; when I was on a trip to such a place, I had to time my shaving carefully to after my face dried and before I started sweating. If I haven’t shaved in 3 days, shaving is “ouchy” because it pulls the hairs but it hasn’t ever hurt or redden my skin. The first week I used it (19 years ago) it was uncomfortable to use but I was fine after that. Mine cost about $90 in 1990, I see ones on Amazon for about the same today. The only required features I see in a rotary shaver is that it’s rechargable and has built in trimmers.
For usage instructions, with a blade, you touch each part of your face once but with an electric, you rub the razor over your whiskers quickly many times. It’s a totally different but you’ll get the hang of it quickly.
I got my dad a newer Norelco 8140XL razor in 2006. I played with it a bit and I’m “fairly” happy with the gift. Mine from 19 years ago is frankly a better model but his gives just as good a shave. Read my letter to Norelco about their 8140XL shaver.