Wet shaving vs Dry Shaving


One of the most popular questions we get asked here at the Emporium is, "Which is best for your skin, dry shaving or wet shaving?" This is what we will explain here so as you have all the facts available to make your decision. There is clear evidence that wet shaving is much better for your skin than dry shaving. The other side of the argument is that dry shaving is faster and a great deal more convenient and nick and cut free.

There are various arguments which type of shaving is best and we will show you all of these just below. First though we want to be clear as to exactly what dry shaving and wet shaving actually mean.

What is Dry Shaving?

The only form of dry shaving that exists is using an electric shaver directly on to the skin without water, soap, gel, foam or cream. In other words you switch on your electric shaver and start shaving right away. There are two types of electric shaver, the rotary shaver and the foil shaver.

The rotary shaver has a number of circular heads with small cutting blades underneath that spin quickly around. The foil shaver has cutters that sit underneath a number of protective foils. Foil electric shavers are slightly better for sensitive skin as they offer more protection to the skin.

Irrespective of the shaver type the head of the shaver is in direct contact with the skin. All electric shavers can be used for dry shaving. The vast majority of electric shavers can also be used to have a wet shave, where you apply a soap, cream, foam or gel first and then use the electric shaver to shave.

For sheer convenience and speed most people will use an electric shaver as a dry shave.

Benefits of Dry Shaving

There are a few benefits of dry shaving, some obvious and some not. We have listed all of them just below:

  1. No risk of cuts or nicks - The main one is you can't really cut or nick the skin as electric shavers have enough protection on them to prevent any risk of that happening. All electric shavers cut the hair just above the skin and as such will never cut or nip the skin. The electric shaver either has a protected set of heads or foils to smooth over the skin and the cutters or blades sit underneath those protective elements.
  2. Speed and Convenience -  this is the main reason people dry shave. It is faster, can be done anywhere and is simply just more convenient. You can have a shave, watch TV or drink your tea or coffee while having a dry shave. You can also have a shaver in the office or take it with you on holidays and use as and when you get time.  With wet shaving you really do have to be in the bathroom. With wet shaving comes preparation time, dealing with any nicks or cuts and then tidying up.
  3. Cost of dry shaving - As a general rule dry shaving is cheaper than wet shaving. It does however depend on how much you spend on your electric shaver. We break the costs down later in this article.

What is Wet Shaving?

Wet shaving is all other types of shaving. Normally hot water is applied to the face and then a lubricant is applied. This can be s shaving foam, shaving gel, a shaving soap or a shaving cream. There are different types of razor used for wet shaving and these are the disposable razor, cartridge razor, safety razor and cutthroat razor.

The bottom line though is that water and some form of lubricant is used. With shaving soaps and creams it is also very likely that a shaving brush will be used to help create a lather. It is this lather that creates a protective layer between the skin and any type of blade.

The main reason dry shaving is so popular is people don't want to waste the time it takes to prepare for a wet shave. They also don't want to be bothered by the cleaning up afterwards.

Benefits of Wet Shaving

There are also a few benefits of wet shaving.

  1. Closer shave - there is no question that the closest shave you can get is from a wet shave using a sharp blade. It will always be a much closer shave than using an electric shaver. At the end of the day having a blade on your skin rather than some type of foil is always going to give you a closer shave. That is as long as you make sure you are using a sharp blade.
  2. Better for the skin - Wet shaving is also much better for the skin. Any type of lubricant on the skin helps protect the skin from any type of blade. In addition to that creams, soaps, gels etc also act as a skin moisturiser. They help deal with dead skin and also put moisture back into the skin.

Those are the main differences between dry and wet shaving. In terms of cost, there is not really a big difference. There can of course be a huge difference depending on what you go for.

  • Electric shavers - cost anything from £20-£900 depending on the brand and features that you want to have. If you use these for dry shaving only, then your initial cost is whatever amount you want to pay for a shaver. A typical shaver is good for around 2-3 years before the heads will need to be replaced. In many cases it is probably easier and cheaper just to replace the shaver.
  • Safety razors - can only be used as a wet shaver but relatively cheap when compared to other shaving options. A decent razor will cost around £25-£30 and after that it just needs razor blades which are cheap to buy.
  • Cutthroat razors -  These vary in cost quite a lot. The cheaper Shavette razor blade models cost around £15-£25 whereas the fixed blade ones are more expensive at an average of £50.

Hopefully, we have explained the main differences between wet and dry shaving. In summary, when people refer to a dry shave that simply means a shave without any type of soap, cream, foam or gel being applied to the face. Almost always this shave is done using an electric shaver.

With wet shaving, hot water is splashed on to the face, then either a soap, cream, gel or foam is applied and you can shave with a disposable razor, a cartridge razor, a safety razor, a cutthroat razor or an electric shaver.

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Thanks for visiting the Shaving Emporium website. This is a shaving website aimed at readers in the UK and Ireland. We are experienced experts and have included lots of information about shaving and grooming, and we have also completed detailed research that helps us write our product reviews. We like to have our information as up to date as possible.

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