As the name implies, dry shaving refers to any shaving method that doesn’t use water.

Dry shaving can be accomplished using electric razors or blade razors on any part of your body or face.

Before you take your razor in hand and start dry shaving, it’s important to understand the benefits versus the risks to your skin — the last thing you want to do is trade stubble for ingrown hairs or irritated skin.

Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of dry shaving with both electric and blade razors.

Dry shaving with a blade razor has only one benefit: occasional convenience.

Maybe your water was turned off and you have to get ready for a big date or job interview. Rather than wasting time looking for a water source, you decide to shave your face, underarms, or legs with a blade razor, sans water.

In this scenario, dry shaving may be a better option than showing up stubbly. Your skin’s comfort and condition may suffer, however, unless you take measures to keep it moisturized and protected.

How to dry shave with a blade razor

To dry shave with a blade razor, be sure you’re using a new razor and go through the following:

  1. Apply waterless shaving cream or a moisturizer, such as coconut oil.
  2. Hold your skin taut with one hand.
  3. Gently and slowly shave with the hair’s grain.
  4. If possible, wash your razor between strokes.
  5. Moisturize skin.

Blade razor drawbacks

The biggest drawback to dry shaving, with either an electric or blade razor, is skin irritation. Using too much pressure while shaving can also cause irritation, and in some instances, razor burn.

Dry shaving with a blade razor has additional drawbacks. In addition to skin irritation, side effects from dry shaving with a blade razor can include:

  • cuts and nicks
  • dry, flaky skin
  • stinging or burning sensation, during and after shaving
  • itching
  • stubbly, uneven results
  • folliculitis
  • razor burn
  • shaving bumps and ingrown hairs

These side effects will be more pronounced if you use a dull razor. Not using lubrication of any kind while shaving will also exacerbate skin damage.

Most electric razors can be used for either wet or dry shaving. Since they’re manufactured with both uses in mind, they allow for fewer skin irritations than when dry shaving with a blade razor, such as:

Another perk with electric razors is portability. You can dry shave on-the-go — from anywhere.

How to dry shave with an electric razor

To dry shave with an electric razor:

  1. Trim long hairs with a trimmer or cuticle scissor.
  2. Make sure your skin is bone dry. Moistness can make it harder for an electric razor to glide over skin.
  3. Hold your skin taut with one hand.
  4. Shave slowly, using circular movements and light pressure.
  5. If you have sensitive skin, only shave with the hair’s grain — shaving against the grain will give you a closer shave, but may cause skin irritation.
  6. Use aftershave or a moisturizer that doesn’t contain alcohol, as it can sting newly shaved skin

Electric razor drawbacks

Electric shavers aren’t meant to tackle long hairs. If your sideburns or bikini area have gotten a tad scraggly, you’ll need to cut those hairs down before shaving.

As stated, the biggest drawback to dry shaving is skin irritation. If you’re shaving with an electric razor, this irritation may be more likely to occur if you have sensitive skin.

To get the closest shave and least irritated skin while dry shaving:

  • Don’t shave as soon as you wake up. Skin retains water while you sleep, making it harder to get a close shave.
  • Use a moisturizing exfoliator, such as a brown sugar scrub, before shaving. This will reduce the incidence of ingrown hairs and skin bumps.
  • If possible, wash your skin first to soften the hair.
  • Go slowly and use gentle strokes. This will help eliminate nicks and cuts.
  • Keep your razor clean of hair and skin debris.
  • If you’re using a blade razor, never use a dull blade.
  • Always moisturize skin after shaving.
  • Never dry shave skin that’s irritated, bumpy, or inflamed.
  • Don’t shave skin that has goosebumps from being cold.
  • Never dry shave if you have a skin condition like acne, eczema, or psoriasis.

To protect your skin, dry shaving with a blade razor should only be done in a pinch. If you must dry shave with a blade razor, shave slowly with the hair’s grain, and moisturize afterward.

Electric razors are designed to be used as dry shavers. Even so, take measures such as moisturizing to protect your skin from irritation.