Read the Manual.Often this is something that is overlooked. Take the time to look through it. Some razors cost a lot of money and you risk damaging the battery or other components if you just 'bluff' your way through.
Clean it.The main reason an electric shaver stops shaving effectively is lack of cleaning. At Basenotes, we've seen shavers where guys have used them for 5 years without cleaning them and wonder why they no longer get a good shave.
Prior to shaving: Open up the shaver head (see manual) and using the brush that came with the shaver, brush all stray stubble in to your dustbin. If you've lost the brush, the shop that sold you the shaver should be able to order you a new one.
You can do this after shaving but it's easier before, as the old hairs are drier and don't cling to the blades.
Every 3-4 weeks (After you have shaved): Give it an allmighty good clean using some 'Electric Shaver Cleaner', again, check your shaver store for more details on this. Philips also make a machine for cleaning their shavers and the Braun Synchro has a cleaner built in to the charger, so you really have no excuse.
ShavingYou will get the closest shave with an electric shaver if you use it on dry skin, prior to washing. This will help avoid skin irritation.
If you have a particularly tough beard, try using some Electric Pre-Shave.
When shaving with an electric razor- shave against the direction of hair growth (This is the opposite to wet shaving where it's recommended to shave with the hair growth)
MaintenanceIn time, foils and cutters wear down and become less effective. If you do not feel you are getting the best shave or you have to push the shaver hard against your skin to get a reasonable shave, it may be time for a change. Most foils and cutter last around 18 months provided the shaver is kept clean. Philishave/Norelco ones are more robust and last even longer.
REMEMBER: If you keep your shaver clean, the foils and blades will last longer!
Tips from Basenotes' visitors:
I have found that by washing my face with Johnson & Johnson's Clean and Clear facial bar soap (but not the liquid versions) and waiting ten minutes for it to dry, I get the closest and smoothest shave I have ever had from my Philishave. In my opinion, this facial bar soap works better than the pre-electric lotions I had previously tried - at a small fraction of the cost.. I experimented with pre-electric lotion, the Remington pre-shave talc stick, and pre-washing with normal bar soap and liquid soap. None of them worked as well as the Clean and Clear bar soap. However, I don't think I'd be too happy with my current results, if I didn't follow up with an aftershave balm"