Pre Electric Shave Products: Should You Use One?

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Pre Electric Shave Products: Should You Use One?

Any noticeable improvements to the closeness and comfort of the shave are more than welcome to anyone using an electric shaver.

Pre shave lotions and powders promise just that and many users seem to swear by them.

In this article we’ll take a look at how they work, the different types of products and if they really make a difference and are worth buying.

How do pre electric shaves work?

When using an electric razor for dry shaving, there a few factors that can make this operation even more difficult and uncomfortable: the moisture and oils of the skin, flat-lying hairs, flaky skin—to name just a few.

To make matters worse, dry shaving involves constantly rubbing a piece of metal over your skin that can also get hot and cause painful razor burn.

A pre-electric shave is formulated to address precisely these issues and thus help with a more comfortable and close shave.

Pre-electric shave products are designed to improve the comfort and closeness of the shave.

Ideally, a product like this works by providing a layer of lubrication, absorbing the moisture, toning the skin and causing the hairs to stand straight, making it easier for the shaver to capture and cut them.

The end result should be a closer, faster shave with less irritation and discomfort.

The different types of pre electric shave products

The most popular ones come in the form of a lotion/splash, gel or powder, each with its own pros and cons.

As it’s the case with most personal care products, choosing one over another is mostly a matter of personal preference.

Powder or talc

A powder/talc pre shave provides the most lubrication of all three, allowing the shaver to glide over the skin with less friction. It is also very efficient at dealing with oily skin and absorbing any kind of moisture.

Since it doesn’t contain alcohol, it doesn’t dry the skin and it’s perfectly suitable for very sensitive skin.

A downside of this type of products is that they can be a little messy to apply compared to a gel or splash.

On the bright side, a pre shave talc stick will last for months, offering great value for money.

An excellent pre shave powder is the Remington Face Saver; manufactured in Switzerland, it has been around for a few decades and has gained a great reputation among electric shaving enthusiasts.

Remington Face Saver

Remington Face Saver.

See the price on Amazon

To apply, you just rub the stick across your face and work it with your fingers into the beard. You can then proceed to shave as usual.

Please note that talcum is mineral-based and could contribute to a premature wear of the blades. However, it’s difficult to say with certainty just how much the use of one will impact the lifespan of the cutters.

Lotions/splashes and gels

Aramis Lab Series Electric Shave Solution.

A pre electric lotion or gel will usually include alcohol in the ingredient list, so you should definitely take this into consideration if you have very sensitive skin or suffer from any type of irritation from alcohol.

Other than that, a pre-shave lotion does a great job of lifting the hairs, prepping the skin and providing a protective layer of lubrication.

They’re also easier and less messy to apply compared to powders.

After the shave, make sure to rinse your face and also thoroughly clean your razor; using a pre electric lotion or gel tends to make the hairs stick to the cutters.

What are some of the best pre electric shave lotions?

1. Speick Pre Electric Shave Lotion

speick-pre-shave

See the price on Amazon

This one is by far my personal favorite. It works the best out of everything I’ve tried so far, allowing a perfectly smooth and very close dry shave.

It is alcohol-based, however this didn’t cause me any problems, even though I do have sensitive skin.

Unlike most other pre-shave lotions out there, the one from Speick doesn’t have that oily texture that tends to linger even after rinsing your face with water.

The scent is spicy and unoffensive and it goes away completely after a short time.

The Speick pre-electric shave lotion, one of the best products of this type.

I’ve been very impressed by the quality of Speick products throughout the years and this pre-shave doesn’t disappoint. I highly recommend you to give it a try.

Since Speick is a Geman brand, it may be a bit more difficult to buy it in the USA for example.

2. Williams Lectric Shave

See the price on Amazon

Williams Lectric Shave is a very popular pre-electric shave lotion that’s been around since the ’50s. It improves the closeness of the shave and reduces irritation, especially on sensitive areas like the neck.

Be careful when applying it though; being very runny, it tends to slip between your fingers if you are a bit heavy-handed.

I personally find Lectric Shave to work really well, especially when it comes to closeness. The only downside is that to me it seems quite oily. Despite that, it won’t however clog your razor.

The scent is also up for debate. While I don’t think it’s offensive, some may find it off-putting or a bit too old-fashioned.

You can check out this post for more details on my experience with Williams Lectric Shave.

Another popular option is a pre electric shave gel like Afta by Mennen.

3. Afta by Mennen

afta-pre-electric

See the price on Amazon

This gel is very easy to apply due to its thicker consistency. It dries the moisture from the skin, improves the glide of the razor over the skin and causes the hairs to stand up. The result is a smoother, closer and faster shave.

This product is definitely easier to apply compared to the lotions above and also dries faster.

I am personally not a fan of the Afta pre-electric because it tends to gunk up once it dries on the skin. And then there’s the fragrance.

I don’t particularly care for it as to me it seems a bit too old-fashioned and tends to linger on for a while even after washing my face.

Other than these two issues it seems to improve both the closeness and the comfort of the shave, even though the one from Williams has the edge in my opinion.

4. Aramis Lab Series Electric Shave Solution

Aramis Lab Series Electric Shave Solution

See the price on Amazon

This pre-shave from Lab Series includes a lot of quality ingredients and it’s the only one on this list that is fragrance-free.

So if you have any kind of perfume sensitivity you should really consider this one.

Aramis Lab Series Electric Shave Solution

The Lab Series pre-shave works really well, being pretty much on par with the Williams Lectric Shave.

However, it also has that oily texture and costs significantly more than the Lectric Shave.

For this reason I actually recommend you to opt for the latter if you don’t need a fragrance-free pre-shave lotion. For more details, you can check out my review of the Lab Series.

Should you use a pre electric shave product?

In my opinion, you should at least give it a try. Including an electric pre-shave lotion or powder is, at least in theory, one of the simplest ways to significantly improve your dry shave.

Having said that, the improvement will vary and you may not see a noticeable difference, especially if you’re not affected by some of the issues described in this article. If that’s the case, you can probably skip it.

However, most men will benefit from using one and pre electric products are generally inexpensive, readily available and will also last for a long time.

Including one as part of your pre-shave routine can have a major impact on your overall shaving experience.

66 comments on “Pre Electric Shave Products: Should You Use One?

Leave a comment
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Marita,

      online shops like Amazon.com have a variety of pre-electric shavers.

      Reply
    1. Edward A Merritt

      I have used a Norelco electric razor on and off for many years. Every now and then I get tired of the electric and use a disposable in the shower. A disposable shaves much closer. However, the Norelco does a decent job. I have tried it all with electric razors — Face Saver stick power (a Remington product), talcum powder, Williams Lectric Shave, Purell, before shower dry with no prep, in the shower wet, in the shower with shave gel, and after shower clean with no prep. The Remington Face Saver works by far the best for me (closest shave and least amount of irritation). It’s a bit messy, but not messy like the problem of using talcum powder. Lectric Shave does a nice job of providing a close shave, but leaves one’s hands feeling greasy. Purell (yes, Purell — the hand sanitizer) does a good job of prep and works fine for me in setting the beard whiskers up. I can imagine that some will not like that much alcohol on their faces. Overall, the Purell is the most convenient for me, but I can’t use it when the humidity is too low, as it dries my skin too much. In the shower wet is not smooth for me or my face, so the razor ‘hops.’ In the shower with shaving gel works fine for a close shave and everywhere except for leaving my neck raw and stinging (maybe too close). After the shower clean with no other prep the razor seems to drag. Hope this helps. The Face Saver Stick Power (a super old school product that I remember from the ’60s or ’70s) is available through Amazon or eBay in lots of about 6 for $25 or so. Each stick lasts a month or so.

      Reply
      1. James Krichbaum

        Wow! Thank You for the shaving wisdom. Anyone that has been shaving that long definitely knows their stuff.

        I obviously stumbled across this post because I was looking to see if I needed an electric shave gel and received this very helpful information. Thank you for the wisdom sir!

        Reply
  1. Carrie Warkentin

    My stepfather used to use a blue liquid pre shave back in the 80-90’s that we’ve not been able to find any more. It looks a lot like the Williams Lectric shave but it was blue in a glass bottle. It had a really great easy on the nose smell. Anybody have any idea what it may have been called? I’ve been racking my brain but we can’t remember. Lol. Thx for any and all help in figuring this out.

    Reply
    1. bschnetzler

      That sounds like Aquavelva and I’m pretty sure it is an aftershave.. my dad used Aquavelva almost exclusively when I was growing up and that’s exactly how it came packaged.

      Reply
    2. Doc Scott

      You might be referring to Aramis Lab Series…you can find it on Amazon, where it has excellent reviews. Hope this helps.

      Reply
    3. Alan

      It was Williams Electric shave ultra. The Williams Electric shave ultra was great and better than the currently available Williams Electric shave. I believe they stopped making the ultra years ago.

      Reply
    4. Rob Friedman

      Carrie Warkentin, That was William Lectric Shave for Sensative Skin. I used to use it but it was discontinued by Williams. Yes I used it too. Now I use Afta

      Reply
  2. Brandon

    For the Afta, the amazon product to which you link is “After Shave Skin Conditioner.” Is this the same thing as a pre-shave? I ask because the picture on the amazon site is different from the one on this site says “Shave Lotion with Skin Conditioner,” as opposed to what the amazon product says.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Thanks for the heads up, Brandon. I updated the link with the correct product. The aftershave conditioner is a different product, not to be used as a pre-shave.

      Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Al,

      Just to make sure there are no confusions, Sterling’s Shaving Lubricator is a product intended for your electric razor, it’s not a pre-shave like Lectric Shave for example. Regarding your question, I’m afraid I cannot help you since I didn’t get the chance to try it yet.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  3. Perry

    Just got a new Panasonic shaver—with a “sonic vibration” cleaning mode—and noticed that the manual makes no mention of using a pre-shave. I have been using Lectric Shave (or house-brand equivalents) for decades, but when I asked Panasonic customer support, I was told that they recommend against using a pre-shave. Maybe I should call back and press for more details, but do you think they have a point, and if so, what do you think it is? Maybe something about the cleaning mode not working as well?

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Perry,

      The addition of a pre-shave lotion like Lectric Shave or any other brand shouldn’t affect the performance of your Panasonic shaver. I can only think of mineral based pre-shave powders that can actually lead to a premature wear of the blades. I almost always use a pre-shave lotion when I shave dry and never had any issues with my Panasonic razors. Just make sure to clean it thoroughly after every use with some liquid soap to remove any residues.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      1. Javid

        I have norelco 9000 series, and I used Remington face savor power stick and it made my norelco 9000 series blade dull. I am sure about that. Few years ago,I had used Johnson baby pawoder as a preshave and it also did dull my norelco blade. So . Minerals like Remington face savor power stick will dull any rotary electric shaver.

        Reply
        1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

          Thank you for taking the time to share your experience — that pretty much confirms it. I prefer lotions over powder sticks and have rarely used one.

          Reply
  4. Adam Ziolkowski

    Who really cares if it smells old fashioned? You can smell a bit more timeless then, as well as classy!

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hey Adam,

      Well, some actually do care and I always try to cover everything that may be important. Fragrance is a tricky one, I’ll admit that.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
    2. Steve

      I have good results with just using alchol! Wet your face, let it dry, hairs stand up, then use Panasonic ARC 5! Very close shave!

      Reply
  5. Deb

    My son is autistic and has a terrible time tolerating alcohol-based odors. We will try the Face Saver stick!

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Deb,

      That’s probably the best option since pretty much all pre-shave lotion/gels are alcohol-based.

      Reply
  6. Muslimah

    Thank you for sharing….I am a woman…I have been shaving my head for approximately one month with the Wahl Shaver and Shaper. Overall I am pleased, but I would like a closer shave in the back behind my ears and on my neck.

    Question, are the pre-shave dry options for the head as well as a he face.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi,

      Thank you for your comment. Theoretically, you could use a pre-shave when shaving your head, but be wary that the scalp is very sensitive and susceptible to some unpleasant reactions. I would personally advise against using a pre-shave directly on the scalp, be it talcum or an alcohol-based lotion. You could give it a try and see how it goes, but only apply the product on a very small area at first and see how it goes. You can safely use a pre-shave on your neck though.

      Shaving oils and creams are usually used for shaving the head, but those also imply the use of a razor blade, not an electric shaver.

      Hope this helps.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
    2. Greg Netzner

      Hi Muslimah,
      I’ve been using the Face Saver on my face, the back of my neck, and my scalp for quite a few years with no adverse reactions. It especially helps reduce the shaving irritation to the back of my neck.
      Greg

      Reply
  7. CAPT. DAN R

    Will any of the pre-shave lotions or sticks help keep the razor foil and cutters sharp.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      A pre-shave will have an insignificant effect as a lubricant. Alcohol-based splashes evaporate within seconds and some sticks that are mineral-based can actually accelerate the wear. The only option that actually works is to use a light lubricant (clipper oil, sewing machine oil) or a special spray lubricant like the Remington Shaver Saver.

      Reply
  8. CAPT. DAN R

    Thanks Ovidiu for the input on keeping my electric shaver foil and blades in the best condition.
    Dan

    Reply
  9. William Sorocco

    I havn’t seen any reference to And is Cool Care Plus clippers spray. It contains lubticant, disinfectant, cleaner and rust preventative. My friend uses it on his Panasonic Arc 5. He also uses navy oil to lubricate the razor. I think his thinking is in left field.
    . He says And is primarily used for hair clippers. I use your Remington product. You comment would would be appreciated.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi William,

      Haven’t had the chance to try the Andis spray yet, but I’ve heard great things about it and it should work perfectly fine with electric shavers too. I usually recommend products that I’ve actually used, but there are of course other excellent alternatives as well.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  10. Charles Bock

    Thanks for this post. Feel good to read this article, this website has been my gateway to information 🙂

    Reply
  11. Adam

    Would these pre electric products be effective to use with a stubble trimmer? More so for lifting the hairs, since stubble trimmers are not designed for a close shave? I use the Conair i-stubble flexhead trimmer (0.02mm setting for cheek and neck lines and 0.04mm for the rest).

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Adam,

      You can definitely try using one, although I cannot say anything about their effectiveness when used with a stubble trimmer. As I said in the post, I would choose the pre-shave from Speick mainly because it’s not oily and it seems to work better than the rest. The scent is also better compared to Lectric Shave which is by far the most popular pre-shave in this list.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      1. Adam

        It’s worth a try. I’m definitely going to try the pre electric shave lotion from Speick. I’ll probably get most of the benefit on my cheek and neck line areas where I use the 0.02mm base blade.

        I used a Norelco 3-head electric razor when I was a teenager, then switched to the Gillette Mach3 cartridge razor because of my thick, heavy beard. I recently switched to the stubble trimmer, mainly because it’s fast and easy, plus I don’t need to be clean shaven for work or any other situation really. It would take me a good 15 minutes to shave using the cartridge razor (prep, shaving, post including clean up). It’s takes me about 5 minutes to trimmer using the stubble trimmer 🙂

        Reply
  12. Danny McSweeney

    I recently purchased a Braun Series 9 razor with a cleaning unit.
    It states that you should get 30 cleaning cycles from one cleaning cartridge, but I only seem to 14-16 cycles from a cartridge. Is there a reason for this?

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Danny,

      Excessive hair strands and the evaporation of the cleaning fluid are likely the most important causes of this. I wrote a detailed guide on how to make the Braun cleaning refills last longer.

      Hope this helps.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  13. Jim

    Appreciate your reviews on this and electric razors. I’ve been using electric shavers for over 50 years and always have problems with getting my neck shaved cleanly. Most recently I’ve been using a Braun 9 series but still not happy with the neck. Based on your review of shavers picked up the Norelco 8900. It does a better job but it caused some irritation which is something that has happened to me before with Norelco.

    I picked up the Speick lotion and am happy with it. Plus I seem to get a decent shave with the Braun using it. Wish the Norelco had worked but I think it’s going back since the lotion didn’t prevent the irritation. One question on the lotion, is there a secret to pouring it so it doesn’t run down the bottle?

    Thanks again.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Jim,

      Thanks for your comment, I really appreciate it. Glad to hear the Speick lotion is working well. Regarding the pouring problem, it has happened to me as well. Here’s what to do to minimize the amount of liquid running down the bottle: once you’ve poured the desired quantity of product in your palm, rotate the bottle just to the point where the liquid stops pouring (the bottle will be in an almost horizontal position), while still holding it above your hand for a few seconds. This will allow any drops to fall in your palm instead of dripping down the bottle. After that rotate in an upright position and place it on the countertop.

      Hope this makes sense.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  14. Eric

    Both AFTA and Lectric Shave smell like 1950. I’d venture to say that no one in the age bracket these scents would appeal to actual uses an electric razor. They both work, but the scent renders then unusable.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Eric,

      I agree, none of them are particularly appealing. The only pre-shave I have found so far that actually has a pleasant fragrance is called Freelette (and works quite well too). It’s a pre-shave lotion, so its consistency is a lot thicker compared to Lectric Shave.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  15. Bob Daniel

    I really like this website. It has loads of information and several tips on daily shaving. The question I have is this: Will the liquid pre-shave products harm the Braun series 9 cleaning station solution? I know the liquids contain alcohol and small amounts of oil. With my previous Norelco shaver, I used a liquid pre-shave but it didn’t have a cleaning station.

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi,

      Thank you for your comment, I really appreciate it. That won’t be a problem — alcohol-based pre-shaves evaporate extremely fast and won’t leave any residues on your shaver.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  16. Greg Netzner

    Hi Ovidiu,

    I read your Pre Electric Shave Products article last year (April 2018) when I was wondering what products might be available. I’ve used Remington Face Saver on-&-off over the last few decades, but my latest razor seemed to be less effective with it. Your article reminded me that I never liked Williams Lectric Shave because of its inherent oiliness. However, your comments about the possibility of Face Saver causing accelerated blade wear seemed logical to me, and an ‘oily’ pre-shave might work better with this shaver. I switched soon after this realization. My usual routine was to apply Face Saver, shave, run the shaver in a rubbing alcohol cleaner/bath, then apply shaver oil to the blades. Using Lectric Shave allows me to skip the blade oiling, and the blades seem to be staying sharper between changes (so far).

    Thanks for these great write-ups!

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Greg,

      Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. Those are some very interesting and useful insights. Since I wrote this article I came across another excellent pre-shave balm called Freelette. If you can get it, I recommend giving it a try. It’s very moisturizing and oily as well, but in my case it worked better than Lectric Shave and it smells great too.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  17. Howard Beaudet

    My 25 yr old son and I each have a Braun Series 9 and are very pleased with the shave. He has very sensitive and oily skin with prior acne problems and has been getting razor burn, ingrown hairs and bumps (as he usually does with shaving). I bought some Williams Lectric shave pre shave and it did give us a better shave however it didn’t help his problem. Also I read that the isopropyl myristate in the Lectric Shave eventually causes pores to clog up. I then bought some Shave Secret pre shave and found the closeness of the shave to be quite inferior along with the difficulty of experimenting with water amount and the proper amount of drops in an unsuccessful attempt to effectively lubricate the beard. I have just bought Dickinsons witch hazel and Thayers witch hazel as well as Nivea sensitive post shave balm as after shaves to see if that will help. We both like the improved shave using the Lectric Shave pre shave and I have no difficulty with it but he is looking for a different brand of pre shave to use in conjuction with our new after shave experiments. Can you help with some ideas?
    Thanks,
    Howard

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Howard,

      Thank you for your comment. I would give Lab Series a try since it’s fragrance-free and would seem like a better option in this situation. Also the pre-shave from Speick is one that I often recommend and it’s superior to Lectric Shave in pretty much all regards.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  18. Robert

    The blue liquid inquired about above may have been Mennen’s Skin Bracer Pre-Electric Shave Lotion. It is/was greasier than Lectric Shave.

    Reply
  19. Stuart Korn

    I just bought the Panasonic Arc 5. I seem to get the best shave using Witch Hazel as a pre shave with a 14 % alcohol content. At the end of my shave I use Thayers Witch Hazel. This combination seems to work very well, giving me a close comfortable shave, with no irritation or scent. Has any one else tried this way of shaving?

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Thank you for your comment, Stuart. I personally haven’t tried Witch Hazel as a pre-shave, but I’ll definitely give it a go.

      Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Thank you for the suggestion, Bob. I tried to find it here in Europe but with no success so far. And Amazon won’t ship it overseas, so I’m out of luck for now.

      Reply
  20. arie

    Lectric shave is a great product with a bad smell. I have tried many others and for me this one is the best. BUT it stinks. Price is great too.

    Reply
  21. Sam T

    As a newbie to Electric Shavers I have tried the Afta and the Lab Series. I don’t like scented preShave lotions… I tried the Afta but the scent was too strong. After using it twice I gave up and ordered the Lab Series. I find that it works great, very little or no scent at all….really works for me…Yes it’s expensive and seems to be getting more expensive. It’s about $5 more now than when I first bought it..$22 vs $26.95. Hoping it goes on sale again…or other vendors will list it for sale…

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Thank you for your comment, Sam. I also feel the same with regards to Afta and I gave up on using it completely as it had a tendency to gunk up my shavers. I use the Speick pre-shave most of the time, it has a spicy scent that I don’t particularly love, but it’s definitely better compared to Afta or Lectric Shave. However, I do find its performance to be the best out of all the popular brands, so it makes up for any shortcomings. If you have the chance give it a try.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  22. Jimmer

    Where do you usually buy Speick? Amazon and major drug stores don’t seem to have it in stock. Hopefully I just have bad timing…..

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      I live in Europe and with Speick being a German brand, it’s pretty easy to get here. In the USA your only options would be Amazon (they do have it in stock from time to time) or eBay (for example, European sellers that ship overseas).

      Reply

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