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.
I’ll also be sharing some of the best pre shaves out there after testing pretty much all the popular brands.
Table of Contents
- How do pre electric shaves work?
- The different types of pre electric shave products
- What are some of the best pre electric shave lotions?
- Should you use a pre electric shave product?
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.
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 specific 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 suitable for very sensitive skin.
A downside of this type of product is that it 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
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
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, even though lotions and gels leave far fewer residues compared to powders (if any at all).
Lotions vs powders: which one should you choose?
There’s really no right or wrong answer here and you should simply go with the product that seems to make more sense for you considering its pros and cons.
However, an alcohol-based pre-electric shave lotion will probably be the best bet for most users.
They’re widely available, extremely easy to apply, requiring no extra work at all and there aren’t really any real drawbacks.
I’m personally a big fan of pre-shave lotions and I’ve tried lots of them. In fact, I used to only shave wet with my electric razors as the results of a dry shave weren’t quite satisfactory.
I can honestly say that using a high-quality pre-shave lotion was a game-changer for me and in the next section I will be sharing some of my favorites.
What are some of the best pre electric shave lotions?
1. Tabac Pre Electric Shave Lotion
Tabac Original is an iconic name in the shaving industry, particularly known for their triple-milled hard shaving soaps.
Even though Tabac is synonymous with traditional wet shaving, they also have a pre-electric shave lotion in their lineup. And they really nailed it with that one.
Despite the fact that I’ve discovered it pretty recently, I can confidently say that it’s among the best pre-shaves I’ve ever used, if not the best.
First of all, the performance is outstanding. It makes the biggest difference to the comfort, closeness and the time it takes me to complete my shave.
The difficult flat-lying hairs, even the ones on the neck, are also a lot easier to capture and to cut.
Secondly, it’s not oily at all. Most electric pre-shave lotions leave this oily film that can linger on even after you rinse your face with water.
There’s no trace of that with the Tabac pre-shave; the solution also dries instantly once you apply it to the skin, so you can proceed to shave immediately.
It doesn’t leave any residue on the shaver either, which is something I cannot say about all these products (for example, the Afta by Menned gel can gunk up and even clog the razor).
Finally, there’s the fragrance. While it is quite potent and has a bit of an old-fashion vibe, it’s classic Tabac, so very manly, spicy, and warm with its trademark vanilla hint.
As for downsides, the Tabac pre-electric shave isn’t exactly cheap and because it’s a German brand, it’s not always easy to find outside Europe.
2. Speick Pre Electric Shave Lotion
In second place we have another German brand, Speick.
Their pre-electric shave lotion used to be my favorite for many years (before trying the one from Tabac).
And it still certainly is among the best out there, but slightly edged by the new number one.
I constantly get a close and comfortable shave when using it and I think most men will find it beneficial as well.
Like all the pre-shaves in this post, it is alcohol-based, however this didn’t cause me any problems, even though I have sensitive skin.
There’s no oily residue either, which is definitely a good thing in my opinion.
The scent is spicy and unoffensive and it goes away completely after a while. It has a barbershop vibe that most users seem to like.
I’ve been very impressed by the quality of Speick products throughout the years and this pre-shave doesn’t disappoint. I highly recommend it to anyone struggling to get a good dry shave.
Just like Tabac, since Speick is a Geman brand, it may be a bit more difficult to buy it in the USA for example. It’s also on the pricey side, especially compared to the next one.
3. Williams Lectric Shave
Williams Lectric Shave is a very popular pre-electric shave lotion that’s been around since the ’50s.
It is by far the most reasonably priced pre-shave on this list and offers the best value for money.
The Lectric Shave 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, but again it isn’t quite as good as the previous two. Then again, Speick and Tabac are significantly more expensive.
One downside is that to me the Lectric Shave solution 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.
4. Lab Series Electric Shave Solution
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 (although it does seem to have a very faint scent to my nose).
So if you have any kind of perfume sensitivity you should consider this one.
The Lab Series pre-shave works quite 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. So for most users, I don’t really think it’s worth buying.
In fact, I only recommend you to opt for the Lab Series pre-shave if you need a fragrance-free pre-shave lotion.
For more details, you can check out my review of the Lab Series.
5. Afta by Mennen
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.
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.
So unless you absolutely need a pre-shave gel or it’s the only one you can get, I think you’ll be better off with one of the previously recommended products.
Other than these 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 and also costs less.
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 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 easy to apply
Including one as part of your pre-shave routine can have a major impact on your overall shaving experience.
Over to you now: What’s your favorite pre-shave? SHare your thoughts and questions in the comments section below.