Using a pre-electric shave lotion can be a very effective way of improving the comfort and closeness of a dry shave.
Pre-shaves are easy to apply, widely available and generally inexpensive.
The Lab Series Electric Shave Solution kinda breaks the mold, costing quite a bit more than the highly popular Lectric Shave or Afta by Mennen.
Moreover, the Lab Series pre-shave has been getting rave reviews from users, which makes this product even more intriguing.
So let’s see if it’s up to the hype and how it stacks up against the tried and tested pre-shaves we all know.
Lab Series Pre-shave: New vs Old
If you’ve been a regular user, you might know that the Lab Series solution was briefly discontinued and out of stock everywhere.
That took the loyal customers by surprise as there was really no other viable alternative. Other pre-shaves, while excellent, aren’t fragrance-free which is in my opinion the highlight and main selling point of the Lab Series solution.
By the way, fragrance-free means in this case no perfume added. Some of the natural ingredients do however add a fragrance, but it’s mild and pleasant and won’t cause any issues if you have a perfume sensitivity.
But getting back to the availability of this pre-shave lotion, Lab Series re-launched it in 2022 in a new grey opaque bottle. The old one came in a clear plastic bottle.
The ingredients have remained unchanged and after trying both, I can confirm that the performance is identical.
So you can continue using it without any worries.
With that out of the way, let’s check it out in more detail.
Lab Series Electric Shave Solution Ingredients
Like most other pre-shave lotions out there, the Lab Series is alcohol-based.
It is completely oil and fragrance-free, making it suitable for men with sensitive, irritation-prone skin.
Here is the complete ingredient list:
ALCOHOL DENAT., IISODODECANE, OCTYLDODECANOL, MYRISTYL PROPIONATE, COCO-CAPRYLATE/CAPRATE, CETYL ETHYLHEXANOATE, OCTYLDODECYL MYRISTATE, NEOPENTYL GLYCOL DICAPRATE, COLA NITIDA (KOLA) NUT EXTRACT, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, BISABOLOL, CHAMOMILLA RECUTITA (MATRICARIA), PROPYLENE GLYCOL DIPELARGONATE, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, WATER, GREEN 6 (CI 61565).
At first glance, we can spot some high-quality ingredients, like Kola Nut and Chamomile Extract, Vitamin E and Coco-Caprylate (a natural moisturizer).
Although it’s fragrance-free, you can still pick up the alcohol and a very subtle aquatic note, but it is very faint and once the fluid dries it disappears completely.
Application and performance: Does it really work?
The Lab Series pre-electric solution comes in a small 3.4 OZ./100 ml grey plastic bottle.
You press and twist the cap to open, then pour some product into your palms and apply it to your face and neck.
Make sure to massage it into the stubble using both hands and work it against the grain, lifting the hairs and prepping them for the shave.
Allow the solution 15 seconds or so to evaporate completely, then proceed to shave as usual.
So how well does it work?
After applying the Lab Series pre-shave to the face you’ll immediately feel a very slick, almost oily film covering your face.
This will allow your shaver to glide over the skin without that dragging sensation.
It’s particularly effective in the case of rotary shavers as those usually are more prone to skip over the skin, making your stroke jittery.
But you should see an improvement regardless of the shaver you’re using.
While I don’t particularly like the oily feel of the Lab Series solution (it’s the same with Williams Lectric Shave), it won’t gunk up your shaver.
When using a very comfortable razor like the Braun Series 7 or the Series 9 Pro the pre-shave didn’t make a significant difference; however, shaving with a Panasonic Arc 3/Arc 4 or any other more aggressive shaver was a lot more comfortable.
I have very sensitive skin, especially on the neck, and shaving dry with most electric shavers is a challenge.
While it wasn’t perfect, the comfort during the shave was greatly improved and I didn’t experience that post-shave rash or any stinging.
The closeness of the shave is another key area where using a pre-shave should provide an improvement.
I personally expect a reasonably close shave from an electric shaver, so I am not extremely demanding in this regard.
And I usually get a very satisfactory shave on the cheeks and neck, but right below my nose and on the chin, I have very thick and dense stubble, so getting a close shave requires some extra work and a capable shaver.
Compared to not using any pre-shave and just grabbing the razor and doing a quick dry shave, the Lab Series actually worked.
If you’re using an electric shaver that isn’t particularly great at cutting the hairs very close to the skin, you will likely see an improvement.
An indirect benefit of the added comfort is that you can actually press a bit harder without getting razor burn, thus getting a closer shave.
After completing the shave your face will feel smooth and plump and well moisturized.
However, even after rinsing with cold water it would still feel a bit oily. But then again, this is the case with pretty much all the other pre-shave lotions.
Lab Series Electric Shave Solution — Is it worth buying?
In conclusion, the Lab Series Electric Shave Solution really works. But does it work so much better compared to other pre-shaves out there? Is the higher price justified?
Well, yes and no. It performed almost identically to the much more affordable Williams Lectric Shave, which is still the one to buy for most men.
In fact, I would go as far as saying that the closeness of the shave was a bit better in the case of the Lectric Shave.
There’s really only one situation when you should opt for the Lab Series and that is if you absolutely must use a fragrance-free pre-shave.
Whether your skin is very sensitive to perfume or you’re simply turned off by the “cheap old-fashion cologne” smell of the Lectric Shave, the Lab Series pre-shave is pretty much the only widely available option.
Many long-time users swear by it and don’t really have other options. It’s also preferred by men when shaving their head.
However, if you don’t need a fragrance-free pre-shave lotion, there are some excellent alternatives to the Lab Series that offer much better value for money.
Lab Series Electric Shave Solution alternatives
As mentioned previously, the Lab Series solution really works, but so do other less expensive pre-shaves.
The Williams Lectric Shave is the unofficial benchmark as it’s a tried and tested, inexpensive product that you can get anywhere.
Lab Series Electric Shave Solution vs Williams Lectric Shave
Performance-wise they’re pretty much identical, so if the somewhat off-putting fragrance is not an issue, you should probably get the Lectric Shave as it costs significantly less and works great.
A pricier alternative, but still cheaper than the Lab Series is the pre-electric shave lotion from Speick.
This one is my favorite out of all the different brands I’ve tried so far.
It’s not oily but still provides plenty of glide for the shaver and the closeness and comfort are in my opinion the best.
It has a very manly, spicy Lavender scent that I’ve come to enjoy.
The only issue with it is the limited availability. Speick is a German brand (family-owned) and it’s easy to get the pre-shave in Europe, but not so much in the USA.
You can find it online though on sites like Amazon.
For more details, make sure to check out my pre-shave guide which documents the most popular and effective products out there.