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.
A wet shave is still more comfortable in my case, but using a pre-shave is clearly the next best thing, especially if you have sensitive skin and your shaver tends to cause razor burn and irritation.
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.
29 thoughts on “Lab Series Electric Shave Solution Review: Is It Worth Buying?”Leave a comment
You need to test Freelette. Really good electric pre shave
Thank you for the suggestion, David. Just placed an order for one, really looking forward to trying it.
did you give it a go?
Haven’t received it yet, David (order placed on amazon UK).
Just shaved with Freelette for the first time and I must say it’s a fantastic product. One of the best dry shaves I’ve ever had. And it smells a lot nicer than any other pre-shave out there.
Thanks again for the suggestion, David. I will also be doing a proper review soon.
Try Neutrogena Men Sensitive Skin Shave Cream. I recently got this last week and I’m happy I did. I get a smooth shave with my Panasonic ES-LA63-S. You should review it. I shave once every three days.
Wanted to say my Grandfather got me started on Williams Lectric Shave. It’s still cheap and it still works fine for me. I enjoy your website and an glad to read what other guys have to say.
Thank you for your comment, I really appreciate it.
Good site. best wishes.
Good article. My concern would be the non-organic nature of many of the ingredients. Do I really want to rub these ingredients into my face and neck? Do we know what long term effects exposure to these might cause? I generally don’t shave wet nor do I need a pre-shave. I have both a series 9 Norelco and a series 9 Braun and interchange them whenever I want a change. I’ve never felt a need for anything extra but that’s just me, I guess.
Thank you for the comment, James. I personally am not too worried about this. Just because an ingredient is non-organic doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s unsafe. Also, there is rigorous testing before approving this type of substances in personal care products.
Williams Lectric Shave used to have an unscented version as well but sometime in the the last 10-12 years they discontinued it. Seems that if they were going to discontinue any of them it should have been the stinky one, not the one that virtually anyone could use.
Thank you for your comment, Mark. I haven’t got the chance to try the unscented variation, but I agree (not a fan of the fragrance either).
Yes, Lab Series electric pre-shave is worth it! I can’t use Lectric shave because I am allergic to their “green tea” even though it smells like juniper berries to me. When they stopped making the Lectric shave Sensitive Skin brand, I was lost. Nothing else works–tried oils, Afta, etc.–like Lab Series. And, I don’t understand the “green tea” crap–green tea is good to DRINK, not bathe in it!!!
Thank you for your comment. The Lab Series is one of the very few options in case of sensitivity to some of the ingredients of other popular pre-shaves, especially perfume.
I agree it’s lovely and works well. My favourite is a German product, available everywhere, by Speick. A third of the price . Don’t buy the very cheap supermarket own brands, nasty smell and they don’t work well either.
Thank you for your comment, John. The Speick pre-electric lotion is actually my favorite as well, followed closely by another great pre-shave also from a German manufacturer, Tabac. The scent is lovely as well.
I don’t know how this product can claim to be “fragrance-free”. Technically it may not have any perfumes in the ingredients, but it definitely has an odor and in my opinion a pretty strong one. To me it has an almost medicinal smell or like something out of a chemistry lab (hence the name?!). Not pleasant, and it does not disappear easily but lingers on to compete with whatever aftershave you’re using.
The good news is that, at your recommendation Ovidiu, I bought the Speick pre-electric and LOVE it! Wonderful light citrus scent that does diminish and even the slight remnant that might remain blends perfectly with my long-time favorite aftershave, Gendarme Moisture Balm.
Thank you for your comment, John. I agree — it’s definitely not fragrance-free, in the way that you can definitely smell it. I’m glad you like the Speick pre-shave, it’s still the best product of this type in my opinion. I haven’t used the Gendarme balm, but it looks like an excellent product.
Looks like Lab Series pre-electric shave is now out of the market. Didn’t find it available anywhere???? This is sad since I have been using it for decades and it is really excellent product. Worth the extra for sure.
That appears to be true, I’m afraid. You might still be able to grab one on eBay if the vendor is willing to ship overseas.
After shaving with a electric razor for the past 64 years and never using a pre shave lotion, I tried Speick pre electric shave lotion. It is everything you have said about it. I did not realize how much this lotion helped get a closer and more comfortable shave. By the way I use a Panasonic shaver.
That’s awesome, thank you for taking the time to share this. In my opinion Speick and Tabac currently make the best electric pre-shaves on the market.
I´me Mario, from Portugal
I usualy use Lab Series for about 30 years and also can´not find it in any provider.
Some told me it is surely out of stock and perhaps discontinued?
Now something about it?
Speick never heard about, but Tabac can be foud in here.
I wil look for both the possibilities.
The Lab Series pre-shave was discontinued for a while, then it showed up back in stock under different packaging (link to the product page). It appears to be out of stock again, although it was available until recently. The ingredient list seems to be unchanged.
The ones from Speick and Tabac are also really good — in fact, I definitely prefer them to the Lab Series solution, but not everyone will get the same results.
After my last post, I order the Speick solution that is to arrive nexte monday.
I still have one unit of Lab series but will try it, as soon as it arrives.
Meanwhile, as I had left an “alert” in the Lab Series site, yesterday the24fev22,I`ve received an email informing that is available again
That’s good news, thanks for the follow-up. Hope you’ll enjoy the Speick pre-shave as well.
Hello – I noticed in another article you mentioned you use the braun series 9 daily for a dry shave. The biggest challenge for me dry shaving is the neck area like you – it seems I haven’t figured out the different directions the hair grows in so I make more passes and it can get red if I over do it. I think I’m getting better at it though – I just recently started using and electric razor – I have always kept a short bear before this. I have an andis foil shaver I use for cutting hair. I am currently either going to get the arc 5 you recommend or the series 9. Any recommendation? I will mostly be dry shaving and will likely shave every day of every other day. Is it possible to buy both and return the one I don’t decide to keep? Ideally I want the closest shave possible without irritation or redness on my neck – so if the arc 5 works then that would be my choice, if not I’d have to go with the series 9 and settle for a lesser close shave. I have never done a wet shave with an electric shaver but may try it to see what it’s like, although this may not be practical to put into my daily routine. Also do you use any after shave balm? I use one from Nivea currently.
First of all, I think either the Arc 5 or the Series 9 will cause you far less irritation compared to the Andis. If the hair grows in different directions on your neck, the Series 9 will have an advantage over the Arc 5, however, if you plan on shaving daily/every other day, that advantage won’t be that obvious and the Arc 5 should still fare quite well. I personally prefer the Series 9 when I shave dry because it’s gentler and more effective with longer/flat-lying hairs. But again, the Arc 5 has the edge when it comes to closeness.
I think in the USA you can definitely return a shaver if you’re not satisfied with it and if you can try both, that would be ideal. But just to be safe, you should check with the vendor first.
I strongly recommend the use of an aftershave balm. The Sensitive one from Nivea works well and it’s cheap; I also like the ones from Tabac, Proraso (Sensitive) and Truefitt & Hill Authentic No 10.