Pre Electric Shave: What is it, Do You Need It?

One of the biggest shortfalls of electric razors is that they don’t deliver as close a shave as a manual razor. If you think about it, it makes sense because on the electric razor has a safety barrier between your skin and the vibrating or rotating cutting blades. They move at such a high speed that it’s necessary to have that safety factor built in.

However, not to be outdone by their manual razor competition, the electric razor industry has come up with a series of pre electric shave products that, if used, they claim will produce a shave as close as a manual razor.

Our objective in this article is to provide some unbiased evidence to answer this question. Does it really do that?

Our Favorite Electric Pre Shave Products

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What Are Pre Electric Shave Products Supposed to Do?

The best way to address this question is to do a self-analysis of what happens when you try to do a dry shave with an electric razor. Let’s make a short list.

  • Your skin condition varies from spot to spot on the face, neck, and chin. Some spots are more sensitive, some drier and some spots have excess moisture and oils. You might ask the question, Is there a way to make the skin condition consistently the same and optimal for an electric shave?
  • The hair on your neck, face, and chin grow in different directions, grows faster in some spot, heavier in other spots and in some places just lays flat challenging you to pry it loose so it can be shaved.
  • Then, there are those places that defy physics and have clefts and contours that make it virtually impossible to get the razor head on the surface of the skin at all. I think for the purposes of this article, you’re on your own with that one in choosing an electric razor that can navigate your unique curves and dead spots.

The problems created by your unique problems is that dry shaving under these conditions irritates your sensitive skin because you'll have to make repeated passes over the same areas in an attempt to get a clean shave. The razor head heats up from the 10,000 rpm vibrations or rotations of the cutting blade because of the friction.

That hurts my friend, having to get up early and shave, so that by the time you go to work, the redness has calmed down and my skin color is back to normal. Pre electric shave products are supposed to alleviate these problems and make the experience pleasant and comfortable.

The Science Behind Pre Electric Shave Products

The next logical questions to ask is how pre-shave products work to eliminate challenges to getting a close electric shave that will beat the 5 o’clock shadow embarrassment before you leave work. To answer this question we will build a checklist of sorts to use when you start doing your research on what products to try out. There is no shortage of claims and alternatives out there from brands competing for your business.

1. Most pre electric shave products contain an astringent which acts to lift the hair up and away from the surface of the skin so that foil head can trap the hair and pull it up further out of the follicle to position it for cutting below the skin surface.

This is what facilitates a dry shave that approaches the quality of a wet shave using a manual razor. This chemical treats the skin condition we talked about earlier. People with oily skin need stronger astringent while people with dry skin need a much milder one to avoid irritation.

You may want to opt for products with natural astringents such as rose water, mint, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar or green tea extract.

2. Make sure you respect any allergies that you might have and avoid astringents with those ingredients in them.

3. The heat of the razor head can be a problem if you’re making repeated passes over the same area of skin. The pre electric product that addresses this discomfort is a lubricant that both makes the razor head glide smoothly over the skin but also adds a cooling effect by absorbing the heat.

These oils and lubricants have had questionable performance reviews. In most cases, the heavier the beard, the less effective they are.

4. Find a good health awareness site and read up on things like astringents and lubricants and their effects on the skin. This is a good one. Some of these products have alcohol in them for drying the skin. Repeated use will make your skin flaky and sensitive. Check the ingredients before you ever put any of the products on your face and keep it clear of the eyes.

5. Electric shaving appeals to those men that are looking for convenience over results. But, there is a substantial minority of men out there that swear by electric shaving.

So, science tells us to take baby steps in using these products and evaluates the effects of each one before committing to long term use. Do your due diligence and read the labels so you know exactly what it is you’re putting on your skin.

Make informed decisions and then pay attention to the results. At the first sign of an adverse effect, stop using it.

The Good & Bad of Electric Shaving

It’s time to stop and think about why you are going to consider electric shaving. Let’s go through the pros and cons before we look at some of these pre electric shave products in some detail.

The Pro's

1. The convenience of electric shaving is its primary draw for most men. The ability to do a quick shave and be on your way without the mess and cleanup associated with a wet manual shave.

2. If you're smart and buy yourself a top quality electric shaver, you're buying into some pretty sophisticated technology that can do things like lifting the hairs to be cut automatically using the motion of the cutting heads.

3. If you have a light beard that doesn't regrow at an accelerated rate, electric shaving is a godsend for you.

4. If you travel a lot, cordless electric shavers are super convenient. You can also put it in your briefcase and tote it to work for a quick touch up after lunch or before having to go in to see the boss.

5. They are a no muss, no fuss clean kind of operation.

6. The cutting heads last a lot longer than the manual razor cartridges. If you haven’t had to buy new manual razor cartridges recently, they are not cheap.

The Con's

1. They do not provide as close a shave as the manual razor wet shave does. The electric razor industry would love to debate that but the evidence is clear and decisive.

2. Electric shaving can create skin rashes and irritations that get worse over time requiring visits to the dermatologist to get creams and lotions to repair the damaged skin.

3. The heavier the beard, the less effective electric shaving is. This includes the tendency to leave small patches of hair in spots where the contour of the face and the capabilities of the razor are not compatible no matter how hard you try.

How to Shave with an Electric Shaver

Before jumping in full Monty, understand that it will take at least two weeks for your face and the electric razor to become friends and tolerate each other. The oils in your skin will adjust as well as it can to the shaving action as it evolves with the process.

Clean the face before each shave with a gentle face cleanser. You’d do that for a manual wet shave and logic should tell you that it makes sense for a dry shave too. The skin will be pliable and the hairs soft and easier to cut.

Study your face and known the direction of hair growth for each section of the face. It can change from face cheeks to over the jawline and down the neck. Rub the hair with your hand and then pull the skin slightly to observe the direction of growth.

Experiment with different pre electric shave products that you’ve properly vetted using your research and see if it helps.

If you are going to use a rotary head electric razor, use circular motions to shave. Think about it. It makes perfect sense since the hairs will line up better for the rotary action of the cutting heads.

Foil head electric razors work on the principle of approaching the hair in a direct line. To line up with the holes in the foil.

Pre Electric Shave Products to Consider

1. American Crew Ultra Glide Shaving Oil – this is a skin lubricant designed to give the electric razor an easier path to follow without irritating the skin. It contains eucalyptus oil and clove oil as its primary active ingredients. Make sure you're not allergic to either one. It has a cushioning effect as it buffers your skin from the razor head. It only takes a couple of drops to be worked into the skin to achieve the best performance.

2. Kyoku for Men Electric Pre-Shave Optimizer – The value of this product is the ability of the oil to raise the hairs on the skin in preparation for being cut. If you’re using a high-end electric shaver that has the advanced lift and cut technology, this product gives the razor an extra boost in getting a close shave.

3. Truefitt and Hill Ultimate Comfort Pre-Shave Oil – this is a skin repair oil that also eliminates nicks and razor bumps. The oil in this product is a mixture of sunflower, avocado, and meadowfoam oil. It’s primarily an oil that controls irritation by being the buffer between the skin and the razor. An added bonus is that it also works well with a wet shave beneath the shaving cream.

4. eShave Pre-Shave Oil – once applied, it gives the razor and easy glide path that reduces friction and potential skin damage from heat. It claims to improve skin health. The product is made from grapeseed oil infused with vitamins A and E. The natural antioxidants in the mixture will provide some anti-aging advantages.

5. William’s Electric Pre-Shave Original with Green Tea Complex “Lectric Shave” - this product has been around for over 50 years and is a favorite amongst the older men. The significant minority of Millennials that are tuned into using an electric shaver are discovering it a well. It contains natural ingredients and provides a soothing lubrication layer for the razor to ride on top of.


The results here are not a case of declaring a winner of the products reviewed. The issues are much too specific to each person and the type of skin they have as well as the type of hair growth. The answer is as I’ve been promoting it throughout this article.

You need to be proactive and research both your medical history and the nature of the products that could be used to improve your dry shave with an electric razor. Each product contains different substances that may or may not have an effect on the health of your skin and even the health of your body in the overall sense. Allergies must be considered as well the type of skin and hair that grows on your face and neck. The decisions you have to make have to be informed ones.

  • Check out Lectric-Shave if you're interested in wet shaving with an electric shaver.

You may even have to go as far as consulting your doctor or a dermatologist to ensure you’re picking a pre electric shave product that’s healthy for you. There is a wide range of products that contains natural oils as well as others that contain man-made chemicals and substances. You need to weed out the good from the bad based on your medical history, conditions and personal preference.

As for me, I prefer to use an electric razor to do a dry shave without the use of any pre-shave products. My skin condition is naturally compatible with doing a dry shave routine and over time has become even more adapted to the razor. Yes, I notice that the stubble left after shaving is noticeable and it grows back overnight but I also have a beard that covers most of my face cheeks and just over the chin line. Thus, the “shadow isn’t noticeable because it’s camouflaged by the beard. But, that’s my preference.

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