What About Shaving Cream? Eh…and Soap/Foam/Gel?

Shaving cream is something that I had anticipated using since I was a child; I relished the scent and appearance of the cream long before I actually began shaving.

These days, there are so many shaving products that a lot of guys feel inundated with choices when trying to make a decision on which particular product to purchase.

The type and quality of the particular shaving product can make a big difference with regard to the comfort and the quality of your shave.

Shaving creams, soaps, and gels help to lubricate the skin and soften the facial hair to make shaving easier and more comfortable while helping to prevent irritation; however, each class of product has its own unique properties.

Shaving Foam and Aerosol Gels

  • Contents are packaged in cans with aerosol propellants that allow them to be applied directly to your face without having to work the product into a lather.
  • Although the foam may appear rich and luxurious, it can be deceptive, and the low-quality lubrication doesn’t offer as much skin protection as that obtained from traditional shaving cream and soap.Shaving-Foam
  • They often contain fragrance and alcohol, which can irritate and dry out skin, worsening post shaving irritation.
  • These products do not allow your facial hair to be lifted off of your face so that it can be optimally cut by the razor; hairs that are pressed flat against the skin can increase the chance of razor burn.
  • Shaving foam is relatively cheap and convenient; it is ideal if you’re in a hurry.
  • Shaving foam is quick and easy to use; it is a perfect product for teenagers and guys just starting to shave.

Shaving Gel

  • Shaving gel is a thick product that is packaged in a tube or a jar; it is transparent or clear so that you can see the facial hair underneath that you’re going to shave.
  • Shaving gel is not packaged in aerosolized cans; these “gels” are just a different formulation of shaving foam.
  • They provide excellent lubrication and are good for guys with sensitive skin because they contain hydrating and moisturizing ingredients.
  • Gels do not lather much (if at all), and it can be difficult to remove excess product from your face or razor.
  • Shaving gel does not require water; it can be very slippery because of its high glycerin content.
  • Gels can be applied with your hands directly to your face.
  • Since gels are applied without using a brush, the facial hairs have a tendency to lie flat against the skin, which can make it difficult to achieve a smooth, even shave.
  • The thick consistency of shaving gel can clog your razor, so it’s important to rinse it frequently.
  • Gels last a long time because you only need to apply a thin layer to your face in order to shave.
  • Shaving gel generally makes skin less supple than shaving cream, which can make it more prone to nicks and cuts.

Shaving Soap

  • Shaving soap is a solid product that is packaged as a disc within a tin or jar.
  • They require a little more time, hot water, and a shaving brush for proper application; they are slightly more difficult to lather than shaving creams.Shaving-Soap
  • The longer that the lather is mixed, the thicker it becomes; it provides excellent lubrication.
  • Although some soaps are fairly expensive, they last longer and generally cost less than other products when used over time.
  • Milling results in the uniform mixing of the ingredients of the soap.
  • There are four general types of shaving soaps classified according to their main ingredient(s):

    • Bentonite clay helps to nourish the skin and draw out toxins.
    • Coconut oil-based soaps generate a rich lather.
      • Good for sensitive skin.
      • Provide a really close shave.
      • Generally need hot water to create lather.
    • Glycerin soaps are very hydrating and long-lasting.
      • Good for oily skin and dry skin.
      • Their firmer consistency requires a good shaving brush for lather and application.
    • Sodium palmate-based soaps are derived from palm oil and sodium hydroxide.
      • Good for dry and sensitive skin types.
      • They are very hard and require warm water and a good shaving brush for lather and proper application.

Conventional Shaving Cream

  • Conventional shaving creams are packaged in jars or tubes; they are quick to lather and easy to apply.Traditional-Shaving-Cream
  • Shaving creams have a softer consistency than shaving soaps and take less time to lather (about 30-60 seconds).
  • Provides a rich, lubricating lather when mixed with a very small amount of hot water.
  • The lather is thinner from shaving cream than from shaving soap.
  • It can be applied either with your fingers or with a shaving brush.
  • Shaving creams generally contain 30-50% oil and moisturizing products, such as glycerin.

  • Brushless Shaving Cream: within the last decade, brushless (latherless) shaving creams have gained popularity.
    • It is convenient and quick because it doesn’t require a brush to lather or apply.
    • Generally contains natural ingredients that are higher in quality.
    • Does not require the use of propellants or aerosolized containers.
    • Slickness of product allows the razor to glide over the skin with very little friction.
    • Only requires a thin layer of product to shave.

Application of Conventional Shaving Cream

Shaving cream may be applied using a brush or with your fingers; regardless of the method, it’s generally best if you start with clean and exfoliated skin.

Use of a pre-shave cream or oil can provide additional lubrication and can further soften the facial hair, making it easier to cut.

  • Application with Fingers
    • Wet your fingers and your face with warm water.
    • Apply about 2 fingertips (almond-sized amount) of shaving cream to the palm of your hand and then rub your hands together.
    • Add a few drops of hot water and continue rubbing your hands together for 30-60 seconds until the product begins to lather.
    • Evenly apply the lather to your face using your fingers.
    • If necessary, add 1-2 drops of hot water to your face (without additional product) to create more lather if you need to make more passes with the razor.
  • Application Using a Shaving BrushThe use of a shaving brush allows you to apply the product uniformly to your face, and it lifts the hairs off of your skin, which decreases the chance of irritation.Shaving-Brush
    • Allow your shaving brush to soak in hot water for a few minutes.
    • Shake off the excess water from the brush so that it is slightly damp.
    • Dispense an almond-sized amount of shaving cream into the palm of your hand.
    • Add a few drops of hot water at a time and use the shaving brush to lather the product against your hand.
    • Apply the lather evenly to your face using the shaving brush.

    Choosing the Right Product

    • Products containing natural ingredients are often of higher quality and provide a more comfortable shave.
      • Natural oils include coconut, jojoba, and almond oils.
      • Essential oils include sandalwood, cedarwood, cypress, lime, eucalyptus, peppermint, and lavender; essential oils can irritate your skin, so it’s always wise to patch test an inconspicuous area of skin prior to using these products.
    • Guys with sensitive skin should look for products with soothing and moisturizing ingredients.
      • Aloe vera, coconut oil, and vitamin E can help to soothe and moisturize the skin.
    • Certain synthetic additives can make the products more appealing; however, they do not contribute to the overall quality of the product.
      • Fragrances and dyes can irritate the skin and are not necessary (i.e., they don’t contribute to the quality of the shave) in shaving products.
      • Detergents (e.g., triethanolamine and sodium lauryl sulfate) help to generate foam, but they can also be irritating to skin.
        • TEA: triethanolamine
          • Organic base used as an emulsifier and surfactant.
          • Helps to neutralize the pH of fatty acids.
          • May cause contact dermatitis.

    Which is Right for Me?

    • Shaving foam is quick and convenient, but it doesn’t provide as much lubrication as other products; it is well-suited to teenagers who have just started shaving.
    • Shaving gel, soap, and conventional shaving cream all provide superior lubrication; it really comes down to personal preference when choosing between these products.
      • Shaving gel is very slick and allows for a comfortable shave; its thick consistency can be somewhat messy and can clog your razor.
      • Shaving soap requires a brush and hot water to create a lather, but it provides a close and comfortable shave and is economical because it lasts longer.
      • Conventional shaving cream is softer than shaving soap, but it takes less time to lather and can be applied without a brush.


    Please let me know in the “Comments” section below which type of shaving product that you use and why; feel free to explain why you like or dislike using certain products.  Thanks!

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