If shaving is part of your daily routine, you already know how great it feels to get a good, clean shave. To keep irritation at bay and achieve the cleanest shave possible, you should invest in the right shaving cream for your skin.
Shaving cream creates a smooth, rich lather that makes it easy for razor blades to glide over regrowth. Many formulas include skin-soothing ingredients like jojoba oil or aloe to calm skin and minimize post-shave razor burn. In fact, men with sensitive or acne-prone skin often benefit from switching from shaving foam or gel to shaving cream.
Given this, you may be wondering if your current shaving cream is right for you. To find out, it’s worth exploring the differences between foam, gel, and cream as well as the features that make your investment worthwhile.
Cream, foam, and gel
When comparing shaving cream, foam, and gel, bear in mind that the main difference between these formulas is how they respond to water.
- Shaving cream must be mixed with the right amount of water to achieve an optimal lather.
- Shaving gel also requires water to transform it into a foamy, spreadable formula.
- Shaving foam is dispensed and applied directly to wet skin. While it doesn’t have to be mixed with water the same way cream and gel do, the skin must be damp or moist to avoid irritation.
Most shaving cream is somewhat runny with a consistency similar to that of lotion. As a result, shaving cream is usually packaged in squeeze bottles or tubes rather than aerosol cans. This packaging makes them more suitable for travel.
Another key difference that makes shaving cream stand out: alcohol is not usually part of the ingredient list. (Shaving gels and foams often do contain alcohol.) Without alcohol, shaving cream is less drying to the skin than gel and foam. Therefore, when you use shaving cream, you may not need a pore-clogging post-shave moisturizer to help rehydrate your skin.
Balancing shaving cream and water
Because shaving cream creates a lather, you’ll need to mix it with the right amount of water to achieve the ideal consistency. Too little or too much shaving cream can make your razor come into direct contact with your skin, causing irritation and possibly cutting your face.
Always make sure your shaving cream container snaps closed. Otherwise, you could lose some product and end up with a big mess in the sink or shower.
Shaving cream is often chosen over foam and gel because it lacks alcohol. Most shaving creams are water-based, making them easy to spread and rinse away. Other ingredients may include jojoba, calendula, rosemary, and coconut oil, all of which aid in calming the skin during and after your shave. These ingredients may also contribute to the fragrance of the formula. Some shaving creams include other types of fragrances as well.
The vast majority of men’s shaving creams come in tapered squeeze bottles, though there are some that come in tubs. Both delivery methods make it easy to dispense the cream, especially given its runny consistency.
Another perk of bottles and tubes is that they’re often easier to recycle. What’s more, some eco-friendly manufacturers use recycled plastics and biodegradable packing materials.
Sensitive skin formulas
If you have sensitive skin, rest assured there are plenty of shaving cream formulas to accommodate you. These formulas typically focus on preventing ingrown hairs, razor burn, and breakouts by using ingredients that soothe skin, such as aloe and cucumber extract.
Other skin-sensitive formulas minimize the use of oils, dyes, fragrances, parabens, and SLS (sodium lauryl sulfates). These formulas have simple ingredient lists replete with naturally derived ingredients.
Most shaving creams with mint or peppermint have a tingling effect. Some people find it refreshing and invigorating; others find that it irritates their skin.
Razor: Gillette Fusion5 Men’s Razor
To get the most out of your shaving cream, invest in a top-notch razor. We like this one from Gillette, which features five anti-friction blades with lubrication strips. The ergonomic handle helps you navigate hard-to-reach areas. To keep your skin smooth after every shave, apply an aftershave balm. We like this one from The Art of Shaving; the light, musky sandalwood scent is neutral enough for casual, professional, and formal wear. Free from synthetic dyes and alcohol, it’s also safe for sensitive skin.
If you’d like to give yourself the full barbershop experience at home, lather up and apply shaving cream with a badger brush. We like this one from Perfecto, whose handcrafted wood base stands upright on counters and fits most shave stands. Its all-natural bristles gently exfoliate your skin to provide the closest shave possible.
Shaving cream for men: prices
You can expect to pay between $5 and $40 for a man’s shaving cream. While container size factors into the price, formula quality, and brand name affect the cost even more.
Inexpensive: If you’re on a budget, stick to drugstore shaving creams priced between $5 and $12. There aren’t too many sensitive skin formulas in this category, but you can find a few organic ones.
Mid-range: Specialty shaving creams cost anywhere from $12 to $18. These formulas use better-quality ingredients that may help calm and soothe the skin. A wide variety of organic and cruelty-free shaving cream products exist in this range.
Expensive: Premium shaving creams run as much as $40 per container. They’re mostly sold by high-end retailers. They’re quite pricey given their formulas, but the cost is sometimes offset by the inclusion of free gifts or travel-size containers.
Love your cologne? The manufacturer may have matching shaving cream. If that’s the case, you can use them together to promote a longer wear time.
- Take your time shaving. Even if you invest in top-notch shaving cream, you won’t get a good shave if you rush. In fact, you could end up with nicks and redness if your work is hasty.
- Read the ingredients list. If you have sensitive skin, make sure the shaving cream you choose doesn’t include ingredients that irritate your skin. Some manufacturers write ingredients out in plain English, whereas others stick to chemical or compound names— in which case you may need to do research to figure out exactly what they are.
- Stick with a fragrance you like. Fragrances have a tendency to linger after your shave. If the scent is a bit overwhelming, or if it doesn’t match your cologne or aftershave, consider an unscented shaving cream instead.
Another product we considered
Another cream we like is Bee Bald Premium Shave Cream. Its formula is safe for all skin types, including sensitive and acne-prone skin. The unique blend of ingredients is gentle enough for body and head shaving, too. In fact, it’s also a popular choice among women.
Q. How do I know if I used too much water to lather up my shaving cream?
A. If you oversaturate your shaving cream with water, you will end up with a very liquid consistency. This ends up dripping all over the place and might be too thin for your razor to glide across your face.
Q. Is shaving cream available in travel-size squeeze bottles?
A. Yes, though your preferred shaving cream may not be manufactured in a travel-size bottle. You could try a different brand when you travel, or you could invest in TSA-approved travel bottles. Unlike foam and gel, shaving cream’s consistency makes it easy to pour — or squirt — into travel-size bottles.
Q. Is there a big difference between premium shaving cream and drugstore shaving cream?
A. It depends on who you ask. Some people feel you get a better formula with premium ingredients, leading to a closer shave and minimizing razor burn. Other people say drugstore shaving creams can be equally effective, as the main attribute of the product is consistency.