First of all: Is it bad to shave without shaving cream? Before deciding on which shaving cream you want, it’s best to understand exactly why men use shaving cream. Many men shave with water or plain soap, but shaving cream allows you to get a closer shave if used correctly. Shaving lubes can also protect your face from irritation, so they’re great at banishing razor burns. There aren’t any negatives to skipping the shaving lube, but you miss the opportunity to moisturise and protect your face when you don’t use one.
Honestly, if you love your current shaving-cream-free routine, there’s no need to change what works. However, if you think you could upgrade your shaving routine, read on.
Shaving Soaps, Creams, Gels and Foams
Before contemporary shaving lubes were developed, men used lathering soaps to protect their skin while shaving. To use them, you had to work up a lather with a shaving brush in a cup. In the 1940s, brushless shaving creams that didn’t lather were developed. Now most men use a cream, gel or foam while shaving.
For sensitive skin and shaving aficionados, shaving creams are the preferred choice. Many brands contain a high level of moisturising fats and glycerin, which protect dry skin. When combined with hot water, shaving creams can deliver the best possible lather and also soften your facial hair. And while most shaving experts recommend using a shaving brush to apply it, it will still lather up in your hand.
Shaving gels add moisture and lubrication to your skin. They’re easier to use than shaving creams and lathering soaps: You can apply them with your hands if you prefer. Because shaving gels are clear, they allow you to see the direction of the hair growth and the underlying skin. This feature allows more precision when using a razor.
Shaving foams don’t have the same lather quality as other shaving products. Cold shaving foam also closes the pores on your face. Often, shaving foams contain ingredients that dry skin, and they don’t provide the moisturising benefits of the other options. However, many men find shaving foam easier to use.
Common Shaving Lube Ingredients
Once you’ve picked the right type of lube, you may want to consider the ingredient list. If you’re lucky enough to have normal skin, most shaving products should work for you. But men who have sensitive, oily or dry skin should take care when selecting a product. Here are some tips on common ingredients:
- Parfume: Some men have skin that’s sensitive to fragrance, while others prefer a scented product. Let your nose and skin be your guide. If you have sensitive skin or experience skin irritation after using a fragranced product, use a perfume-free shaving lube to protect your skin.
- Essential oils: Essential oils add fragrance to shaving lubes, but unlike perfume, they can also help skin problems. For example, lemon oil can help tame oily skin, and tea tree oil can help acne. Other popular shaving lube essential oils are bergamot, sandalwood and cedar.
- Glycerin: This heavy moisturiser helps the razor glide over the skin.
- Natural oils: A shaving lube may contain a combination of glycerin and natural oils to moisturise skin. Avocado, jojoba, coconut and almond oil are popular choices.
- Alcohol: Alcohol can irritate and dry your skin. If you already have dry skin, avoid shaving foams, which have high alcohol contents and dry the skin. Shaving gels usually contain the least amount of alcohol, so they’re best if you have sensitive skin.
- Stearic acid: This powerful cleanser helps other ingredients in your shaving lube lather. It can be derived from plant or animal origins.
Understanding the best products and ingredients for your skin should help you narrow your choices. Just be prepared to try a few different lubes before you find the perfect one for your needs.