The Best Shaving Cream for Men

The Best Shaving Cream for Men

By Daniel Broadley

The Best Shaving Cream for Men

Buying shaving products isn’t as simple as it should be. When you walk down the shaving aisle, you’re bombarded with options. There are different formulas in different containers, each promoting a different set of benefits. Some of them are more likely to live up to those benefits than others. 

You need a formula that’s going to protect your face and reduce the risk of irritation. The majority of shaving products you see at the store aren’t likely to do what you want them to do. The style of shaving cream and the ingredients list will tell you everything you need to know.

The Difference Between Shaving Cream, Foam, and Gel

The term “shaving cream” is often used as a blanket term for anything you put on your face before you shave. This isn’t the case. Most of what people refer to as shaving cream is actually shaving foam or shaving gel. 

Neither one of these products is as rich and as moisturizing as actual shaving cream. If you’re having a hard time finding a shaving cream that works for you, it could be because you’ve never tried a real cream formula. 

Shaving Foam

Shaving foam usually comes in a metal can. You press the top and a white lather dispenses. The lather is light and foamy and will dissipate if you were to leave it sitting on your counter for a few hours.

These products produce foams when they’re dispensed from the can. Inside, they remain in liquid form. They’re often combined with butane propellants to accelerate these reactions. In order for that propellant to work, the ingredients need to remain light. 

Heavy moisturizers or skin protecting oils won’t work in foams, although some formulas include small amounts that will still allow the product to dispense. 

Shaving Gel

Shome shaving gels are similar to shaving foams in the sense that they come in a metal can. These products won’t lather up as much, but they’re thicker. They sometimes contain more moisturizing ingredients than traditional shaving foams. 

Some shaving gels come in plastic bottles with squeeze dispensers. These don’t contain any propellants and are more likely to be moisturizing than shaving products that come in a can. 

They’re the compromise between shaving foams and shaving creams. You get some of column A and some of column B. The quality of a shaving gel in a squeeze bottle largely depends on its ingredients, but you’re likely to find a few that have more pros and than cons. 

Shaving Cream

Shaving cream has the texture of a thick lotion or body butter. It doesn’t require propellants. It can be dispensed with a normal hand pump or a squeeze bottle, but will sometimes come in a tub. 

It’s packaged like most other moisturizing products. Shaving cream is very thick and dense. When you lather it on, it should stay put and be easy to see. Your hands will feel soft after you touch it. 

Creams are usually the gentlest and most conditioning of all shave products. Some formulas contain better ingredients than others. Always read the label before you buy a shaving cream to assure that you’re getting what you think you’re getting. 

Which is Better?

Shaving cream is the best option. Even if you don’t have dry or sensitive skin, shaving is irritating. 

You’re running a blade against your face. It doesn’t necessarily matter how tough your skin is or how great your technique is, your skin is still going to feel some effects from the scraping motions of shaving. A great shaving cream will help to offset those effects and may help to nourish your skin in the process. 

How to Find a Great Shaving Cream

Forget about the brand name and the packaging for a second. What’s in the shaving cream? Many shaving creams contain ingredients that are potentially irritating and won’t do a great job of moisturizing your skin. 

Ingredients to Avoid

The biggest potential irritants in shaving cream are alcohol, sulfates, artificial colors, and artificial fragrances. 

Artificial colors and fragrances don’t serve a purpose in your shaving products. Manufacturers use them for aesthetic reasons. They don’t change the way the product works. Many people can experience contact dermatitis from these artificial ingredients, suggesting that they’re more harmful than helpful. 

Alcohol is very drying to the skin, and so are sulfates. Alcohol is a natural drying and toning agent that can strip away moisture and irritate the skin. Sulfates are foaming agents used in soaps that reduce surface tension, allowing bubbles to form. 

Many people experience irritation from products containing sulfates. Your shaving cream should be thick and rich enough to function perfectly without sulfates. 

Ingredients Musts

Aloe is an excellent shaving cream ingredient. Aloe naturally reduces the appearance of redness and soothes skin, making it ideal for shavers with dry or sensitive skin who want to minimize redness or irritation. Ingredients like glycerin draw in moisture, keeping the barrier between the skin and the razor fortified.

The Takeaway

The quality of your shaving cream will affect the outcome of your shave. Subpar shaving creams won’t do a great job of protecting or nourishing your skin while you shave. 

If you have sensitive or dry skin, this is a big deal. Shaving is a hassle if you walk away with a red face or patchiness. You deserve a shaving cream that doesn’t skimp on the benefits. 

LTHR’s hot lather machine works with our gentle shaving cream to create the ultimate barbershop quality shaving experience. When your lather is warm, it works better. Hot lather softens your skin and hair, conditioning as you shave. If you want to best shave, do it the way your barber does it. 


Chemicals to avoid - Artificial fragrances, dyes and colors | Subtle Green

The Dirty Dozen: Sodium Laureth Sulfate | David Suzuki Foundation

What's in my shaving cream? | Environmental Working Group