The Ultimate Guide On How To Use Shaving Cream

The Ultimate Guide On How To Use Shaving Cream

By Daniel Broadley

The Ultimate Guide On How To Use Shaving Cream

No matter how great you feel your shaving technique is, there’s always a little room for improvement. Using the right shaving cream, the proper way, in the required amount is an important step in achieving the perfect shave. If you’ve just been coating your face and shaving away, you might find that changing your approach is going to give you better results.

The kind of shaving cream you use, combined with the method of application and even the temperature of the product can impact your experience. Have you been using shaving cream the wrong way?

Is Shaving Cream Necessary?

You should absolutely never shave dry. The surface of your skin is very delicate and fragile, even if you don’t consider yourself to be a person with sensitive skin. The surface of a razor is very sharp. Allowing or encouraging friction between something sharp and something soft is just asking for something bad to happen. 

Shaving cream increases the glide between the razor and your skin, lubricating the surface so that the blades can grab and cut the hair without catching any skin in the crossfire. When the surface tension is reduced, you won’t be dragging or scraping any more than necessary. The little bit of cushion that shaving cream provides will reduce the need to apply pressure to the razor to make successful cuts. 

Shaving Cream Ingredients to Avoid

While using any shaving cream is better than using no shaving cream, you’ll find that some shaving creams contain ingredients that aren’t actually that great for you. A bad shaving cream will only solve the issue of reducing friction between your skin and your razor. It won’t do anything else to protect your skin from irritation. 


Shaving creams that contain ingredients like sulfates probably aren’t the best option. Many of the products in your bathroom contain sulfates. Your hand soap, shampoo, and body wash are likely formulated with this ingredient. It’s the reason why your products make big, sudsy lathers when you scrub with them. 

That’s the only purpose of sulfates. They increase lather, which is more of an experience than an actual cleaning function of the product. They create these lather at the expense of your skin health. Sulfates are regarded as irritants, with many people experiencing mild to moderate reactions to prolonged sulfate exposure.

Sulfates are deemed safe to be applied to the skin for brief periods and then thoroughly removed. If everything you’re using to groom yourself, including your shaving cream, contains sulfates, then you aren’t getting “minimal” exposure. You can be spending as much as an hour every day applying and removing sulfates.


Another ingredient you’ll want to look out for is fragrance. There’s nothing wrong with wanting your products to smell nice. It’s all part of the pampering experience. Most people can handle fragranced products just fine. 

If you have sensitive skin, irritated skin, or a skin condition, fragrance might cause an adverse reaction. When you aren’t sure, choose a fragrance-free shaving cream.

Shaving Cream Ingredients to Look For

A lot of shaving cream companies bulk up their formulas with ingredients that don’t actually do any work. This isn’t uncommon, and it also doesn’t mean that the shaving cream isn’t beneficial to you. Active ingredients often require smaller concentrations to work, particularly if the ingredients are strong. 

A good shaving cream formula must also contain a fair amount of water to help it maintain its consistency. Without water, the formula would come out like a butter. It would be hard to spread and it wouldn’t stick to the skin as well. 

Look at the middle and the end of the ingredients list to see if you spot any of these ingredients. They’ll help you get a great shave and leave you with smooth, bump-free skin. 

Lauric Acid or Coconut Derivatives

Coconut oil is composed of a compound called lauric acid. Lauric acid softens the skin, provides lubrication, and also traps bacteria. Since shaving involves taking a very sharp blade to your face, it’s nice to use an ingredient that will help to manage the bacteria on the surface of your skin. 

It’s even better when that antibacterial ingredient isn’t drying, like alcohol. Drying antibacterial ingredients would render your shaving cream completely ineffective, as its whole purpose is to add moisture.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is an excellent skin soothing ingredient that effectively combats redness and irritation. Many people use aloe vera to help ease redness and irritation associated with acne. Some shaving creams formulated for sensitive skin utilize aloe vera as an active ingredient. While it’s not a must have, it definitely helps. 

Why Barbers Use Hot Lather

The best way to use shaving cream is to heat it first. Most shaving cream comes in an aerosol can or pump that you cannot safely heat. You would need to dispense it and warm it, or use shaving cream compatible with a hot lather machine.

If you’ve ever been to a barber, you know the feeling of hot lather. It’s pleasant and it makes the experience of a shave a little more relaxing. Even though it feels great, that alone is not good enough of a reason to use hot lather. It’s the benefits hot lather provides to the shaving experience. 

When your skin is warm, blood comes to the surface. It plumps up, your pores open up, and your hair shafts dilate. This makes everything a little more receptive to moisture. When your beard hairs are warm and wet, they’re much easier to shave. If you have a wiry or coarse beard, you’ll find that hot later is a game changer.

How to Properly Apply Shaving Cream

The best way to apply shaving cream to your face is with a shaving brush. You’re probably used to dispensing it onto your hands and just slathering it on. This makes a mess, and it leaves you with wet, slippery hands. You probably want a dry and steady hand when you’re going to be taking a blade to your face. A brush helps you to avoid that dilemma.

Start by washing your face with warm water or taking a hot shower. Then, use a brush to paint on a generous layer of warm lather to the areas where you intend to shave. If you’re going to leave your beard but shave your cheeks, there’s no reason to paint the shaving cream on in that direction.

You can use the brush in circular motions to build a bigger lather and stimulate the skin with the warmth of your shaving cream. This will help to work the shaving cream beneath the blanket of your facial hair, helping you to avoid dry spots or snags. 

How Much Shaving Cream to Apply

How much shaving cream to apply largely depends on the size of the area you need to shave. Ideally, you want to use just enough shaving cream to create an opaque covering over the hair you intend to remove. If you use a brush to work it in, you might find that you need to apply a little more once you’ve gotten it beneath the surface of your hair.


Finding the right shaving cream and using it properly is the key to getting a perfect shave every time. If you’re unsatisfied with your results or if you feel as though your skin is looking dry or irritated, it might be time to switch around some products and methods until you find what works best for you.