The 6 Best Options When You're Shaving Without Shaving Cream

The 6 Best Options When You're Shaving Without Shaving Cream

By Daniel Broadley

The 6 Best Options When You're Shaving Without Shaving Cream

If you don’t have any shaving cream, the worst thing you can do would be to shave dry. When there’s no barrier between your skin and the razor, bad things are bound to happen. If you need an alternative solution and a trip to the store isn’t an option. Some things you might already have around the house can serve as a great temporary stand-in to get you shaved and out the door without irritated skin.

Some alternatives will work better than others. Shaving cream is designed to address some of the skin’s needs, but everyone is different. Before you choose your shaving cream substitute, consider what it might do for your skin. You might find that you want to incorporate an oil or two into your skincare routine. 

What Does Shaving Cream Do?

Shaving cream does a lot for your skin. A good shaving cream will protect and treat your face. Shaving cream’s primary function is to introduce some kind of lubrication. A dry blade against dry skin is going to generate a lot of friction, and heavy friction with sharp objects is a recipe for disaster. You need something to help the razor glide across your face, cutting the hair without scraping your skin. 

Shaving cream (or a shaving cream substitute) will usually work better when it’s warm. Hot lather does a good job of opening the pores and the cuticle of the hairs, allowing moisture in and making wiry hair a little easier to manage. When everything is thoroughly moisturized, there won’t be any dry pulling or unnecessary abrasion to the surface of the skin.

Should I Shave Without Shaving Cream?

Shaving without shaving cream is generally never a good idea. Dry shaving can and will significantly damage the surface of your skin from repetitive sharp friction. If you’re out of shaving cream or if you forgot to pack some when you travelled, you can temporarily improvise with a few other things you may have laying around.

While many alternatives will work to give you a decent shave, they aren’t formulated specifically to do so. Don’t forget to order more shaving cream when you run out. These will hold you over until your shaving cream arrives at your doorstep.

1. Conditioner

Hair conditioner is designed to moisturize hair, which is one of the main benefits of shaving cream. It’s thick and rich, so it will stay on in the places where you’ve applied it. If you’re going to shave with conditioner, make sure you’ve washed your face with hot water beforehand. If you can warm up that conditioner, it will work even better. 

Don’t use conditioners with strong artificial fragrances, high alcohol content, or medicated conditioners for conditions like dandruff or psoriasis. These may be too harsh for the skin on your face. Stick to mild creamy conditioners that are safe for sensitive scalps. If you have access to sulfate-free conditioner, that will work best. 

2. Shea Butter

Shea butter is a deeply moisturizing ingredient derived from shea nuts, a nut rich in vitamins and fatty acids. Its consistency is very thick, and it’s easily absorbed by the skin as a deep moisturizer. Shea butter is one of few alternatives to shaving cream that you can probably use as a permanent substitute. If you’re looking to get away from shaving cream entirely, this is the best option you have at your disposal. 

Shea butter is a versatile multi-use product. You can also use it to soften coarse hair, or to smooth out rough and calloused hands and feet. If you get dry skin in the winter or if your job leaves your skin feeling rough, it never hurts to have some pure organic shea butter hanging around. It will quickly become your favorite hand cream, your favorite foot cream, your favorite lotion, and your favorite facial moisturizer. 

3. Aloe Vera

You might have some aloe vera hanging around from the last time you went to the beach. Most people associate aloe vera with relief from sunburn, but it also provides relief from many other kinds of skin irritation. The goal of using a shaving cream is to prevent irritation and soothe the skin. Aloe vera’s goals are very similar. 

Just make sure you aren’t using the kind of aloe vera that’s mixed with lidocaine or other numbing agents. Some aloe vera products aimed at sunburn relief will contain ingredients designed to minimize pain on the surface of the skin, so make sure you read the bottle well before you slather yourself up. You don’t want to have a numb face. Plain aloe vera or an aloe vera based lotion or gel will do the job just fine.

4. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is often touted as a miracle product, and to some extent, that’s true. Coconut oil is among the more unique varieties of oil. Nearly half of coconut oil by volume is lauric acid. Lauric acid is a compound that naturally kills bacteria. If you have acne prone skin or if you worry about shaving cuts and knicks, coconut oil will do more to protect you than any other kind of oil. 

Coconut oil is also deeply moisturizing. If you get flaky buildup under your beard or white patches in dry areas, let your coconut oil sit a while before you shave. After you shave, you can give your face a good scrub with a warm wet washcloth to wash away the hair and take the flakes off at the same time. 

5. Almond Oil

Almond oil is rich in vitamin E, which is one of the gentlest skin restoring ingredients. It’s also anti-inflammatory and great for dry skin. Many doctors recommend applying vitamin E oil to scars. If you have post-acne marks or old shaving cut scars, using vitamin E oil may, over time, help to reduce their appearance.

Obviously, almond oil shouldn’t be used by anyone who has a nut allergy. Otherwise, it’s perfectly safe and mild enough for even the most sensitive skin. If your significant other uses essential oils, she probably has almond oil. Its gentle nature makes it the perfect carrier oil for essential oil blends. Ask her if she happens to have a bottle somewhere when you run out of shaving cream. 

6. Jojoba Oil

If you’re unsure of what oil to use instead of shaving cream, choose jojoba. Allergic reactions are very rare, and your skin is equipped to handle it. Jojoba oil is very similar in structure to the oil your skin naturally produces, which is one of the primary benefits of choosing it. Your skin knows how to utilize jojoba oil, and it will provide just the right amount of slick texture for a smooth shave.


Oils and butters aren’t quite as perfect as shaving cream, but if you’re in a pinch, they’ll do. Try warming them up to enhance their skin and hair softening effects before you shave. It’s always a little easier to shave warm and wet skin. Some of these oils may leave a little bit of a residue if you don’t gently remove them with warm water after the fact, so plan to take off any excess after you’re done shaving.