What Does Shaving Cream Do? And Why Is It Important?

What Does Shaving Cream Do? And Why Is It Important?

By Daniel Broadley

What Does Shaving Cream Do? And Why Is It Important?

You probably use shaving cream every time you shave. It’s an ingrained part of your self care ritual. You lather it on and get to work. But why? What is the shaving cream actually doing for your shave and for your skin?

Shaving cream is one of the unsung heroes of any man’s morning ritual. Whether you realize it or not, the simple act of lathering up benefits your skin tremendously. You probably wouldn’t notice everything it does unless you attempted to shave without it. If you’re wondering if that’s a good idea, the short answer is no. Here’s why

What Happens to Your Skin When You Shave?

Your razor is a stack of sharp, layered blades. Anywhere between two and five blades work in unison to catch hairs, cutting them right at the surface of the skin. The skin is always coming into contact with the razor, but the angle of the blades is designed to minimize the risk of inadvertent cuts and knicks.

As you know, those knicks still happen from time to time. You hit a rough patch and wind up with a small spot of blood. You probably stick a small piece of tissue on it for a minute or two and carry on with your morning routine. These cuts are most noticeable, but they’re not the only damage to the surface of your skin that comes as a result of shaving. 

There is a skincare procedure called dermaplaning. Dermaplaning uses a blade, much like shaving. The blade is lightly scraped over the whole face, removing hair, “peach fuzz”, and the top layer of dead skin. When you shave with a regular razor, you’re performing a less intensive version of this same procedure. 

Your razor will inevitably take some dead skin cells with it as it works to remove your hair. This process can help to keep your skin healthy, but only if performed correctly. That’s where shaving cream comes in. 

What Happens When You Shave Dry

When you shave dry, you’re putting a razor directly against your skin. There is no buffer, lubricant, or added moisture to help that razor slide. Facial hair, by nature, is thick and coarse. It’s often dry and difficult to coax. If you’ve ever tried to groom or style a long beard, you know that it takes a lot of patience to make stubborn hair cooperate. 

When you pull a series of blades along dry skin and stubborn dry hair, you’re irritating your skin. This can result in redness often made worse by the sun. It also makes you more prone to ingrown hairs or small knicks that can easily become infected. In the process, dry shaving is also shearing away your skin’s natural protective lipid barrier. This barrier helps your face to retain moisture and appear healthy.

How Does Shaving Cream Help?

Shaving cream helps by reducing the friction of shaving. By adding a thick layer of moisture to your face before you shave, you’re avoiding a situation where you’re scraping your dry skin. Your beard or stubble will be more likely to cooperate with the razor.

Shaving cream also helps you manage your shave. If you’re not an effective early riser and you haven’t had your coffee yet, you might be fully at attention. You can easily attempt to shave the same spot two or three times, causing unnecessary trauma to your skin. Shaving cream makes it easier to see where you have and haven’t pulled your blade, helping you to avoid irritation.

A Total Approach to Skincare

A good shave is part of skincare. Your skin is the largest organ of your body, and like every other part of your body, it requires a little care. If you’re the kind of guy who likes to eat right and hit the gym, you’re probably taking great care of your insides. Don’t forget that your outside needs taking care of, too. 

Having healthy skin will make you look good, and even more importantly, it will make you feel good. You deserve to spend that time taking care of yourself. You need to feel confident and empowered. When you’re talking to someone important, they’re going to be looking at your face. Knowing that you took good care of your face will help you exude the confidence you need in order to be heard. 

Your shaving cream is an important part of that routine. Finding the right shaving cream and using it regularly is a crucial part of self care. If you’re using a shaving cream that doesn’t offer any benefits, or even worse, is outright irritating your skin, you’re not getting the care you deserve.

Finding and Using the Right Shaving Cream

Fragrance is one of the most important things to consider in a shaving cream. Not how your shaving cream smells, but if it smells at all. If you have sensitive skin, fragrance is likely to irritate your face. If you find that shaving cream can sometimes sting or leave you with pink cheeks, it’s better to choose a fragrance free cream. 

Whether you have sensitive skin or not, you should probably be looking for a shaving cream that doesn’t contain sulfates. Sulfates are in almost everything in your bathroom. They make your shampoo and your body wash lather up into big bubbles. They might even do the same for your toothpaste. 

The problem with sulfates is how they work to achieve that lather. They’re what’s known as a surfactant ingredient. They remove friction from formulas and surfaces to reduce the amount of tension, allowing for that bubbling effect. When they do that, they’re stripping the skin of its natural protective oils. Not just the oils that cause acne, but the oils that keep your skin safe.

This might manifest itself as dry patches around your stubble. If beard growth causes little white flakes to appear, that’s a sign that your skin is too dry. You need moisture in your skin to keep it protected and to prevent premature signs of aging that occur when your skin isn’t healthy. For that reason, it might be wise to ditch the sulfates.

Another consideration that most people don’t make is the temperature of your shaving cream. If you’ve ever splurged on a professional barber, you know that feeling of warm lather. You walk out with the best shave you’ve ever had, your skin looks great, and your spouse is thrilled. It’s all about the warmth.

Warm lather softens your facial hair and improves the circulation of your skin, helping to make the lifting and grabbing action of a razor more effective. As a result, you’re getting a super close shave with less potential for irritation. All you have to do is up the temperature. You wouldn’t take a cold shower. Don’t have a cold shave.


No matter what kind of skin you have or the way you prefer to style your facial hair, you definitely shouldn’t settle for less with your shaving cream. The health of your face is worth a lot more than a few extra bucks. Find the right shaving cream and be your own barber. If you’re well equipped with the right tools, you can get a luxury shave from the comfort of your own bathroom.