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When you select your wet shaving set up, among others, two products are considered the most important: The right razor and a great shaving cream.
And for many men, these are the only things they need on their shave den.
Based on your choice, your shaving routine may range from an enjoyable and refreshing session to a horrendous, messy and bloody experience. And trust me, I learned this the hard way!
A few things to keep during the shaving cream selection process. Most of them aren’t something new, though, we tend to overlook.
So, your target shaving cream should have the following characteristics:
- Make your facial hair softer and easier to shave.
- Give the best protection for your skin.
- Have a nice and refreshing scent that doesn’t cause any irritation essential for men with sensitive skin.
- Give your face enough lubrication so that the razor glides easily on your face.
- Moisturise the skin while shaving and prevent it from drying.
- Contain ingredients that aren’t harsh to your skin and be as natural as possible -if all natural isn’t the case.
- Have the best price for the quality it offers
Based on this quick criteria -which we’re going to analyse later, I concluded to five products that I consider to be among the best shaving creams for men -and certainly among my favorite ones.
The table contains one brushless shaving cream and four that are best lathered with shaving brush.
Here are 5 of the best shaving creams reviewed today:
The 5 Best Shaving Creams
|Taylor Of Old Bond Street||Truefitt & Hill||D.R. Harris||Geo F. Trumper||Cremo|
|Country of Origin||England||England||England||England||USA|
|Size||5.3 oz (150 gram)||6.7 oz (190 gram)||5.3 oz (150 gram)||7 oz (200 gram)||6 fl oz (177 ml)|
|Scent||Sandalwood||Spicy, Floral & Woody||Citrus Notes with Fern||Light Scent of Coconut||Citrus|
|Recommended use||With brush||With brush||With brush||With brush||Brushless|
|Ease Of Use|
|Value for Money|
Before getting into details of each one of them, I believe you’ll appreciate an introduction to what shaving cream really is and analyze the criteria you need to consider before getting one.
Based on this, we can better understand the selection process and what influences our decision to buy one product over the other.
Let’s get started.
What is a shaving cream
The best way to describe the shaving cream is as a soapy substance that you use when you want to shave.
There are three reasons why a man uses a shaving cream:
- Makes your facial hair softer.
- Lubricates the surface of your face.
- Adds a protection layer on your face for a smooth and close shave.
Shaving cream isn’t something new to men’s grooming arsenal.
There’s evidence that even during 3000 BC men were using some kind of shaving cream that was made from animal fat and plant extracts.
This mix of natural ingredients offered the skin the so needed extra lubricity while softening the facial hair, so that the blade/knife/axe/sword -that escalated quickly, could shave the hair easily with no nicks and cuts.
Thousands of years later, the idea behind using a shaving cream remains the same.
Even though technology has evolved so much and shaving your face can be done by electric devices, the closest and arguably the most enjoyable shave, you still get with traditional shaving products.
Back to the present now, a shaving cream can come in forms of soft whipped cream -either used with shaving brush or brushless, gel or pressurised foam. In addition, we might want to include products in the shaving list wool fat and glycerine as their main ingredients.
The best shaving creams are normally those that contain mostly natural ingredients, don’t have alcohol and they offer enough slickness and protection to your skin.
It’s rather common for traditional shaving creams to consist of ingredients that they don’t contain harsh chemicals. This is one of the good reasons why the price can sometimes be 3 or even 5 times higher than popular pressurized shaving creams that you find at supermarkets.
You might have already understood by now that in this article we’re going to focus more on traditional shaving creams rather than on gels and pressurized tins.
Now, let’s continue with the selection criteria.
Selection criteria for the best shaving cream
There are a few things that are important in the decision making process and based on these, I made the selection of the best shaving creams.
Bear in mind that the following criteria might not apply on pressurised shaving cream and gels since I didn’t consider any of them in this article.
Before you buy a shaving cream, you might need to set certain expectations for your wet shaving routine.
Do you want to use it directly on your face with your fingers or you like using a shaving brush to build lather?
Is rich lather important for your shave or slickness is all that matters?
There are three things that define a lather.
- Ease of application
Let’s see what you need to know for each one of them.
Ease of application
The type of shaving cream, wet shaving set up and hardness of water determines the shaving cream’s performance. Even the same shaving cream used in different locations, may result in completely different lathering.
That being said, the shaving creams that are selected in this article are heavily affected by my experience with the particular products, my location and my wet shaving set up.
This offers protection to your face. I understand that sometimes is tough to make a choice before you try something but make sure you read some reviews.
You want the lather to offer enough cushion and yet without being too foamy -in most cases foamy means that the lather gets dry quickly.
Depending on the type of shaving cream, the lather can range from rich and thick to just a very thin layer on your face. Pay special attention to the lather since you want it well hydrated so that the razor passes on your face effortlessly and doesn’t clog, while offering enough face protection.
Speaking of razors, most cartridge razors will clog with thick lather and this is why I would recommend shaving with a safety razor.
This is probably the most important criteria to consider before buying a shaving cream.
Even if a shaving cream doesn’t build any lather, it’s important to offer slickness to your face. Besides protection to your face, slickness is the number one reason why the razor glides without getting stuck on your face.
If your razor isn’t able to shave easily without getting stuck, there are high chances of getting a razor burn.
Properties and characteristics of a shaving cream are definitely important.
But what makes a shaving cream better than its peers in terms of quality, is definitely what’s written on the back side of the label.
My personal suggestion is to prefer shaving creams that contain natural ingredients. If you’ve been using different traditional shaving creams, you might have noticed by now that certain ingredients are quite common in most high quality shaving creams.
Couple of examples are water, coconut acid, stearic acid, glycerin, jojoba oil and many others.
Product such as jojoba oil or coconut oil are perfect for both hair care and skin care applications due to their facial hair softening and skin moisturising properties.
On the contrary, avoid products that contain artificial colorants, petrochemical by-products, synthetic fragrances and alcohol.
Most of this type of ingredients might irritate and/or dry your skin, cause skin related issues, clog pores or even mess with your natural pH balance.
Even though none of these may happen, what you need to realize is that it’s highly advisable to avoid products with such ingredients.
Talking about skin irritation, make sure you check ingredients that are derivatives of alcohol or essential oils that may cause problems to men with sensitive skin.
And speaking of essential oils…
When you use a shaving cream, it’s rather unavoidable to smell it. This is why the scent isn’t something that you want to overlook.
Many of the shaving creams that I list today are scented with essential oils. In case you’re not aware, essential oils are plant and fruit extracts.
If you ask me, I prefer shaving creams that contain essential oils as natural fragrance compared to the ones that have synthetic.
A very common scent combination for shaving creams is menthol and eucalyptus. It’s used a lot from shaving cream artisans mainly because of the very fresh and cool sensation that give to your shave.
If I can categorize shaving cream types I would say that essentially, they can be narrowed down to three.
This is the very popular pressurised foam type that you’ll find in brands such as Gillette or Barbasol. As already noted, we won’t be dealing with this kind of shaving creams today for several reasons.
To name a few, I don’t consider them among the best shaving creams for men’s face in terms of comfortable shave, performance and ingredients.
Traditional with brush
This is the type of shaving cream that requires a shaving brush for lathering either in a shaving bowl or directly on a wet face.
Traditional shaving creams can be also applied with your fingers and spread on the face, if for any reason you prefer to do that instead of using a shaving brush.
As the name suggests, it’s the type of shaving creams that you apply directly on face without the use of a shaving brush.
Even if you try to build lather in a shaving bowl, you won’t succeed.
These are the type of shaving creams that don’t have rich lather and their main characteristic is slickness rather than cushioning.
As with all the thing in life, everything has its price and in most cases you get what you pay for.
You should expect to pay between $5 and $30 for a shaving cream. Below that range, it’s hardly possible to find something that is decent and skin friendly.
Shaving creams that are usually within the $12-25 range are also among the best you can buy. Needless to say that above that range, you’ll find shaving creams with great quality and performance.
Don’t let the price scare you off. Most shaving creams that contain around 4-5 oz (120-150ml), last more than 2 months even if you’re shaving every day. If you shave less frequent than that, a shaving cream can even last 6 to 12 months.
One thing to keep in mind is that even if you’re not shaving everyday, by the time you open a shaving cream it needs to be used within a specific period a.k.a. Period After Opening (PAO).
You can see the “open can” symbol at the back side of each product and the number next to it, are the months during which it’s advised to finish it after opening.
If you buy shaving creams from big companies this isn’t even an issue. This is particularly important if you like experimenting with artisans that aren’t able to produce products in great volumes.
It’s not the end of the world but It’s rather frustrating if you buy one product and you like it and then you’re not able to get it again due to limited production.
Do your research before you buy something. And if possible, support the small artisans so that they can produce awesome products again and again.
Let’s find out what is the best shaving cream for a man’s face
Taylor of Old Bond Street
I’ve got to say that I’m a bit biased here since I’ve tried four different scents from Taylor of Old Bond Street.
Since they’ve got a vast selection of shaving creams to choose from, I’m very sure that you’ll find one that suits your taste.
As for the selection, you have to make a choice among:Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Peppermint, Jermyn Street Collection, Lavender, Mr Taylor’s, Grapefruit, Coconut, Organic, Natural, Lime, Almond, Rose, Avocado, Eton College, and St. James.
For me, it’s definitely one of the top shaving creams reviewed today and among my favorites.
When you first scrape a bit of shaving cream from the plastic bowl, you immediately feel the soft yet thick cream.
I found that it works particularly well with synthetic shaving brushes. I also tried it with my two badger shaving brushes and I have to say that with the best badger grade didn’t work as well as I would expect. The silvertip badger however, build lather much faster and thicker.
Boar and horse hair shaving brushes worked very well but If I had to make a choice, I would say that badger and synthetic work relatively a bit better. Again, not something that would affect the average user.
Compared to other creams, it takes a bit longer for the lather to build up. It seems to me that it requires a bit more water when building the lather.
This also depends on the hardness of water and how much water you use when you want to lather the shaving cream.
So make sure that you test the lather before you apply it to your face and maybe add a bit more water to make it perfect. You can also add a bit of glycerin in the mix so that it gives the lather more slickness.
Again, small things but overall, this is an amazing shaving cream for all types of skins and works great with all shaving brushes.
Truefitt & Hill 1805
This shaving cream is probably the most premium one among the reviewed and the price is something that could put someone off.
Even though the price is considerably higher, you also need to keep in mind that we’re talking about a bigger container than the others (something like 30% more product). Also, a little goes a long way even if you’re shaving every day.
In terms of quality and performance, few shaving creams can match it.
Trufitt & Hill shaving cream gives you a rich, creamy lather with great slickness.
It gives you enough slickness no matter if you use shaving brush or not and it allows you to apply it on your face even without a brush.
However, if you want to pay some respect to this wonderful shaving cream, the best way to use it is with the best shaving brush that you have in your den and build lather in a shaving bowl. This way you get to enjoy the entire wet shaving routine as it’s supposed to be.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t try building lather directly on the face. Just remember to add water on the tips of the shaving brush and your face is going to be full of rich lather in less than a minute.
The one thing that I liked the most about this product, is the royal-ish and masculine scent with sea afternotes. It’s a scent that makes this shaving cream very unique and men who like old, kinda like traditional scents would appreciate it the most.
D.R. Harris Arlington Shaving Cream
Another great shaving cream, this time from D.R. Harris.
If I can relate this shaving cream to others in this post, it reminds me a lot of the Taylor of Old Bond Street.
With the use of a good shaving brush -ideally with soft bristles like badger or synthetic, it builds up a very creamy and thick lather.
Even though it needs a bit more water than other creams to build thick lather, there’s no compromise in slickness. As a reminder, the cream’s slickness is the most important factor in a shaving cream so that the razor can glide effortlessly on your face and give you a very close shave.
The particular citrus scent (Arlington) is quite strong but very pleasant and manly. It gives you a very refreshing feeling while shaving. You can try also Marlborough and Windsor which are both interesting scents.
Due to its slickness, I would definitely name it the best shaving cream for sensitive skin. With this one, you can expect way less irritation while shaving, depending always on your wet shaving set up.
Geo F. Trumper Coconut Oil Soft Shaving Cream
Another product from England and one of the best shaving creams a man can get.
If you’re a fond of coconut oil, you’re going to have trouble sleeping without shaving with it at least once per day -a bit exaggeration just to make a point here.
Coconut oil seems to do an excellent job in terms of moisturising the skin and softening the facial hair. Besides, there are so many praises of coconut oil when it comes to skin and hair health.
When it comes to lather, it’s rich and thick and due to the coconut oil, there’s enough slickness to help your razor shave your beard with comfort.
Natural hair shaving brushes seem to work much better with this shaving cream and again, badger hair seems to be the best to lather with, offering great slickness even with minimal amount of water.
That being said, it might need less water than Taylor of Old Bond Street but maybe a bit more than D.R. Harris Arlington.
Proraso Shaving Cream Menthol and Eucalyptus
Proraso is one of my favorite brands and I’m particularly a big fan of their shaving soap and pre-shave oil.
Badger hair, again, seems to be the go to shaving brush, especially if wet thoroughly with warm water beforehand.
Proraso is a versatile shaving cream that gives you a creamy lather with a lot of cushioning.
One thing that some guys may not appreciate is the very strong scent of menthol and eucalyptus. I guess that men with sensitive skin wouldn’t appreciate it that much either.
Personally, I love the feeling while you shave and when you wash off the lather with cold water after you finish shaving. It gives you a very fresh sensation which literally wakes you up.
In terms of slickness, your razor will have no problem shaving your one to four days stubble. Add more water on the shaving brush while shaving -if each shaving pass takes too long, and apply the shaving cream on a wet face.
Jack Black Supreme Triple Cushion
This is the last shaving cream in this list that works best with a shaving brush but it most certainly isn’t the least.
The name of this shaving cream reveals the truth. Triple cushion…
By the time you start loading the shaving brush and you start building lather, it takes only a few seconds until you see it working like a charm. After a few swirls in the shaving bowl, you’ll get a nice smile of satisfaction with the lather richness.
Even though the lather is rich it doesn’t seem to stay thick for long time but this isn’t such a big deal.
What matters the most is that Jack Black’s particular shaving cream has very good moisture retention and it’s fairly slick. Even with minimal amount of water, the lather doesn’t feel dry on the face, especially if your face is already wet enough.
In terms of scent, this shaving cream has a light pine-like smell which unless you hate it, you won’t have any issues using it.
Price wise, it could have been better compared to other competitive products. The good thing is that a little goes a long way. The price seems a bit steep at first but you won’t have to buy a new shaving cream for a while, even if daily shaving.
Best brushless shaving creams
Cremo Astonishingly Superior
I think that this Cremo Astonishingly Superior is superior indeed, compared to the other brushless shaving creams that I’ve used.
The number one characteristic of brushless shaving creams is the slickness. You don’t see thick lather on your face nor it feels rich in any way.
You need to apply it simply with your hands, on a wet face that has been thoroughly splashed with warm water. Then, instead of expecting a thick layer of lather, all you need is a little bit to keep your face slick. And boy, it’s slick.
Even though it becomes quite transparent on your face, the shaving cream is still there and there’s no need to worry. By the time you start shaving, you realize how nicely the blade shaves off your beard and how smooth and close shave it gives you.
Besides the great shave, this brushless shaving cream has a very pleasant citrus scent, more like orangy (?).
I’m not sure if this shaving cream comes in different scents but this one is already quite good for most noses unless you hate citrus scents.
Even if you’re not a big fan of brushless shaving creams, the price tag, along with the performance, will definitely convince you that this is the best brushless shaving cream you’ll use and you should definitely try it at least once.
Lastly, this shaving cream is particularly great if you’re growing a beard and you’re looking to shape it with a razor. You can see exactly where you’re shaving because of the almost transparent appearance and without needing many passes to get your facial hair shaved.
American Crew Moisturizing Shave Cream
I’ve used quite a few products from American Crew before, mainly hair styling products. This shaving cream definitely meets the expectations even of the most demanding wet shavers.
It’s another great brushless shaving cream that has slickness and skin moisturising as its main advantages.
Just like all brushless shaving creams, you apply it on a wet face and massage slightly. Don’t worry if you don’t see any thick lather. You need just enough for slickness and start shaving right away.
The shave with this cream is smooth due to the high lubricity and the razor doesn’t get stuck on face which might lead to a razor burn.
The particular shaving cream works great in all types of beards. For my dense beard and sensitive skin, it performed surprisingly well.
From the moment you apply the shaving cream on the face, you get a cool feeling which feels nice on a warm and wet face. The scent combination of menthol and eucalyptus also contributes to this refreshing touch.
All in all, it’s a shaving cream with very good performance and a scent that certainly won’t disappoint you.
Pro Shave Shaving Cream
Even though the appearance of the container doesn’t seem as convincing as the previous products, this has nothing to do with the performance of the Pro Shave shaving cream.
Since we’re talking about a brushless shaving cream, you apply it on your face with your hands. Because of the lanolin, you get a super lubricated face that will make your razor slide on your face -in a good way.
Besides shaving with it as a shaving cream, the Pro Shave works great as a pre-shave product just before you lather a shaving soap or cream.
The scent is very classic and manly while not too strong. It probably brings back memories to older guys from barbershop visits.
Speaking of which, this is one of the products that many barbers still use since it softens the beard and gives great slickness for a comfortable shave.
Price wise, you get more than what you pay for. Compared to other products, this is probably the best shaving cream for men in terms of value for money. There’s no way you’ll regret buying this.
Other shaving creams that you can consider
Below, you’ll find some products that didn’t make it to the top shaving creams list. This happened because of one of the below two reasons:
- I haven’t tested them or
- I don’t consider them better than the ones analyzed.
Here we go:
Good smell from a combination of essential oils (Grand Fir, Vetiver, and organic Ginger), not as sleek as other creams, (in my opinion) a bit pricey compared to other superior products.
I haven’t tried this shaving cream but I’ve read some great reviews and it’s one of the products that I’m planning to buy soon.
A very popular shaving cream with very nice scent. It works better as brushless than with a shaving brush.
It’s got decent slickness but doesn’t reach the high standards of the previously discussed products. A bit pricey compared to other brushless shaving creams.
I haven’t tried this one either. Reviews seem very promising, praising its great scent, nice and thick lather with very good slickness.
Price is a bit higher than others but apparently it’s highly justified by its users. The available scents are Lime, Sandalwood/Cedarwood and Lavender.
Probably among the most popular brands that we talked about today -if not the most popular.
It’s a very good shaving cream with a subtle and unique scent, good cushioning and decent slickness.
Not suitable for men with sensitive skin since it contains alcohol and by-products of alcohol. I wouldn’t call this shaving cream the most natural choice.
Finally, it comes with a fair price for the amount of product that you get -6.3 oz (200ml).
No matter what product you select, keep in mind that you shouldn’t compromise a well hydrated and comfortable shave for cheap and potentially harmful products for your skin.
Selecting the best shaving cream for men’s face is a matter of choice and individual needs.
Having said that, I’ll summarize once again the most important factors to keep in mind before getting one.
- Ingredients – make sure that the cream won’t irritate or harm your skin.
- Slickness – the razor should glide easily on your face to cut your beard and not your skin.
- Facial hair softness – this has to do with the ingredients. Get a cream with ingredients that are proved to make your beard soft.
- Doesn’t dry quickly – cream that gets dry immediately after you apply it on your face might cause razor burns since the razor can get stuck with every pass.
- Value for money – don’t spend too much if you’re just starting out with wet shaving. Check the price, container size and reviews carefully.
Good luck and hopefully you’ll find the wet shaving software that offers you the most comfortable and closest shave of your life.
If there’s a shaving cream that I didn’t include and you believe that should be among the top ones, feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section. I’ll be happy to review it.
This is part of our wet shaving guides