Shaving soap vs cream is one of the first questions many men ask themselves when they start to shave. Unfortunately, too many make the wrong choice and forgo both soaps and creams and go for the worst shaving cream alternative which is shaving foams.
Often called shaving creams themselves, foams can be described as “shaving creams in a can”. And while, at first glance, a cream is a cream and it shouldn’t matter where it comes from, there is typically a large drop in quality between shaving foams and shaving creams. So, if you’re wondering what to use instead of shaving cream, our recommendation would definitely be to look for a good shaving soap.
And while we’ll be a little harsh on shaving foams in this article, the difference between creams and soaps isn’t as significant. Both types of wet shaving products can be very good for your skin and for your overall shaving experience. When comparing shaving soaps and shaving creams, our first and main advice will be to just look for one that’s of a high enough quality, as this is the main factor here. Both soaps and creams can vary greatly in quality depending on their manufacturer and their exact sub-type.
Still, there are some significant differences between shaving creams and shaving soaps too, so let’s delve into them one by one:
What are shaving soaps?
Most experts will tell you that shaving soaps are the best option you can find for a smooth, pleasant, and effective shaving experience. A lot of artisan shaving soaps are of the highest quality you can find and there are quite a few commercial brands that produce fantastic soaps as well. The ideal shaving soap will give your face a slick and close shave, and its scent – if there is one – will last for a long time. Excellent for not just shaving but for maintaining a perfectly clean and healthy skin, shaving soaps are the main choice of most men who value the experience of shaving and who want the best for their skin.
Learning how to use shaving soap products is one of the main reason a lot of people steer away from them and it’s one of their main drawbacks. Unlike creams and foams, soaps can take a while to produce a good shaving lather which irritates a lot of people. For too many men, shaving is something that needs to be done quickly just so that it can be over with. Soaps don’t really go well with that preference as they require a fair bit of time to form their lather.
Of course, this is somewhat dependent on the type of soap as well. There are softer soaps that are nearly halfway to creams as they are mixed with a fair bit of water and air already. Softer soaps are much easier to apply but harder soaps, such as triple milled soaps, tend to last much longer. This doesn’t mean that they are of a higher quality – a triple milled soap can still be made with bad ingredients while a softer soap can still consist of the best possible ingredients – it’s just a matter of preference.
Whatever type of soap you choose, it has to be able to form a good lather and it has the have the right ingredients in it. Good shaving soaps are the best option if your skin is prone to irritations.
What are shaving creams?
The quality of shaving creams is also largely dependent on the quality of their ingredients. Sub-par quality shaving creams can cause insufficient skin moistening, they can irritate the skin itself, and they can expire and deplete much faster than shaving soaps. If the cream you’ve bought is of good quality, however, most of these drawbacks won’t apply.
The main benefit of using shaving creams over shaving soaps is that they form lather much more easily. Even soft soaps can take a bit of effort compared to good shaving creams. If the whole process of mixing a shaving lather irritates you, shaving creams are likely your best bet. Like softer soaps, shaving creams will expire and deplete faster than harder soaps, however, so factor that in with their monetary cost.
Another thing that a lot of people attribute to shaving creams is that their scents typically last for much longer after the shaving than those of shaving soaps. That’s true, technically, but it’s not due to the cream nature of the product but rather just to the way shaving creams are made. For whatever marketing reason, the manufacturers of shaving creams have determined that customers of shaving creams value the long-lasting effect of their scents while those that use shaving soaps prefer the sanitary effects of the soap.
As with soaps, the quality of the shaving cream should really be the main factor for your purchase, not so much the fact that it is a shaving cream. Creams too can vary greatly in their quality depending on their manufacturer and ingredients, and they too can come in different variants. The main conclusion we’re driving to in this comparison between creams and soaps is that you should always buy that which is of the highest quality. If you prefer creams but you can’t find a good cream at a particular moment, it’s better to buy a good soap than a sub-par cream and vice versa. If you have a choice between the best of both, then simply choose that which meats your personal preferences.
What are shaving foams?
We purposefully left shaving foams for last as they just don’t meet our quality requirements. Shaving foams typically don’t create the best lather, they incentivize you to use your hand and not a brush which isn’t as effective, and they generally don’t moisturize and nourish the skin as well as creams and soaps do. The only reason shaving foams are so popular is that they are well-marketed and they are convenient to use. If you have easily irritable or dry skin, however, foam is a really bad product to use, and even if you don’t – both soaps and creams will give you a much better experience.
Of course, there are quality variations within shaving foams as well, and we recognize that some are far better than most of the others. But, as general advice, we’d recommend soaps and creams over foams any day of the week.