Shaving cream vs. shaving gel, what’s the verdict? You’ve decided to go for a wet shave, and opinion is unanimous that you’ve chosen the better way to shave your face. Bringing a razor to your face is always a potential hazard, and using shaving products to protect your skin and make the job easier is, to put it simply, a good idea.
Where people disagree is what is the best thing to use on your face. Is it shaving soap, shaving gel, or full-bodied shaving cream? Are those spray cans that you can buy in the drugstore good enough? What is the difference between the myriad of products available, and how do you know which to choose?
First, let’s talk about why you want to use a shaving product in the first place. Shaving is rough on your skin primarily because your facial hair tends to cling to the side of your face. These hairs are tough and wiry; tougher than the soft skin underneath. When you attack them with that razor, you tend to take away almost as much skin as hair. What you get is the sebum, your skin’s protective cover. You’re exfoliating, one could say, but you’re doing it a little harshly.
Why You Need a Shaving Product
A shaving product should smooth out the process in three basic ways:
- Draw your hairs away from the surface of the skin,
- Lubricate the surface of your face
- Soften your facial hair, making it easier to cut.
It’s an extra bonus if your shaving product hydrates and nourishes your skin, giving back a little bit to make up for whatever the blade took away.
So let’s look at how shaving creams and shaving gels do at these three things. If you can’t read through to the end, here’s the bottom line: they both do a pretty decent job. Shaving soap does also, although the process is longer and more involved. Shaving cream does have a slight edge, in our opinion.
The one shaving product you should not ever buy, if you can help it, is shaving foams. Sometimes billed as shaving cream, this personal care product comes in an aerosol can, and you spray it on your face in much the same way you’d spray silicone insulation on the cracks in a new building. Shaving foam does not do a good job drawing your facial hair away from the surface of your skin: in fact, often it lathers it down flat. While it may lubricate to some degree, that benefit is nothing to what you’ll get from a well-selected gel or cream.
But to get to the heart of this article. Shaving cream vs. shaving gel: which is better?
Shaving Cream vs. Shaving Gel
- Lather: Nothing beats the luxurious lather of high-quality shaving cream, and when you rub that in your skin, you’ll get both the ideal shaving blank: soft skin with those little hairs sticking straight out at a ninety-degree angle.
- Lubrication: A good shaving cream will lubricate nicely, and your razor should feel no resistance as you take it across your skin.
- Moisturizing/Nourishment: In general, shaving cream is considered to be a sub-par moisturizer. Many shaving creams on the market contain sulfates, which lather beautifully but which also dry out your skin. Our Patience shaving cream happens to be an exception to this rule. Our special formula contains no sulfates or drying ingredients, and actively nourishing ingredients like shea butter will leave your skin glowing.
- Ease of Use: Shaving cream is easy to use, but it does involve a three step process: work up the lather and rub it into your skin, shave, and rinse.
- Lather: Shaving gel doesn’t lather; it isn’t meant to. This doesn’t have to be a problem, but it may mean you lose one benefit of shaving cream: those well massaged hairs sticking straight out.
- Lubrication: Here’s one area where shaving gels do well: the glycerin they contain make them the epitome of slipperiness, and your razor should just slide over your skin. Some users report they do this too well, in fact: the extra slipperiness may mean your blade simply glides over that facial hair, leaving it untouched. If that happens, you’ll need two or three passes to get a clean shave. To avoid this, use less.
- Ease of Use: There’s no lather step and no rinse off, so shaving gels can be quicker to use than shaving creams are.
- Moisturizing/Nourishment: Since shaving gels are oil-based, they are considered good moisturizers and should leave your skin softer than before you begin your shave.
Shaving gel does have an extra benefit that didn’t fit into this comparison: the clear color means it may be easier to see what you’re doing.
If you’ve chosen your product well, shaving cream will provide a more luxurious experience. It provides an ideal amount of lubrication while helping your facial hair stay away from your skin. It also can provide the necessary moisture and nourishment your skin needs, especially when coupled with an after-shave balm. That’s why we include a high quality shaving cream in our men’s shaving set: luxury without hassle.
Shaving gel may be ideal if you have super-sensitive skin (that extra lubrication could be a lifesaver) or if your morning routine is too hurried for a three-step procedure. If you’re in between the two groups, you may want to stock shaving cream for everyday use, but leave a tube of decent quality gel in the bathroom cupboard for rushed mornings.