What’s the Difference Between Shaving Cream, Shaving Gel, and Shaving Soap?

Posted by Rocky Mountain Barber on


Shaving should be simple. Face it: few men have the time, technique or patience to draw their grooming routine out into an artform.

Most guys imagine they have other things to do, and manage to cram their shaving in-between other tasks, taking advantage of the time after a shower to clean up before getting dressed. And unless you’re being paid to look good, it can be difficult to see the logic of spending more than those few minutes on in front of a steamy mirror.

This despite growing evidence that a clean, careful shave has major life benefits. A 2011 study by researchers at UC Irvine found that high school students who were judged as “poorly groomed” were significantly less likely to go to college after graduating.

Perceptions matter – and can even have an effect on your income. Another study, this time published last year in Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, showed that attractiveness brings major returns: well-groomed men and women often earn as much as 20 percent more than their scruffier, more unkempt coworkers.

Savouring the time it takes to shave is healthier, too. No, we’re not saying there’s anything unclean about sporting a five o’clock shadow – a big, beautiful beard takes work, and time, too. But rush any element of your morning routine, whether it’s shaving off your whiskers or leaving them unwashed, and your skin becomes a magnet for dirt, germs, and bacteria.

Still think you can’t spare more than a few minutes? Lucky for you, in this day and age, an array of skincare options have been designed specifically for the man who needs to move, and are waiting to make your life a whole lot easier.

If you’re cutting your shave short and cutting your skin to ribbons in the process, help is at hand – and yes, you’ll still make that morning meeting. The key to a quick, clean and healthy shave is simple: find the right products, and use them correctly.

Most of the men who have hours to waste in front of a mirror aren’t necessarily getting a closer or cleaner shave than you. They’re just taking the long way round. Skip the queue with a quality shaving cream, shaving gel or shaving soap, and we promise, your boss will never know the difference.

Give your skin what it needs, and you’ll get out of your bathroom quicker, and looking a lot better – for longer. Here’s how to choose a great shaving cream, gel or soap:

How to Choose Your New Favorite Shaving Cream

Your shaving cream was not invented to speed up your morning grooming, which means they aren’t all interchangeable and you should take some care in finding one that’s right for you and your skin.

A good-quality shaving cream should meet a few critical criteria: it should wet and lift your facial hair for easy cutting while nourishing, hydrating and protecting your skin. Get it wrong, and you could live with razor burn, rashes and chronically dry or sensitive skin that’s prone to cuts and bumps.

To ensure your new shaving cream suits all skin types, examine the label for natural ingredients, like coconut oil, sandalwood, and glycerin – these will help moisturize your skin as you shave, keeping it fed and protected, both during and after shaving. 

The Secret to Choosing the Perfect Shaving Gel

A shaving gel is a lot like a shaving cream, with a few key differences. One of those is slipperiness: a gel can give your skin a slick tactility, easing the flow of your blade and guarding against friction.

This makes a good-quality shaving gel a great choice for anyone prone to razor burn or sensitive skin – and an even better option for the man who wants to avoid the pore-clogging effect of a chemical-based shaving cream, as most gels don’t contain artificial oils.

Look out for your skin by scanning for natural ingredients: aloe and shea butter are well-known moisturizers, while calendula and castor oil will help your skin recover instantly from the repetitive scraping of your blade.

What Makes a Shaving Soap Right for You?

If you thought we meant that bar in your shower you use for, well, everything, think again: shaving soaps aren’t like other soaps.

First, a  shaving soap is a dense product that lathers a lot thicker than the soap you’re used to. Top-shelf options are often triple-milled, leading to a creamy density that mixes evenly and creates a smooth, luxurious foam.

How to know if you’ve found a good one? Fat. Shaving soaps pride themselves on fat content, as the higher the fat percentage, the more lubrication the soap is able to provide – a soap with a low-fat content can dry out and irritate your skin before you even start to shave.

Another important ingredient is glycerin, a natural humectant that locks in water and hydrates the skin as you shave, reducing the risk of reddening up after you’re done.

Shaving should be easy, and it is. Invest in the right product that’s best for your particular skin type, and shaving will never be a chore again.

Shaving cream, shaving gel, or shaving soap? The solution is pretty clear: for the best shave, ignore the marketing and listen to your skin. Try some top-notch products, see how they feel – and stick to the one that leaves you feeling clean, clear and cool.

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