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Shaving soap or shave cream?

Shaving cream and shaving soap do the same thing: they make your hair softer and they protect your skin from a blade. If you can make enough lather, both also lubricate and cushion. So should you use soap or a cream? This is actually a common question, particularly among people who are first moving into wet shaving. 

First of all, if you are going to use a shaving cream, you should stay away from the readily available products that are full of chemicals and propellants. You need to find a cream that has ingredients that will actually benefit your skin and make the process of shaving easier. Some of the ingredients to look for, which are generally found in "artisan" creams, include aloe vera, shea butter, and natural oils. 

Should you choose shaving soap, however, you will find that there is an equally large number of products to choose from. This can be somewhat overwhelming, because there are not just many different brands, but many different types as well. The shaving soap lather does turn to be more luxurious and dense. The reason for this is because the soaps are thicker and they tend to last longer.

There are pros and cons for both soaps and creams, and it is impossible to determine which one is the best. Really, it depends on your personal preferences and your budget. However, going into the details of what both can do, the pros and cons are: 

  • For producing lather, shaving soap can be quite difficult to use, and you will have to practice doing it, however, they give the best results and when you get a hang of it you will enjoy it more. Creams are easier and quicker to use.
  • In terms of the smell, the scent of shaving soap doesn't linger long. But this can be a good thing, particularly for people with sensitive skin. If you do want to have a lingering smell, you could opt for a good aftershave instead.
  • For those who live in a hard water area, shaving soap can be hard to use, even if you have excellent lathering skills and a really good brush. However, you could then simply replace your tap water with distilled water, in which case your lather may be perfect. 

So should you use soap or cream? Both have pros and cons, but the reality is that your personal preference is what matters. There are "luxurious" and "prime" brands of both, so there is no case to be made for either being better than the other. Unless, that is, you are a traditionalist, in which case shaving cream is out of the question.

Overall both shaving creams and shaving soaps have their pros and cons, it all really comes down to personal preference. Sure, there may be some varieties or some brands that are considered more "luxurious" than others, however when you really look at the big picture, both traditional shaving soaps and creams help to protect your skin during your shave. Plus, regardless if you choose shaving cream or shaving soap, whichever one you decide to go with is going to be a great improvement compared to any canned shaving cream. Which do you prefer? Shave cream or shave soap?