Though beards have made an extraordinary comeback in recent years, many still prefer a silky smooth face.
Some bearded guys would shave were it not for the hassle of finding the right shaving products. Other guys have been using the same bargain-basement shaving foams for decades and still wonder why their skin dries out so quickly. Whichever category you’re in, we suggest getting started by exfoliating with a good facial scrub, opening your pores with a hot shower, and lathering up with a pick from this list of the best shaving cream (and oils and gels!) out there.
Best Shaving Cream
Clarins has created one of the smoothest shaves around with a combination of aloe vera, galanga, and wintergreen in one foaming gel. Each serves a purpose in getting your face to shaving heaven — the aloe vera for moisturizer, galanga to revitalize, and wintergreen for that minty post-shave feeling. It’s also alcohol-free, which means less of that notoriously unpleasant burn afterward. ClarinsMen Smooth Shave is a winner of The Manual Grooming Awards 2018.
Best Affordable Shaving Creams
This wonderfully rich shaving cream allows your razor to glide across your face, helping reduce the likelihood of nicks and leaving your mug smooth and hydrated. Men who use Cremo are treated to a subtle, refreshing orange scent. You may be pleased to know that the scent doesn’t linger, and won’t clash with your cologne or aftershave. And at just $8 for 6 oz, the price is certainly right.
If you’re a fan of the classic foaming shave gel, we recommend that you try Harry’s. If you don’t like licorice, however, you may want to move further down the grooming products aisle. Harry’s has several other natural ingredients, which is unusual for foaming gels. Cucumber and aloe are among the foam’s natural moisturizers that can make the shaving experience and aftermath much more pleasant.
Your skin may not be a sensitive as you think. Hear us out. If you skimp on the pre-shave treat, use a dull blade, or rush through your morning shave routine, you might end up with razor burn and irritation. It happens. Now picture adding a layer of shaving cream filled with synthetic fragrance and chemicals to your raw skin. Ouch! There’s a more comfortable way to shave. Bulldog Original Shave Cream soothes with natural ingredients like green Tea, camelina oil, and aloe vera.
Best Shaving Cream for Sensitive Skin
If you’re a man alive on planet Earth — or in Italy, at least —you’ve doubtless heard of Proraso. Calen Koenig, Brick and Mortar barber and friend of The Manual, swears by this stuff. Proraso has four lines of shaving products, including red, green, and blue (which nourish, refresh, and protect the skin, respectively). White, the fourth line, is reserved for men with sensitive skin. Which shaving cream you select depends on your skin type and your nose; blue has hints of licorice, red has earthy notes, white smells like oatmeal, and green smells of mint and eucalyptus.
Other Great Options
If you’re looking for a soothing yet versatile product to up your shaving game, look no further than Les Industries’ Groom Shaving Cream. All of the brand’s grooming products are made with quality natural ingredients, creating a shaving experience that is gentle on any skin type. This handsome little crème a raser can be applied with your fingers or with a brush for a rich, satisfying lather, and its fragrance is peppered with hints of sage, juniper, and pine for a perfect woodsy finish. Currently, this jar of magic is our pick for the best of the best shaving cream.
If you’re torn between shaving with a slick gel and a rich cream, this nourishing hybrid is for you. It lathers up to lift and soften tough beard stubble for a close, comfortable shave. The added Vitamin E conditions your skin while aloe vera soothes and locks in moisture. It has a spicy, sophisticated scent called Desert Lime, made from a blend of basil, lime, thyme, eucalyptus, ginger, and vetiver.
When you’re cleaning up stubble or defining the lines around your beard, it’s important to see exactly what you’re doing. This clear, no-lather lotion allows you to be ultra-precise while getting in close. Kukui oil softens hair and prevents nicks and cuts while eucalyptus oil refreshes and soothes your skin. It protects and hydrates both pre and post-shave.
The name may not inspire much confidence, but Blind Barber makes some mighty fine grooming products. The Watermint Gin Shave Cream works up into a clean-smelling lather that helps your razor glide against your skin with minimal risk of cuts or nicks. Ingredients include juniper fruit extract, shea butter, and mentha aquatica extract, which provide the fresh and subtle scents of mint and gin.
If you’re a bear of a man with grizzly whiskers, you might consider trying Stellar shave cream from Ursa Major. This delicious-smelling shave cream can imbue your face with scents of pine, grapefruit, bergamot, ginger, and vetiver. Over half of the ingredients are organic, and many are sourced from sustainable farmers. The active ingredients in this wonderful shave cream — which include aloe, birch sap, and sunflower seed — can make your face look and feel bright after every shave.
If you’re a dapper English gentleman from the Victorian era, you probably already use Taylor of Old Bond Street products. If not, then you might want to give their organic shaving cream a try. This shaving cream is made from 95 percent raw materials,and delivers a crisp, natural-feeling shave. There’s no fragrance or irritating chemicals, making it a fine choice for men with sensitive noses and faces. Ingredients include jojoba, aloe vera, and vitamin E.
Crown Shaving Co.’s line of excellent grooming products has certainly helped them earn their kingly name. The shaving cream in particular is exquisitely smooth, and filled with many wonderful ingredients. The eucalyptus and spearmint are perhaps the most noticeable, making every shave smell like a mystical, refreshing forest. Other ingredients include shea butter, white tea leaf extract, and pomegranate extract.
Since all men have different skin and whiskers, there isn’t really such a thing as a universal “best shaving cream.” Still, those listed above are some of our favorites, and trying one or two of them will certainly help you on your shaving quest.
Article originally published October 16, 2016.