Do you dread shaving? Is it because your face is full of razor burn, shaving bumps, ingrown hairs, nicks, and cuts? If so, it’s time to up your pre-shave game. And you’ll be glad you did. Comfortably taking down your facial fur isn’t as easy as slapping on some foam and dragging the razor across your face. You’ll need to prep your skin. Just a few drops of one of these bests pre-shave oils and a fresh razor blade can transform your experience and smooth up your handsome face.
What’s a Pre-Shave Oil?
A pre-shave oil, not to be confused with beard oil, softens stubble, lubricates, and lifts beard hairs away from the skin much like a badger brush would. It also allows the razor to glide easily across your face. Less razor drag means fewer skin tears, nicks, and cuts. And less bleeding means goodbye toilet paper face.
You can use pre-shave oil all on its own which allows you to see exactly what you’re doing with the razor. Or you can cocktail it with a shaving cream for maximum comfort. The best ones are formulated with healthy botanicals, vitamins, and nourishing carrier oils, like Avocado oil, Coconut oil, and Jojoba.
These pre-shave oils will give you the smoothest shave yet:
Anthony Pre-Shave + Conditioning Beard Oil – 2 oz. – $22
This dual facial hair fix can be used as a pre-shave oil when cocktailed with shaving cream, and a beard conditioner all on its own. It’s perfect for guys shaving around a goatee or cleaning up the lines of a mustache. It has Rosemary and Basil oils to nourish and soften beard hair. And Calendula and Olive Oils stop beard itch and flaking by hydrating the skin underneath.
Grooming Lounge Beard Master Shave Oil – 1 oz. – $22
This see-through, clove-scented slippery formulation is jam-packed with skin conditioning botanicals that can get the morning shave job done all on its own. Meadowfoam Oil lifts whiskers, Peppermint Oil lubricates and Avacado Oil Soothes. Apply 3-4 drops to your wet face, spritz with a little more water and shave with the grain. This stuff is grease-free goodness for your skin.
American Crew Ultra Gliding Shave Oil – 1.7 oz. – $13
This unique blend of essential oils and botanicals will prepare you for the most comfortable shave possible. But hey, nicks and cuts happen! Dull razor blades and rushing your morning shave can wreak havoc on your derm. Luckily this beard softner contains antimicrobial and antiseptic qualities to help heal torn skin and keep infection at bay. We give this oil bonus points for including powerful anti-aging oxidants in the formulation.
Tenzing Pre Shave Oil – 1 0z. – $22
If Made in America is your mantra, then Tenzing is for you. Named after Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, part of the first two-man team to climb Mount Everest some 60 years ago, this brand uses some of the healthiest and most natural ingredients around. Better yet, all of the ingredients are sourced exclusively from the Unites States. Açaí, olive oil and grape seed oils have been individually selected and combined to prepare your skin for an exceptional shave. It’s plastic bottle is great for travel and our favorite part, no sticky residue.
Lather & Wood Pre-Shave Oil – 1 oz. – $12
Lather & Wood is one of our go-to companies here at The Manual, and it’ll be yours too if you have a beard like a Brillo pad and skin that flares up like fireworks on the Fourth of July after shaving. This unscented oil will make your shaving routine a breeze by conditioning your stubble and creating superior slickness for the razor to glide over your skin. If you’re in a rush, Lather & Wood dares you to shave using only the oil and not be amazed by the results.
Shaveology Lubricating Pre-Shave Oil – 2 oz. – $15
Shaveology uses powerful mix of olive, castor, and lavender oils to enhance the overall conditioning process in your pre-shave experience. And don’t worry, you won’t walk away from your shave smelling like a garage or a kitchen. The combination of these three oils creates a subtle woodsy scent that’ll quickly fade. The oil itself has a thick viscosity so be attentive when applying, as Shaveology recommends using only a quarter-sized amount, but we’ve noticed you can get away with using less.
Imperial Barber Products Pre-Shave Oil – 1 oz. – $15
Across the board, Imperial’s products can be described as professional-grade without the crazy price tag, which makes it easy to see why they appear on the list of best pre-shave oils. Imperial’s pre-shave oil is teeming with vitamin E, an effective antioxidant that can prevent long-term skin damage and helps repair dry, irritated skin. The oil also boasts macadamia extract, which works as a skin conditioning agent and guarantees a smooth shave, followed by even softer skin when you’re finished. As an added bonus, this guy has a subtle, yet invigorating lavender scent.
Olivina Men Shave Prep & Beard Oil – 2 oz. – $20
This 2-in-1 shave prep and beard oil can be summarized with one word — fantastic. The organic concoction contains cedar wood oil and jojoba oil that acts as both a pre-shave oil and beard oil, helping to purify your hair for an all day fresh feeling while also smelling the same. Speaking of the scent, the bergamot-cedar hints are as manly as it gets.
Taconic Shave Pre-Shave Oil – $15
Taconic Shave pushes out some awesome soaps, creams, and aftershave products. Their pre-shave oil falls nothing short of their expectation for high-quality effectiveness. This oil crosses off every box to be one of the best pre-shave oils: it softens stubble, helps combat skin irritation and razor burn, while also protecting your skin well after your shearing is complete.
Crown Shaving Co. Supreme Glide Pre-Shave Formula – 8 oz. – $38
Crown Shaving Co. was born out of one Canadian’s need for low-irritation shaving products made without chemicals and additives. Since this is a gel, you can be quite liberal and not feel the need to stretch every precious drop unlike its oilier counterparts. Their partial ingredient list reads like a natural cornucopia including: Aloe juice, Meadowfoam Seed, Bilberry Extract, Sugar, Maple, Orange Fruit Extract, and Cranberry Extract.
L’Occitane Cade Shaving Oil – 1 oz. – $24
If you’re looking for something that feels more luxurious, L’Occitane is the fancy pre-shave oil you’ve been searching for. The Cade line is based upon the wonder of cade oil, a smoky and woodsy-scented oil that has antimicrobial and antiseptic properties. In other words, with the combination of a manly-but-subtle scent and healing properties, it’s perfect for the man who might be a bit clumsy with a blade. With this pre-shave oil, you’ll get an incredibly close shave without any aftermath thanks to the addition of sunflower seed oil (which has vitamin E) and almond oil.
The Art of Shaving Unscented Pre-Shave Oil – 2 oz. – $25
The Art of Shaving’s products are like Old Reliable: they’ll never let you down, especially when you’re looking for the perfect shave. This oil is no different. With a base of castor and olive oils, The Art of Shaving’s pre-shave oil also includes clove, pepper seed, and lavender oils to penetrate, replenish, and moisturize the skin. While this oil is largely unscented, you’ll get a hint of clove spice. But hey, cloves smell amazing, so no complaints here.
Crux Supply Pre-Shave Oil – 2 oz. – $28
If thick solutions aren’t getting the job done for you, swap this lightweight pre-shave oil into your grooming routine. Forewarning, though, this puppy smells. Nonetheless, Crux Supply cocktails a mix of natural oils such as avocado, almond, jojoba, hempseed, and meadow foam, in order to assure moisturized and conditioned skin. This oil also stands your scruff straight up for an enhanced shear of your whiskers. You may have to use a little more oil during application, say about a half-dollar sized amount.
Mayron’s Goods Man Oil – 1.6 oz. – $55
This oil is so nice you can use it twice. Man Oil doubles as a pre-shave oil which lubricates and prevents razor burn and as a beard oil which will keep your beard touchably soft. We’ve mentioned it before and to leave it off the list of best pre-shave oils would be a failure on our end.
When you want to get grooming, we’ve got a playlist of the best music for a man to get ready to:
Article updated by November 22, 2017 by Jennifer Jones.