The shaving cream you use has a huge impact not only on the closeness of your shave, but on the way you skin feels. Choose a cheap, low quality shaving cream and you could be left with a rough, uneven shave and serious razor burn that annoys and irritates you for days.
Most people think of their razor as having the biggest influence on the quality of their shave, but the reality is that shaving cream has just as much of an effect.
Many of the most popular shaving creams sold in supermarkets and drug stores are made using a huge variety of chemicals and preservatives. This makes them cheap to manufacture, but also means there’s a serious risk of you damaging, hurting or irritating your skin.
If you’ve ever felt itchy or uncomfortable after shaving, there’s a big chance your shaving cream could be to blame.
Luckily, this is an easy problem to solve. By changing to a higher quality shaving cream — one made from natural ingredients instead of harmful chemicals and skin irritants — you can get a closer shave with no discomfort or skin irritation.
Below, we’ve listed the best shaving creams for sensitive skin, oily skin and regular skin, as well as a few of our extra favorites. All of the shaving creams we’ve recommended are available from Amazon.com, making it easy to add them to your shaving routine.
Whether you shave with a double-edge razor or a cartridge razor, switching to any of the creams below will help you get rid of razor burn and get a smoother, closer and much more even shave.
To skip to our full reviews of the best shaving creams, scroll down to the review section for your skin type. Alternatively, you can jump straight to our top recommendations on Amazon using the links below:
- If you have sensitive skin and want a shaving cream that won’t produce rashes and skin irritation, we highly recommend Henry Cavendish Himalaya Shaving Soap and Pacific Shaving Company Natural Shaving Cream, both of which are soft and non-irritating.
- If you have normal skin that isn’t overly sensitive and want the best all-rounder shaving cream, we recommend Proraso Shaving Soap, which is extremely affordable and has a smooth, foamy lather that provides plenty of lubrication for your razor.
- If you have oily skin and want a shaving cream that doesn’t feel greasy, we recommend Monarch Coconut Shaving Cream and Geo F. Trumper Shaving Cream, which both create a minimal lather that leaves your skin feeling oil-free and natural.
What to Avoid in a Shaving Cream:
Before we get into our top shaving cream recommendations, let’s cover what you shouldn’t look for in a shaving cream.
Unfortunately, most shaving creams (especially the ones you’ll find in supermarkets) are full of chemicals, parabens and preservatives. While these ingredients don’t affect everyone, they’re still common causes of razor burn and skin irritation that might affect you.
To keep yourself safe, comfortable and free of razor burn, we recommend avoid any shaving creams that contain the following ingredients:
- Triethanolamine, or TEA: Triethanolamine is an alcohol-based substance that’s used in shaving creams and cosmetic products. Studies show that TEA, as it’s known, is linked to allergic contact dermatitis — a common type of skin irritation.
More worryingly, studies in mice show that exposure to TEA can cause the growth of tumors in the liver. For both your skin and internal organ health, it’s definitely best to avoid any shaving creams that contain triethanolamine.
- Palmitic acid: Also known as hexadecanoic acid, palmitic acid is a saturated fatty acid that’s one of two key ingredients used in napalm. Seriously — the “palm” in palmitic acid is where the second half of the word “napalm” comes from.
This substance is widely used in cosmetics and is linked to everything from an increased risk of cardiovascular disease to insulin regulation issues. Like TEA, it’s best to avoid all shaving creams with palmitic acid in their ingredient list.
- Sulfates: Sulfates, like sodium lauryl sulfate and ammonium lauryl sulfate, are usually used in shaving gels to help create a foaming effect. Most sulfates have been linked to skin and hair issues ranging from itchiness and light rashes to hair loss.
- Isopentane: Isopentane, which is occasionally labeled as 2-methylbutane, is an alkane that’s used to help mix other ingredients together in cosmetic formulas. Although it isn’t quite as scary as the substances above, it is a common cause of contact dermatitis and dry, itchy skin.
- Butylated Hydroxytoluene: Widely known as “BHT,” butylated hydroxytoluene is used as an antioxidant in some shaving creams and cosmetics. Although the health risks of BHT are a subject of debate, some studies show that it could cause endocrine issues that affect the production of thyroid hormones and male sex hormones.
- Polytetrafluoroethylene: Commonly shortened to “PTFE,” polytetrafluoroethylene is a substance most commonly used in Teflon non-stick coatings. Although it isn’t dangerous at normal temperatures, PTFE is linked to the development of cancers and heart disease when heated. As always, it’s best to avoid this chemical entirely.
Surprised that so many hazardous chemicals are used in shaving creams? As alarming as it can seem, most store-bought shaving creams contain at least one of the chemicals or sulfates listed above.
The Best Shaving Creams for Sensitive Skin
All of the shaving creams we’ve recommended below use healthy, skin-friendly formulas without hazardous chemicals. This makes them perfect for preventing skin irritation and razor burn from developing after your shave.
Henry Cavendish Himalaya Shaving Soap with Shea Butter & Coconut Oil
Henry Cavendish Himalaya Shaving Soap is one of our favorite shaving creams for men. It has everything you could need in a shaving cream, from a masculine scent to a formula that helps it form into a thick, rich lather.
Before we get into the smell and feel of this shaving cream, let’s cover the formula. This shaving cream is completely free of all of the chemicals we listed above, making it an excellent choice if you have skin that’s easily irritated by parabens, sulfates and other compounds.
Made with coconut oil and shea butter, this shaving soap feels extremely soft against your skin, even when applied in small amounts. Once you’ve finished shaving and wiped the lather away, your skin will feel soft and moisturized — a nice contrast from supermarket shaving creams.
From a performance perspective, this shaving cream is very good. Because it’s soft, your razor glides through it with very little resistance. You’ll find it easy to remove your facial hair in one or two passes, even if you haven’t shaved for several days.
The scent of this shaving cream is fairly neutral. For lack of a better word, it smells fresh and will give you a pleasant feel that lasts for several hours. Henry Cavendish also offer this soap with a lavender fragrance, which is a good choice if you prefer a stronger, more noticeable scent.
If you’re looking for a shaving cream for sensitive skin, Henry Cavendish Shaving Soap is really worth a try. At just over $13 per bar, it’s far from expensive and will give you several months of clean, smooth and irritation-free shaving for your money.
Pacific Shaving Company Natural Shaving Cream
Pacific Shaving Company Natural Shaving Cream is a soft, low-lather shaving cream that’s an excellent choice if you have sensitive skin that’s easily irritated by supermarket shaving creams and gels.
With a natural ingredient list and several certified organic active ingredients, this shaving cream is light on parabens and heavy on effective, natural ingredients like aloe and shea butter.
Unlike most shaving creams, which are designed to produce a rich lather, this shaving cream is formulated specifically for a very light, minimal lather. The idea behind this is that a lighter lather produces superior lubrication, resulting in a closer shave with fewer cuts and nicks.
When it comes to performance, the light lather seems to work. This shaving cream feels smooth and provides excellent lubrication, making it possible to get a very close, smooth shave after just one or two passes over your facial hair.
Once you’re finished shaving, this shaving cream leaves your skin feels soft and comfortable. It doesn’t produce the post-shave dryness of supermarket and drug store shaving creams.
While there’s less of a moisturizing effect than with the Henry Cavendish shaving soap, there is a noticeable feeling of softness. The scent is light and pleasant, with a smell that sticks around for an hour or so before fading into a natural scent.
All in all, Pacific Shaving Company Natural Shaving Cream is a great option if you like a light, smooth lather and and shaving cream that won’t bother your skin. It’s also very cheap, at just under $8 per bottle or under $7 per bottle when purchased in bulk.
The Best Shaving Creams for Normal Skin
Don’t have overly sensitive skin? If your skin isn’t irritated easily, you can afford to shave with a stronger shaving cream. We’ve reviewed our two favorite shaving creams for normal skin below, both of which offer great scents and performance.
Proraso Shaving Soap in a Bowl
Italian men’s grooming product company Proraso is famous among wet shaving enthusiasts for producing some of the best shaving cream and aftershave balms in the world. Their shave soap, which comes in a plastic bowl, is a great example of Proraso’s quality and value for money.
Although this shaving cream isn’t completely natural or organic, it provides a comfortable shave with minimal skin irritation. It applies easily and forms a smooth lather that helps you get a close, smooth and burn-free shave using a double-edge, straight or cartridge razor.
We recommend using Proraso shaving cream with a double-edge safety razor, since that’s the purpose for which it was originally designed. It’s also best to prep your face with soft, wet towel for one to two minutes before you start shaving.
This shaving cream is completely free of parabens, silicones, mineral oils, SLS, artificial colors and animal ingredients. Although it isn’t completely natural, it has a 95% natural ingredient list and forms an extremely smooth lather.
By far the biggest advantage of this shaving cream, beyond the smooth shave it delivers, is how your skin feels afterwards. After using the Proraso soap, expect your skin to feel soft, moist and comfortable, without any of the dryness that’s common with supermarket shaving creams.
The scent of this shaving cream is best described as “classic barbershop.” It sticks around for a few minutes but fades quickly and won’t cling to you as other shaving creams do.
If you have normal skin that isn’t irritated easily, Proraso Shaving Soap is by far the best shaving cream you’ll ever use. At around $10 per container, it’s also one of the most affordable, offering several months of use for just a few dollars.
Taylor of Old Bond Street Shaving Cream
Taylor of Bond Street Shaving Cream is soft, easy to apply and ideal for getting a close, smooth shave. It’s also some of the best smelling shaving cream we’ve used, available in a wide variety of scents ranging from peppermint (linked above) to coconut and sandalwood.
From a performance perspective, this shaving cream is very good. It provides lots of lubrication and prevents most cuts and nicks. It also leaves the face feeling cool and moisturized after you finish shaving — something that can’t be said of most supermarket shaving creams.
Like the Proraso cream above, this shaving cream is best used with a shaving brush and safety razor. You’ll also want to warm and moisten your skin before you begin shaving, as it helps with applying the shaving cream onto your skin.
By far the biggest advantage of this shaving cream is its scent. The peppermint smell is easy to notice as soon as you open the container. Unlike most shaving creams, which fade in less than an hour after you finish shaving, the scent of this shaving cream lasts for about half a day.
Choose the peppermint version of this shaving cream and you’ll also get a nice cooling effect as you shave.
The only downside of this shaving cream is that it uses trace amounts of benzyl benzoate, and as such isn’t ideal for people with very sensitive skin. Other than this, Taylor of Old Bond Street Shaving Cream is a great shaving cream with a long-lasting, unbeatable scent.
The Best Shaving Creams for Oily Skin
If you have oily skin, you’ll usually get the best shave (and more importantly, the best skin after you finish shaving) by using a shaving cream that doesn’t work into a thick, foamy lather. We’ve listed two such shaving creams below, both of which are ideal for oily, acne-prone skin.
Monarch Coconut Shaving Cream
With a formula that’s light on chemicals and heavy on natural ingredients, Monarch Coconut Shaving Cream is one of the best products available for moisturizing and softening oily skin while you shave.
This shaving cream is made with coconut oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, aloe and organic manuka honey. It feels soft and comfortable against the skin, without the oily or greasy feel that’s common with other traditional shaving creams.
One of the biggest differences between this shaving cream and some of the options listed above is its texture. Instead of feeling like a cream or gel, this shaving cream has a light feel closer to a shampoo or facial wash.
Work this shaving cream into your face and it will produce a very light lather. Despite this, it has plenty of lubrication and allow your razor to run over your skin without any risk of serious cuts or nicks. It also washes off very easily without the leftover oily feeling of other shaving creams.
Since this is a thin shaving cream, it doesn’t stick inside your razor, making it a good option for shaving with a cartridge razor. The scent is light, with a noticeable coconut oil smell that fades away a few minutes after you finish shaving.
All in all, Monarch Coconut Shaving Cream is a great choice if you have oily skin that develops acne easily. With its light texture and natural ingredient profile, this shaving cream will leave you feeling moisturized and comfortable without the greasy, oily feeling or supermarket shaving gels.
Geo F. Trumper Shaving Cream
Geo F. Trumper Shaving Cream is formulated especially for oily skin, making it a great option if other shaving creams leave your skin feeling greasy and uncomfortable. With a calm lime scent, this shaving works well and provide a welcome moisturizing effect.
Compared to most shaving creams, Geo F. Trumper Shaving Cream feels light and develops a fairly modest lather. It provides good lubrication and will help you get a smooth, close shave in one or two passes of your razor.
It’s important to note that is a very light lather shaving cream — there is almost no foaming effect at all. If you prefer a shaving cream with a thick lather, we recommend the Proraso or Taylor of Old Bond Street shaving creams, which we reviewed above in the “normal skin” section.
The upside of this shaving cream’s very light lather is that it doesn’t soak into your skin much or create any greasy, oily effects after you’re finished shaving. It washed off your face and neck in a few seconds and leaves your skin feeling slightly moisturized, with no unwelcome dryness.
This shaving cream has a pleasant lime scent that fades fairly quickly after it’s applied. It’s also available in coconut oil.
The only downside of this shaving cream is that it contains methylparaben and propylparaben, neither of which are particularly desirable ingredients. However, the majority of the ingredients used in this shaving cream are either completely natural or unlikely to cause skin irritation.
Available from just over $11 per tube, Geo F. Trumper Shaving Cream is one of the best options out there for people with oily, acne-prone skin. It’s also a great all-round shaving cream, making it worth buying even if you have normal skin that isn’t prone to oiliness or acne development.
The Best Shaving Creams: Quick Recap
Since shaving cream is something you use every day (or every other day, if you prefer a bit of stubble between shaves) it’s important to experiment with different brands and scents until you find one that suits you.
All of the shaving creams we’ve recommended above are high quality products that will help you get a close, smooth shave with little or no skin irritation. However, it’s still best to try a variety of options to see which shaving cream best matches your skin, razor and shaving preferences.
Do you have a shaving cream that you think belongs on our list? If you have a favorite shaving cream, let us know the brand and product name in the comments and we’ll add it to our “to test” list for future product reviews, roundups and buyer’s guides.