There are three main factors to every shave: the razor, the lather and your skin. While the latter is out of our control (everyone’s skin is different), you have options when it comes to the other two.
For razors, there are straight, safety, disposable, electric and cartridge options, each with their own benefits. The same is true for the shaving medium: creams, oils, soaps and gels all behave differently. Mainstream foams that come out of aerosol cans, like Gillette or Barbasol, can actually irritate skin — in fact, some claim that those foams do little more than keep track of where you've already shaved. Instead, we'd suggest seeking out higher-quality creams, like the ones listed below.
Unlike foams, these creams contain more hydrating and conditioning elements, without many of the chemicals that dry out skin. The result is a healthier face and a more comfortable shave. And that's something we want for you; you (and your skin) deserve it.
There's no alcohol in this option from Oars + Alps. It's also free from parabens, phthalates and sulfates. Instead, this shaving cream employs aloe, coconut and olive oils to restore the skin's natural moisture as you glide across it with a razor. Not only does it reduce friction, meaning less bumps and cuts, but also diminishes redness and irritation post-shave. You just squeeze it out and apply it like lotion.
Scented with bergamot and vetiver, Maapilim's shaving cream is a luxe alternative to drugstore aerosols. It applies softly to the skin and fades into it with each stroke. You get a good amount of shaves out of this option, and it's even appealing post-shave, because the scent isn't medicinal or too sterile, but rather pleasant.
Although we said no aerosol, that doesn't mean no cans — especially since Bravo Sierra's shaving foam comes in a first-of-its-kind non-aerosol dispenser. It's still plenty foamy, but it's free from everything shaving cream shouldn't have: parabens, phthalates and sulfates.
With base notes of eucalyptus, coconut and aloe, each with their own soothing properties, Public Goods' shaving cream gives you a luxe, sensitive skin-safe experience without breaking the bank. Plus, this option is thick without being difficult to wash off and free from all of the aforementioned no-nos (parabens, phthalates, sulfates and even synthetic fragrances).
Made with a mix of macadamia nut, jojoba and soy oils, Jack Black's Supreme Cream lathers on thick and evenly. It moisturizes the skin while invigorating the hairs, making them easier to shave in one try.
Finished with a classic barbershop scent, Rockwell's shave cream is designed for individuals with sensitive skin and/or coarse, thick facial hair. A mix of natural ingredients stimulates the skin, making it feel taut yet refreshed — and, of course, cleanly shaven.
Kiehl's shave formula applies easily without the need for a lathering brush. It's light like a lotion yet it coats appropriately, making the shave more comfortable and your post-shave face less irritated. It's free from fragrances and all of the other additives traditional aerosols usually have.
This classic Cremo formula is dubbed "barber grade." Translated: it's concentrated to make your face slick yet safe for a razor, soft post-shave and smelling nice, of course.
It sounds odd, but Harry's shave cream isn't messy. It applies like paint in the way that it sticks, ensuring you only shave where you haven't already. But this formula also invigorates the skin, making it less prone to cuts, and leaves it both soft and moisturize long after the shave is over.
Lab Series' shave cream offers optimal cushion. What's that mean? Well it creates a barrier between the blades and your skin without obstructing the razor's ability to remove hair. And, courtesy of coconut, shea butter and peppermint, this formula will leave you not only looking but feeling freshly shaven, too.
Imbued with a scent Supply calls "Coastal," aka bergamot, cedar and oak moss, the Ultra Lather Shaving Cream is a multi-time award-winning formula designed for all types of skin — except for those allergic to fragrance fillers like linalool or limonene. You apply this thick cream to wet (not damp) skin in order to dilute it — it's concentrated — then shave it away. You get plenty of sessions out of it this way.
Ingredients like oat protein, sunflower, birch sap, willow bark and shea offer not only a soft cushion between the cutting edge of a razor blade and your skin but also post-shave restorative properties like better moisture retention, a taut look and feel and a finer complexion — plus, less ingrowns and bumps.
There's a long list of things Clinique's Cream Shave is free from: parabens, phthalates, oil, denatured alcohol, synthetic colors, sulfates, gluten and fragrances, to name a few. It employs a mix of menthol, soybean and aloe for a close yet comfortable shave and a pleasant feeling overall afterwards. Plus, it's been proven not to cause acne or ingrowns.
Malin + Goetz makes skincare solutions for people with sensitive skin or skin issues (like eczema or rosacea). As such, this shaving cream comes infused with Vitamin E and amino acids, which condition and hydrate the skin, respectively. It boasts a rich lather but it doesn't linger. It won't clog your pores post-shave.
This good-for-you shaving cream comes thick like a hair styling product. To lather it you apply it in a circular motion into wet facial hair. It's important to do so vigorously as it otherwise won't be even. But the work's worth it: Murdock's is a must-feel kind of product that promises to leave your skin feeling soft and refreshed.
Cade, aka juniper, is an essential oil known to invigorate and excite. In this iteration it's complex, and blends well with the creaminess of L'Occitane's formula. This option's made in France and makes your morning shave crouched over the sink feel like a five star spa experience.
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