Shaving with a single-blade razor or a safety razor requires you to prepare your skin properly to avoid injury and skin irritations. But should you use a shaving cream or a shaving soap?
In this article, we will have a look at the most important properties of shaving creams and shaving soaps. We will also look at the question of whether these two are the only players in the game, and eventually we will try to answer the question of whether shaving with shaving cream or with shaving soap is better.
Shaving creams and their properties
Creams are usually the choice for beginners as there is no learning curve involved, like is the case with shaving soaps.
Shaving creams are best used with soft and medium brushes to create a nice lather.
There is a huge difference between different types of shaving creams. You should generally avoid anything that comes from a can as these shaving creams tend to have a lot of chemicals that irritate your skin. They might be convenient but your skin will not be very grateful in the long run.
Shaving creams from good companies, however, are a different story and create a nice lather that lets the blade glide effortlessly over your skin.
They usually also moisturize your skin and have a good number of helpful ingredients your skin will love.
Shaving creams require little work to lather up, and they usually have a very strong smell. They might not be the ideal choice for men with very sensitive skin.
The strong scent is also not suitable for men who do not want anything to interfere with the scent of their aftershave or cologne.
Shaving soaps and their properties
Unlike shaving creams, shaving soaps come in a hard form—just like ordinary soaps.
They can be oval shaped, completely round, or take on some more exotic shapes. Round and oval shapes are the most common ones though, as they are easiest to work with.
Soaps tend to have a slicker lather than creams, but they can give you a better cushion than shaving foam once you get the technique right.
Like shaving creams, shaving soaps also moisturize your skin and the better quality soaps are full of essential oils that are good for your skin.
The problem is that the technique to create a good lather can differ from soap to soap, so there is always some learning involved when you switch brands.
Learning how to use shaving soaps can be difficult for beginners who are new to wet shaving. You need to work your shaving brush more to create the lather, and it can sometimes be frustrating when you do not get it right the first time.
Shaving soaps work best with brushes that are densely filled and on the stiff side.
Many men prefer shaving soaps because they tend to have a subtler scent that does not interfere with any other product like aftershave. Shaving soaps also tend to be the preferred choice for men with more sensitive skin.
Are there other options?
Shaving creams and shaving soaps are the most common ways to keep your skin injury free during shaving. And most people do not know about any other products, but in recent years, people have also taken to using pre-shave oils.
These oils work similarly to creams and soaps, but you only have to use a few drops. By applying these oils, you create a layer for your blade to slide on, and your skin gets some essential nutrition and moisturizing.
The drawback for pre-shave oils are that you cannot see them; this means that you are in a way shaving blindly. This is okay if you shave off a dark beard that is clearly visible—but if you only shave off a bit of growth or have very light hair, you won’t see where you have already shaved and where not.
A personal preference
Considering all the points mentioned above, it is quite obvious that it is a matter of your personal preference, unless you have very sensitive skin or do not like the stronger scent of shaving creams.
Some men love using shaving creams; others prefer shaving soaps. It is basically that simple.
In the end, it also depends a lot on the brands you use. Some shaving soaps are excellent while others are not. If you compare a bad shaving soap with an excellent shaving cream, then you will naturally think that shaving soaps are bad—and the other way around.
Your best option is to test both, but make sure you buy good quality in both categories. See which product works best with your shaving brush, which one creates the nicer lather, and which feels most pleasant on your skin.
You might even like soaps just as much as creams—then it is no problem using both. One day you can use soap, and the other day you can use the cream. You can also buy different scents to match your mood of the day. There is no limit what you can do as long as you enjoy the experience, and get the results you are aiming to achieve with your shaving.