If you just got into wet shaving then you will have seen a lot of talk about shaving soaps or creams. In this review, we are going to help you try and find the best shaving soap.
Many guys after buying their first safety razor want to upgrade their other shaving products as well to get a better overall shave.
Whether you use one or the other is a matter of preference for sure.
What Is Shaving Soap?
Shaving soaps have been around and produced since the middle 1800’s.
Shaving soaps are very similar to traditional soaps and are sold in different levels of hardness. However, shaving soap has slightly different ingredients to encourage a longer lasting and slicker lather.
While tallow was used traditionally for its stabilizing abilities, other non-animal fats have been used more now like stearic acid.
- Hard soaps – hard soaps are usually sold as pucks some even in its own bowl. These soaps usually require a soaking in warm water before loading it onto your shaving brush.
- Soft soaps – soft soaps are obviously not as hard as the hard pucks. They may or may not require soaking in warm water to load onto your brush. These usually come packaged in a bowl of some sort.
- Soap sticks – soap sticks are great for face lathering as you can rub the stick straight on your face and then use a wet brush to work up a lather. The level of hardness can vary.
- Croap – there is some debate on the actual definition of a croap but it basically stands for a cream soap. It is not quite as light and fluffy as a shaving cream. Some guys say if it crumbles when you press it then it’s a soft soap, if you can spread it, it’s a croap.
The level of hardness is determined by whether the manufacturer uses sodium hydroxide (hard soap) or potassium hydroxide (soft soap).
Shaving soap will offer a better shave vs. an aerosol shaving cream because of the extra hydration.
The shaving soap removes your facial hair’s natural oils which allows your whiskers to absorb more water. The more water they absorb, the softer they become and easier they are to cut.
Shaving soaps can also be less expensive in the long run than an aerosol cream as well as more ecofriendly as you are not releasing chemicals into the atmosphere.
The main disadvantage here is time and space. Shaving soaps don’t offer the convenience of a canned cream and you also need some sort of mug or bowl as well as a brush to lather with.
A small price to pay for a better, quality shave.
What Is The Difference Between Shaving Cream vs. Shaving Soap?
While both soaps and creams serve the main purpose to soften your hair and provide a layer of lubrication/protection for your skin, there are some slight differences.
Lathering a soap can have more of a learning curve and might take a little longer however, nothing significant.
The fragrance from a shaving cream may last longer on your skin even after you are done shaving. Which you may or may not like, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Hard water can also make it more difficult to produce a lather with a shaving soap instead of a shaving cream.
Overall, the soaps can offer a better lather and protection but may take some more effort to produce that lather than a shaving cream.
So, a cream may be better to try if you are just starting out but could also cost more.
How To Use Your Shaving Soap
Using shaving soap requires some preparation not like a cream that you can simply dip your brush tips in and start whipping.
Place your puck into a mug or bowl, some guys even melt down their soap so it molds to the mug with a double boiler or microwave.
Next go ahead and fill it with hot water completely covering your soap as well as the bristles on your shaving brush. Let them soak for 2-3 minutes.
Pour off the water and briskly swirl your brush over the soap several times to load it. From there, depending on what type of soap you have some guys will either whip the lather in the same mug or move to a separate bowl to whip the lather.
If you have a hard soap you may consider getting a brush with a stiff backbone.
To whip the lather, add a few drops of water and begin swirling in a circular motion trying not to hit the sides of the bowl with the brush.
You can adjust the consistency of your lather by adding more water as needed.
There are many shaving soaps out there, however, these are some of the popular for many reasons.
Some are economical and others are very functional. Have a look at the summaries to see which may be best for you.
Men’s Soap Company Himalaya
The Himalaya by Men’s Soap Company is definitely not the cheapest but is made of high quality ingredients.
Which is probably why it comes so highly rated at 4.7-stars and almost 700 reviews and one of our top candidates.
They are so confident they even offer an unconditional satisfaction guarantee on their vegan soap. They also claim you get a rich and creamy lather in just 15 seconds.
It doesn’t contain too many ingredients and has a nice Himalayan scent.
These natural ingredients seem to really work well for men or women with sensitive skin. It provides enough protection from the razor and won’t leave your skin feeling dry afterwards.
This soap is loved by first time users as well as experienced wet shavers.
Many guys say the scent is very mild and won’t stick with you and most people tend to enjoy the scent.
There are only a handful of complaints with this one and they are mostly guys who simply prefer a different soap.
There were two comments that this soap didn’t last long but at 3.8 oz. maybe that was user error?
Barrister and Mann Tallow Shaving Soap (Seville)
This tallow based shaving soap from Barrister and Mann has a classic barbershop scent including lemon, oak moss, lavender and rosemary.
They claim their soap is super easy to lather and will provide you with a great cushion for your shave.
The hot process they use to create this soap allows it to take on more water while you lather giving it a dense, rich lather. All of the adjectives you like to see about a shaving soap are there.
It is a little more expensive like the Men’s Shaving Company soap but again, you are paying for quality ingredients.
Many guys who have used other soaps, some even on this list, tend to fall in love with it once they switch over.
You will see comments about how “thirsty” the soap is requiring more water but once the lather starts to build, you will find one of the nicest lathers at the other end.
However, it is not immune to hard water, which may still give you trouble when creating your lather.
There were only a couple of negative reviews and nothing were mentioning here.
If you don’t mind spending the money, treat yourself with this soap.
WSP Rustic Shaving Soap
Here we have another vegan soap by Wet Shaving Products that only has 6 ingredients:
- Stearic Acid
- Water, Coconut Oil
- Potassium Hydroxide
For all the minimalists out there, this could be the one for you all.
This soap is also designed for those with sensitive skin or easily get irritation when shaving.
Just like the Barrister soap, this one will be thirsty requiring more water when you lather but producing a greater, richer lather.
If you don’t like the idea of the barbershop scent there are several others to try as well such as: Blackbeard, Tobacco, Gaelic Tweed, Fougere Noir and Black Orchid.
This is a great product that does what it is supposed to do for men or women.
Of course, some guys didn’t like it and a few people were turned off by how it looked in the can.
Because this is a handmade soap it won’t like flat and smooth like most other soaps on this list.
This soap is also concentrated so you won’t need as much to produce a nice lather. One guy mentioned how sticky the soap was but I’m wondering if he used too much on his brush?
Overall, this soap comes highly rated and might be worth a try if you want something different than the more popular big brand soaps.
Phoenix Shaving Soap (Gondolier)
Here is another small batch, artisan soap from Phoenix, their Gondolier variety smells of rose, jasmine, juniper and cedar.
Not the manliest of smells but it also contains pure Kokum butter which will help your skin to feel moisturized after the shave.
This American made soap comes as a 4-oz. tub which should last a good while.
Some guys even say this vegan soap acts like a tallow based soap, which is hard to do. It will require more water just like the other artisan soaps on this list.
Less water will give you more foam but more water will provide more slickness for the razor so you can play with how much you use to create your perfect balance.
They also have other scents like: Sangre De Drago, Cavendish Pipe Tobacco and Classic Barbershop, all seem to really be enjoyed by their customers.
Again, there are many first-time users as well as experienced shavers who found this soap company and fell in love.
With a 4.8-star rating you won’t find any 1, 2 or 3 star reviews! It looks like there were some but recently took away reviews that weren’t from verified purchases.
This is better for the customers as you get a non-biased opinion.
Henry Cavendish Himalaya Shaving Soap with Shea Butter & Coconut Oil
Henry Cavendish offers a great soap with their Himalaya variety that even comes with a 100% money back guarantee.
It contains shea butter and coconut oil which allow it to produce a thick and long lasting lather while offering comfortable protection for your shave.
Most pucks are 2-3 ounces however this one is 3.8 which could last you 3-6 months depending on how often you shave.
The high glycerin content means more water retention in the lather which also means a better shave for you!
The other great feature of this soap is it doesn’t have many ingredients and they are mostly natural.
Of course, some guys mention this soap not working for them or it not producing a great lather. However, remember if you are used to a cream, soaps will take more work.
The brush could also be a factor as well as if you are using hard water.
Overall, this soap comes highly rated.
Col. Conk Shave Soap 2.25 Ounces (Variety 4 Pack)
If you like scented soaps then the Col. Conk variety pack would be a fun one to try with four different varieties.
You also get 9 ounces total of shaving soap so this also happens to be one of the best deals on this list.
Since these are smaller pucks they should fit into almost any bowl or mug you have to use. Some of the larger pucks don’t always fit well.
While the scents will be very noticeable while they are on your face, they dissipate quickly after shaving which you may or may not prefer.
These pucks are easily melted down to your preferred shaving mug with either a double boiler or a few seconds in the microwave.
This is one of the best starter packs because of the variety it gives as well as the volume, it should last you quite a while before you have to buy more soap.
The main complaint is that the lather dries up quickly and a little thin. It may not have as high a fat content as others on this list but that is also probably why it is cheaper.
This could still be a great first purchase if the scent varieties sound interesting to you.
Van Der Hagen Men’s Luxury Scented Soap Budget Shaving Soap
Van Der Hagen offers another moderately priced shaving soap that is vegetable based for those of you who prefer not to use animal products.
This 3.5 ounces is a good-sized puck but it is only 2.8 inches wide so it should fit in most bowls.
This soap also happens to be hypoallergenic so it could be good for sensitive skin although it is lightly scented.
It’s high glycerin content also gives it nice lathering capabilities.
One thing to note is the heading is a bit misleading on Amazon as it says pack of 3 but they actually are just selling one puck. However, you can also get a pack of 4 for only double the price of one so it is basically buy two get two.
In fact, most of the complaints are simply because of this issue with the description and not because of how the actual soap works.
Many guys have found this locally at a Wal Mart and have been pleasantly surprised at its performance especially having only paid a little over $10 for it!
If you are thinking about giving this one a try be sure to look at their shave set that comes with the soap, a brush and a mug for not that much money.
Shaving Soap for Sensitive Skin Proraso Shaving Soap in a Bowl
You may have seen recommendations for other Proraso soaps on here before but the white tub is great for those of you with sensitive skin.
You get a large tub at 5.2 oz. for only around $10.
Even though it is for sensitive skin it has a light scent of apple and lime. It does not contain any mineral oils or artificial colors.
They use oatmeal and green tea extracts to really treat your skin right with this lather.
There are several guys in the reviews that back up the claim for sensitive skin.
Other than that, guys really seem to love this soap for how it helps them get a better shave and how easy it is to whip up a lather.
This is a softer soap so you won’t have to work as hard as some of hard pucks.
Of course, they couldn’t please everyone so it didn’t work for some men. Other didn’t like the scent.
However, with a 4.5-star rating and over 1,000 reviews there is a pretty good chance you will enjoy this product if you decide to get some.
Best Budget – Williams Mug Shaving Soap, 3 Count
If you are looking for a deal, look no further. Williams Mug shaving soap comes with 3 1.75 oz. for under $7!
While this does have a scent, it is a basic, no frills soap that will get the job done. it doesn’t have many ingredients either.
However, you get what you for. It probably won’t create the rich creamy lather that some of these other, more expensive soaps can create.
However, that may be all that you need if you have an average beard and don’t suffer from skin irritation issues.
While it does have a 4.5-star rating, you will see many guys state that this soap will work but there are better options out there.
Just don’t have too high expectations if you go this route. Remember, this is one of the cheapest options available.
Sir Hare Shaving Soap for Men
Finally, the Sir Hare shaving soap is another tallow based soap that will provide a rich lather and much lubrication for your shave.
It comes packaged as 4 oz. in an 8-oz. bowl and the manufacturer encourages you to lather straight in their bowl.
This is another handmade and poured soap with natural ingredients that comes in an old fashioned barbershop scent.
This small, family business cares about their reputation as well and offers a no hassle guarantee so you can feel comfortable buying this knowing they will take care of you if something isn’t right.
Just like most of the handmade soaps this one will require more soap as well. If you are planning on face lathering and feeling a little sticky, try adding more water to your brush to encourage the lather to build.
Some guys complain about how the container looks half empty when you get but if you take the time to read descriptions, it is supposed to be like that so you don’t need a separate shaving bowl.
The other complaints are from guys who didn’t like the smell or weren’t using enough water and said the soap was too sticky.
Another great, quality soap that could deserve a spot in your rotation.
As you can see there are plenty of choices out there for shaving soaps. These are just ten of dozens available.
Which one is best for you will depend on your wants and needs and how these soaps treat your skin type.
Every guy is different so while you can read all you want about a product, you won’t really know how it works for you until you give it a fair shot.