2017 Review Update: these shaving soaps remain to be some of the best out there. We have seen hundreds of new reviews since publishing this review just a couple months ago. Be sure to check the current price before you make a purchase!
Over the past few decades shaving cream has become the norm for shaving, most likely because of the convenience it offers not having to lather or use a brush.
However, shaving soaps might be making a comeback, especially for those who prefer to shave with a traditional safety razor. In this article we are going to help clarify the difference between shaving creams and shaving soaps while hopefully helping you decide which on is better for shaving your face.
What is shaving soap and how is it different than regular soap?
Shaving soap is actually has quite a bit of history. Soon after the safety razor was invented shaving soaps came along soon after in the early 19th century. Shaving soap is designed for use in a shaving mug or scuttle. This is a container that helps you lather the soap with your shaving brush.
Shaving soap doesn’t look any different from regular soap typically sold in a bar or puck form. You can also find sticks of shaving soap as well.
The main difference between shaving soap and regular bath soap is that shaving soap uses two ingredients that simultaneously allow the soap to be hard in the puck form as well as easy to lather on to a brush. Seems hard to do right? Got to love science!
Why should you use a shaving soap vs. a shaving cream?
Pros of a using shaving soap
The number one advantage of using a shaving soap whether you are using an electric shaver or a DE safety razor is the additional moisture it provides during the shave. This is not only good for your skin but also helps soften your whiskers allowing for a smoother shave. This is also why using a shaving soap is better for those of you with sensitive skin.
When the natural oils are removed by the soap on your face this allows water to penetrate the whiskers. The hairs are easier to cut when they are softer and the aerosol shaving creams do not provide this benefit.
Another small benefit if you travel a lot is that shaving soap is approved on airplanes. Unlike their aerosol can counter parts, your shaving soap puck cannot explode on the plane!
Purchasing a shaving soap with a mug and brush can have a higher upfront cost however, after you have your equipment the long term cost of using a soap vs. an aerosol cream is often cheaper. So if you are looking to shave a few bucks and have a few extra minutes in the morning go ahead and make the switch!
Just like with most aerosol products, the environmental impact is one more thing you won’t have to worry about with a shaving soap. The evidence is mounting up isn’t it?
Cons of using a shaving soap
The biggest and most obvious con is time. When you start using a soap vs. a cream you will add a few more minutes to your shaving routine. This is because instead of just pushing a button, you have to lather up the soap with your brush and apply it to your face.
Another potential disadvantage is you have to use more equipment which will take up more space in your bathroom. If you are in a small apartment or share a bathroom with other people you may want to consider this.
However, you don’t necessarily need to purchase a ‘shaving mug’ you could simply use a bowl or extra coffee cup you have lying around.
How to lather shaving soap?
If you decide start shaving with a soap you won’t really have to learn anything new. If you have washed your hands before than you can use it.
Simply put your puck or bar in a mug, wet your shaving brush and work it over the soap until the lather reaches your desired consistency.
If you are confident you will be using a particular soap for a while you can melt the soap in your mug with the microwave or a double boiler. Then let it harden back up in your mug. Then the whole base of your mug will be filled with your soap.
Then, using the brush, apply the soap to your bear area and you can start your shave. If you are using a pre-shave oil, apply this before the soap and allow it to absorb for a minute or so.
What is shaving cream?
Shaving cream may actually have been around before the soap! A simple form was documented in 3000 BC made with wood and animal fat. However, today these are mostly sold in spray cans and serve to lubricate your skin and desensitize while you shave. They consist of emulsions of oils, soaps, foaming agents and water.
Shaving creams started selling as aerosol cans as early as 1949 and used gas that was eventually banned. They now use gases like propane and butane.
Since there is so much water in the foam the risk if your shaving cream lighting on fire is minimal but still, propane?! This just doesn’t sound right!
Pros of using a shaving cream
These are basically the opposite of the disadvantages of the shaving soap. Convenience and time are the biggest benefit you will see from using shaving cream.
All you have to do is hold out your hand, release some foam into your hand and apply to your face. Probably takes less than 30 seconds.
You also don’t need the extra equipment which will save you some counter space in your bathroom.
Cons of using a shaving cream
For those of you who are naturalists, the chemicals in these products are questionable as to whether or not you should be using them on your skin.
Also, like we mentioned previously, shaving creams can be more expensive than soaps in the long run or if you shave frequent.
Top 5 best shaving soap for men reviews
If you are just starting out using a shaving soap Col. Conk would be a great product for you. It comes with 4 different varieties of the soap
- Bay Rum
Each puck is smaller than some of the other ones on this list but this would be a relatively inexpensive way to try 4 different soaps!
They smell great and work into nice lather’s quickly. A little goes a long way as well this starter pack should last a couple months.
This is a larger container 5.3 oz. and has a unique scent of sandalwood with some other floral notes.
You can use your shaving brush to dip the cream straight on your face to create a rich lather.
Or you can put a little cream on your brush and lather up a nice rich cream in your mug or bowl. You really don’t need a ton of this product for one shave. You will love this smell as well!
They claim their soap will last 3-6 months and will fit in any size shaving mug. This soap is also lightly scented for those of you who don’t really want a scent.
This American made soap will not only give you a rich, creamy lather, it will also soften you beard to help you get a close, comfortable shave. Your lady will enjoy the scent as well.
This soap has eucalyptus oil and menthol to help tone your skin and leave a refreshing sensation.
It has a 4.6 rating with over 2,000 reviews on Amazon!
This soap will continue to build into an even richer lather once you get it on your face. You can get it started in the bowl and then finish creating your lather right on your face. This will help exfoliate your skin as well.
It features their unique smolder scent and comes in a gold tin. It comes in a 4 oz. bar which is also on the bigger side of shaving soaps.
This soap is said to be extra slippery so you can do a second pass if needed. However, do this with caution, maybe just try a small section of your beard first before you do the whole beard.
This soap is handmade in America and they are really proud of their smolder scent and it has many comments in the reviews as well.