The simple act of removing stubble from your face has resulted in an unlimited choice of devices and concoctions to perform this mundane task. Navigating the ones that work can literally take a lifetime of trial and error: shaving cream, gel, foam, soap, and more. Or it could be the standard can of foam that Dad uses, sticking to the same brand for life.
Like toothpaste, it might be easier to repurchase a functional item like this, but if you’ve never tried a shaving cream, you’re missing out on a vastly superior shave. As everyone knows, shaving can be tough on your skin, so it’s important to choose the right products to help protect and nourish both the skin and hair follicles. The best shaving creams do just that, combining a close shave with a gentle touch.
The benefits of shaving cream
What are the advantages of a shaving cream over other types of shaving preparations? Who better to ask than the international suppliers of fine hairdressing products, Truefitt & Hill. They say: “Shaving creams are much kinder to the skin than any shaving cream, which often contains alcohol and can dry out the skin and cause irritation. Shaving soap has a firm consistency compared to the soft consistency of shaving cream.”
This means that soaps generally need more water to form lather and a brush is always needed. A hard shaving soap on glycerin usually provides a slightly stiffer lather, but is not as moisturizing as a glycerin-based cream. For that reason, shaving cream is better for the overall care of dry and normal skin types (but not exclusively).
When shopping for a shaving cream, Truefitt & Hill adds: “Price is not always a guarantee of quality, but expertise is. Unfortunately, many of the cheaper products tend to use less desirable ingredients that don’t deliver on performance. A good quality product should last a very long time and produce tangible results.”
Please read the ingredient list before adding it to the cart as “glycerin is the most important element for a close, close and comfortable shave. Avoid alcohol, benzocaine or peppermint oil, which can irritate and numb the skin.”
Do you need a shaving brush to apply shaving cream?
That depends on the cream. Often this type of product creates minimal foam, so applying by hand works fine. Since we don’t whip up foam, a brush can still help distribute the cream evenly on the stubble and lift the bristles in preparation for the blade. Truefitt & Hill make the fair point that, “if you have to shave every day, you might as well make it a little bit more fun. A good quality shaving brush makes the shaving experience that much more enjoyable.”
Shaving creams may also work better for longer stubble and thicker, coarser hair, as there is less foam to clog the blades. Usually available in a tub or tube with a screw cap, tubs or bowls allow the user to dip into a shaving brush or scoop out the required amount with their fingers, while tubes are cleaner to handle and easier to transport. You might prefer a bowl to put next to your sink and a tube for your laundry bag.
The best brands of shaving cream
This is in no particular order Ape’s roundup of the very best shaving cream brands on the market today – determined based on customer feedback, innovation, ingredients, price and our own in-house testing – along with our favorite product from the range.
The art of shaving
Our choice: Old shaving cream
Combining a functional product with a luxurious scent is always a win in our opinion, and it is a core principle of The Art of Shaving range, with its abundant choice of essential oil scented shaving creams. Tracking down this rich oud version is worth the extra effort. Used with or without a brush, it creates a rich lather from a small amount and gives a skin-soothing shave.
Our choice: shaving cream
Like all Horace products, this shaving cream is excellent value for money. It has a high content of natural ingredients and is free from parabens, silicones and mineral oils. Shoera butter, kukui oil, shea butter and allantoin allow the blades to glide over the skin for a close shave, while eliminating any shaving irritation and leaving a soft, citrus green scent.
Our choice: Sandalwood soft shaving cream
One of the best known care homes in the heart of London, Geo. F. Trumper opened its doors in 1875. It’s so famous, it has a place in the canon of British literature, with mentions in Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, John Le Carré’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Ian Fleming’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, not less . So consider it a privilege to lather up like a classic Mayfair gent with this cushioning sandalwood-scented shaving cream.
Our pick: ultimate brushless shaving cream with menthol White Eagle
The Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream from Kiehl’s is extremely popular and often sold out, so you have to be quick. Even a small amount of this hand-applied preparation provides super-smooth results and a clean and energized feeling, thanks to the added menthol and camphor. It’s the perfect wake-up call for hazy mornings.
Our choice: Windsor shaving cream bowl
Just a short drive from Buckingham Palace, you’ll find DR Harris at St James’s, one of the oldest apothecaries in London, and the appointed chemists for HRH The Prince of Wales. Rich in glycerin, the aptly named Windsor shaving cream has an appropriately royal scent of citrus, grapefruit, black pepper and vetiver that is literally fit for a (future) king.
Our choice: cooling shaving cream
Fresh off a rebrand, Lab Series has traded in the old fonts and switched from the white and blue color scheme, but thankfully it hasn’t changed any of its expert wording. The Cooling Shave Cream stimulates the senses thanks to a combination of menthol and peppermint oils, while rich, emollient coconut oil, murumuru seed butter and shea butter protect the skin barrier and give the razor a frictionless pass. And it now comes in a fully recyclable jar.
Malin + Goetz
Our choice: Vitamin E shaving cream
This vitamin E-loaded shaving cream from Malin + Goetz is great for the face and other, well, sensitive parts of the body. Squalane, shea butter, glycerin and amino acids along with soothing chamomile and cooling menthol make this a great choice for anyone prone to eczema, dryness or irritation as this cream leaves skin feeling hydrated and calm.
Hanz De Fuko
Our choice: invisible shaving cream for sensitive skin
When shaving an intimate area, such as your genitals, it is useful to see where the blade is going. This creamy textured drink from Hanz De Fuko clears on application, so it reduces the chance of unwanted nicks and cuts. It has anti-aging properties with antioxidant protection against free radicals, while aloe vera and pomegranate help reduce the appearance of wrinkles. A seductive scent of minty rum and vanilla refreshes your skin both above and below.
Our choice: Dual-Action Shavemud
This creamy, clay-based formula from ESPA doubles as a rich shaving cream and deep purifying face mask, making it a worthwhile investment. Kaolin and bentonite draw out impurities from pores, while smoothing the way for your razor. Shea butter and sweet almond oil protect and nourish against razor burn and tightness, leaving the skin smooth and supple. Use it as a weekly detox, leave on for a few minutes before shaving, or as an instant shave prep.
Tom Ford for men
Our choice: shaving cream
Blow up the budget with Tom Ford’s delicious shaving cream. The nourishing whipped formula definitely elevates the facial hair removal ritual. As you would expect from this master perfumer, it has a superior spicy, citrus scent. Hold on tight because more stock is coming soon.
Baxter from California
Our pick: Super Close Shave formula
You can apply this with your hands or a brush to distribute it evenly, but don’t expect a lather. This menthol cream creates a protective layer between the blade and the skin for a silky smooth shave.
Our choice: No.89 Shaving cream
FlorisConditioning Shaving Cream was first introduced in 1951 and has been a men’s favorite ever since. At 100ml, it’s ideal for travel, and a little goes a long way with this rich shaving cream. It foams particularly well, and the aloe vera and chamomile used in the formula keep the skin soothed and comfortable during and after shaving.
Truefitt & Hill
Our choice: Ultimate Comfort Shaving Cream unscented
Truefitt & Hill, another big name of St. James’s, has been around since 1805 and now spans the globe with barber shops in Singapore, Kolkata, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai and more. It has a Royal Warrant by appointment with the late HRH Duke of Edinburgh. Choosing the unscented Ultimate Comfort cream seems like a crime when there are the scented versions with the famous West Indian limes, Apsley and Trafalgar, so grab a bottle of cologne while you’re there.
This cream provides brilliant care for sensitive skin. Lavender oil gives an antiseptic touch, in the very unlikely event that you cut yourself.
Taylor Of Old Bond Street
Our choice: sandalwood shaving cream
Taylor of Old Bond Street, the youngest of London’s traditional hairdressers, was founded in 1854. The sandalwood shaving cream creates a luxurious lather that simply pampers the chin. But don’t just take our word for it — it holds a number one bestseller price on Amazon with 83% of razors giving it a five-star rating.