This is an ancient debate, which is better Shaving Soap or Shaving Cream? What's best for wet shaving?
I know it can be difficult to choose as each has its own pro’s and cons.
Like all shaving decisions, a lot comes down to your personal preference.
We have a preference too, like most wet shavers we prefer a more traditional shave, so we use shaving soap.
But everyone is different and you may find that you prefer Shaving Cream over Shaving Soap, so its worth experimenting with each to see which one suits your personal preferences.
A quick Note on Shaving Soap
Most wet shavers prefer a Shaving Soap, we’ve said this is almost every article because it's true.
Shaving is an experience and using Shaving Soap and a Shaving Brush all adds to that experience.
It’s the difference of drinking whiskey out of a plastic cup vs a tumbler. Even if the result is the same, the experience is entirely different.
Advantages of Shaving Soap
Shaving Soaps offer a bit of a stiffer, fluffy lather, which creates a larger “cushion” between the Safety Razor and your face.
They also tend to be a better lubricant which enables the razor to slide much more easily across your skin.
When using a Shaving Soap you tend to have a lot more control, from when you start the shave to when you finish, you control your lather.
It’s almost like cooking, you determine how vigorously and for how long you whip your soap, so you can create the exact type of lather that you like.
You control the thickness, how aerated the lather is and the lathers volume.
But with anything so flexible there also means there is a learning curve or an element of experience required and neither of those come instantly.
So if you’re new to wet shaving it can take some time to find the right soap – or soaps – and then learning how to use it.
The level of control given though is great and experienced shavers really enjoy this aspect of shaving with Shaving Soap.
Shaving Soaps are also usually a lot more cost effective.
Shaving Creams are essentially pre-lathered so you are buying something that is already whipped and aerated, whereas a Shaving Soap is condensed and you whip it yourself, so a Shaving Soap will normally last you a lot longer than a shaving cream, which makes it much more cost effective on average.
Finally, we just think shaving soap is cooler, we find that using Shaving Soap with a shaving brush is just a part of the overall shaving experienced.
When shaving with Shaving Soap there’s just as sense of satisfaction involved, there something about sticking your soap into your shaving mug – perhaps the same shaving mug your grandfather used – getting your badger hair brush out and whipping up the perfect lather that just makes you feel like a gentleman.
It goes without saving that the experience is entirely different to squirting your lather out of a can.
Types of shaving soap
There are two basic types of shaving soap, glycerin-based soaps and triple milled soaps.
They both perform quite differently but it mostly comes down to preference.
- Glycerin soaps
Contain.. wait for it… glycerin!
Which is a component which is of oil or fat.
These Shaving Soaps are usually non-milled so part of the soap is water.
Because of the molecular alignment of glycerin soaps a lot of glycerin based soaps are clear.
Generally glycerin soaps tend to be cheaper and don’t usually last as long.
They tend to also give stronger scents which some guys like, a few guys we know use glycerin soaps instead of cologne.
- Triple milled soap
Milling is the process of using a mill to grind, heat and cool the Shaving Soap.
This process is normally applied to vegetable or tallow based soaps.
Soaps are milled to harden them, add colors, fragrances and extract water.
As you may have worked out triple milled soaps go through the mill three different times and after the third time through the mill the soap is usually very hard, creating a much different texture than the comparatively soft glycerin soaps.
Triple Milled Shaving Soaps usually last a LOT longer than glycerin based soaps, but they tend not to be as fragrant.
If you are in the market for a good Shaving Soap here are some great options
But if you are looking for the best shaving soaps, you should check out our list of the top 11 best shaving soaps on the market today.
Advantages of Shaving Cream
Shaving creams are basically Shaving Soaps that have been emulsified with water, aerated and pre-whipped into a lather.
So it stands to reason that Shaving Creams are a lot more convenient than Shaving Soaps.
You can just pick up a tub – we don’t recommend anything that comes out of a spray can – dab your badger brush in and quickly later up your face, no need to whip a shaving soap to perfection.
Some wet shavers find that Shaving Creams give slightly better protection over Shaving Soaps which makes the Shaving Cream a preferred lather product for many Safety Razor connoisseurs.
Types of Shaving Cream
There are three basic types of shaving cream.
Pressurised shaving cream, shaving gel and traditional Shaving Cream.
Exactly like Shaving Soaps each type has their pros and cons.
So if you want to use Shaving Cream you may way to experiment with a variety of different products and types to see which you like best.
- Traditional Shaving Cream
These are usually pre-lathered Shaving Soaps with a slightly higher potassium hydroxide content.
These means they more water soluble and can be prepared and stored in a cream form without drying out.
- Pressurised Shaving Cream
This was a product created in the 1950’s as a part of the madness to put anything and everything into a can and unfortunately, shaving cream wasn’t exempt.
These creams in a pressurized can don’t tend to last long and produce a fair amount of waste but they are incredibly convenient which is why people today still buy them.
- Shaving Gel
We’ve all seen shaving Gels in stores, mostly because they have the flashiest marketing campaigns, Wet shavers stay away from gels, but some lads buy them because they are convenient and don’t require a brush, and probably have been fooled by the ad campaigns “Super Ultra Hydro Action Man Gel of the Future!”
If you fancy trying a good shaving cream here are a few of our favourites
So what's the bottom line?
So what is the answer to the age old debate of “Shaving Cream Vs Shaving Soap”?
Well it’s down to personal preference, you should try everything and find what's right for your face and your lifestyle.
For us, we prefer a really good quality Shaving Soap over Shaving Cream as we feel it adds a lot to the whole shaving experience.