Our supermarket shelves are overflowing with an array of shaving soaps, creams, gels, and foams all claiming to be the best shaving soap, cream, etc.
But while there's endless choice, the traditional shaving soaps are still being sold hard and fast and are as popular now as they ever have been and with popularity comes many choices making it hard for you to find the best shaving soap.
Shaving soaps first came about in the early 1800’s with mass production beginning in 1840. They are typically hard soaps that lather up with the use of a shaving brush and are sold as a round puck with a flat bottom so that they can be used and stored in a shaving mug.
Alternatively, some are fashioned as individually wrapped sticks. Unlike their slippery gel competitors, shaving soap rejoices in the barbershop traditionalism of classic men's grooming.
Benefits of using shaving soap
There are several unparalleled advantages of using a shaving soap.
- They are low cost in comparison to more modern brand alternatives.
- They typically have minimal preservatives and nasty chemicals and are kinder to the environment than aerosol competitors.
- You can gain complete control over the lather to suit your individual preference.
- Your face will achieve better hydration, as shaving soaps are designed to moisturize the skin while prepping it for shaving. Canned alternatives tend to cause flakey, tired complexions.
How to create a lather
The steps to creating a perfect shaving lather are as follows:
- Step 1: Using warm tap water, dampen your face / beard.
- Step 2: Add a sprinkle of water to your shaving soap (within its mug or holding case)
- Step 3: Use your shaving brush to lather up a good amount of soap. You may want to experiment with adding more water to achieve a bigger meringue-like froth.
- Step 4: Rub your soapy shaving brush over your face, using circular motions to prep the hair for shaving. Only apply as much as you need or want.
Tallow vs Glycerine vs Oil
Soaps can be made from a variety of ingredients.
While some soaps dry out your face, glycerine based soap products tend to be moisturizing.
Glycerin is a humectant, which is an agent that promotes hydrated skin. It is an organic feature of the soapmaking process, but many large manufacturers deliberately eliminate it from their products for profitability purposes.
Hand crafted soaps retain this useful compound to enhance the softening and moisturize side effects. It's normal for glycerine soaps to be 100% natural, but sometimes a small quantity of synthetic ingredients or perfumes are added.
You can even make your own glycerine soaps at home!
A downside to glycerine based soaps is that the higher the quantity, the faster it'll be used up. Due to its magnificent melting abilities, it tends to break down faster than other similar soaps.
Tallow based soaps are very popular and derived from natural animal or plant fats. They are not typically suitable for vegans, but some carnivores actually argue that this method of animal use is entirely ethical, seeing as it discourages wastage.
Lanolin is often found in tallow based soaps which protect the hair and skin while shaving. These products often last a little longer than their glycerine competitors and benefit from skin-nurturing ingredients.
Oil based soaps can be equal as nourishing, as it incorporates ingredients like coconut extracts and shea butter.
Palm oil comes with its own list of ethical considerations, but as a rule of thumb, oil based soaps tend to be environmentally friendly, high in vitamins and almost always completely natural.
Types of shaving soaps
You may have come across some categories of shaving soap such as ‘triple milled’ and ‘croaps’ without fully understanding what they mean.
Triple milled soap is soap that has been passed through a milling machine three times during the manufacturing process.
It creates a fine smooth paste with no air trapped inside. It also removes any redundant water, making this a pure and authentic product. It can, however, be slightly more expensive than its competitors.
Here are three of the top triple milled soaps:
Semi-hard soap is soap that is slightly softer and pliable than solid soap. It's easier to froth up using a shaving brush.
A good chunk of the market provides semi hard soaps for optimal comfort and ease of use.
Here's some examples of top of the range semi-hard shaving soaps:
Croaps, which are cream-soaps (otherwise known as hard-cream) is, very simply, a combination of shaving cream and shaving soap.
It's texture is thicker than a normal cream with plenty of firm bubbles for a frothy. For further instruction on how to apply a croap, check out this video demonstration.
Here's some examples of some croap favorites:
This natural, paraben free shaving soap is not only absent of any nasty chemicals but lathers up in a luxurious way, creating a smooth and silky shave.
All you need to do is combine your normal shaving brush with hot water and a bit of soap to prep the hair for the ultimate shaving experience.
The natural plant extract ingredients include Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, which is soothing as well as skin refreshed.
Aloe Vera is exceptionally soothing, so it's recommended for anyone who suffers from skin redness or dryness.
In fact, this soap could be particularly good for anyone with sensitive skin or chronic skin conditions due to its combination of safe and natural ingredients.
If you enjoy a subtle scent over a potent alternative, then this shaving soap could be the perfect fit. Its meadowy fragrance is light and airy, epitomizing the freshness of early spring.
The outer black and green packaging is certainly appealing, with each refill presented in a stylishly refined way. And for the most sophisticated bathroom in the land, why not keep it in an Edwin Jagger Porcelain Shaving Soap Bowl for maximum shaving swagger?
Refills measure at 6.2cm X 2.5cm but they last a long time due to the rich substantiality of the product.
What's to love?
- No nasty chemicals
- Softens skin and hair
- Great for sensitive skin
- Comes with soap bowl
Taylor of Old Bond Street is one of the most distinguished gentleman’s companies out there.
In fact, they've been manufacturing men's grooming products since 1854, making them highly experienced and knowledgeable about everything and anything shaving-related.
Their sandalwood shaving soap is the envelopment of shaving sophistication.
First and foremost, the classic, masculine fragrance is to die for. With light musky tones, it's almost guaranteed that you won't need your eu de toilette after you shave with this soap.
Each ingredient adds something beneficial to the product. Fresh orange blossom, calming lavender, earthy sandalwood, sweet rosemary, and manly musk are just some of the natural elements of this highly sought after shaving soap.
To use it, simply mix a small amount with warm water and watch the bubbly lather effortlessly appear. You may not need to put as much brush-effort into producing this lather, which will save you time and energy.
The soap is designed to stimulate your facial hair, making it prepped and ready for a successful shaving experience.
Lavender is particularly effective for sore or sensitive skin, so this is great if you regularly find yourself with a shaving rash.
Orange blossom is one of those incredibly potent fragrances that is bound to wake you up in the morning, so is perfect if you need a lift. In fact, many of this product’s organic ingredients have anxiety-eliminating properties.
Furthermore, the soap comes with a stylish wooden circular bowl that can facilitate future refills, adding a refined feature to your bathroom. The bowl has a useful lid which contains the soap and stops it from drying out.
What's to love?
- Packed with natural ingredients and essential oils
- There's an option to buy one with a stylish bowl included
- Many refills to choose from
- Lathers up well
Unlike other shaving soaps on the market, the Henry Cavendish Himalaya Shaving Soap is designed to last a longer period of time at a fraction of the average cost.
In fact, this shaving soap is so efficient it can take a whole six months to require a refill.
The lather is long lasting, unlike certain shaving foams that can dry out quickly, even shortly after application.
For storage, pop the product in a microwave for 20 seconds so that it is slightly runny, then pour it into your preferred container or mug for future use.
One key feature of this product is its coconut oil and Shea butter.
Unless you've been living on another planet, you'll likely already know that coconut oil is the holy grail of optimal skin care. Its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, ultra-nourishing properties work wonders on any skin type.
Shea butter is luxuriously soft, with a natural aroma and gentle healing power.
The shave soap is so natural that it boasts zero artificial chemicals or unpronounceable preservatives.
Why not pair it up with a badger hair shaving brush to create the ultimate pampering experience?
In terms of the fragrance, this soap is better suited to those who prefer a less obvious scent.
It's so subtle and fresh that it envelops a natural, crisp vibe which is great for any modest men about town.
What's to love?
- Lasts a long time
- Contains natural soothing ingredients
- No preservatives
- Subtle scent
Trust me, the scent of strawberry does not always have to be for girls!
When you apply this shaving soap to your face, it's likely you'll look and smell exactly like a big bouncy marshmallow.
With egg whites, golden syrup, and fresh strawberries, it's highly likely you'll be licking this from your cheeks instead of shaving with it.
If you can resist this temptation, you'll notice a close, crisp shave using this ultra-rich product.
The added rose absolute, and cocoa butter allows for a velvety, smooth finish that could have you touching your baby-soft skin for the rest of the day.
It's up to you how you apply the creamy shaving soap. You can scoop it with your hand and smother yourself with it, or dip in your favorite shaving brush.
For an added feel-good factor, you can rest assured that the big black pot this product comes in is made from recycled plastic. And to make D’Fluff Shaving Soap even more alluring, for every 5 pots you return to the store, you'll receive a free face mask in return.
So, not only can you do the environment a favor, but immerse yourself in a post-shave Oatmeal face mask to compliment your already flourishing face.
What's to love?
- Fun frisky scent
- Natural ingredients
- Recycled pot material
- Free face mask upon 5th purchase
Fancy a gold standard shaving soap with a bit of an edge?
These quirky little Turkish soap sticks are individually wrapped and perfect for anyone on the go.
With an intensely creamy formula, they promote a close, comfortable shave with the ease of use unparalleled elsewhere. In fact, barbers all over the world use this product on their customers, making it arguably more trustworthy than its competitors.
Each stick can be rubbed directly onto the skin (think of it as a male lipstick), so there's little need for a shaving brush.
The lemony scent (courtesy of the citronella) has a fresh fruity tang, and the thick creamy lather makes shaving comfortable and easy.
What could be not to love? Due to the compact packaging and individual wrapping, the Arko Shaving Cream Soap Sticks could be handy if you travel regularly for work and are tired of using whatever paint-stripper the hotel gives you.
Although these sticks are rather small (8cm tall in fact), they do last a while and are not finished after just one or two uses.
This does depend, of course, on how much beard you have, and how much you need to shave off.
What's to love?
- Recommended by barbers
- Individually wrapped bars
- Zesty lemon scent
- Good travel companion
If you're looking for the perfect combination between a shampoo and a shaving cream, this beard & shave soap could be the answer to your prayers.
Its unique formula is said to wash away dirt while retaining the natural oils that live within the hair. This means a natural looking beard with absolutely no traces of last night’s dinner.
Hudson Made are not a typical men's grooming manufacturer. They maintain pride in making high-quality products and take care over every element of its creation.
Their philosophy involves supporting regional and sustainable production sources, so if you find yourself sick of overly-commercial international brands, this could be the shaving soap for you.
This particular product is free from parabens, artificial chemicals, animal-cruelty and synthetic dyes. In fact, it couldn't be more natural if it tried.
The list of essential oils that are packed into this small bar is about a mile long.
The combination of such potent oils could have resulted in a terribly smelly beard. But actually, the woody aromas are highly complementary, meaning that there's no need for aftershave.
What you might love about this product is that, if you have the occasional day when you don't want to shave, it can still be used as a luxury beard shampoo for the shower.
What's to love?
- No preservatives or artificial chemicals
- Ethically sourced ingredients
- Appealing scent
- Doubles up as a shampoo
Mitchell's Wool Fat Shaving Soap is a saponified oil soap.
This means that at least one component of the soap is a fat of some sort (and in this case, wool fat).
If you're wondering what ‘wool fat’ is, don't worry, you're not alone. It's actually a greasy substance (also known as ‘lanolin’) which is extracted from wool and frequently put into cosmetic and household products. It also is recommended by dermatologists to soothe irritated or angry skin conditions.
Please be aware, however, that some people are allergic to lanolin, so if you notice any itching or redness after use, it's probably best to discontinue.
Unlike some of its natural organic competitors, this gimmick-free shaving soap doesn’t shy away from a few friendly chemicals. Sodium tallowate, sodium cocoate and potassium cocoate might sound a little scary, but when you realise what they're for, there's a lot less stigma.
Sodium tallowate essentially lifts dirt from your face and beard hair through the creation of thick foam, allowing you to wash away the grime of the day with minimal effort.
Sodium cocoate is lubricating, and actually contains coconut oil which works wonders on bushy, wiry beard hair, so if you want to retain a bit of goatee, at least it'll be silky smooth making for an easier shave.
Finally potassium cocoate separates dirt from the essential beard oils.
While this product is made in England, it's highly popular around the world.
It contains a 4.4 ounce soap, which is enough to last a couple of months depending on how much facial hair you have and how often you shave. The lidded ceramic bowl makes storage easy, and blends well into any bathroom design.
For those of you who detest floral, woody or nutty smells, this shaving soap could be perfect.
There is no fancy fragrance added into this product. It has a mild soapy aroma which is pleasant on the nose, but also subtle enough to forget about once the shave is over.
So, once your stubble is swiped clean, simply place the soap back into the bowl, wipe your face and go about your day without any fuss or fluff.
What's to love?
- Effective at cleaning
- Subtle scent, no frills
- Very thick lather
- A little goes a long way
If you enjoy classy, traditional grooming products, this triple-milled (meaning it's been processed three times for smoothness) could be ideal for you.
Served up in a sophisticated mahogany bowl, this sold soap looks attractive in any gentleman’s bathroom and eliminates the need for a separate shaving cup.
The woody, masculine fragrance is rich and dominant, meaning you may have a lovely lingering scent for the rest of the day.
To use, simply pick up your favorite shaving brush, add a sprinkle of water to the soap and use your brush to lather up the amount you require. The lather on this particular soap is impressive due to its thorough triple-milled manufacturing process.
Due to the substantiality of the lather, the Marlborough Shaving Soap is bound to last a good few months.
There are also a number of refills to choose from, so if you're in the mood for calming almond or soothing lavender, these scents are available for you to mix and match.
Unlike its organic competitors, this shaving soap is more occupied with a luxury lather than using less effective natural alternatives.
However, all chemicals used are user-friendly and dermatologically tested, meaning you're likely to have a comfortable shave with no rash or razor burn.
For a further look at these ingredients, please click here
What's to love?
- Lots of lather
- Lasts a long time
- Variety of refills to choose from
- Stylish soap bowl included
Are you a suave gentleman? Do you love traditional grooming products that encompass the simplicity of the ‘good old days’?
If so, this tallow based shaving soap might be for you. With a combination of versatile ingredients, this product is totally natural and preservative free, so you can feel assured of a smooth shave with little irritation.
Shea and mango butter are packed with vitamin A, B and C, making it great for sensitive skin and especially tough hair. It's bound to untangle and tame even the wildest manes and leave your face feeling fresh and vibrant.
One of these 4-ounce soaps promises at least 100 shaves. That means that even if you shave every day, you can expect this shaving soap to last at least 3 months.
The ‘barbershop fragrance’ is exactly how you'd imagine it to be. Applying this aromatic oakmoss product to your face will bring up flashbacks of relaxing in a traditional barber’s chair being pampered by a professional.
The packaging is fun, refined and friendly, with good old Sir Hare on the front to remind you that only the most sophisticated folk use this shaving soap. To make the container even more unique, the label is entirely waterproof, meaning Sir Hare will stay in place for the full 100+ shaves.
For an optimal, effortless experience, why not pair it up with a Sir Hare Gramps Ole Shaving Brush.
What's to love?
- All natural ingredients including shea and mango butter
- Waterproof stylish packaging
- Nostalgic barbershop scent
- Lasts at least 100 shaves
This warm and succulent luxury shaving soap is not only thick and creamy but has a compact list of top quality ingredients.
The zesty orange peel and mandarin adds a citrusy tang to the overall scent.
The coriander leaves, while normally spicing up a curry, work wonders on acne prone skin.
Star anise is an (almost) magic cure for wrinkles and lines, as is Venezuela Tonka beans, a traditional anti-aging tonic. Simply put, this fresh formulation of natural goodness is a foodie’s fantasy. Simply add a touch of water to your beard and lather this beauty up with your shaving brush.
The scent truly does encompass the Great Underworld, with deep musky vanilla tones and a lingering spice that lasts the whole day.
In fact, you may not even want to apply your regular man-perfume due to the potency of the shaving soap aroma. If you really want to have the full grim reaper experience, why not pair this product up with the Smoulder Aftershave?
Don't be put off by the Grim Reaper lurking on the packaging. It's just a reminder that this is a warm, fierce shaving soap for only the most hardcore blade-swipers.
What's to love?
- Fierce and original scent
- Anti ageing anti wrinkle ingredients
- All natural
- Cool packaging
Are you the type of person who wakes up each morning with a different ‘vibe’ for the day? If so, why not enjoy a variety of shaving soaps, each with a different scent, to match your mood to your morning routine?
The Col Conk Shave Soap Variety Pack consists of four miniature 2.25-ounce soaps.
The BayRum soap (the red one) has a funky deep rum aroma. The Amber soap is the most subtle and gentle of the four. The Almond flavor (yellow) has a pleasing sweetness that develops as you use it, and the lime is for those days you're feeling energetic, sharp and adventurous.
Each of the products contains avocado, which is famously friendly towards sensitive skin, as well as vitamin E for a healthy glow.
The lather from this glycerine-based soap is softer than most alternatives on the market. Unlike triple milled competitors, glycerine soap wears down much quicker when using a shaving brush, meaning a bigger and frothier lather in half the time.
This could be a great starter-kit for those who haven't quite found their man-scent yet. This way you can have a go with all of the options before committing to one in particular.
If you're wondering who Col. Conk is, don't worry, he got a little lost in history. In fact, he was a famous barber back in 1866, who graciously traveled around the old west giving shavings grooming opportunities to those who were less fortunate.
His legend has lived on through the American barber community ever since, and he is now featured ever so proudly on the front of the Col Conk Shave Soap 4 Pack.
What's to love?
- Four fantastic scents to choose from
- Contains avocado for sensitive skin
- Cool history attached to the product
- Quick and easy lather
The shaving soap you choose depends on your skin and hair type, as well as personal shaving preferences.
There are so many varieties to choose from; you may want to experiment with a few before settling.It's good to consider whether you value smaller, self-sustaining grooming companies or are happier with globally recognized favorites.
It's also important to know what type of shaving soap works best for you, whether it be triple milled, semi-hard or cream based soaps.
These top 11 best shaving soaps demonstrate the wide range of options available on the market, all of which pack a traditional punch and can be enjoyed by men of all facial hair types.
You may be wondering what our pick is for the best shaving soap.
Here's our top 3 picks for the best shaving soap.
- Long lasting
- Great Lather
- All Natural
Our choice for the best shaving soap.
- Amazing Ingredients
- Awesome Lather
- Fantastic Price
- Superb Skin Care
- Fantastic scents
- Excellent ingredients
- Great Lather