Is Pre-Shave Oil Useful or Useless?
Personally I had never really heard about pre-shave oil or creams until I got one in a shaving gift set. To be honest, it sat in there for a very long time, as I wasn’t exactly sure what purpose it would serve. As a wet shaver myself, I knew that if I used a good shaving cream and safety razor, I would get a close quality shave. So why bother with some type of pre-shave gimic?
I asked around the other contributors at the Shaving Emporium and the majority had similar experiences to myself. There were a couple though, mainly Barry a retired barber, who looked at us with more than a little disdain. We thought then that we should ask him why, and then investigate pre-shave oils and creams in a little more depth.
These are not big sellers in the male grooming market, and when that is the case, you do have to wonder why. When we started looking we found that there were both oils and creams that you could use as a pre-shave treatment. We are not talking here about the actual shaving cream that you put on to shave. The products we are discussing here are ones that you put on your stubble, before all of that happens. These can also be used by men who use an electric shaver or have a wet shave.
Who Makes Pre-Shave Oil?
The usual shaving manufacturers make these and there are a few others as well. Here is a short list:
- Bluebeards Revenge
- King of SHaves
- Taylor of Old Bond Street
- Truefitt & Hill
- The Art of Shaving
We thought that was a lot of companies making these types of pre-shave products and yet sales appeared to be quite low. That is unusual to see that.
What Is The Purpose of Pre-shave Oil or Cream?
According to everything that we have read, and now tried thanks to Barry, its main purpose is to moisturise your beard or stubble before shaving. We did all agree that anything that can add to a smooth shave is a good thing so in theory, this should help.
The good news is that it is at an affordable price, and a little splash does go a very long way. We also discovered that the main users of this are people new to wet shaving, who are starting their journey with a safety razor or a straight razor for the first time. This helps protect the skin until it gets used to getting a proper close shave.
Now some of the experts say, that using a pre-shave treatment is vital if you are using a straight blade or DE blade. We would not support the argument that is is “vital.” What we would agree with is that it does help, and is especially useful during any type of transition. So if new to wet shaving it helps, or if moving from a safety razor to a straight blade this would also help.
The main benefit we discovered though was that men who started using these, reported a huge decrease in cuts and nicks to he skin. That certainly makes considering these worthwhile.
Ingredients of Pre-Shave Oils
Before applying anything to skin, we think it is always a worthwhile exercise to check out what goes into a product. Now there will no doubt be slight variations with each, but it is pretty certain that the core ingredients will be the same or at least similar.
As the name would suggest “oil” dominates the ingredient list. Different manufacturers used different oils and some we know are good for the skin, like sunflower, castor oil, olive oil, coconut and almond. When shaving having water on your face is important to get a nice smooth shave. Skin isn’t that great at doing this, but if oil is applied to it, then that will hold the water into the face, and in our case the bristles.
So we expected to see oils in there and there certainly are. They ranged quite a lot from tea tree oil, aloe vera, tangerine, grapefruit, sandalwood, bergamot and various Vitamins as well. The good quality creams basically stuck with eucalyptus oil and here at the Emporium we liked that idea.
We didn’t find anything alarming in there that would worry us in terms of ingredients.
How To Use Pre-Shave Oil?
We handed this bit over to Barry as he is a real expert in this area. Pre-shave oil is used to increase the pliability of the skin on your face. The more pliable and moisturised that it is, then the less prone it will be to getting nicks or cuts. Good quality pre-shave oil or cream will penetrate the skin, and also increase the amount of water the skin can hold.
Men with dry skin are much more likely to suffer from all of the shaving issues like cuts, redness, razor burn and razor bumps. Anything dry is flaky and breaks easily, whereas anything moist will bend a lot before damaging. If anyone reading this suffers from cuts or nicks when shaving, then we know that by using a pre-shave oil, that will reduce dramatically.
- Wash the face with warm water
- Rub in the oil (a little) until fully absorbed
- Apply shaving lather
- Then have your shave
Top 5 Shaving Oils & Creams
We then reviewed a number of these that were available on the market and have come up with our top five. We hope you find these reviews useful.
Proraso Pre Shave Cream
Amazon buyers rate this product very highly giving it a 4.7 out of 5 score which is excellent. There is also menthol in this and that does help with any irritation problems. Buyers reported that they found this one made a huge difference to their overall shaving experience. many also reported that they prefer to use it after the shave as it really cools the skin down and leaves it feeling very smooth and supple.
Taylor of Old Bond Street Pre-Shave OilThis is a highly traditional choice and was the one that Barry recommended to use. It is almost £13 though for a 30 ml bottle so certainly not cheap. It is an aromatherapy oil and is simply perfect for any man with sensitive skin. We know that Taylor really only produce the highest quality products, and we found this one to be the same.
There is a strong pleasant after scent with this one, but it will not over power your own choice of after shave in any way. The maker says that this can be used on its own, or beneath a shaving cream. Barry advised against using and pre-shave oil being used on its own. We would of course agree with him on that.
Somerset Shaving Oil
Buyers love it and they rate it a very high score of 4.8 out of 5 which is excellent. For us this might be your first one to try and see if it makes a difference. We say this simply because of the price. At the end of the day, a fiver doesn’t get you much, and if it helps get you a good shave it isn’t a huge investment.
King of Shaves K-Series AplhaOil
This one is recommended for both electric and wet shavers alike. From this 41g bottle you can get 100 shaves for under £6. That certainly makes it look like an attractive buy. This oil does protect and moisturise which is exactly what you want it to do.
Buyers rate it at 4.1 out of 5, which is still a good score, and almost all reviewers said that although sceptical about using any type of pre-shave oil, that they noticed a huge difference in just how comfortable a shave they got when using this first. Older men also seemed to know this product really well and a few said it was the only oil they would consider using.
Bluebeards Revenge Pre Shave Oil
Under £9 for 125 ml will get you the last one in our list. They are very honest about the ingredients they use in this. We didn’t recognise many of them to be honest and would need a degree in Science to try and do so. They also say it is a pump spray bottle and it isn’t. Like many others you just squeeze the bottle for the oil to come out.
Reviewers do say that a little goes a long way and overall it gets a rating of 4.0 out of 5 stars which is good. We haven’t tested this one ourselves as yet, but when we do, we will let you know. Buyers seemed to like it so that is why we have included it in the list.
Well this article was slightly longer than we intended it to be, but we do hope that you know a lot more about where to buy pre-shave oil and why you should consider using it. Let us know in the comments below your own experiences, if you have tried it out.