Which Is Better – Shaving Soap or Shaving Cream?
For those of us who know that wet shaving is best, we have a few decisions to make, and none causes more debate than this one. Everyone has an opinion about shaving cream vs shaving soap.
Here at the Shaving Emporium, we are also hugely divided on this particular issue. For many years I was a highly traditional soap user, but I have now moved over to cream.
Some of the other contributors on this site are die hard “soap users,” and have stated they will never change. This pretty much comes down to personal taste, and which one works best.
For men, who love the enjoyment of shaving, then the soap will always win out. The same will apply to anyone who is an advocate of highly traditional shaving.
There is nothing quite like getting a shaving brush and soap, and turning that into a great looking lather. I guess we can safely refer to these guys as traditionalists and they are just never going to change. To be honest, there is nothing wrong with that at all.
Some other men believe, why do all that work, when you can buy cream in a tub, and whip up a lather even quicker. There are of course advantages and disadvantages with both, which we will discuss below. Please feel free to leave your own comments, below this article as to your own thoughts.
What Is Shaving Cream?
Many men will see aerosol cans of shaving foam and gels in many drug stores and super markets. In fact that is how most men start out when they need to shave. Those are convenience, “off the shelf products,” that contain a large amount of various numbing agents, and chemicals, that are in fact harmful to our skin.
The facts are that these types of product contain 80% water. They also contain something known as propolene glycerin, which is also found in fluids used for the automobile industry, like brake fluid and antifreeze.
If all of that has not put you off using these types of foam and gel, then most will also contain mineral oil, which is a by-product of gasoline, which not only blocks your pores, but over time will irritate your skin.
You can also add colouring agents and other delights to this list. I used to use these and when I think back, I basically got a lot of soft foam that could barely stick to my face. Why I thought that was of any use, I shall never know.
Quality Shaving Creams
The types of shaving cream that we are talking about, are those quality products made from natural ingredients. They create a wonderful smooth lather, and prepare the face for a proper shave. Men who know and understand wet shaving would only use these types of products, and would run a country mile from anything in a can.
These come from quality companies like Taylor of Old Bond Street, Prorarso and Edwin Jagger. An average jar of these costs just under £10 and they are full of rich moisturising cream, that makes for an easy gliding shave. Almost all of them are rich in glycerine, and it is these ingredients, that creates a protective barrier for the sharpened blade.
Value for Money
Shaving creams, as a general rule, do tend to have a heavy manly scent, but all of them are pleasant. Some are also more fragranced than others, so that will come down to your own personal taste. For typical use, you can expect a tub of shaving cream to last around two months, or about 8 weeks.
So in terms of value for money this works out at around £0.80 a week. I don’t know about you but I think I am worth that small investment, and my face deserves at least that.
The good news with shaving cream is that there are many different choices available so you should check out the best brands, and find a fragrance you think you might like. We have done a full article here on the very best shaving creams, which you can read by clicking here.
What Is Shaving Soap?
This is what I have used for a very long time, though I have recently made the switch to a cream. If you are just starting out with wet shaving, then getting a good lather, by using soap can be quite difficult. It takes a bit of practise, but to be honest, I always enjoyed the challenge.
The best types of soaps are called triple-milled. Often this is called French milled, and is a process where the soap is rolled between heavy rollers, until it forms a paste, which is then pressed into molds. The problem with these is that they are very hard, so getting a lather with these takes a lot more work. It is worth the effort though.
You also need to use a hard bristle shaving brush for the best lathering results. So why persist with using a shaving soap? Well, once you master the art of lathering, the soap offers your skin better protection against the blade. That is why it is always the choice of people who like to use straight razors, or cut-throats as they are often known.
Soap also doesn’t have such a strong fragrance, so many shavers like that idea, as the soap does not over power their preferred choice of cologne or after shave. Ordinary traditional shaving soap will also last longer (around 3 months) and a typical bar of soap at the lower end costs around £4-5. That makes it a cheaper and a longer lasting option than the cream. The triple milled shaving soaps can cost around £25-50 per bar.
Here is a link to the best shaving soaps available in the UK.
The Decision Is Yours
If you are just starting out with traditional wet shaving, we would recommend that you go for the cream. It is much easier to use and gives a great shave. It is a quick and easy process to learn how to lather a cream with a good quality shaving brush. Once you have that mastered, you will then have more knowledge, and be able to try out the soap.
For those of you who want to be truly traditional, get yourself a good soap, a shaving bowl and brush and enjoy making and using the lather. For straight blade users we would recommend a soap as it does offer that added protection.