Shaving Cream vs Shaving Soap


Many beginners to wet shaving will ask the question, which is better for shaving, shaving cream or shaving soap? People have any number of decisions to make if they decide that they want to start wet shaving. The first thing to understand is that wet shaving is so much better for a close shave and also so much better for your skin. So congratulations on making that first move.

Hopefully by now you have made your decision on the type of razor you are going to use be that an electric shaver(suitable for wet shaving), a safety razor, a cutthroat razor, a cartridge razor or a disposable razor. No matter which type you pick it will need some form of lubricant for the skin. This is where a good quality shaving cream or shaving foam can really make the difference.

Shaving Cream vs Shaving Soap - The key differences

Shaving Cream

tub of shaving cream
  • Shaving creams usually come in tubs (150 ml in size)
  • Shaving creams cost on average around £12-£15 for an average sized tub (150 ml)
  • A tube of shaving cream is enough for 60 days shaving if you shave once a day
  • The average annual cost of using shaving cream is around £78 a year
  • Shaving cream is very easy to lather up
  • You can apply shaving cream using a brush or your hand
  • You can use a shaving cream straight out of the tub though some shavers like to lather this in a bowl

Shaving Soap

shaving soap puck
  • Shaving creams usually come in pucks (60-65 ml in size)
  • Shaving creams cost on average around £8-£12 for an average sized puck (60-65 ml)
  • A puck of shaving soap is enough for 90 days shaving if you shave once a day
  • The average annual cost of using shaving cream is around £45 a year
  • Shaving soap takes much longer to get a lather
  • You can really only lather up and apply a soap using a shaving brush
  • You will need a bowl, mug or scuttle to mix the soap using a brush

Shaving Cream vs Shaving Soap - Similarities

  • Essentially if you take the time to lather up a shaving soap you end up with shaving cream.
  • Both shaving cream and shaving soap are lightly scented depending on the ingredients used by the manufacturer and the brand and type of cream or soap that you pick

Which is best for sensitive skin?

It actually doesn't matter whether you use a soap or a cream for sensitive skin. If you look carefully, most makers have specific creams and specific soaps, designed for people with sensitive skin. Sensitive skin is caused by any irritation to the outer layer of skin.

This can include things like heat, hot water, many beauty products, laundry detergents etc. It can often be hard for someone to determine what exactly is causing sensitive skin. Ideally you will want to avoid perfumes, scented beauty products and laundry detergents.

Try picking a soap or cream that the maker has made for those with sensitive skin. You may need to try a few to see which one works best for you.

Shaving Cream vs Shaving Soap vs Shaving Foam vs Shaving Gel

We have explained the main differences between shaving cream and shaving soap above. However, it is also worth mentioning shaving foams and shaving gels, and why you might consider using those.

  • Shaving Foams - foams instantly produce a light lather, with lots of air and is easy to rinse away
  • Shaving Gels - These have a richer lather than foams, with enhanced lubricants, and improve the shaving glide and better protect the skin.

Ordinary Soap vs Shaving Soap

Ordinary soap is made by mixing oils or fats along with a base known as an alkali. The fats include tallow, coconut oil, palm oil, olive oil and canola. In modern production more man made or synthetic ingredients are used.

Shaving soaps come in two types hard soaps and soft soaps. All of them contain a wide variety of ingredients that may include palm kernel, fatty acids, potassium palmate, sodium palmate, glycerin, water, parfum (fragrance) and sodium chloride to name but a few. As a result the lather made using a shaving soap is much richer and creates a better lather.

Our Summary

We would always recommend shaving cream because it is the best protection for the skin and is more convenient to apply. Creams do the following:

  • They help keep moisture in the beard hairs when you are shaving, and the cream makes the beard hair softer and as such, much easier to cut. It also allows for a more comfortable shave.
  • Shaving cream adds an important layer of protection between your skin and any sharp blade, and that helps reduce razor burn, irritation and redness after the shave.
  • When the shave is finished your skin will be smooth and it will feel refreshed.

Resources Used

Shaving soap alkali - Wikipedia

Ordinary soap - Wikipedia

About the Author

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Thanks for visiting the Shaving Emporium website. This is a shaving website aimed at readers in the UK and Ireland. We are experienced experts and have included lots of information about shaving and grooming, and we have also completed detailed research that helps us write our product reviews. We like to have our information as up to date as possible.

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