According to the doctors we consulted, shaving cream is a product worth investing in your hair removal routine. Shaving cream softens hair, moisturizes skin and improves the way a razor glides over it, a board-certified dermatologist explained Joshua Zeichner, MD. “Shaving is an interaction between the blade, the hair and the skin, so you need to consider all of these factors for a smooth shave,” he said. The cream also creates a “thin barrier” between the razor blade and your skin, which means you’re less likely to deal with unsightly redness and bumps, a board-certified dermatologist added. William HuangMD, of Wake Forest Baptist Health. Shaving cream can also prevent razor burns and the resulting ingrown hairs.
GO AHEAD The best shaving creams
How to buy shaving cream
Sometimes selecting a shaving cream comes down to trial and error, Huang noted — understanding your skin’s needs and reading the ingredient label “can go a long way” to finding your ideal shaving cream.
“I tend to keep it simple – if it’s good for your face, it’s good for your body, but not the other way around,” he said.
Shaving cream is usually formulated with a combination of ingredients that “holds the hairs in position for the razor to cut most effectively,” one dermatologist explained. Adam Mamelak, MD. Ingredients vary from brand to brand, but there are a few that stand out.
Huang personally seeks out moisturizing ingredients that support the skin barrier and reduce inflammation like aloe vera, glycerin, and oatmeal. It also likes antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E. Emollients like lipids and shea butter “restore the skin barrier” while humectants like glycerin and aloe vera “hydrate the skin by attracting water in the skin and strengthening the skin barrier”. board certified dermatologist explained Azadeh ChiraziMD.
If you have sensitive skin or suffer from eczema, opt for a shaving cream that explicitly says the labels for sensitive skin itself, advised Huang, who added that “most major product lines” do shaving creams sensitive skinincluding well-known brands like Gillette, skin time, Edge and Level.
And as with the worst ingredients in shaving cream, perfumes, alcohols, sulfates and glycols top Huang’s list because they can cause skin irritation. Mamelak also advised staying away from perfumes and glycols and added that mineral oil can clog pores.
Shaving creams vs other shaving products
By browsing Shopping readers’ favorite retailers like walmart and Target, it can be confusing to see products that look like shaving creams on store shelves. To familiarize you with the different shaving aid options, we asked doctors about the main differences between shaving creams, shaving gel, shaving foam and shaving powders.
- Shaving foams have a light, airy texture that “provides instant foam” and are easy to rinse out, according to Huang. Shirazi recommended using these “fluffy” foams only for shaving your body because they “don’t offer much lubrication” compared to shaving creams.
- Shaving Gels have a thicker consistency than foams, which means they provide a thicker barrier between your skin and the razor, better lubrication, and “a higher overall degree of protection while shaving,” Huang explained. They also have less alcohol content than shaving foams and allow lather-free application, which is why Shirazi recommended them for grooming facial hair or bikini area.
- Shaving creams are “denser” and create thicker foams. They’re also “easy” to rinse out and “provide a good amount of hydration and lubrication” with ingredients that can easily penetrate your hair follicles, Huang noted. Since shaving creams are thicker and more moisturizing, Shirazi advised using them on sensitive areas like the bikini line.
- Finally, there is shaving powders that turn into dough, like the famous TikTok Magic Shaving Powder, which is a depilatory, meaning it uses chemicals to “break down the hair on the surface of the skin,” according to Shirazi. Since a depilatory is a razor-free hair removal process, you won’t have to worry about razor burn and ingrown hairs, but there is a higher risk of irritation from the chemical ingredients.
The best shaving creams
Before you shave, you’ll need to gather a few accessories to get the smoothest shave possible at home. These include a body scrub to prepare your skin, a pointed Shaver, shaving cream and body lotion to help lock in moisture after shaving, experts advise.
You can find shaving creams and razors for men and women at Amazon, walmart, Target, SVC and Walgreens. You can also order directly from brands such as Billie, Dollar Shave Club, Flamingo and Athena Club. We’ve rounded up MD’s recommended shaving creams that they say are worth ordering.
This shaving gel has an average rating of 4.7 stars from nearly 15,330 reviews on Amazon, as well as recommendations from three doctors. Haung likes to use this Aveeno shave gel on her sensitive skin because it’s fragrance-free and formulated for dry skin – it contains a blend of moisturizers groats,Vitamin E and glycerine. Shirazi said Aveeno’s shaving gel is “awesome” to use on the face and bikini area and is gentle enough for those prone to razor bumps. This “moisturizing” shaving gel is composed of a mixture of aloe vera and Vitamin E and has a “light” scent, according to a board-certified dermatologist Marisa GarshickMD.
This #1 Amazon bestseller has a lotion-like consistency and is “very hydrating,” according to Shirazi. It contains a blend of “calming” ingredients like moisturizers shea oil and Shea Buttermore colloidal oatmeal which can help soothe the skin, according to Garshick. EOS Shea Butter Shaving Cream has an average rating of 4.6 stars from over 18,100 reviews on Amazon.
Mamelak recommended this sandalwood-scented shaving cream because it contains moisturizing agents glycerine and coconut oil. Shirazi called it a “great” option for shaving her face and noted that it “provides a smooth glide” and the smell is “light.” This shaving cream has an average rating of 4.8 stars from nearly 3,120 reviews on Amazon. For a complete grooming set, consider ordering the pre-shave oilafter shave balm, aftershave oil and holder for brush and razor.
Shave gels are generally more drying, so they’re not ideal for dry skin, according to Mamelak. But he recommended this alcohol-free gel for sensitive skin because it contains a blend of soothing ingredients like chamomile, witch Hazel and Vitamin E. This shaving gel has an average rating of 4.7 stars from almost 11,750 reviews on Amazon.
Kiehl’s Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream
On days when you want to feel a cooling sensation while you shave, Mamelak recommended Kiehl’s Shaving Cream – it contains soothing properties menthol and cooling camphor. He also pointed out that the Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream contains moisturizing properties sesame seed oil. It received an average rating of 4.5 stars from nearly 150 reviews on Kiehl’s.
This shaving cream contains Lactic acida popular type of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) known to do “an amazing job of improving overall texture and tone”, dermatologist certified Rita Linker, MD, told us this earlier in our guide to AHAs. It also contains glycerine, which moisturizes the skin and helps the razor glide over the skin, according to Mamelack. Proraso claims its shaving cream is free of mineral oils, artificial colors, silicones and parabens. It received an average rating of 4.7 stars from nearly 5,550 reviews on Amazon.
Both Garshick and Shirazi recommended this shaving cream for sensitive skin because it’s free of fragrances, preservatives, and parabens. “It nourishes the skin, helping to reduce irritation and bumps, minimizing friction between the skin and the razor blade,” Shirazi said. Vanicream Shave Cream has an average rating of 4.2 stars from over 800 reviews on Amazon.
Zeichner recommended this shaving cream because it is made with emollient ingredients — Vitamin E, aloe vera and coconut oil — to help soften the skin. It also contains hyaluronic acid, which Zeichner says will calm inflammation and protect the skin while the razor cuts the hair. It has an average rating of 4.6 stars out of 10 reviews on The Detox Market.