When epilating your face or legs, all you really need is a razor and something to reduce the friction between your soft baby skin and the blade. But if the goal is so simple, why do so many products claim to help you achieve it? (The answer is capitalism.) But it’s true that each of the most popular varieties of shaving products – gels, foams and creams – Is work a little differently. You may be better suited to one than the other, depending on your skin type and shaving skills. Here’s what you should consider the next time you look at a sea of options in the drugstore aisle.
Shaving foam is an undeserved classic
Shaving foam is the stuff your dad probably used and is usually sold by pharmacies in spray cans. Despite its ubiquity, skincare experts generally recommend against its use. As Men’s Health Notes“Shaving foam, despite its fluffy texture, doesn’t offer quite the same level of protective lubricant for your skin” as other alternatives. Bolin Webb agrees, noting that “foams don’t need to be rubbed into your face, but it can actually lead to a more uncomfortable shave because the stubble is less likely to soften”, and ADAM workshops advises that “the air inside the box makes it incredibly difficult for the foam to coat your facial hair and hold it upright…[putting] you run a high risk of razor burn.
The best case that can be made for shaving foam is that in no time it will actually do the job, it’s sold everywhere and it’s usually the cheapest option. (It’s also fun to play with.) But other options are better in many ways.
Shaving gel is ideal for beginners
Shaving gel is a soapier alternative to shaving foam or shaving cream, taking on a thicker texture than either of its alternatives. As a party certainly not totally neutral Gillette says so, the shave gel provides more lubrication which helps the razor glide better and helps protect against nicks and cuts. For this reason, the shaving retailer Kiehls recommended shaving gels for beginners, and works well on your face, legs or other body parts.
A plus: the product applies more transparently than foams, which allows you to shave with more precision. Shaving gel is also a good choice if you have thicker, coarser hair, as you might need the extra protection it provides against harsher shaving.
Shaving cream is the most luxurious
Shaving cream differs from shaving gel in that it not only softens the hair, but conditions the skin in a way that shaving gel will not. As Shaving Advisor Notes, “the shaving cream is made without harsh chemicals like alcohol and is designed to help condition the skin.” The groomers of ADAM Workshops accept, noting that “since shaving cream is thicker and usually contains better ingredients, it is able to penetrate the hair follicles instead of staying there. This will leave your skin naturally hydrated, while helping to prevent debris from clogging your hair follicles. You can apply them with a little water, or be classy and use a shaving brush.
Shaving creams usually come in small tubes, making them the perfect choice if you’re traveling. Creams can be a bit more expensive than gels, but that’s offset by the fact that you won’t need to use as many each time you shave. Overall, shaving creams are the best choice for experienced shavers.