This guide is approximately a 3-minute read.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- What a shaving soap is, and why you might want to use one
- The difference between shaving soaps and shaving creams & gels
- How to go about choosing a shaving soap
Let’s do this thing!
How to Choose: Shaving Soaps for Men
Don't write them off as old school. Yes, shaving soaps for men have been around since before your granddad, but they're still one of the best ways to shave.
Modern guys are rediscovering the benefits of the bar lubricants for shaving, leading many brands to now offer them.
This guide to shaving soap will help you weigh your options and teach you how to choose a shaving soap to get the best results from your razor.
Why Shaving Soap?
A shaving soap is a bar soap that is mixed with water to create a lather that you spread over your face with a shaving brush.
Shaving soap has a number of advantages over other types of shaving lubricants:
- With a soap, you can use hot water to create a warm lather that softens the beard more to help you get a closer shave.
- The soaps also provide just the right amount of lather to pamper and protect your complexion without clogging your razor.
- Plus, the shaving brush used to dapple shaving soap exfoliates your skin, leaving it softer and reducing your risk of ingrown hairs and acne blemishes.
An example of a shaving soap is the Whiskey Shaving Puck from Portland General Store:
Shaving Soaps vs. Shaving Creams vs. Shaving Gels
So how does a shaving soap compare to a shaving cream or a gel?
The biggest difference is that you have to lather a shaving soap manually with water and a brush.
A cream comes out of the package already lathered, and gels remain smooth and sleek without creating a lather.
It takes more time and effort to properly lather a shaving soap than it does to massage on a gel or cream, but many guys find that the extra work is worth it.
How to Choose a Shave Soap
To find the best shave soap for your needs, shop by skin type:
Signs That This Is Your Skin Type: Dullness, roughness, flakiness, red patches, a tight feeling after you wash your face, small pore size
For dry skin, it's important to look for a shaving soap with moisturizing ingredients beyond just basic glycerin.
Soaps with shea butter, jojoba oil and other moisturizers will have less of a drying effect on your complexion than a conventional shave soap.
An example would be the Shaving Soap from Brooklyn Grooming:
Signs That This Is Your Skin Type: Stinging or burning when you use skin care products, redness, bumps or rashes, itchy skin
Note: if you have sensitive skin (or aren't sure if you do), please don't test out any grooming products before consulting with your dermatologist or doctor first.
For sensitive skin, choose fragrance-free shave soaps, which are less likely to irritate your complexion.
Products that contain anti-inflammatory ingredients like lavender or aloe can help to reduce redness and swelling following a shave.
Bars that are hypoallergenic will be the safest for your complexion.
Signs That This Is Your Skin Type: Large, visible pores; shiny complexion, frequent acne blemishes
For oily skin, select noncomedogenic glycerin based shaving soaps.
These products will not increase the oil content of your skin or clog your pores.
A shave soap with ingredients like activated charcoal or tea tree oil can help to lessen oiliness to promote clearer skin and decrease that unsightly greasy shine.
Signs That This Is Your Skin Type: If your skin doesn't fall into any of the three categories, you likely have normal type skin
For normal skin, you can choose from a wide variety of shaving soaps.
During the winter months when weather is less humid, you may want to use a moisturizing formula to help prevent dryness.
During the rest of the year, a glycerin-based high quality shaving soap with a fragrance you enjoy will help you get optimal results.