How to apply shaving cream: our ultimate guide
A humble can of shaving cream is a pretty nifty invention. Use it to glide your razor across your skin. Alternatively, TikTok demonstrates that it can be used for a multitude of things other than removing hair (from face wash to sunburn soother to cleaning upholstery…really). But there is no doubt that shaving cream is an all-round bathroom cabinet hero, with a multi-benefit composition to help you get a closer shave, protect against irritation and moisturise.
What is shaving cream?
So what’s the secret — what exactly is shaving cream? Shaving cream – such as our Barber’s Style shave cream – cushions your skin against cuts, nicks and razor burn, softening the hairs and gently gliding the razor over your skin. Most shaving creams use the same basic formula which includes: stearic acid, glycerin and water. Stearic acid creates the rich lather, while glycerin lubricates so the blade glides easily. And the best shaving creams have high-quality ingredients to protect and moisturise your skin, such as aloe vera and vitamin E.
When should shaving cream be used?
It’s easy to think that you can just apply shaving cream directly to your skin as the first step, but it needs a less gung ho approach. Apply the shaving cream to wet skin, after you’ve washed dirt and grease away. Make sure to cover the areas you’re shaving, such as the chin, cheeks, neck and above your lip. The creamy consistency and moisturising ingredients will protect you skin against nicks and cuts from the razor blade and soften the hair for a smooth shave.
Benefits of using shaving cream
Let’s get down to basics: shaving is all about dragging a sharp blade across your comparatively soft skin. So it’s a relief to know that shaving cream acts as a barrier between the cut-throat blade and the epidermis you’ve become rather attached to. But that’s not all. Shaving cream also:
✔ Provides hydration to skin and hair
✔ Protects skin from burns and cuts
✔ Softens the hair
✔ Enables a smooth shave and finish
✔ Raises and lifts the hair away from the skin for a clean shave (when applied in the opposite direction to hair growth)
Using shaving cream
So now for the action. We’ve written a few steps below and have made them as short as possible.
Step 1: Add the cream to your shaving brush
If your shaving cream comes in a bowl, this makes lathering up easy.
Step 2: Add a drop or two of water (go easy)
You want a smooth consistency — you’ve added too much water if you see bubbles. To get the right balance, add a few drops of water with your fingertips.
Step 3: Cover the skin you’re shaving with the cream
Apply the cream in sections so you don’t miss a spot. Don’t add too much cream or your blade will get clogged and won’t touch the surface of your skin in a clean sweep.
Now you’re ready to get started. But before you start, you need to kick the habit of shaving against the grain. Many believe that this angle gets a closer shave, but no — it will just inflame your hair follicles, leading to razor burn, spots and infection. Not a good look. So start by running your razor in the same direction that your hair grows in, for a smooth shave. Use a handheld mirror to see hard-to-spot areas.
With each stroke down, rinse your razor blade in water to remove the hair. You can do this with the water pressure from a running tap, but to save water, fill a sink of water and simply shake the razor through the water each time to remove any impacted hair and cream.
Applying a hot towel to your face before and during your shave will relax you and encourage good circulation and hair growth. The steam from the towel opens your pores, so don’t forget to splash with cold water afterwards to close the pores and prevent dirt or grease getting in and causing spots.
Once you’ve finished shaving, rinse your face in warm water and again, finish with cold to close your pores up. Then run your fingers over the skin to make sure there are no stray patches of hair. Now for the aftercare — the most relaxing part of the shaving ritual.
Pat your skin dry gently (microfibre towels are extra soft). Then massage in some skin oil or face moisturiser to soothe and keep your skin hydrated.
Finally put some optional aftershave on. If you have sensitive skin it may burn a little (Home Alone style).
Should I use shaving cream with an electric shaver?
Yes — but only if the electric razor has been designed to be used in water, with shaving cream such as our Shave & Style trimmer. Generally, shaving cream is designed for a wet shave using a traditional razor. And remember that with an electric razor, unlike a traditional razor, you’ll shave against the grain.
Types of shaving creams
Shop around and experiment with different types of shaving cream, noting they can come in a can, tube or bowl. Shaving creams can be categorised according to consistency — creams, foams, oils and gels. If you have dry skin, try the rich oils and creams. For oily skin, experiment with a shaving foam: cool and fresh.
Take a look at our range of shaving creams to see what might be best suited to your skin type and lifestyle.
Shaving cream vs. shaving gel vs. shaving foam
Shaving gels create a richer lather than shaving creams or foams (for a more comfortable shave) and can spread across your face easily. Gels are essentially a more concentrated shaving cream: you’ll still need to lather the gel in your hands before spreading it across your face. Gels are a good option for those with sensitive skin (choose a specially formulated gel).
Shaving foams are useful if you don’t have much time. They provide you with a speedy, instant lather and can be applied thickly, yet are easy to wash off.
For many, shaving is a chore that is simply a means to an end. But with the right shaving routine, you can turn it into a ritual that you can look forward to. And that starts by making sure you have the right tools and a first-rate shaving cream to hand — to make the job enjoyable and fuss-free.