Shaving Cream Alternatives: What Can You Use Instead?

For many of us, shaving cream is a staple product on our shopping list or in our toiletries cupboards. We love how soft and fresh our skin feels after we’ve finished using it. But what do you do when you go to shave, but realise you’re out of shaving cream? Does this mean you have to forego your shave and go out into the world with itchy, overgrown stubble? Or are there alternatives you can try so that you can stay clean shaven even when your favourite shaving cream isn’t in stock.

Why do we use shaving cream?

Using a shaving cream has become a mainstay of shaving routines all over the world. Shaving creams, or alternatives like shaving soaps, gels or foams, serve an important purpose. They provide lubrication and protection for your skin when you slather them on before you shave. Your razor slides over the slippery product, and causes you far less irritation, leaving your skin smooth and free of bumps, cuts and red patches.

Many shaving creams and similar products have other benefits as well; some are specially formulated to moisturise skin which might otherwise be left feeling dry and uncomfortable after a shave. These products also help to soften hairs, making them easier for your razor to slice through and allowing you to get a closer shave. There are also plenty of shaving creams for sensitive skin.

Can I shave without shaving cream?

The short answer to this question is that you could shave without shaving cream if you really needed to, but it probably isn’t a very good idea. Not using any kind of lubricating substance aside from water means that you’re basically just dragging a blade over your skin with nothing to protect it or ease the way. The risk of causing nicks, cuts and razor burn is much higher if you don’t use a shaving cream. And if you use a safety razor, check out our guide on the best shaving creams to use with a safety razor

Of course, if you have an electric shaver, shaving without any added help from a shaving cream, gel or soap is easy. So if you’re set on a dry shave and don’t like using lots of foamy lather to shave, electric is the way you might want to go!

What can I use instead of shaving cream?

If you find yourself scrabbling around without any shaving cream to be found, thankfully there are a few alternative solutions using products you might have lying around. They’ll work in a pinch to save you from a rough and painful dry shave.


A normal hair conditioner is a readily available alternative to shaving cream, which softens the hair on your face just as it does the hair on your head, making it easier for your razor to cut through. Plus, the slippery texture of a conditioner enables your razor to slide easily over the skin.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is a particularly good option for anyone who is prone to getting razor burn after they shave, because it has excellent anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. The oil provides good lubrication for your razor, but has a light texture, so it won’t leave your skin feeling greasy.

Body lotion

It’s good for moisturising your body, and it’s not bad for shaving with either. Useful for preventing redness and hydrating the skin, the thicker texture of lotion makes it a pretty good substitute for shaving cream and leaves your skin feeling soft and soothed.

Aloe vera gel

Many of us keep aloe vera gel around, particularly in the summer, to treat sunburn. Fewer people know that it also makes a pretty good alternative to a shaving gel or cream. Many shaving products contain aloe vera for its soothing and moisturising properties, and using the real thing is also a solid option.