With many men taking a much more active interest in their grooming routines, and indulging a bit more in small acts of self-care, we’re paying more attention to the products we use to shave than ever before. A great shave can be uplifting, refreshing and confidence-boosting, and it makes sense that we want products which help us reap those benefits.
It can get confusing though, looking at all of the different product names and bottles. They all have a similar core function; they lubricate your skin so that your razor can slide easily over it. But how can you tell which product is right for you? Well the truth is you won’t really know until you try, but it’s important to start with the basics so you know what to look out for.
Shaving soap is the most traditional of these shaving products, so it often appeals to those of us with a certain vintage flair! It usually comes in a solid form, often in a small bowl or dish, and is applied using a shaving brush. You use the brush to whip the soap up into a lather and apply it to your face in a thick, creamy layer before you shave.
A good shaving soap will never be drying, and will leave your skin feeling brightened and refreshed. However, it is usually slightly less moisturising than a shaving cream or gel, so it is usually best suited to oily or normal skin types. Complete your shave with a vintage style cut throat or double edge razor for a really classic feel.
Shaving cream, unsurprisingly, tends to have the creamiest and richest texture when compared to other shaving products. It’s extremely moisturising and leaves your skin feeling soft and hydrated. Shaving creams are generally suitable for any skin type, but are especially beneficial for those of us who experience more sensitivity and dryness. We also have a helpful guide on shaving creams for sensitive skin.
Look out for shaving creams which have quality natural ingredients which benefit dry and delicate skin, such as aloe vera, shea butter and Vitamin E. These can help to prevent your skin becoming irritated while you shave, and leave it soothed and soft. Many shaving creams, such as Wilkinson Sword’s Hydro 5 Sense Hydrate Shave Cream, are specially formulated for sensitive skin.
Shaving gels are less foamy and produce less of a lather than shaving soap and are slightly slicker and more lubricating than shaving cream. This means your razor will slide beautifully over your skin and avoid any nicks, cuts or irritation. They often also have the advantage of being clear, meaning that you can see exactly what you're doing and allowing you to get those clean, sharp edges.
In some cases, gels may be built into other shaving products. For example, the Wilkinson Sword Hydro range includes a number of razors which feature gel pools which release shaving gel to create a protective lubricating layer over the skin while you shave. Shaving gels can be a great option for those of us particularly keen on avoiding the impact a harsh shave can have on sensitive skin, but might not be as rich and moisturising as a shaving cream.
If you're not too keen on shaving creams, check out our guide on shaving cream alternatives.