Shaving Soap Vs. Shaving Cream: What's The Difference?

If you’re deciding to up your shaving game, you may be wondering what the difference is between drug store shaving creams and traditional shaving soaps.

To explain that, let’s break down the 4 important components of shaving soap & shaving cream: consistency, lather, ingredients, and how long it lasts.

Shaving Creams:

With canned shaving creams, convenience is king. You just spray, lather, shave, and go. This may seem ideal, but when you compare apples-to-apples, you may start to see the disadvantages of shaving creams.

  • Consistency: The consistency of a shaving cream is softer than that of a shaving soap. This is because they often contain more water and have a thinner lather. Qualities like protection & glide will vary from brand to brand, meaning you may waste countless dollars trying to find a consistency you like.
  • Lather: While shaving creams do not require much elbow grease to lather, they also do not allow for any control over the lather. Since they often come in aerosol cans, they come out with a “whipped” consistency - meaning you don’t have to add much water (or do much whipping) to achieve it. And, you have little-to-no control over whether your lather is thicker or thinner, so what you see is what you get.
  • Ingredients: Mass market shaving creams often contain harsh chemical ingredients that irritate & provide less protection for the skin. Some of these ingredients include:
    • Emulsifiers like Triethanolamine (TEA), diethanolamine (DEA) and monoethanolamine (MEA). These keep water and oil from separating.
    • Cheap fragrances that are one of the most common allergens & often lead to skin irritation.
  • How long it lasts: Even though you only need a dime sized amount of cream to get a good lather, a can of shaving cream will not last as long as a jar of shaving soap. In an average year, you might purchase 12 cans of shaving cream (and those costs can add up quickly).

Shaving Soaps:

Shaving soaps have been around for over a century, but faded out of popularity when mass-market products became available. The difference in shaving soaps & shaving creams is a difference you can feel both during and after your shave.

  • Consistency: Shaving soaps are often set firm or hard, so they require more elbow grease to build a lather. Since the correct water-to-soap ratio can take a little time to master, shaving soaps are best for those with a little more wet shaving experience. However, the experience and benefits make it worth the effort. The slickness & glide of shaving soap are unparalleled, and it leaves you with smooth, supple skin.
  • Lather: Shaving soaps typically require a brush to get a great lather. But, after working with the soap for a few moments, you’ll be rewarded with a rich, luxurious, stable lather that you won’t find with regular drug store products.
  • Ingredients: Shaving soaps have a number of natural ingredients that nourish the skin and protect it from irritation.
    • Shaving soap differs from regular soap because it includes potassium and sodium salts with a high stearic fat/oil acid content. Stearic acid creates the stable lather, slickness, and softening qualities that are necessary in a shave soap. Some of the most common high stearic fatty acid content oils are castor oil, palm oil, and coconut oil. When mixed with fats/oils, potassium hydroxide causes a chemical reaction called saponification (resulting in soap).
    • Tallow-based soaps are the most traditional form of shaving soap. Tallow is a hard, fatty substance derived from animals. They provide outstanding cushion and glide for the razor and leave the skin feeling moisturised and nourished after the shave. Given their artisan status, they often feature the most complex scent profiles.
  • How long it lasts: In an average year using shaving soap, you might purchase 4 jars total (compared to the 12 you’d have to purchase with shaving cream).

What’s the difference in cost?

The average 7 ounce bottle of shaving cream costs about $6. A 5 ounce jar of shaving soap will cost about $22. Now, I know what you’re thinking - with shaving soap, it looks like you’re getting less for more, right? With the first purchase, yes, but that can of shaving cream is going to run out MUCH faster than the jar of shaving soap. This leads you to have to purchase about 11 or more refills of shaving cream per year versus only 3 refills of shaving soap! You can see our full cost analysis on mass market shaving products versus traditional shaving products in this blog.

How do I find recommended shave soaps?

Do your research. Read reviews on brands that shaving connoisseurs have put to the test. Browse reputable products that are going to give you the best shave experience. Our shaving soap is top of the food chain and will perform during your shaving ritual as well as hours afterward. Our shaving soap has had years of experience and formulations to bring to market for you. Our formula is made with expertise and care with your skin health as our main concern. Browse our collection of shaving soaps now - your skin will thank you!

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