With so many brands and types, it is easy to question exactly what does shaving cream do. Especially when a hundred years ago all people used to shave with was soap – which is still common and perfectly good today.
Nevertheless what are the benefits of shaving cream and what makes the best shaving cream? Today it is easy to ignore since so many cartridge razors now come with lubrication built in – although this isn’t meant to be used purely on its own and tends to result in a poor shave anyway. We recommend traditional safety razors as a more sustainable, effective and economical alternative.
The primary purpose of shaving cream is lubrication so your razor can glide smoothly across the skin without cutting it. Another function is to lift up the bristles more in order to cut them better. Many also include extracts to help with inflammation and to reduce the chance of shaving rash.
You can also see exactly where you have shaved and keep track – and then re-lather for multiple passes to get an extra close shave. It is this ability to see where you have shaved that means many people prefer it to shave butter and oils which are transparent.
Shaving cream is very much a generalisation of a range of alternative products like shave butter, shaving oil and shaving soap. Today we’re used to seeing it as a foam in a pressurized container. This is largely a matter of convenience as shaving soap requires lots of preparation with hot water and a shaving brush – preferably in a shaving bowl or shaving mug.
However, while foam is quick and easy it does not compare to the luxury of traditional soaps as it tends to be thick and uneven. Shaving soap on the other hand, despite the preparation required, is massaged evenly onto the skin with a shaving brush. This helps lift the bristles and exfoliates the skin underneath, making it an essential piece of safety razor kit.