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Shaving Creams vs. Shave Gels

by Zack Evar |  | 2 comments

Because the ultimate shave needs hydration to help with the shaving process, using a product such as shaving cream, gel, or even foam is always recommended. However, even though those three are often considered synonymous with each other, in truth they couldn’t be any more different. So, here are some things you need to know when choosing a shaving product from men's skincare experts!

Why you need them

Many people are unaware of the purpose of using a shaving cream/gel. These shaving products, to various degrees, perform very important tasks in your shaving process. That is because they hydrate and thus soften the beard’s hairs, making them much more manageable to cut through. There are some other as important functions as well, such as protecting and soothing the skin, helping you track your progress, lubrication, etc. Don't forget to hydrate your face with a facial moisturizer and the best facial cleanser for men on the market.

Say no to Shaving Foam

Shaving foam, although conveniently canned and ready to use at the squeeze of a button, is by far the worst of the three choices. This is because it does not only dry out the skin, but it fails at even the most basic tasks such as holding up the hairs for easier removal. Despite its fluffy exterior, the foam does very little in the way of lubrication and it is absorbed rather poorly as well. All the air inside of it does a lot more bad than good. Even though using shaving foam is a thousand times better than not using anything at all, the benefits of creams or gels make these choices superior to can foam.

Shaving Cream vs. Shaving Gels

Even though shave gel seems more like a fad, it does possess some advantages. For one, its biggest selling point is that it is used as is. It's not very time consuming to use since you don’t need to work up to a lather. The gel only needs to be rubbed in the face and you are ready to go. This, however, leaves out some of the perks that the cream lather provides which describes further in the article. Also, the shaving gel itself is much thicker than the creamy lather and can clog the razor, or at least make it more difficult to clean it between strokes.

Some shave gels have other features, like transparency. Transparency can be incredibly helpful for those with sensitive spots on their faces or people who are new to the beard game and are afraid of making mistakes while grooming. Learn how to fix a patchy beard and facial hair trends while using our beard conditioner.

Shaving cream loses in comparison only in the aspect of application time, and although it requires a couple more minutes to apply, it rewards with a much better shave. The shaving brush for one is one of the tools that help it shine. That is because the shaving brush does the actual lathering up much better than your bare hands. It massages the face and exfoliates the skin at the same time, all the while providing a sturdier barrier between the skin and the razor.

Shaving cream is the product that provides the best support during the shaving process. It does not only soften the hairs, but it does an excellent job at lifting them as well. This makes them easier to cut and minimizes hair pulling which not only feels uncomfortable but can cause damage to the skin and the hair follicles on the face. It further helps with lubrication, creating a layer between the razor and the skin which minimizes the risk of skin irritation or cuts. Don't forget the badger hair shaving brush.

The shaving brush, which can’t be used with the foam or gels has its other purposes as well. It creates a rich, warm lather while softening and lifting the hairs off the face. It also generates heat which improves lubrication even further. Applying shaving cream from a brush helps greatly with ingrown hairs since its bristles also have the function of opening up the pores. They also don’t waste any of the cream, which is the case when applying by hand, so they can help you save some money too. Lastly, contrary to popular belief, shaving brushes are quite convenient to use and easy to clean.

Quick overview; Shaving Cream vs. Shaving Gels

  Shaving Cream Shaving Gel Shaving Foam
Hydration Excellent Good


Doesn’t matter.

Never use it if an alternative is available.

Lubrication Excellent Excellent
Skin Protection Excellent Good
Application Time High Low
Skin Care High Medium
Time to Wash Off Low High


To summarize, shaving gels might be preferable to have as a back-up in the case you need a quick shave. The benefits of a good shaving cream are a more comfortable and lubricated shave. The only downside is the lathering time, which significantly goes down as time passes and a more solid shaving routine is established. On a brighter note, using shaving cream with a shave brush can help you save time and money otherwise spent on skin irritation solutions.


Bonus content: How to apply shaving cream from a brush, a step by step guide.

Step 1: Wash your face and leave it slightly wet (after a warm shower for best results).

Step 2: Wet the brush with warm water and shake the excess off.

Step 3: Put a small amount of the cream on the tip of the brush.

Step 4: Slowly work the cream into a lather while brushing your face in a circular motion.

Added tip - You can have an even better experience by creating your lather in a shaving scuttle. This will require slightly more time.

For more shaving tips, take a look at our guide to the perfect shave and our mustache styles.

Comments (2)

  • Don Mason on August 27, 2018

    Excellent. Absolutely loved reading and very helpful at the same time.

  • Christopher Fountain on August 09, 2018

    I’m very much glad to find this article. It’s great :)

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