Are Pre-Shave Oils Worth the Hype?

pre shave oil dropper

When it comes to grooming, there are a plethora of products in the market that promise great results. From creams, gels, lotions, splashes, soaps, colognes, to oils, the list is endless. With so many grooming products out there, it might be difficult to know what really works and what you can do without.

As you can see, shaving oils are just among the many other products you can use during the shaving process. They have been in circulation for many years, predating most of the other shaving products in the market. In earlier years, they were only applied solely as lubricants during the shaving process, but now, they contain ingredients that serve more purposes on the skin.

The coining of the term ‘pre-shave oil’ came about in the recent past and is used often in today’s boutique world. If you asked men who have tried it out, they will provide you with varied answers about its value. Some people will swear that they would rather use something else than pre-shave oil, while others would never undergo the shaving routine without it.

With so many comments and reviews, pro and against pre-shave oils, you might be left wondering if they are worth the hype or not. The best way to find out its value is to buy a bottle and actually use it in your shaving routine to see its benefits and downfalls on your own skin. By the end of this piece, you will at least have a better idea of whether pre-shave oils are worth your time and money or not. Read on.

shaving oils on a bathroom sink

What is in a Pre-Shave Oil?

A typical bottle of pre-shave oils will include essential oils, carrier oils, and vitamin oils.

Carrier Oils: These are the most well-known pre-shave oil ingredients as they are in other common skin-care products we use – like soaps and shampoo. The common carrier oils in most shaving oils are castor and grapeseed. They are natural and are safe to use on most skin types and perform the lubrication role.

If you are sensitive to skincare products, ensure you try your pre-shave oil on part of your skin first to be sure it doesn’t cause reactions. The carrier oils are also without scent, making them a great choice for most people who want to smell natural after the shave.

Essential Oils: These are also very important to the skin. The problem is that there are hundreds of essential oils, and manufacturers include different ones in their pre-shave oil according to their consumer’s needs. You will find essential oils like citruses and tea tree oil, to name a couple. So, before you make a purchase, have a quick search for the benefits of specific essential oil, and see if it will benefit you.

Some of the things to consider are their smell, healing properties, and potential reaction to your skin. Do a patch test on your body to find out if there are chances of an adverse reaction, especially if you have allergies. If you are new to buying essential oils, the rule of thumb is to avoid those that come from citruses like lemon and oranges as they can be irritating.

Vitamin Oils: In addition to the benefits you’ll get from carrier oils and essential oils, you can find pre-shave oils with vitamin oil in them. Vitamin E maintains your skin smoothness long after you are finished shaving.

Fragrances: There are manufacturers that go a little further to include various fragrances in their pre-shave oils. Some people prefer scented shaving oils, but others who have sensitive skin would rather use the scentless alternatives.

Must I Use Pre-Shave Oils?

No. You don’t have to use pre-shave oils the same way you do not need to shave with a razor – a kitchen knife can be a substitute. I mean, it is not a must to use what you normally use when you want to shave. There are other alternatives, but the results are different as well. If you are fine with the way you are shaving and feel alright after the shave, then you don’t need shaving oils.

However, if you want to have a better experience while shaving, and avoid some of the inconveniences after the shave, you should try it out. Using pre-shave oil comes with a number of benefits for your skin, and it makes your shaving process comfortable during and after the exercise.

How to Use Pre-Shave Oils

Start with cleaning your face the normal way by removing dirt, oils, and dead skin. Use soap if you need to. Use a towel to rinse your skin leaving it moist. Then take your shaving oil and squeeze about four drops on your damp hands.

Rub your palms gently together and apply them to the areas that need shaving. Cover the area for about a minute to be sure the oil is in touch with the skin. You can then go ahead and apply your cream, shaving soap, or any other substance you use for your normal shaving. While you shave, you will notice clogging on the razor. Just rinse the shaver regularly to avoid this minor inconvenience.

There is no razor design that is specific for shaving oils and so, you will have to bear with this challenge. A double edge safety razor is a great choice for a close shave.

Once you are satisfied that you have cut the hair you need off, go ahead and wash your face or head with cold water to shrink the pores on your skin. Then lather with two to three drops of pre-shave oil (or aftershave or lotion of your choice) to maintain the hydration of the skin. This process will leave you with a smooth face without scratches, burns, or cuts.

shaving oil in a mans hand

Why Use Pre-shave Oils?

Pre-shave oils are meant for hydrating your hairs and moisturising your skin. When you use them, you protect your skin during the shave, and the hair cutting process becomes smoother even when you do it closer to the skin. All you need to do is apply it before you use shaving cream or soap. In addition, you can use pre-shave oil after you are finished. Most manufacturers endorse this fact and indicate it on the product bottles.

This product comes in small packages because just a few drops are enough for a clean shave. Of course, the effectiveness will depend on the ingredients the manufacturer uses and how they go about preparing it. Some of the benefits you will encounter while using pre-shave oils include:

It is a Natural Alternative

Using chemical-laden products for your shaving routine is not safe. Apart from exposing your skin to unhealthy reactions, it can deteriorate the skin, allowing chemicals in that cause dehydration and ageing. Pre-shave oils come from organic oils, which are safe to your skin and the rest of your body. Therefore, they are the alternative you need to avoid the hazards that result from synthetic products.

Skin Hydration During Shaves

As mentioned before, using pre-shave oils enables you to get a smoother shave. There won’t be as many fine lines and wrinkles will be minimal. The organic oils in the pre-shave will lock in the moisture you need to help in skin hydration, which will result in less irritation after you are through.

Reduce Ingrown Hair

Most men don’t realise that you can prevent ingrown hairs by having a good shaving routine, Meaning, you’ll need to include in pre-shave oil in your shaving supplies and use it correctly. With a good pre-shave oil, you won’t experience nearly as many bumps or irritation after a shave. You won’t experience uncomfortable cuts to the skin either.

Protects Against Itch, Cuts, Burns, and Redness

The itching, burning, and redness you experience after shaving will be dramatically reduced when you start using pre-shave oils. They help to protect your skin during shaving, which means there are no scratches by the razor, redness, or itch later. The shaving process is easier and it prevents you from cutting yourself.


shaving oil getting ready to be applied

Buy with Caution

You need to be cautious though, during your pre-shave oil purchase. It is common for manufacturers to make use of botanical names in the ingredient section instead of the generic names. This naming is a marketing strategy to make them sound high-end. A quick search on Google will reveal what they really contain if you’re unsure.

However, you should not confuse these names with chemical ingredients that some manufacturers use. If you spot such synthetic pre-shave contents, avoid buying them all together. They usually absorb into your skin and can possibly be the cause of skin irritation.

Just like in any other market, there are fake products. If the ingredients you spot on the bottle are not available online or lack the value you are seeking, it’s better to bypass them for others with contents you can find easily and understand.

Alcohol contents in a pre-shave oil are not good for maintaining skin hydration. While you expect your pre-shave to moisten your skin, alcohol will sap the moisture instead.

Does Shaving Oil Replace Shaving Cream?

Pre-shave oil is not a replacement of shaving cream. In fact, they are meant to complement each other for an additional layer of comfort. Just apply the oil and then add the cream, and shave. But it is also possible to use either of them so long as you are comfortable during and after the shave.

The key is in determining what the ingredients are and the quality of the product. Shaving oil with natural ingredients is obviously better than a can of cream stuffed with synthetic ingredients. The vice versa is also true. Some high-end shaving creams out there offers a great shaving experience and contains natural oils that have positive effects on your skin long after a shave.

DIY Shave Oil

Some seasoned pre-shave oil users have taken to blending their own custom oil based on their skin types. If you’re considering trying this out, opt for a simple blend first. For example, mix carrier oils like jojoba or castor with essential oil whose fragrance appeals to you in the ratio of 2:1. Olive oil can work as an essential oil, but be mindful that the scent might not be great. When you finish mixing, this mixture is ready for use. If you want more benefits to your skin, drop in Vitamin A and E. You are done!

You can then take your pre-shave oil and store it in a bottle. To maintain the benefits and its effects, store it in a cool dry place.

Of course, you will need to have the ingredients at home. Buying them will be in large quantities but will also be useful for other purposes at home.

Ultimately, a combination of various oils results in a shaving oil that has unique benefits for your skin. Most of them (except synthetic ones) will provide you with a smooth experience during shaving, but the smell will vary depending on the essential oils in use and the fragrance application as well.

shaving oils being poured in a glass


Are Pre-Shave Oils Worth the Hype?

To answer this question, we need to compare the pros and cons that pre-shave oils offer. Honestly, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages by far. If you use it right, there is no argument that it moisturises, makes shaving smoother, protects the skin from scratches, and reduces itching after the shave and many other benefits. The only disadvantage is clogging on the razor which you can deal with as you shave. Use the pre-shave oil on its own or combine it with other shaving products for extra comfort.

The best way to find out if you like pre-shave oils or not, is to personally try them. You will realise that it is a great way to protect and take care of your skin. It does not just protect you while you shave but will help you for a long time afterward.

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