Shaving Soap vs Shaving Cream

barbering shave soap

If you have decided to make the switch from shaving with plastic razors from your local stores to using conventional wet shaving products, that is a great move. And you’ve done your face a huge favour. You’ll start experiencing unmatched benefits including understanding your face more, feeling comfortable during shaving, and getting better results after the shave which can be achieved by using a shaving soap or shaving cream.

In the journey of trying to put together your shaving kit, you’ll meet words like shaving soap and shaving cream. At first, the two might be confusing because they are often used interchangeably but they each have their loyal fans. They perform the same function during a wet shave by softening the hair and lubricating the skin to achieve a safe, smooth, and close shave. If used properly, they protect you from getting razor burns, nicks, and cuts.

Shaving soap vs Shaving cream. Which one is better? It is a long-debated question with wins and losses on both sides. But for a novice shaver, it can be a tough path to walk not knowing what product to choose for a wet shaving experience.

You are in luck today because this article will inform and help you reach a decision on what to use between shaving soap and shaving cream. Let us find out the nitty-gritty that makes these two shaving products similar and different.

Understanding Shaving Soap

Shaving soap has been around for hundreds of years, and most shavers relish it. Most relate well with it because of the period it has been around and the experience it offers during the shaving process. Working with a brush and shaving soap gives a more manly feel compared to using creams. You will get three types of shaving product in the market: triple milled, glycerin soaps, and hybrid shaving soaps. The three perform a little differently.

Triple milled soap: From the name, this soap goes through the milling process three times. Here the manufacturer uses the mill for grinding, heating, and cooling the soap the same way it happens to tallow or vegetable soaps. The end goal is to harden the shaving soap (which comes out harder than the glycerin soaps). The three-time process extracts most of the water in the soap, adds colour, and scent. This soap lasts longer than most.

Glycerin soap: As you might guess, the word suggests this soap contains glycerin, a component of oil or fat. Opposed to the triple milled soaps that don’t contain water, this soap is water in part. Most of these soaps are clear owing to the molecular alignment within them. They are also packed with a stronger fragrance. Some men don’t use cologne because this soap serves that purpose. However, they do not last long. Because of this, they cost less.

Hybrid shaving soaps: There are some manufacturers that create shaving soaps with properties and ingredients between the triple milled soaps and glycerin soaps. Therefore, they possess the characteristics from both ends to make their unique blend.

shaving soap and shaving brush

The Benefits

If you decide to use shaving soap, you’ll experience a more fluffy lather that is stiffer. This result provides a better cushion for your face against the razor. With shave soap lather, you’ll notice a slicker activity which will enable you to shave more easily and faster.

Besides the easier and faster shaving experience, shaving soaps give you more control from the beginning to the end. You are in charge of how much you need when it comes to the aeration, thickness, and volume. But this means you need some experience over time to determine what really works for your skin and how to reach the precise lather during the shaving action. You will have to try several soaps in the market and determine which one is your fit, and learn using it to create lather that works for you. Once you have mastered the skill, you’ll understand why seasoned shavers cannot give up shaving soap for anything.

With shaving soap, you spend less money over time. If you get shaving soap and someone else buys the same quantity of shaving cream, your soap will last longer because it is a condensed solid. If you get a triple milled soap, they last even longer. On the other hand, the cream is an aerated substance that is whipped already which the user will finish faster. By the end of the day, the soap alternative saves you cash.

The satisfaction that comes by using shaving soap is worth mentioning as a benefit. From sticking the soap on the bowl, swirling your badger brush, to applying the lather on your face, the process can be more therapeutic than squeezing cream from a tub.

The Downfalls

Shaving soap provides a steeper learning curve for beginner shavers. You have to build the lather from scratch and because soap textures vary from manufacturer to the next, mastering the art of working up lather will take quite some time.

Understanding Shaving Creams

Shaving creams are aerated soaps, emulsified with water, and pre-whipped into a lather before being packed into a can, bottle, or tub. What the shaver needs to do is squirt the lather from the container and apply it to their face, and they are good to go. With little time that most people have in the mornings, creams provide a quicker solution for shavers. Because of this convenience, many wet shaving connoisseurs prefer the shaving cream. You also get better protection using creams in comparison to soaps. Basically, you’ll run into three types of shaving creams.

Traditional / Conventional shaving cream: These creams contain high levels of potassium hydroxide which makes them more soluble in water that gives them the ability to be and remain in cream form. The good quality ones contain organic ingredients like aloe vera, natural oils, shea butter among others. These contents are nutritious to your skin and add vitamins as well. They are pre-lathered. If you decide to use creams as your lathering product, use more traditional variations of shaving creams

Pressured shaving cream: Because of the time it appeared in the shaving market (the 1950s), the pressurised shaving cream was pressurised in aerosol cans. They provide convenience, and that is why many people still purchase them. But they cause waste and can cause harm to your skin. They are known to contain cheap, harmful, and questionable ingredients. Some of the effects include dryness of the skin, breakouts, razor burns among others. Therefore, we do not recommend them.

Shaving gels: These ones also provide convenience and are well known because of the flashy marketing campaigns out there. Most experienced wet shavers avoid using them, but their convenience is sometimes tempting.

When you go out shopping for shaving creams, try to opt for those with more natural ingredients.

shaving brush being applied by a shaving brush

The Benefits

Shaving creams offer an instant lather, all you need is to get it out of the bottle and start applying it to the face.

For novice shavers, shaving creams are the easiest product to master. You won’t need to try over and over before you can master the skill. Even though ingredients might vary from one manufacturer to the next, the process remains to be the same.

Shaving soaps are relatively cheap – whether can or tub creams. With a dollar or two, you can access them at the pharmacist or drug shop. So, if you are working with a small budget, they are a great option. Take note that we don’t recommend using canned shaving products.

The Downsides

Shaving creams are costly considering that a quality shaving cream tub of the same quantity and quality as a shaving soap will be a few bucks more expensive. They also get finished quickly requiring frequent replacement in comparison with the soaps.

Shaving Soap or Shaving Cream; Which One is Better?

So far, I hope you’ve got the understanding of the difference between shaving soaps and creams. If you buy quality shaving products, the results will usually be roughly the same, if not identical. If you are a first timer to wet shaving though, it would be better if you wet your feet by trying the two options. One at a time, you’ll find what matches your lifestyle and taste.

Remember that creams will be easier to use if you are starting out. But once you have the mastery of the shaving art, you might love the soap alternative. However, convenience and experience are not the only things you should compare. Check out the fragrances and your budget as well. Some shavers buy both the cream and soap so that they can use the cream when in a hurry, and the soap when they have more time to shave. Whichever option you go with, try to avoid the canned creams.

Share your ideas and experience in the comment section below, or ask a question in case you are still struggling to find the best shaving product. Happy shaving!

shaving foam being applied on a man

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