Shaving soap

If you’re like most guys, you grew up learning to wet shave with shaving cream. However, by the time you graduated from high school, you probably saw at least one of your buddies using shaving soap. If you weren’t curious about it then, you should be now. Shaving soap is your ticket to a clean, smooth shave.

Believe it or not, shaving soap is probably the only real soap in your house. Unless your soap is hand made by a real soap maker, it’s a good bet the substances you use to wash your body and shave your face are, in fact, not soap. Allow me to explain.

Is your soap actually soap?

How much soap do you think is in your house? Chances are, none. That’s because most products perceived to be soaps are actually detergents. And it’s not a matter of semantics – there is a chemical difference between soap and detergent.

Detergent vs. soap: what’s the difference?

In daily conversation, the word “soap” has become synonymous with anything designed to clean a person or object. However, soap has a legal definition according to the FDA, and detergents don’t meet that definition. True soap is made from natural ingredients like glycerin, essential oils, clay, fats, oats, honey, and milk. Detergents are synthetic and made from chemicals, mainly petroleum.

Real soap retains the moisture in your skin thanks to the glycerin. Synthetic, petroleum-based detergents, including commercial shaving creams, dry out your skin by stripping away oils.

You should be shaving your face with real, pure soap – not a synthetic detergent.

Why is detergent mistaken for soap?

Most people don’t differentiate between soap and detergent because they didn’t grow up with a soap maker in the family. For instance, kids are constantly reminded by parents and teachers to wash their hands with soap after getting dirty or using the restroom. What they’re washing with, however, isn’t soap.

Although “soap” has a legal definition, the FDA allows manufacturers to use the word “soap” on the label even when the product is full of synthetic chemicals, or is actually classified as a drug (like acne treatment). Thanks to this leniency for labels, you might be unknowingly washing your body with detergent.

Shaving soap will get you a close, clean shave

While detergents aren’t good for shaving, it’s not because they strip away oils. To get a close shave, you want to remove the oils from your face and hair. Removing the oils allows water to penetrate your hair more thoroughly, softening the hair and making it easier to cut. However, you don’t need to use a detergent to accomplish this. A high-quality bar of shaving soap will gently remove oils while you shave, and remoisturize your face by the time you’re done shaving.

Retaining moisture is critical for shaving. Shaving soap made with glycerin will trap the most amount of moisture while you’re lathering up. Trapping moisture is the key to achieving a good amount of cushion to get a smooth shave.

A detergent won’t remoisturize your face. Worse, detergents contain toxic chemicals like triethanolamine (TEA) and Isopentane – ingredients linked with hormone disruption, cancer, dizziness, headaches, and throat irritation. No thanks!

Allergic to certain soaps? Maybe not…

After using detergents regularly, many people end up with dry skin and rashes, and mistakenly believe they’re allergic to the “soaps” they’re using. In reality, they’re allergic to the synthetic chemicals in the detergent they’ve mistaken for soap.

Shaving cream is a huge source of skin irritation that gets mistaken for an allergy. Corporations want you to believe you just have sensitive skin or you’re experiencing razor rash. Razor rash is real, but it’s not always what’s going on.

Many guys report having no symptoms of razor rash after switching to a straight razor or safety razor, and assume the razor made all the difference. While straight and safety razors won’t tear up your face like disposable and multi-blade razors, the other factor to consider is the soap. Guys who switch to straight and safety razors also tend to also switch from shaving cream to shaving soap. It seems like a mortal sin to use shaving cream when shaving with a straight razor.

Switching to shaving soap eliminates skin problems for many guys because it doesn’t contain harsh, drying chemicals. Instead, it contains ingredients that leave your face moisturized at the end of your shave like aloe, shea butter, and coconut milk.

It’s time to say goodbye to shaving cream

Shaving cream has been on the market since the 1940s. it’s popular because it takes zero effort to create enough cushion for a good shave. Just a few swirls of your brush and you’re good to go. Unfortunately, that convenience comes at a price.

To get a phenomenal, comfortable shave, you need to ditch the shaving cream and start using shaving soap. All you need is your soap, a brush, and a scuttle (bowl). To get started, run your shaving brush under the water for about a minute to fully saturate the bristles. Shake the brush out lightly, so most of the water remains in the brush. Using a circular motion, transfer a bit of soap to the brush.

With a little bit of soap on your brush, Tools of Men explains how easy it is to work up a lather:

“Once you have a rich thick clumping of soap at the bottom of your brush, you will want o then transfer the brush to a scuttle. Again, you will want to move the brush in a circular motion to build up a rich lather.”

Shaving soap is designed to get a good lather

Shaving soap isn’t like regular soap. If you’ve ever tried to wet shave with bar soap, you know it never turns out well. No matter how much lather you create, it’s always a rough shave. Shaving soap is different. Shaving soap is specially formulated with a high level of solid oils to create a thicker lather and slip for an easy glide over your skin. The trick is having the patience to learn how to create a rich, thick lather.

Upgrade your shaving routine to high-class

Lathering a puck of shaving soap with a shaving brush is classier than shaking up a can full of toxic, neon gel. Be sophisticated. Shave with the kind of tools your grandfather shaved with. 

Engage the learning curve and take pride in your appearance. When you’re done shaving, you might want to put on some slacks instead of those skinny jeans.

You don’t need to use a straight razor if you’re not ready to go all-in, but at least try using a safety razor. Stop using detergent and other toxic chemicals on your face. Embrace and master the kind of shave your grandfather would be proud of.

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