Shaving cream. Shaving soap. What is the difference? Is there a difference? Which one should you use for wet shaving?

These are all common questions that many avid wet shavers ask.

Shaving cream and shaving soap are both used to help soften hair and lubricate the skin in order to get a smooth, safe, and close shave, reducing the risks of nicks, cuts, and razor burn.

So, is one better than the other? First, let’s look at the primary differences between shaving cream and shaving soap.

Shaving Cream and Shaving Soap: What is the Difference?

Shaving Cream

Let’s first start with the more familiar and popular product: shaving cream. And we aren’t talking about the cheap aerosol can of shaving cream; we are talking about traditional shaving cream.

Sure, it might be a cheap product to use for shaving, but canned shaving cream can often do more harm than good for your skin. Canned shaving cream is infamous for containing potentially harmful, cheap, and questionable ingredients. These ingredients can dry out skin, cause breakouts, and even worsen razor burn.

On the other hand, traditional and high-quality shaving creams contain natural and more beneficial ingredients, such as natural oils, aloe vera, and even shea butter. These ingredients contain vitamins and nutrients that help moisturize and soothe skin. Higher-quality shaving creams typically come in a tube or a tub.

Shaving Soap

Once you dive into the world of shaving soaps, you will discover that there are multiple types available. For example, there are triple-milled soaps, semi-hard soaps, and “croaps”. “Croaps” are essentially a blend of a cream and soap.

The primary differences between the different types of shaving soaps are consistency (and price). Some wet shavers prefer a thicker consistently over a thinner consistency. This really comes down to personal shaving preferences—and budget. You might have to experiment with different types of shaving soaps in order to find the best option that works for you.

Triple-milled shaving soaps are often the more expensive type. This is because they are seen as a “luxury” shaving soap since they produce a dense lather.

The Pros and Cons of Shaving Soaps and Shaving Creams

Now, that you have a better understanding of the differences between shaving creams and shaving soaps, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each:

Shaving Cream

Pros:

  • Quick Lather. Many wet shavers prefer to use a shaving cream because it produces a quick lather. And with little time in the morning to spend on shaving, the convenience factor typically outwins a better shave.

Cons:

  • Most shaving creams are relatively cheap. Canned shaving cream can be found at any pharmacy or drug store for $1-$2. Again, we don’t recommend using canned shaving cream under any circumstances; however, even tubed shaving cream is a fairly cost-effective product.This could be considered a pro and a con depending on your shaving needs and budget.

Shaving Soap

Pros:

  • No Scent. One possible advantage to using a shaving soap over shaving cream is the lingering scent. There are more shaving soaps that are offered in unscented varieties. However, if you enjoy that nice scent that comes from using a quality shaving soap, then you can choose a scented shaving soap.

    Again, this could be considered a pro and a con depending on your shaving preferences. If you prefer to go the “no-scent” route, there are fragrance-free shaving soaps available. If you prefer that lingering scent, you can also opt to use a scented shaving soap or even a scented aftershave.

Cons:

  • Difficult Lather. As we mentioned above, shaving cream is easier to work up a lather, mostly because the lather is already there. Because the texture and consistency of shaving soap are a little different, it can take a little longer—and a fair amount of practice, technique, and skill—to work up a sufficient lather.

If after some experimentation, you find that you are struggling with both shaving cream and shaving soap, and are at the point of frustration, the issue may not be you or a lack of skill, it could be your water.

Hard water can have an impact on working up a sufficient lather, especially if you use a shaving soap. “Hard” water is basically water that has high mineral content. Hard water also tends to dry out the skin more than “soft” water.

If you know for a fact that you have hard water, try shaving with distilled water and see if you have any luck working up a lather while using a shaving soap.

Shaving Cream vs. Shaving Soap: Which is Better For Your Shave?

Now that you have a clear understanding of the differences between shaving soap and shaving cream, which one will provide you with a better shave?

As we have outlined above, both shaving creams and shaving soaps have their advantages and disadvantages. Both are great for lubricating and protecting your skin while using a razor. However, depending on your skill level and water, working up a lather may be easier or more difficult when using one over the other.

All in all, regardless of which option you choose, just about any option is better than canned shaving cream.

The right choice for you really comes down to personal shaving preferences, technique, and budget.

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