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5 Different Types of Shaving Cream

Getting a professional barber shave

If you use shaving cream, you’ve probably been using the same type of shaving cream, even the same brand, for as far back as you can remember. Maybe it’s time to try something new. There are actually a lot of different types of shaving cream out there to try and there might be some stuff you never knew about shaving that you always should have known.

What’s Happening With Shaving Cream?

What gives shaving cream its unique texture and feeling? Saponification. This is a natural process that converts fat, oil or lipid into soap. All types of fat are used. Animal fat and vegetable oil, such as coconut, are used to make shaving cream. Formulas made from animal fat often include “tallow” as an ingredient. Scent is commonly added, either from synthetic or natural fragrances.

Shaving cream creates a lather that is lubricating and protective for the skin. There are generally two ways to apply shaving cream to your face: with your fingers or with a brush. Using a brush generates a warm lather that helps to exfoliate the skin and lifts the beard up off the face.

To properly apply lather, you should put it on your skin with your fingers or a brush in circular motions. Create a rich lather by agitating it, rubbing it and creating a foamy consistency. This will further protect your skin because it’s releasing the oils that give shaving cream its texture.

History of Shaving Cream

Shaving cream is a petty modern invention. It took a super smart scientist to invent this interesting material that is not a solid and yet not a liquid, soft and smooth on the skin and yet strong enough to protect the skin from the razor. But shaving itself is much, much older. In fact, it’s at least 5,000 years old.

Ancient Sumerians shaved their beards and even used a type of shaving cream. The combined wood alkali and animal fat, which creates a foamy type of soap. They used sharp flint knives, very carefully, to remove hair from their faces after soaping them up.

Ancient Egyptians also shaved their faces. Facial hair, or lack thereof, has always played a big role in fashion and facial hair trends have changed wildly over the centuries. In many cultures around the ancient world, men were clean-shaven or wore small, stylized beards.

Shaving side of face close up

Men used soap to lather up their skin prior to shaving for thousands of years. Commercially made soaps for shaving became popular in the 1600s. Before this, people mostly used their own recipes for soap. These commercial shaving soaps were sold in bar form and infused with oil.

According to Barbasol, the first shaving cream was designed by MIT professor Frank Shields in 1919. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, famous male celebrities, including actors and athletes, appeared in ads in the “Saturday Evening Post” promoting Barbasol.

Shields was always an innovator. After graduating from MIT, he stayed on and taught chemistry. Later, he created his own company that made vegetable glue. He expanded and started making waterproof glue used in airplanes during WWI. But when he invented Barbasol, he made history.

In the 1940s, everything changed. Canned shaving creams were introduced and they were a miracle. You could suddenly press a button and have shaving cream ready to go in your hand. Barbasol Shaving Cream cans were standard issue for U.S. soldiers during WWII.

Today, shaving cream is everywhere. Most people have used shaving cream at least once. Some people have preferred brands and specific shaving methods that they always use. In fact, some people get so locked into using one type or brand of shaving cream they don’t realize how many other options are available to them.

Types of Shaving Cream

Before you choose to use just one type of shaving cream, get a look at all the options out there and maybe try a few different shaving methods. You may find that you like something else better than standard shaving cream. After all, it’s not the 1940s anymore.


Barbasol Sensitive Skin Thick and Rich Shaving Cream for Men, 10 oz., Pack of 6

Actual shaving cream is usually marketed as traditional shaving cream. This is the soft, semi-foamy stuff that the barber spreads on your face when you get an old-fashioned shave with a straight razor. A small amount of cream is enough to shave your entire face.

Canned shaving cream is the most common type of shaving cream. This stuff shoots out in creamy lather form that’s easy to slap right onto your skin.


Harry's Shave Gel - Shaving Gel with an Aloe Enriched Formula - 3 pack (6.7oz)

Gel shaving cream comes out of a can in gel form but as you lather it up, it becomes foamy shaving cream with a consistency that is similar to standard shaving cream. Shaving gel has a nice consistency but some men find that it irritates the face.

Shaving gels are more likely to contain synthetic perfumes, which can cause irritation for some skin. They often also have artificial colors, alcohol and other ingredients that don’t always agree well with all skin types.


Proraso Shaving Foam, Sensitive Skin, 10.6 oz

Shaving foams have a very light, whipped texture that can be applied directly to the skin without being worked into a lather. It already has a foam consistency right out of the tube or the can. Because of this light texture, shaving foam does not give the skin a protective barrier and doesn’t provide much moisture or lubrication. this can cause irritation, like shaving rash, for some people.


Kiss My Face Fragrance Free Moisture Shave, 11 Fl Oz

Considered to be more friendly than aerosol-type creams and gels, shaving lotion creates a highly protective, moisturizing layer on the skin. There is no lather and that takes a little getting used to but this does create a smooth shave.


Viking Revolution Shaving Soap for Men - Shave Soap for Use with Shaving Brush and Bowl for Smoothest Wet Shave, Shaving Soap Puck - 4 Pack Variety, Each Pack 2.5oz

Shaving soap takes water to create a lather and must be applied with a brush to keep the consistency right. Shaving soap is either made with a tallow or glycerin base, or some combination of both.

Different Types of Shaving Cream

There are lots of different types of shaving cream. And even when they aren’t so cream-like, they’re all designed to give you a clean, close shave. Try different types of shaving cream to see what’s going to work best for you.


Still have questions about using shaving cream? There’s still a lot to know about this everyday product, even if you think you know it all. Get the answers to the most commonly asked questions about shaving cream and get to know this product like an expert.

Shaving in mirror

Can shaving cream expire?

Shaving cream can sort of lose its foaminess and creaminess over time. Results can vary but it’s a good general rule to get rid of shaving cream about two years after you buy it. An expiration date is often included, so you know when to throw out shaving cream.

Can shaving cream cause acne?

Shaving can cause a reaction on skin. Some types of shaving cream can irritate skin more than others. It may take some trial and error for you to find the right type of shaving cream for your skin. However, it’s also important that you’re shaving using the right techniques.

Good technique is the best way to keep your skin healthy while you shave. If you still experience irritation, try different shaving cream products until you find something that doesn’t cause irritation.

Pimples, bumps and acne caused by shaving happen when your pores are clogged. One of the best ways to prevent acne is to get your skin warm. Hold a hot towel against your face for about a minute before you shave.

Another thing that causes dermatitis, which is the scientific name for razor burn and bumps caused by shaving, can also be caused by a dull razor. Make sure you’re replacing your shaving razors regularly, no matter what type of razor you’re using.

Shave with the grain, not against it. Also, rinse your razor before and after every use. You want it to be clean.

Can shaving cream go on a plane?

Traveling with toiletries is always difficult. Some items can’t be taken on an airplane but shaving cream is allowed. Canned shaving cream is classified as an aerosol, which means you can take it with you on a plane as long as it doesn’t exceed more than 3.4 ounces (100 mL). It must also have a cap or some other protection that will keep the cream from deploying accidentally during transit.

Can shaving cream clean carpet?

There are all kinds of home remedies and hacks for things out there, little tricks that date back through the decades. Sometimes, these home remedies seem to work even better than actual cleaning products. If you haven’t got the right stuff or you just want to try a cool hack, you can clean your carpet with shaving cream.

Only a standard cream formula, rather than gel, will work. But if you want to try it, spray shaving cream right on the carpet to spot clean it. Let that sit for about 30 minutes. After it sits for a while, blot out the stain. It should lift off pretty easily.

Can shaving cream help sunburn?

Shaving cream can feel very soothing on a sunburn. Many shaving cream formulas contain aloe vera and other ingredients that feel nice on the skin. However, using regular lotion is far healthier for your skin and much more moisturizing when you want to treat a sunburn.


Beard & Blade – Choosing a Shaving Cream or Soap

CNet – Want Cleaner Carpets? Shaving Cream and Baking Soda Are Your Friends

Gentleman’s Gazette – The Shaving Cream Guide

Gillette – How to Avoid Pimples After Shaving – 5 Tips for Preventing Acne

GQ – How to Know When Your Grooming Products Are Expired

Hims – How To Avoid Pimples After Shaving Your Face

IndyStar – RetroIndy: A close shave with Barbasol

Love to Know – Shaving Cream History

Medical News Today – Can shaving cream provide relief from sunburn?

NBC News – 8 best shaving creams, according to dermatologists

Sharpologist – The Evolution of Shaving Creams

Tool of Men – Types of Shaving Cream

TSA – Shaving Cream (aerosol)