Shave Cream vs. Shave Soap - A Quick Guide

In essence, Shaving Cream and Shaving Soap are meant to do the same thing: Soften your stubble, lubricate your face while you shave and help protect against nicks and cuts. The result is a closer, more comfortable shave.

But how the two products go about their jobs is very different, and the question of which is better for your face often comes up - especially among those who are new to the wet-shaving game. Before we can answer that question, there are some critical things to clear up first.

Shave Cream 

Now, before we get too far into this, when I refer to Shave Cream, I'm not referring to the foam in a can from the drug store. If you're currently shaving with a product like that, do yourself the favour and ditch it.

The ingredients in most drug-store shaving cream can cause myriad issues for your skin, like itchiness and dryness, as well as longer term issues like pre-mature aging and chronic acne from clogged pores.

Higher quality Shaving Creams will contain ingredients that are easier on your skin, and will give a close, comfortable and reliable shave. The main way that these products differ from straight-up Shaving Soaps is the ability to add other ingredients that are not really possible in a soap-type product, and their ease-of-use.

In our Shaving Creams, we are able to add several additional ingredients that will protect and hydrate skin while you shave, as well as provide superior lubrication. These Shaving Creams are great for those who may experience sensitivity, redness or irritation while shaving, as the additional additives allow us to address those issues more directly.

Here are some of the additional ingredients that we are able to include:

  • Hydrolyzed Oat Protein: This protein blend made from oats is great at helping skin to retain moisture after shaving, as well as reduce redness and irritation
  • Lanolin: This super-protective ingredient is great for irritated or chapped skin, and can speed healing of minor cuts or blemishes, while provide great protection to the skin
  • Natural Silicones: This blend is derived from Olive Oils, and greatly increases the slip & lubrication of the Shaving Cream. It also leaves skin feeling hydrated and soft after shaving.

Shaving Soap

Shaving soaps are generally produced using traditional soap-making methods, and come under various names: triple-milled, double milled, semi-hard soaps and even cream soaps. The idea, however is usually the same, vegetable or animal fats are combined with a basic solution and worked until the oils saponify and become the final soap product. 

Shaving soaps are generally the choice of more experienced wet-shavers, but they too come with some things to consider.

For those who are new to using shave soaps, there is some technique involved with generating the lather that you desire, and it generally takes longer than using a shave cream. Some varieties can also be very expensive, making the cost of entry much higher.

These soaps can include some extra ingredients, but the skill of the soapmaker, and their choice of ingredients come into play here significantly more. Our Shave and Face Soap is great for those who are experienced with wet-shaving, or have skin that generally does not have issues with extreme redness or sensitivity. It's a cheap and cheerful option!

So which is better?

In terms of the actual products themselves, there are some basic differences, but the choice is ultimately up to the end user and their level of experience.

Shave creams are generally much easier to use than the more traditional soaps, just rub the cream on your face to generate the lather you desire, and get shaving. The ease of use makes them a great choice for someone who is just starting out with wet shaving, or is looking for an easy replacement to the canned cream they have now. They are also great for those who suffer from sensitive skin, or extreme irritation when shaving.

Shaving soaps, on the other hand, are better for those who are confident in their abilities and are looking for the next steps. The technique is slightly more difficult, and can take a while to learn properly. The lather generated from each product is comparable.

The X-Factor - Technique

In my mind, this is where the biggest difference lies. With a shave cream, you can miss out on several of the techniques that lead to a closer, comfortable shave. 

Firstly, the pre-shaving face scrub. This is a good technique to remove dead skin and prepare the hairs on your face for shaving. With a shave cream, another product is generally required to do this properly, whereas with a soap (especially one like our double-action variety), the functionality is built into the product

The actual act of lathering up your shave soap and applying it to your face with a brush can help to make your stubble stand on end and come away from your face, which leads to a much closer shave and less ingrown hairs after the fact.

Shaving Brush on face

Finally, I find that the slightly slower pace of using a shave soap will get me in a better mindset to shave properly. I feel less rushed, and the slow, deliberate set of actions means I'm less likely to shave too quickly and irritate my skin (or cut myself)

What type of product is your favourite? Chime in below in the comments section, and don't forget to share!

Thanks for reading along,



Love to read this article, It’s great :)

Malcolm Smith May 26, 2018

Hey Landis,
Thanks for commenting! There are a few things that can affect how your soap lathers, like water hardness and the like. You can try a few things to better the lather duration while you shave:
- Apply a few droplets of water as you lather up the soap, This helps to add additional moisture to the lather and can help build more foam
- Push slightly harder with your brush to help it pick up more of the lather and deposit it on your face. The bristles of the brush should spread out and you should get more lather what way as well.

-Hope this helps!

Tyler at Peregrine April 04, 2018

I have used several shave soaps and the thing I do not like about them is that the lather looks good to start with but by the time you get to shave the other side of your face, your lather has disappeared. I have found that with shave cream this is not the case. If I am doing something wrong I would love to know what it is. I prewash with that lovely little sample you gave me in my order, then apply preshave then run my brush under hot water and make a lather in the bowl and then apply to my whole face and shave. Then the above occurs. I am thinking about going back to the body shop shave cream. Input please.

Landis March 29, 2018

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