Ever wondered what the ingredients of your shaving cream are made of? Has your search led you to the internet in search of ingredients of shaving cream, ingredients in shaving cream, shaving cream ingredients, art of shaving cream ingredients or bevel shaving cream ingredients? Well, your search just paid off! We bring you everything you need to know and more on the ingredients of your favourite shaving cream.
Shaving Cream Ingredients
Many women don’t believe that it’s important to shave — on a regular basis or at all for that matter. That allowing one’s hair to grow is a natural and feminine way to celebrate beauty. Some believe that shaving makes them look and feel more feminine. The same seems to apply to men and masculinity — some say that “real men” grow beards, but don’t “real men” also shave with shaving cream?
The issue is not something that can be decided by a coin toss. This is deeply rooted in how we perceive ourselves, how we shape our identities (or how they formed) and whether or not we wish to follow modern beauty trends and practices. For instance, at the moment, growing a beard has become quite fashionable for a lot of men. Does that mean that you would be ‘out of style’ for shaving? No! Well, if you didn’t use our Natural Assuage Shaving Cream you might be.
Our bodies are our own and we’re entitled to treat them however we choose — whether they’re in line with general values or norms of our society or not. So I respect and celebrate those who wish to express their beauty and style in the way that suits them most. We should hope that society learns to adjust to the real nature of individuality as it exists in the ever-changing flux called modern society.
However, for those among us who do shave, whether on a regular basis or only occasionally, there are a few tips, secrets and pointers I’d give to anyone that can really save you some money and give you healthier skin overall. If the point of shaving is to have a neater self-image, then it would make sense that the products we use when shaving help to promote a healthier complexion overall all too, right? Well, that’s not always the case and I’ll explain why below.
Should Men & Women Use The Same Shaving Cream?
Whether you’re a man or a woman, the cream you use differs very little from that of the opposite sex. The truth is that the differences between the products are generally very minor. A few different ingredients here or there, a different fragrance and different packaging. Really, that’s about it!
Yes, you really can use whichever shaving cream you’d like — whether it’s a brand that’s “made for” men or women. In fact, I’d go so far as to suggest that if you’re married or in a relationship, buy one type of shaving cream just to save money. You can change brands after each bottle just to find the one that works for both of you. You can even find ‘unisex’ hair and skincare products that won’t make you feel like someone has to compromise.
It’s likely that we will see a rise in unisex products like this in future. It only makes sense as companies can grab a wider spread of the market and potentially increase their customer base by around 50%. But until that time comes, I’ll always recommend going the DIY route as a means of saving cash and getting yourself a great and effective shaving cream!
The Dangers Of Unsafe Ingredients In Shaving Cream
Like any hair or skincare product, many mass-market manufacturers generally include harmful products in their lists of ingredients as a means of making their products more effective or for other reasons that I frankly, don’t understand.
Take a look at the back of your shaving creams and lotions at home and try and read some of the ingredients that are contained in them. It’s almost impossible to pronounce most of them and even once you do manage to get around pronouncing these monolithic terms, understanding their effects is an entirely different matter.
One of the most commonly found terms in almost any shaving cream/lotion (for both men and women) is ‘fragrance.’ Now this many sound harmless at first glance, but the term is very general and doesn’t actually give you a clear indication of what that means. They’re often guarded as a trade secret and could contain any variety of chemicals that could have a number of harmful effects on your skin and health in general.
Dangerous Chemicals Found In Shaving Cream
In addition to the ominous ‘fragrance,’ you’ve got Palmitic Acid, Isopentane, a variety of Glycols and Sulfates and something known as BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) — all of which are harmful to your skin and health. They’re toxic chemical irritants.
Symptoms of using these chemicals on your skin regularly or having them penetrate your skin layer and get absorbed into your bloodstream include dizziness, headaches, dry skin, rashes, lung irritation, hormone disruption, kidney disorders and even heart disease. That’s just to name a few — the list goes on!
When you shave, you generally use warm water to open your pores, which means that these terrible chemicals stand a much better chance of your skin and getting into your bloodstream. The skin is also more vulnerable during shaving which leaves you open to irritation and rashes, something a lot of us have experienced during the course of shaving.
Switching to healthy, natural shaving cream is the best step forward if you want to avoid risking side-effects.
There’s no better way of making sure the shaving cream you’re using is safe than to make it yourself! It’s extremely easy and even fun, and you can craft your own tailor-made creams that work best for your skin type. I’ve included a few holistic DIY recipes below — the best time to make the switch is now!
DIY Shaving Cream With Aloe Vera Recipe & Guide
This is an easy recipe and the ingredients should cost you roughly the same as a normal aerosol can of shaving gel would at your supermarket. I recommend sourcing as many of the products as you can online, as they generally work out to be cheaper this way — unless you manage to find a cost-effective alternative.
What You’ll Need:
- ½ Cup Castile Soap.
- 4 Tablespoons Warm Water.
- ¼ Cup Aloe Vera Gel.
- 2 Tablespoons Corn Syrup.
- 1 Tablespoon Olive or Castor Oil.
- ½ Teaspoon Salt.
- 10 Drops Tea Tree Essential Oil Or Eucalyptus Essential Oil.
- 10 Drops Orange, Lemon, Lavender Or Witch Hazel Oil For Fragrance.
Making the gel is as easy as stirring the Salt into the warm water, then adding all the other ingredients and stirring well. You can do this in a glass jar or a plastic soap container. Once the ingredients have mixed, allow the mixture to settle for an hour before use. I’d recommend that you shake the mixture a bit before using it, but otherwise, you’re good to go. Couldn’t be easier!
DIY Shaving Cream With Shea Butter Recipe & Guide
This one is just as effective as the previous recipe, but I’d recommend it for those who generally have more sensitive skin types as the shea butter will soothe and nourish your skin while you shave and provide a denser layer of protection between your skin and the razor blade. This recipe is also great for shaving in those hard-to-reach areas like your armpits and legs and will help to prevent those irritating cuts or rashes that often form after shaving. Be sure to give this one a try!
What You’ll Need:
- 3 Cups Shea Butter.
- 3 Cups Coconut Oil.
- ¼ Cup Olive Oil.
- 2 ½ Tablespoons Cornflour.
- Electric Mixer Or Whisk.
- 10x Drops Tea Tree or Eucalyptus Essential Oil.
- 10x Drops Lavender, Neroli, Lemongrass or Orange Essential Oil For Fragrance.
What To Do
The first step is quite simple. All you have to do is heat a large pan and melt the Shea Butter and Coconut Oil and stir well so that they blend. Once this is done, take the pan off the heat. While the oils are still liquid, pour in the Olive Oil and the essential oils and stir well so that they blend.
Now, pour this mixture into a bowl or plastic container and place it in the fridge until it hardens. Once the mixture has become hardened, remove it from the fridge and leave it outside until it softens slightly. You don’t want it to melt completely, just soften so that it’s workable.
Now add the Cornflour and use an Electric Mixer or whisk to beat the mixture so that it becomes light, soft and fluffy. It should resembles something like a thick icing that you would using on cakes when it’s done — creamy and decadent. Once you achieve this texture you’ve finished your job. Scoop the mixture into a glass jar or a plastic container (make sure that it’s airtight) and store in a cool dry place, out of direct sunlight. The mixture should last for about two weeks, if it starts to smell weird or looks discolored, then chuck it out and make a new batch as natural products don’t tend to last as long as chemical products — which is actually a good thing.
Ultimately, I think shaving products are the best way to cut down on your monthly spending and general chemical intake overall. We’re most at risk of ingesting harmful chemicals when we apply them to our skin — especially during shaving. Your skin is one of the most important organs in/on your body and protecting it is imperative to maintaining good health.
So cutting as many harmful chemicals out of the products you use in your daily routines is imperative to keeping healthy and maintaining a great complexion. Natural products are also a fantastic way to break out of the mold we seem to find ourselves in when it comes to buying skin and health care products. So be different — go natural and embrace the benefits that come with a holistic lifestyle. Trust me, you won’t regret it!
Shaving Cream Guide – What is the Best Shaving Cream?
|Disclaimer: This article may contain affiliate links. This means that if you buy a product or service after clicking on these links, I earn a small commission (at no additional cost to you) which helps pay for the upkeep of this website.|
While a lot of men focus on the tools they use use to shave, the choice of shave cream or shaving soap can be equally as important. Here is our guide to help you navigate making these all important choices.
Shaving Cream vs. Shaving Soap
Quality shaving cream comes in tubes or jars as a thicker, lotion-like cream, ready to be turned into a lather by a shaving brush or your fingers immediately. Shaving soap comes as a hard puck or bar, usually in a container or for use with a shaving bowl. The soap is not ready to use until water has been added, and a shaving brush is essential to building up a proper lather.
For men on the go, using shaving cream is faster and can save you a lot of time. Creams are less likely to dry out your skin than soaps, and often contain rejuvenating ingredients like shea butter and nourishing essential oils. There is also a certain skill and practice needed to learn how to get the best lather out of shaving soaps, while creams are simple to use.
However, the work that goes into getting lather from soap may be worth it to some users, as the richness of the lather is reportedly unlike any you can get from a cream. The best shaving soap bars also tend to last longer than creams, due to their solidity and thickness. At the end of the day, it all comes down to user preference.
Ingredients to Look For in Shaving Cream
Unlike cheap aerosol shaving creams, good shaving cream is made up of ingredients designed to help reduce skin irritation and make for a smooth, even shave. A typical ingredient list of the top shaving cream brands includes most, if not all, of these components:
- Water (Aqua)
- Stearic Acid
- Myristic Acid
- Potassium Hydroxide
- Sodium Hydroxide
- Coconut Oil (Coconut Acid)
The water works as a solvent for the other ingredients in the cream, while also helping to trap air for the lather and allow for even application. Stearic and myristic acid are saturated fatty acids that are used to help stabilize the lather so that you get that creamy, fluffy texture. Coconut oil also contributes to stabilization and additionally provides moisturization and cleansing properties.
Potassium and sodium hydroxide are what help to turn the coconut oil into a cleanser and make the fatty acids easier to wash away. Glycerin, also known as glycerol, contributes to retaining moisture and is partly responsible for the glide of the lather. Triethanolamine is another ingredient used for stabilization, though in recent years it has fallen out of favor due to the possibility that it causes acne and contact dermatitis, among other health problems.
Other additives can include a variety of essential oils and extracts, aloe vera, shea or cocoa butter, menthol, and perfumes, also known as parfum. When selecting a shaving cream, it usually boils down to whether or not it includes an allergen for a particular person, how their skin handles the cream, and personal preference of the smell and feel of the cream.
If you’re concerned about triethanolamine, there are plenty of shaving creams to choose from, and removing this ingredient doesn’t negatively impact most creams.
How to Lather and Apply Shaving Cream
How one chooses to build a lather and apply shaving cream is up to personal preference. Some just use it right out of the tube and apply with their hands, while others prefer a bowl and brush. Arguably, using a shaving brush and bowl allows for the best lather and most even application, which leads to the best shave. Just follow these steps to lay the perfect foundation for a smooth, clean shave:
- Make sure you’ve thoroughly dampened your face.
- Soak your shaving brush in warm water to help soften the bristles for a few minutes, then remove and squeeze the excess water out, so it doesn’t drip.
- Have your preferred shaving bowl ready. You can also use any old mug that has enough space to allow for circular movements of the brush.
- Put a dime-sized dollop of shaving cream in the bottom of the bowl.
- Swirl your damp brush in the bowl. The cream will start to foam, but eventually, it will become a rich lather.
- Once the lather is the right consistency, begin applying it to the areas you wish to shave. No more swirling should be necessary.
If the lather is too watery even after thoroughly whisking it, try adding a bit more cream. If it’s too thick, thin it with a few drops of water at a time, until it reaches the right consistency.
Top 5 Best Shaving Creams
Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood Shaving Cream Bowl
This shaving cream by Taylor of Bond Street has the advantage of coming with its own bowl, which is useful for those who are just getting into using quality creams, brushes, and straight-edge razors to shave with. The natural aroma of sandalwood smells strong during use but afterward offers a gentle fresh scent, with notes of cedar, lavender, rosemary, jasmine, and rose, all of which are believed to help promote relaxation.
You can enjoy a nice, smooth shave while using this product, though you might also require an aftershave treatment of some kind to ensure that your skin isn’t dry-feeling.
Proraso Shaving Cream
An excellent cream for those who suffer from sensitive skin, the Italian-based Proraso cream contains aloe vera and vitamin E, which are known to help heal and promote healthy skin. The scent is a gentle amber and musk derived from natural ingredients.
No mineral oils or artificial colors are used in the creation of Proraso shaving cream. The cream is made from a “hot soap” process that involves allowing the cream to mature for three days before packaging. When building a lather, the manufacturer suggests using a few drops of water mixed with a dime-sized amount of cream in a bowl for best results.
The Art of Shaving Shaving Cream, with Sandalwood Essential Oil
Scented with sandalwood oil, this cream also includes glycerin, coconut oil, and essential oils meant to help trap moisture in your skin, encouraging a clean shave that leaves your skin looking healthy and feeling smooth. It comes in a container that can be used as a bowl and is more flexible than other shaving creams in that it can be applied with either a brush or with fingers. There are no floral notes to be found in this cream, unlike Taylor of Old Bond Street, which may be important to some users.
L’Occitane CADE Shaving Cream for Men
The CADE shaving cream is marketed especially for men who prefer to build a lather right on their face by massaging it on with their hands. Created with CADE essential oil, shea butter, and a vegetable-based glycerin, users report that it provides a particularly luxurious sensation on the skin, while also giving off a pleasant scent reminiscent of juniper.
Men who have sensitive skin seem to fare well with this product and claim that their skin feels moisturized for several hours after use, compared to other creams. If you’re struggling with skin irritation and dryness, the L’Occitane Cadet cream might be for you.
Cremo Original Shave Cream
Made with mainly natural ingredients, Cremo Original shaving cream features macadamia seed oil, aloe vera, and calendula, lemon, papaya, and olive leaf extracts, all of which provide excellent moisturization, skin rejuvenation, and a pleasant scent. It is also paraben free and hasn’t been tested on animals.
Cremo Original acts more like a lotion than a lather and is best used directly on the face, with additional water required to keep the cream slick. However, Cremo claims to be so effective users can shave against the grain of their facial hair, and also has the advantage of turning transparent on the skin, which may make it easier to shave by allowing you to see where you’re planning to run your razor.
The following is a typical ingredient list on a high end shaving cream: aqua (water), stearic acid, myristic acid, potassium hydroxide, coconut acid, glycerin, triethanolamine, parfum (fragrance) and sodium hydroxide. The word cocoate, usually preceded by sodium or potassium, may be found replacing coconut acid to indicate that saponification has occurred. Saponification literally means “soap making” (from the root word, “sapo”, which is Latin for soap), and is a chemical reaction used to produce fatty acids from triglycerides. Triglyceride consist of three fatty acid molecules joined to a glycerin molecule, which is also released during saponification. Triglycerides are the preferred molecules used by living organisms to store fats and their constitution is unique for a particular species but varies from one species to another.
In addition, shaving creams often contain other ingredients including: botanicals, essential oil derivatives (e. g. citral, farnesol, geraniol, geranial, myrcene, limonene, linalool, etc.), chelators, preservatives and other chemicals. Besides modulating performance, these ingredients can add antiseptic qualities, serve as skin toners, increase shelf life, etc. but more importantly, they make each formulation unique. The focus of this article will be the core ingredients that define the scaffold found in high end shaving creams:
Stearic acid: saturated fatty acid
Myristic acid: saturated fatty acid
Potassium hydroxide: inorganic base
Sodium hydroxide: inorganic base
Coconut acid: triglyceride
Glycerin: polyol or sugar alcohol
Triethanolamine: organic base
Aqua: Water is a solvent that is used to dissolve certain ingredients in the shaving cream and serves as the matrix in which air is trapped when lather (foam) is formed. Water is also used as a spreading agent that distributes other ingredients evenly and gives shaving creams a soft texture. In the lather, water contributes to keep the hair moist during the shave and is responsible for the glide or slip of the lather. When water concentration in lather is not optimal, the performance of the lather is subpar.
Stearic acid: Stearic acid is a saturated fatty acid and a surfactant (literally, an amphiphilic,“surface acting”, chemical that lowers surface tension at the interface between molecules or groups of molecules that do not mix well) that has excellent emulsifying and lather stabilizing properties. It is also used as an emollient and thickening agent. Stearic acid is often used as inorganic or organic salt or as an ester.
Myristic acid: Another saturated member of the fatty acid family and is also used in shaving creams for its surfactant and emulsifying properties. Myristic acid forms intermediate bubble sizes that result in faster foaming and reduced mechanical stability.
Coconut acid: Coconut acid is a triglyceride extracted from the plant Cocos nucifera or coconut palm. It is commonly known as coconut oil. When saponified, coconut acid is used in shaving cream as a source of surfactants and cleansing agents.. Saponification of coconut oil produces a mixture rich in saturated fatty acids that include (listed in order of abundance): lauric, myristic, palmitic and stearic acids and a small proportion of unsaturated fatty acids. Unsaturated fatty acids can be completely removed from formulation and recently have been linked to comedogenesis (a type of acne caused by cosmetics). In high concentration, unsaturated fatty acids can oxidize over time and decrease shelf life. Glycerin is a by-product of the saponification reaction. Coconut acid also is used to adjust pH, and its derivatives are used as emollients.
Sodium and Potassium hydroxides: These are strong inorganic bases that are used to saponify triglycerides. Inorganic bases are also used to make fatty acids more soluble in water. Typically, fatty acids are found in shaving creams as sodium and potassium salts. The ratio in which these bases are used determines the consistency of the shaving cream for a given water and fatty acid composition. These are highly alkaline and are used to adjust pH. Sodium hydroxide is also called caustic soda or lye. The common name for potassium hydroxide is potash.
Glycerin: Glycerin, or more correctly, glycerol, belongs to the sugar alcohol family. Gycerol does not have surface activity and cannot form lather. Glycerol can retain water, thus increasing lather density and stability. For this reason, glycerol is also used as a humectant. Glycerol also increases the viscosity of water-glycerol solutions, affecting the glide of the lather. Although its effect on deeper layers of the skin remains under investigation, there is very little doubt that hydrated glycerin has a beneficial effect when applied to the outer-most layer of the skin (the stratum corneum).
Triethanolamine: Triethanolamine or TEA is an organic base used primarily as emulsifier and surfactant. It is also used in shaving creams to neutralize the pH of fatty acids and to solubilize oils and other ingredients that have poor solubility in water. Triethanolamine use has been reduced in recent times because of growing safety and health concerns due to its suspected role as irritant and carcinogen and its ability to react with other chemicals to form carcinogenic nitrosamines. Some studies have linked TEA to contact dermatitis and allergies. TEA is currently under review in USA, UK and European countries. Triethanolamine can be completely removed from shaving cream formulations without any loss of performance.
Determining performance from ingredient lists is often complicated because the actual contents of the product are not listed. Furthermore, ingredient lists do not include the concentration of each ingredient or their purity. This can also be problematic when troubleshooting allergic reactions. It is important to realize that the process of selecting shaving products is not an exact science and several factors, including glycerin content, scent and other additives can modulate performance. Personal preference, allergies, etc. can be important factors in the selection process. However, shaving creams that use the scaffold covered here rank among the best in the market and are known for their unequaled performance.