So you’ve decided that it’s time to up your shaving game. Maybe you’ve taken the plunge and purchased a nice quality safety razor. If not, You Need A Safety Razor. Now that you have the correct tool in hand, you need to find the proper lubricant. Which leads to the next question. What is the difference between shave soap, shaving cream, and shave butter? And which one should I buy? Let us help you answer both questions. Because, we are here to tell you that the difference between shave soap, shaving cream, and shave butter can make or break a great shave. Let’s examine our three competitors, shall we?
Canned shaving cream or gel is by far the most common method of slicking up the face before shaving, and at first glance, its easy to see why. With canned cream, convenience is king: simply spray on hand, apply to a wet face, shave, and go. The cream lathers itself, provides adequate protection and moisturizing for the face, and cleans off easily when finished. Also, if you like to shave in the shower (as I often do,) a canned cream is the quickest and most convenient way to go. Plus, your typical can of shaving cream only costs a few dollars. Can’t beat it, right?
Wrong. Look behind the curtain and you start to see the issues with canned creams. Canned creams offer absolutely no control over the lather. If you want a thicker foam, for example, you’re going to have to shop around and find a different can. Also, qualities like protection, glide, and moisturizing will vary from brand to brand. Again, you’re going to have to shop around to find what works best for you. Canned creams are specifically designed for use with cartridge razors, which means they tend to be thinner than shave butters or shave soaps. This is to prevent clogging up the cartridge.
Of course if you’re the sophisticated type with a quality safety razor, this won’t be a concern at all. See our article Safety Razor vs Cartridge Razor if you happen to be one of the unfortunate souls still over-paying for an inferior shave.. Finally, canned creams tend to run out pretty quickly, meaning that those “few dollars” really start to add up and make canned creams less economical than they may seem at first. Especially if you shave every day.
Fortunately, you have other options.
Shave butter is a latherless style of shaving cream that has been growing in popularity recently. To use, squeeze a small amount from a tube onto your hand and then apply to your wet face much like a lotion or a balm. The main difference between shave butter and shaving cream is that lack of lather. Shave butters are a great alternative to canned creams, and since they are usually thicker on the face, they offer better protection and glide than most cans. Many shave butters boast an all-natural list of ingredients designed for superior moisturizing. Sounds better, right?
Even though they are still mainly designed for use with cartridge razors, shave butters tend to cause a lot of clogging due to that thickness, and a clogged razor makes for an irritated face. This is less of an issue with a safety razor, but still something to watch out for. Also, cleanup tends to take a lot longer, as shave butter does not easily rinse off of the face. A tube of shave butter will last you a little longer than a can of shaving cream, but shave butter typically costs more than shaving cream to begin with, so that’s not really much better either. A lot of shave butters will claim that you can also use them as an aftershave balm, but in my experience, that is rarely true, so you’re not getting the “two-fer” savings their either.
But don’t give up yet. There’s one more option to try.
At the beginning of this article, I wanted to say something about looking at our options “in no particular order.” But that would have been a lie. I have definitely saved the best for last. Simply put, shave soap is how kings, admirals, and rock stars put blade to face.
Shave soap has been around for over a century (almost two!) but was left behind in our fast-paced, hurry up and wait world! A major difference between shave soap and shave butter or shaving cream is that you need a brush and a scuttle (or a mug) in order to properly use the stuff. Check out our guide, What Do I Need to Wet Shave, for more information. There’s a bit of a process involved with building up a nice lather on the brush, and then applying it to the face. Some would say there is technique to be learned. But it is absolutely worth the effort.
Shave soap allows you to build an incredible, luxurious lather. You would not believe the way this stuff feels on your skin. The slickness is unparalleled. The glide is unreal. Unlike shaving cream or shave butter, a good shave soap is specifically designed for use with a safety razor. The difference between shave soap and the other options is a difference you can feel, both during and after your shave. It leaves you with smooth, supple skin. It cleans easily with water and a towel, unlike messy canned creams and thick shave butters. And maybe best of all, a single puck of shave soap can will last way longer than a tube of butter or can of cream. For instance, this Omega Shave Soap And Brush Deal will get you up to 100 shaves with one soap puck!
The biggest difference between shave soap, canned shaving cream, and shave butter is that shave soap is the superior option if you want a close, comfortable shave, moist skin, and no irritation. Still not convinced? Then why not try some of Our Shave Club and find out for yourself? I promise your face won’t regret it.