Ask Aaron Q&A: Shaving Creams vs Shaving Soaps – Which are better?

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Robert Ashford, from the UK, asks:

“Can you please advise on the pros/cons re: Shaving Cream vs. Shaving Soap. (Also the use of shaving creams/soaps in bowls). Can you use the wet brush against each, and not taint the product? I Currently use a shave cream from tube, but am intrigued by the likely hood of just building up a lather in the self provided cream/soap in a bowl. Thanks in advance.”


“Mr. Ashford,

Thanks for you question! On any shaving related forum on the internet you’ll find this discussion: “Which is better? Soaps or Creams?” In my opinion: neither. They both have equally great characteristics and will serve you well whatever you choose. Personally I use both and find great satisfaction with both types of products.

Pros: Soaps generally are considered to have a “slicker” shave due to certain ingredients such as tallow, lanolin, glycerin and bentonite clay that are added to the soap. This provides a smoother and gentler shave especially for heavy bearded gents. Creams have the reputation of being easier to begin learning on, easy to lather and have a more moisturizing feel after the shave is done.

Cons: Soaps generally take more time to learn how to lather well and can be sometimes a bit drying to the skin. Creams have the tendency to dry out a bit faster on your face and not provide as smooth a shave. (Caveat: there are ALWAYS exceptions!)

But which one to pick?? You will get a different experience out of both and both provide good shaves. Honestly I say use both, I do. If you find yourself leaning towards one product or the other you have my blessing! I don’t think you’ll go wrong with either.

Using cream or soap in the tub or container it comes in will not effect the shave, nor will dipping the brush into the container to gain product taint the product. The only exception to this I have heard is there is a possibility if some sort of bacteria is on your brush and you dip it into a cream that does not have any preservative in it that the bacteria could turn the cream. However, I have never had this happen to me, nor have I known anyone that this happened to. The thing about this I will say is that i recommend building your lather in a separate bowl from the one that contains your sap or cream. When you building the lather on top of product you are continuously using more product in the process and the time it will last will be a lot less costing you more money in the long run. For that reason alone I recommend a separate bowl, plus it’s easier to see you lather develope and know when it’s ready for shaving.

This is a bit long winded, but I hope it answers your questions!
Smooth shaving!


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Established in 2005, The Shaving Shack is your number one online traditional shaving shop. As one of Europe’s leading online shaving retailers, we pride ourselves on bringing you the best in double edge shaving, as well as men’s skincare and men’s grooming products. We’ve got shaving brushes, double edge safety razors, cut throat razors, shaving soaps, soap bowls, shaving creams, shaving sets and other shaving accessories to suit every budget.

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