Experts agree that a good shaving cream is necessary for the smoothest and most comfortable shave. Even though I know this, I'll admit: I often shave with just soap and water since it seems like it saves time. It took reading a bunch of user reviews for shaving creams to make me consider changing my ways.
More than fluffy white stuff
It turns out that shaving creams double as lubricants and barriers between razor and skin -- read: less nicks and less dry, flaky skin with use. But many formulas are laden with fragrance and irritating ingredients -- like alcohol and menthol -- which isn't good for skin, especially if it's prone to shaving irritation. Experts say to look for shaving creams that contain moisturizing ingredients like glycerin, coconut oil, mineral oil and aloe -- all of which soften both the skin and the hair. The lather actually isn't very important. And according to cosmetics chemists over at TheBeautyBrains.com, there isn't much difference between men's and women's formulas besides the fragrance.
The best shaving creams
Aveeno shaving creams are a popular choice. Both Positively Smooth (*Est. $4.50.) and Therapeutic Shave Gels (*Est. $4.50.) are gender neutral and claim to reduce red, irritated skin and painful razor bumps. Aveeno's Positively Smooth Shave Gel also claims to "help you shave less often" due the close shave it provides. For the most part, users at MakeupAlley.com, TotalBeauty.com and Drugstore.com agree. Both shaving gels earn lots of praise -- and very few complaints -- from reviewers. Users say that the formulas are very moisturizing, help to prevent nicks and leave skin feeling silky smooth. There were complaints that the can leaks propellants but Aveeno addressed the issue with new packaging. Both formulas are very similar, but Aveeno Therapeutic Shave Gel has no added fragrance and contains ingredients (namely colloidal oatmeal and allantoin) that make it a bit more soothing.
Other drugstore picks such as Edge, Gillette and Skintimate are more gender-based although men and women can use them. All contain fragrance but some also have good-for-the-skin moisturizing ingredients.
Kiss My Face Moisture Shave (*Est. $8) is another favorite of reviewers at MakeupAlley.com. It comes in a pump bottle rather than an aerosol can. Though working it into a lather can be a tad tricky, users say the results are worth it. Many claim it reduces razor bumps and smells "heavenly." Kiss My Face is loaded with natural plant oils that create a layer of protection against shaving irritation and leave skin silky soft. A few reviewers say it's so moisturizing that they don't need to use lotion afterward. Kiss My Face Moisture Shave comes in six neutral-gender scents. The formula is fragrance-, paraben- and phthalate-free and isn't tested on animals.
Don't forget the razor