I don’t believe that a perfect shave hinges solely on having the best shaving cream for men. That’s just one component: You also need to having a fresh, sharp razor that you take good care of. You need a slow, steady technique to avoid things like razor burn and shave bumps. You might want to to start with a good pre-shave oil and end with a soothing aftershave.
But right there, squarely in the middle of it all, is the shaving cream. Or the shaving gel, or soap, or oil, and so on. You’ve got to use something, but you’ve got options, lots of them. And we’ve tested just about all of them—read on for our favorites.
The Best Shaving Cream For Men
There are a lot of variables you could choose to pick the best shaving cream overall. Some guys prefer an unscented formula, while others want translucence, and some pick based on portability. Well, we’ll get to all that below. But for the top slot, I have to give it to the masters at Claus Porto. Not only does their Musgo Real shave cream have a brilliant scent of sandalwood, patchouli, and vanilla, but using it feels like a treat, not a chore. It’s got a quick lather, a smooth glide, and leaves you feeling like you just got a leisurely clean-up at an old-school barber shop—even if you’re rushing out the door to get to work.
The Best Shaving Cream for Sensitive Skin
You really could claim that “The Best Shaving Cream for Sensitive Skin” is also “The Best Shaving Cream, Period”, since anything that works well for sensitive skin works equally on everything less irritable. So consider Bevel a co-winner. it comforts and nourishes skin with aloe and shea butter, tones with Vitamin E, and pairs perfectly with your fresh blade (ideally the brand’s safety razor) to minimize bumps, irritation, nicks, and more.
The Best Shaving Serum
Aesop’s top-shelf serum puts a blend of hydrating botanicals to use to help calm your skin, minimizing burn no matter what kind of razor you’re working with. Apply it the same way you would a pre-shave cream, but don’t be surprised if you keep coming back for a lungful of sandwalwood long after you get baby-faced.
The Best-Smelling Shaving Cream
Scent tends to come second in the shaving arena, but it shouldn’t. Caswell-Massey’s Grooming Award-winning formulation is old-school thick, but it lathers on easy and feels wildly indulgent. Most important? Its warm aromatic profile—imbued with hints of cedar and spice—smells fantastic.
The Best Shaving Gel
The benefits of shave gel are clear… literally. Shaving gel is often translucent, which makes it much easier to see what you’re doing. Unlike shave cream, shaving gel doesn’t require extra moisture on your mug in order to lather. It makes for a fast and far more lubricated shave, and King C. Gillette makes a low-cost, high-quality gel that cuts time without cutting corners—or your face.
The Best Shaving Soap
The shave soap is one of the most classic ways to shear your face, though it takes a little more time. You build a lather by swirling your shave brush around the soap dish, then do the same directly on your face. Shaving soaps help strip your whiskers of any excess oil, while also keeping them (and the skin) soft. This helps whack the whiskers all the more effectively, while providing one of the more nourishing and refreshing shaves. I love The Art of Shaving’s sandalwood-scented shave soap—it builds a soothing lather that is especially nourishing and gentle on dry skin.
The Best Shaving Butter
Shaving butters don’t lather as easily as the competition, which is entirely their point. Instead, they slather on and your skin and whiskers soft, by plumping them full of soothing, hydrating ingredients like shea butter and cocoa butter. Both of those are loaded into Clubman Pinaud’s shaving butter, along with skin-soothing aloe.
The Best Multitasking Shaving Cream
This grooming cream does everything from conditioning and cleaning your hair, flushing grime from your body, coifing your mop, and even shaving your face. It soothes the skin with Vitamin B5, and creates a light film over the face as you shave, to shield you from razor burn. While we’d foremost recommend a standalone shave cream, this one works wonders in a pinch, and is terrific for the minimalists and multitaskers.
The Best Drugstore Shaving Cream
I feel so fancy whenever I use Proraso shave cream, and yet it’s just 10 bones at the drugstore. It’s a legacy shaving brand (110+ years strong), whose prestige has been built on that timelessness. Of all their formulas, I most love the cooling combo of eucalyptus and menthol, found in this green “Refreshing and Toning” tube.
The Best Head-Shaving Cream
This super lubed-up shaving cream makes it easy to glide the blade all around your head. There’s a bit of a learning curve when shaving your head, but it starts with patience, a flexible and fresh razor, and a well-oiled shave cream. HeadBlade offers 2 of those 3 things (patience is learned, not bought). They wear the crown when it comes to freshly polished domes.
The Best Gym and Travel Shaving Cream
Ernest Supplies’ shaving cream does it all: It doubles as a pre-shave if you leave it on for a couple minutes before shaving. It even soothes on contact to keep skin calmed, akin to an aftershave. Our favorite feature, though, is the durable, portable, packable case. It lays flat, it doesn’t burst or spill, it totes lightly, and it travels beautifully.
The Best Soothing Shaving Cream
You know how you land the superlative “most soothing”? You mix a base of shea butter and coconut oil, and then accent it with willow bark extract and aloe. The result is a no-nonsense shaving cream that leaves your face feeling smoother and softer—and Marlowe with a pithy title to defend.