Shaving Soap vs Shaving Cream

Shaving Soap vs Cream

The purpose of this article is to compare shaving soap vs cream.  We will provide you insights into each product as well as compare the differences between the two.

First:  We will describe the purpose of soaps and creams.

Second:  We will define shaving soap and shaving cream.

Third:  We will look at the advantages/disadvantages of each.

The difference between shaving soap vs. shaving cream is that soap is a much harder product and it has to be applied to the face differently.  Shaving creams are usually easier to apply because you just rub the cream on your face and lather.  For soaps you need to use a shaving brush and a bowl, but the soap will last much longer.

Choosing between the two products is a personal preference, but hopefully, after this article, you will have a better understanding of each.

What Is The Purpose of Shaving Soap & Shaving Cream

The general purpose is to aid in shaving.  It does this by softening the hairs, it lubricates the skin to help the razor glide better, and it aids in the removal of the natural oils on your face and hair.

Removal of the natural oils helps water penetrate your hair better, which means it will be easier to cut with a razor blade.

Soaps and creams also improve the life of razor blade.  A razor will last longer if it can easily cut through hair.

It also provides protection for your face, and it provides slickness to aid in the razor blade cutting through your hair.

Next, we will look at the differences in shaving soap vs cream.

Shaving Soap

Before we compare, we need to establish definitions of each.

A shaving soap is a puck of soap, that is designed for shaving.  It is produced in a similar manner as a bath soap but the ingredient profile is different.

The ingredient profile differs from a bath soap because it serves a completely different purpose.  Every single ingredient in a bath soap or shaving soap has a purpose.  For example, a common ingredient in shaving soaps is stearic acid.  Stearic acid helps to make soap harder.

The ingredient profile is designed to produce a creamy, stable lather, and the lather needs to remain thick and creamy throughout the duration of a shave.

Shaving soaps have been around for a long time.  Williams Mug Shaving Soap has been around since the 1840’s.

Shaving soaps are lathered with a shaving brush.  They can be lathered in the container they come in, or they can be lathered in a shaving soap mug or bowl.

They can be hard like a bath soap or they can be a little softer.  Some shaving soaps are somewhat soft, and you can stick your finger in it to make a dent.

We have of list of the Best Shaving Soaps on the market if you want to take a look at some soaps that will provide you with an outstanding shave.

Shaving Creams

shaving soap vs cream

Creams serve the same purpose as soaps, but, well, they are creams.

These became popular in the 1940’s, and they have had several changes since then.

Traditional shaving creams come in tubes where you can squeeze the cream out, and they can also come in tubs like shaving soaps.

If you can stick your finger in the container and swirl it around, it is a cream.  It will have a similar consistency to yogurt.



Brushless Shaving Creams

This is probably the most common type of cream that you will see in pharmacies and grocery stores.

Cremo is a brand that seems to be filling up shelves at retailers and online.

You simply squeeze some cream out of the tube and rub it into your stubble.  Some may require warm water to help activate the lather.

This will provide a thin film of cream over your stubble which will help your razor glide through the hair you are shaving.  It will also provide some cushion or protection.

These are more popular because they can be used by anyone.  You do not need to have a shaving brush to properly use this cream.

While they provide adequate lubrication, they do not produce an abundant amount of lather, as they are not designed for that.

Aerosol Shaving Cream

These came to the market around 1950 and shortly after, they became a large portion of all shaving cream sold in the USA.  If you walk down any men’s grooming aisle, you will see tons of aerosol shaving cream cans from multiple brands.

These products use gases like pentane or isobutane as propellants to push the foam out of the can.

If we are talking about aerosol products, we cannot leave out the newer shaving gels.

Shaving Gels came to market in the 70’s.  These are basically gels in pressurized cans that turn into shaving foam once it hits the skin.

Gilette is a popular shave gel that is in most store as well as online.

Shaving Creams That Need A Shaving Brush

These are products that are designed to be used with a shaving brush.

Once you apply a small amount of cream to your wet face, you can take your shaving brush and work the lather into your stubble.  This will provide copious amounts of lather similar to a shaving soap.  There is a difference between a brushless cream and one that requires a brush.

The lather from a quality traditional shaving cream will produce a much better lather than a brushless cream.

Proraso is a well known brand of traditional shave cream.  Their cream comes in a tube or you can purchase it in a tub.

These are similar to shaving soaps in that you need some hardware to use them.  Specifically, you will need a shaving brush to help lather up the cream like you would the soap.

Shaving Soaps vs. Shaving Cream

As we stated earlier, it is a personal choice on what you choose to shave with.

You just need to decide what factors are important to you, and you need to evaluate what you are currently using.

If you are perfectly happy using an aerosol shaving gel, and you have no irritation, no razor bumps, you enjoy the scent (if there is any,) like the cost, etc., then you probably are good with continuing to use the same product.

Having said that, how do you know that a brushless shaving cream like Cremo will not give you a much better shave.  Maybe you will enjoy the scent of their Bourbon Shaving Cream, and think “wow, why haven’t I used this before.”  The cost is similar, so you don’t have much to loose.

If you are a guy who likes the finer things in life like expensive suits, nice cigars, a fine scotch, you wear niche colognes, etc.  Does a two dollar can of shaving foam match your lifestyle?

If you are a college student who has no interest in the art of shaving, fragrances, traditional shaving, and none of the benefits of shaving soaps or traditional shaving creams appeal to you, then you may be a perfect match for almost any aerosol shave cream or brushless cream.

If you are just slammed in your personal life, busy with life, kids, family, work, etc., your free time is valuable, and you just want a quick and inexpensive shave, and you get all you need from any canned foam off the counter-Boom, you are set! (Although, I would encourage you to at least try a cream like Cremo.  It is a vast improvement over aerosol foam.)

Shaving Soaps

  • Require more work
  • Need more hardware (shaving brushes, shaving mugs, bowls, etc.)
  • Better All Natural options
  • Better Natural scent choices
  • More scent choices
  • Produces better lather than aerosol creams/gels and brushless creams

Shaving Creams

  • Inexpensive (aerosol and brush less creams)
  • Better Availability
  • Easier to travel with
  • Lather better in hard water
  • Easier to use
  • More Beginner friendly
  • More synthetics and likely to have more chemicals
  • Can use with shaving brush if desired
  • Traditional Wet Shavers do not use aerosol foams/gels and brushless creams
  • More expensive per shave (traditional creams)


We hope that you learned a little bit about shaving creams vs soaps.

Our goal was to provide insight into creams and soaps, and to define what each is.

We also wanted to provide some pros and cons of each, and to get you thinking about how you look at choosing a product.

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