Some people love shaving and others hate it. Whatever your preference, it’s important to have the most comfortable, pleasant shaving experience possible. This means using natural shaving creams, and our brand of choice is Henry Cavendish shave soap.
Shaving creams are important for shaving because they help create a smoother, comfortable shave. Essentially the creams that allow the razor to glide over the skin without rough contact. The problem is that most commercial shaving creams are loaded with unwanted chemicals. These will not only irritate skin, but can do damage to your health long-term. The cosmetics industry is not well regulated, and therefore it’s hard to know what is really inside shaving creams. You know that you shouldn’t eat food loaded with preservatives and chemicals, so why put them on your skin?
It’s good to see labels like ‘natural’ and ‘fragrance free’ on the front of a bottle, but that doesn’t tell the whole picture. Most of that is simply marketing hype and the word ‘natural’ gets thrown around so much these days.
What you should look for is the first few ingredients on the list. Sometimes bottles will advertise phrases like ‘With Aloe Vera’ but in reality there is only a tiny drop of it in the entire bottle. The first few ingredients says it all.
You should expect to see some natural oils listed. These may include coconut, jojoba or olive oil. Organic ingredients like aloe are great too.
It’s important that you keep an eye out for harmful substances. Here are a few of the biggest offenders:
- Sulfates: These harmful compounds, such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) are all too common in cosmetic products like shaving creams, as readers of this site will know. While they make for great lathering, they are in fact quite harsh at a deeper level. This foaming is simply a marketing gimmick and does nothing to help the skin.
- Propylene Glycol: Although commonly used as a moisturizer, propylene has been linked to many health ailments. In fact, this compound is added to brake fluid and antifreeze! Needless to say it should be avoided.
- Triethanolamine (TEA): TEA is an emulsifier— a substance that is used to prevent oil and water from separating. Triethanolamne is for all intents and purposes a toxin, as it has been consistently linked to cancer in studies, as well as having the capacity to disrupt normal hormone levels. TEA is easily absorbed into the skin and must absolutely be avoided.
- Phthalates: These are substances that are used in a wide variety of products, but are used in skincare and cosmetic products as well. They are a convenient compound for pharmaceutical companies to use as they keep products stabilized, but put the consumer at great risk. They have been linked to cancer, endocrine disruptions, and other negative impacts on health.
- Parfum (fragrance): Added fragrance is found in almost every mainstream cosmetic product. When skincare products have a smell to them, it’s usually not natural— it’s artificial. And to make that smell it requires numerous chemicals, including parfum. Not only is this irritating for people with sensitive skin, but it has health implications. This is why you should look for ‘fragrance-free’ shaving creams, unless they have a natural smell from something like coconut oil.
If that’s not enough to convince you to ditch your regular shaving creams, the truth is that commercial shaving creams aren’t even that effective! They can make beards stiffer, instead of softening them. And they can leave skin irritated with bumps and razor burns. Big conglomerates like Gillette simply manufacture these shaving creams to maximize their profit margins.
Something else to keep in mind is the type of can you use. Aerosol dispensers have been the standard for shaving creams for decades as they were seen as convenient for a quick shave. But most of the products we reviewed below have ditched the traditional aerosol can. This is not a marketing ploy, but rather it was done intentionally to avoid harsh chemical additives.
You may notice how commercial shaving products spray out foam. This is clearly not natural, and is a byproduct of chemicals known as surfactants. While these make for a convenient shaving cream, they interfere with the natural process of hydration. This throws off the natural balance of your skin, preventing it from being able to retain moisture.
These cans also usually contain chemicals like the aforementioned propylene glycol. To be on the safe side, ditch the cans and opt for the tubes or jars where possible.
A best option is to use natural shaving cream. These products don’t contain harmful compounds, but they are filled with healthy nutrients that help rejuvenate skin and have it feeling and looking fresh.
If you’re wondering what the best natural shaving creams then read our reviews below to learn what we recommend:
|Henry Cavendish||3.8 oz.||$$$||5|
|Pacific Shaving Company||3.4 oz.||$$$||4.5|
|Dr. Bronners||7 oz.||$$||4|
|Burt’s Bees||6 oz. (pack of 3)||$||4|
1. Henry Cavendish
This product from Henry Cavendish gives men a classic shaving experience. It offers a rich, creamy lather, that allows for a razor to glide over smoothly. It’s long lasting, not like other traditional brands that dry out quickly. The soap has a subtle scent, but not strong enough to cause unpleasantness- it’s a masculine scent.
The Henry Cavendish shave soap contains shea butter and coconut oil. The shea butter is great for moisturizing skin and leaving it feeling smooth, without an oily look. The coconut oil contains a number of nutrients which help prevent inflammation and redness from shaving, as well as nurturing skin in general.
2. Pacific Shaving Company
Pacific Shaving Company is one of the leaders in natural shaving. They even offer a caffeinated shaving cream product to give you a morning energy boost! The caffeinated brand is fun to try out, but the effects are minimal for most people. Their standard brand is what we recommend starting with.
Using all organic and natural ingredients, the Pacific Shaving Cream is going to make your skin feel great. Not only does it make for a great shave, but it protects your skin after shaving. What you’ll notice when using Pacific Shaving Company’s creams is that it softens hair, lubricates skin, and allows for a close shave. After using it you’ll also notice hydrated and healthy looking skin.
Though the creams come in small 3 oz. packages, they last for quite some time. You can expect up to 40 shaves with a single tube. Depending on how often you shave, one package will last you at least a month and possibly even two months.
3. Dr. Bronner’s Organic Shaving Gel
You can always trust Dr. Bronner’s for a clean, smooth shave. The Bronner family has been making soaps and shave creams for decades, always putting quality first and ensuring a Fair Trade approach. You can never go wrong by choosing one of their brands.
These shave gels are made with organic shikaki- Indian seeds that have been used as a skin cleanser for centuries, and pure castile liquid soap. The lather is subtle compared to some other shaving gels, but still effective. It’s best used with a shaving brush.
Dr. Bronners Shaving Gel is available in a variety of choices including spearmint, lemongrass, and tea-tree oil, which is designed for sensitive skin. We recommend the spearmint, but the other varieties are good as well.
4. Burt’s Bees
Burt’s Bees has made a name for itself recently. People absolutely love their lip balm products, and they have now expanded to nearly every realm of skincare. This includes their natural shaving cream for men.
Burt’s Bees Natural Shave Cream is touted as 99.9% natural. This is part of the company’s message and they stick to it! The product allows for a great shave, during and after. It calms and hydrates skin through the chamomile extracts among other ingredients. You can be assured that your skin will be left feeling smooth, moisturized and looking its absolute best.
One of the main benefits of this brand is its convenience. It comes in a small tube that is easy to carry. But even more importantly, you don’t need to use a brush when shaving with this cream. So this makes it a perfect choice when traveling. One 6 ounce tube will last you at least a couple months.
Because these commercial shave creams are marketed for their convenience, people can shave quickly and easily. Yet when using natural shave creams you’re going to have to be a little more diligent. It’s best to take your time when applying the shaving cream while making sure it’s evenly spread out on your face. This makes for a more effective shave overall.
Consider picking up a shaving brush and mug/bowl. They will give you a more authentic shaving experience, and it does make the process more enjoyable. Amazon offers both accessories as a bundle.
Also, if you’re going to go with an aftershave, then it’s best to go with a natural aftershave.