Difference Between Shave Soap & Shave Cream

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Using shaving soap may require some practice.
Using shaving soap may require some practice. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Shaving cream and soaps protect the skin from cuts and razor burn. Shaving cream typically comes in an upright canister or bottle, whereas shaving soap is sold in a solid form, much like standard body soap. Though creams and foams may be more popular, some men like the traditional soaps, which have been used by barbers for decades. Each product has its benefits and disadvantages. In the end, it's a matter of personal preference.

How Do You Use Shaving Cream?

Typically men use shaving cream because it is more modern and easy to use. Some popular brands of cream are sold in aerosol cans. By depressing the button on top of the canister, a light foam is released. This product can be applied to the face with the fingers. Some creams are sold in jars or bottles and need to be rubbed with the fingers or with a brush to create a lather.

How Do You Use Shaving Soap?

Many modern shaving soaps are sold with a small wooden bowl. If your soap did not come with a bowl, you can use a household dish or simply hold the soap in the palm of your hand. Barbers used to keep their shaving soaps in a beer mug. Wet the bristles of your brush with hot water and rub it on the soap in a circular motion to create a lather. Regular soap should not be used as shaving soap, because it does not provide the rich, creamy texture that's necessary for shaving.

During and After Shaving

It's important that no matter what product you use to create a lather, you use a sharp blade and apply aftershave. A dull blade can cause uncomfortable and unsightly razor burn. A sharper blade will also result in a closer shave. After removing the leftover cream or soap from the face, apply aftershave balm or splash. This moisturizes the skin to keep it from becoming dry and itchy. It also tightens the pores to reduce the risk of infection and acne.

Which One Is Better?

Shaving soap creates a more slick surface for shaving, which some men prefer. However, it does require more work and does not provide the same level of protection as a thick cream. Soaps are not suitable for beginners. Shaving 101, a website dedicated to the art of shaving, says: "Much of the decision in which to choose depends on your own preference and style of shaving, as well as your skin type."

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