Did you guys know that men on an average spend almost 20,000 hours of his lifetime shaving? That’s a lot of time devoted to grooming beard. Here’s another not-so-happy stat, 79% of these shaving aficionados report some sort of skin problem every time they shave. And guess what? I too belonged to these group once.
I was 14 when I had my first shave. Probably I didn’t even need to wipe off the nearly invisible patch of hair from my cheeks but who cares? Anyhow, I’ve to admit that it didn’t go well. I didn’t apply enough lubrication. So, yes, using shaving cream is actually important. You won’t want the razor blade to come directly in contact with your skin.
But what if somebody doesn’t like the fuss and mess of shaving creams?
What if you forget to pack your shaving cream during your business trip?
What if you don’t need a super close shave and what if, you are just a maverick who wants to try something new?
Fret not. I’m going to tell you how to deal with the above-mentioned scenarios.
But before you conclude that shaving creams are completely unnecessary, hear me out:
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A good shaving cream softens your hair for easy removal. This process is absolutely essential because you don’t want skin redness, inflammation, and ingrown hair post-shaving.
From my personal experience, I can vouch for the fact that you can’t get a nice, close shave with just water and razor, especially if you have a thick beard. But since I was never blessed with a gloriously thick beard, alternatives methods worked just fine for me.
Shaving cream/gel alternatives may trigger skin issues if you have sensitive skin. I do have somewhat delicate skin and my first few “experiments” with alternative methods didn’t go well. However, things got easier with time.
So what I’m basically trying to say is that naked shaving is not the best approach if you really want to ditch shaving gel or foam. Secondly, it’s wrong to assume that everything will work for everyone. Just because I am doing fine with a non-traditional shaving method doesn’t mean you will too.
However, sometimes you badly need a substitution for the following reasons:
Times When Shaving without Shaving Cream Is Absolutely Okay (and Necessary too)
- You have run out of shaving cream when you’re running late for a date, a party or a meeting.
- You hate the feeling and smell of shaving foam.
- You are in college, you get a stipulated allowance and you simply don’t want to spend a penny on shaving cream. Makes a lot of sense, actually.
- There are millions of men like me who never get to have a thick beard in their lifetime. Although you still need to lubricate the shaving area beforehand, it’s not necessary to use a shaving cream for that. If you just want to touch up your light stubble, use an electric razor. And if you need to closely shave thin patches of beard, the alternative options are coming up in the later segment.
- You got a full-face beard and a shaving cream but you’re feeling adventurous.
Now, the real deal. If you are still determined to shave without shaving creams, here are the best alternatives I know about:
Best Shaving Cream Substitutes
Regular bathroom soaps lubricate the same way shaving creams/gels do and that’s why it is generally the most preferred method. You can get a lot of foam from it and it will also moisturize your face, provided you are using a quality bar soap.
This is actually my go-to pre-shaving product for the past 3 years. Since I knew most beauty products use this ingredient, I decided to give it a try and it worked like a charm. It hydrates your skin, softens the hair and gives the closest possible shave without subjecting your skin to irritation or rashes.
Hair conditioner softens your hair, hydrates your skin and provides enough lubrication to prevent razor burns. Just take ample amount of conditioner in your hand and massage your just the way you massage your temple hair after shampooing.
Aloe vera gel’s consistency mimics that of a typical shaving gel. As you might already know, aloe vera possesses incredible skin soothing properties. So even if you have super sensitive skin, you can definitely give it a go. For best results, I would recommend you use a store-bought gel.
Once a skin expert friend told me that there are over a hundred varieties of aloe vera and not all of them are skin-friendly. So instead of reading an aloe-vera encyclopedia to find the best variety, you must just buy an FDA approved product from the store.
Yeah, that will also work. You already know how easily it creates foam when you apply just a little amount on your hair. Add to that, it also cleans dirt off the skin.
Baby oil is easy on the skin and provides enough lubrication for the sharp razor as well. Just make sure only to use a few drops of it, especially if you are using a cartridge razor to prevent clogging.
Jojoba oil, coconut oil, sandalwood oil, cedarwood oil, olive oil are a few options you can try as well. These oils are good for skin and apart from lubrication, it also soothes and nourishes on your skin to reduce razor burns.
It works in the same way oils do. Apart from preventing razor burn, it also helps you get rid of typical dry skin issues like itchiness and bumps.
More unconventional alternatives would be:
Who knew? I mean who knew? But yes, it can. After all, it’s greasy and easy to lather on the skin surface. However, let me warn you that this method should be used only during extreme emergencies. And by this, I mean if you live off the grid and often find yourself trapped in a no man’s land, like Bear Grylls. And also, be mindful of allergies.
Although many beauty products and those fancy spas use organic honey for skin treatment, I am not a huge fan of it. However, there’s no denying the fact that, it is one of the best natural moisturizers to exist. Since applying it raw can feel sticky and annoying, I’d suggest you dilute it with a few drops of water before applying.
It is very much possible that your best shaving cream substitute is not one product, but a combination of many. You can mix shea butter with olive oil and honey, I don’t know, whatever floats your boat. Just don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients to find out what works best on your skin.
It is very much possible that none of the alternatives would work on your particular skin type, but hey! It won’t harm trying.
How Can You Shave without Shaving Cream Like a Pro?
Prepping Your Skin
Boy! You are in for a lot of trouble if you skip this step, so don’t do that. Prepping your skin before shaving ensures that you don’t end up with unsightly rashes, burns and ingrown hair post-shaving.
Wash your face
You can either simply wet the shaving area with water/ dab water with a cotton pad or gently exfoliate your skin with a scrub. Exfoliation is a must if you’re using oil for shaving. The goal is to open your pores and soften your skin so that the blade can glide evenly on your face. It will also help you get a closer shave with minimum passes.
Take a shower
Preferably with warm water. Taking a shower 15 minutes before shaving will loosen up the follicles and the razor will hurt less.
Prepare Your Razor
First things first, take your time to find a good razor if you are going to shave without shaving cream. If you are wet shaving for the first time, make sure to use a safety razor with a single blade. It should be sharp enough to give you the desired results with minimum passes. Also, you would want to load your razor with a fresh blade for this non-conforming shaving method.
Step by Step Shaving Guide
Now, it’s showtime!
- Trim your hair: If you have long facial hair, it is best to trim it before shaving to prevent your razor from clogging up.
- Lather: If you are using a soap product such as bar soap, shampoo or conditioner, make sure to be generous with the quantity. You will need a lot of foam to get through this ride with zero nicks and cuts.
Forming a thick layer of foam and if you want, add some glycerine to increase the volume of the lather. Do not skip this step if you have a rash-prone skin.
Invest in a good brush to lather the foam evenly for easy shaving. Eminent dermatologist Adam Penstein says “A good brush really pushes the cream into the hair and makes it much easier to shave,”. Can’t agree more.
- Start Shaving: Go slow, short moves in the beginning and always, I repeat always shave with the grain. Shaving against the grain can make your hair strands stuck in the razor. In case the razor gets stuck even while shaving with the grain, stop, rinse it and start again.
- Wash your face thoroughly after shaving. Apply a good moisturizer afterward to keep the skin hydrated, smooth and itch-free.
Parting words of wisdom
It’s best to go easy with these alternative products at the beginning. Since you don’t know how your skin will react to it, maybe you can first shave off a small area of your skin. If it doesn’t show any rash or inflammation, you go ahead, my boy!
The Bottom Line
Are you still keen on trying a shaving cream alternative? Kudos to your courage.
I really appreciate your willingness to be experimental as long as you are cautious. Now that you have a list of different approaches, it’s probably time to give it a try. To be on the safer side, please make sure you are using the best safety razor you can get your hands on. This is important because you are about to shave your hair without the protection of traditional shaving cream.
Last but not least, do not expect the results to be perfect. Nobody knows what alternative ingredient will work the best on your skin. Nobody knows whether your skin can handle unconventional shaving. So be wise, consider all the possibilities before you choose a shaving cream substitute. Good luck!