Shave Cream vs Gel: What’s the Difference?

A clean shave is something both men and women want but can be challenging to achieve every time. 

That's why dermatologists recommend some tried and tested tips like shaving right after a shower, storing razors in a dry area, and applying shaving cream or gel. 

Now, some folks think of shaving products as optional. They believe they don't need a shave cream or gel and that an electric shaver is enough to do the job. If you have sensitive skin, though, you mustn't skip shaving creams or gels, but you may be wondering, "How are these two different?"

Here's what you should know about shave creams and gels, plus how to choose the right one for your shaving needs.

What Are Shave Creams?

Mention 'shaving product,' and some people would automatically think of those shaving creams in aerosol cans. 

However, if you talk to a grooming expert, you'll realize that those products are miles away from what an actual shaving cream is. You see, canned shaving cream is a misnomer. What's in those aerosol cans is shaving foam.

When you dispense it, the product that comes out is accompanied by a lot of air. That's why shaving foam looks fluffy and appears like it would make a nice lather. Unfortunately, the fluffiness doesn't make shaving foams effective at all.

Shaving foams don't keep hair standing upright, which means when you use a razor, it will drag across your skin. If you always get a razor burn after using shaving foam, you now know why. Bottom line: A good shaving product will lift the hair from the surface so that you get a clean shave without worrying about razor burns every time.

What About Shave Gels?

Unlike shaving foam, canned shave gel isn't full of air and will lather up when used.

Again, some grooming experts don't consider shaving gels in cans authentic, as real ones don't lather. You can use them as-is, and they don't contain alcohol.

Remember that skincare products containing alcohol tend to dry out the skin. Even if you don't have sensitive skin, prolonged use of shaving products with high alcohol content can destroy your skin barrier, making it more prone to rashes and irritation. Be sure to switch to gentler alternatives if you find your shaving cream or gel leaving a burning sensation whenever you use it.

Shave Cream vs. Gel: What's the Better Option?

So you're giving canned shaving products a break. That's great. 

If you're interested in shave creams or gels that come in tins or tubes, don't be surprised if they cost more than traditional shaving products. For one thing, they contain better lubricants or moisturizers to minimize skin irritation. They're also rich in ingredients and nutrients that can penetrate the hair follicles better and keep the hair shaft free from acne-causing dirt and debris. 

As for choosing between cream and gel, it would depend on your preference. If you like products that lather, then you should opt for creams, but don't forget that these need water for activation. Now, if you don't mind shaving products with a thicker consistency, try shaving gels.

Not only are these convenient because you can use them as they are, but they're also better at moisturizing the skin. Plus, if you don't want to shave everything off, gels allow you to see areas you need to shave better since they tend to be not opaque.

Some Tips for Using a Shaving Cream

Whether you're shaving your face or your body, some techniques will make using shave cream a breeze. 

For example, it always helps to use a brush with soft bristles. The advantage of using a shaving brush is it helps prep the skin by gently exfoliating it. For the smoothest shave, you need to get the ratio of shaving cream to water right.   

That means thick lather and tiny bubbles. Once you have the right consistency, begin shaving in the direction of your hair. Never go against the grain, or you risk irritating your skin. 

How to Achieve a Smooth Shave with Shaving Gel 

Since shaving gels can be used as-is, the only thing you have to keep in mind is to rinse your razor well to prevent the product from clogging the blades.

It will also help if you prep your skin before shaving. That means using exfoliating products. Please don't skip this step because you don't want to overload your razor with dead skin cells, preventing a close shave. 

Another tip to remember is not to use super hot water. While some find hot water soothing, it can make the skin too soft, making it more prone to nicks and cuts.

After shaving, you'll want to apply a hydrating moisturizer, especially if you have dryness issues. Doing this will prevent flakiness and itchiness. Also, don't forget about sun protection, and of course, replace your razors as often as needed.

Bonus: How to Clean Your Razor Properly

Even if you use the best shaving cream or gel, it wouldn't be effective if you don't know how to clean your razor well. 

What you want to do is always ensure it's free from debris. If you have a clogged razor, you can use hot water to rinse it. Jolting it would also work if there's buildup you can't get rid of, but don't use too much force, or it could destroy your razor. 

You can also use a razor brush to get rid of dirt and debris, and when you're sure the blade is clean, don't forget to sterilize the blade by soaking it in alcohol or vinegar. Of course, don't use your razor without rinsing it in water first.

Are You Looking for the Best Shaving Cream or Gel?

Now that you know more about shave creams and gels, are you planning to ditch your current products for better ones?

If you're looking for the best shave cream and shave gel, you can check out our shop. We also carry other grooming products for men and women and apparel that might catch your fancy. 

Feel free to browse our blog for more tips and advice.