Shaving Gel vs Cream: Which One Is Better?

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Rebecca Moses
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shaving cream vs gel

Most men shave their face on an almost daily basis. And for far too many, it remains an uncomfortable experience. Some of this discomfort is avoidable with the right shaving lubricant.

Whether you choose to use a shaving cream or a gel, your shaving products matter.

Your ideal shaving product should provide a barrier between your skin and the razor blade. Its most important function is to help the razor move smoothly and efficiently across your skin. That’s not all a shaving gel or cream should do, though. They also contain oil and ingredients that moisturize and condition your beard and skin.

If you often finish shaving, only to find yourself uncomfortable from razor burn, bumps, and other irritation, you may be using the wrong products. This is a common problem with inexpensive aerosol shaving foams, which offer minimal moisture while drying out your skin.

Your best shaving products will come in a shaving cream tin or a shaving gel tube, and they will not be aerosols.

For those wondering ‘is shaving cream the same as shaving foam’? The answer is no. Shaving foams are formulated to give you a lot of lather, which means too much air that will actually press down the hair rather than raising it away from the skin for a clean shave. Additionally, aerosol shaving foams contain alcohol, which dries out the skin. This dryness from the alcohol may be the primary cause of some of your burns and irritation when shaving.

There’s no way around it, moisture is important for healthy skin. When you dry it out, you are both aging yourself and making yourself visibly uncomfortable. A high-quality shaving cream or gel, on the other hand, will contain natural oils that soothe and nourish your skin while lubricating the surface for a smooth shave.

Shaving Cream

If you’re interested in the ritual side of a wet shaving process, you may enjoy using a shaving cream quite a bit. These have a thick lather that is the best for raising the hair from the skin and giving you a clean shave. Many are also formulated with high-quality ingredients that help to soften and condition your hair to keep it shiny and healthy.

What Is It?

To begin with, we have to think about what shaving cream does. It’s used during wet shaving to offer protection, while raising the hairs away from the face to reduce razor burn when grooming your facial hair.

The best shaving cream is a high-quality shaving soap that produces a white lather to protect the skin. This lather will feel thicker and richer than a lower quality shaving foam. This is due to the high-quality ingredients, such as natural oils, which help to moisturize your skin as you shave.

You will need to work the shaving cream a little with a shaving brush until it lathers. This extra step makes shaving cream a little less time-efficient option. However, in the long run it can make for a better shave, particularly when you lather with a brush.

Brushing the shaving cream onto your face with a shaving brush is the best way to lift the hair away from the skin and guarantee a clean shave. Alternately, you can lather up your shaving cream between your hands when you don’t have access to a shaving brush.

shaving gel vs cream in post

Benefits of Using Shaving Cream

Shaving cream tends to feel lighter than shaving gel, and many men find that it makes for an easier shave.

  • Lather has a softer and more airy feel against the face.
  • Since traditional style shaving creams tend to be reserved for a high-end or luxury skin-care market, it’s easier to find a brand with high-quality ingredients that help to nourish your skin.
  • It can be easier to rinse away that many shave gels on the market, making it quick cleanup.
  • Shaving cream is less likely to clog your razor. It is also easier to wash out of the razor blades when you’re done. This will help to increase the longevity of a sharp blade.

Who Should Use It?

  • Men with very coarse or thick facial hair. Adding warm water, or using a shaving cream heater, is the most effective way to soften the hair and allow the razor an efficient glide. This is important for those with thick, coarse hair, as the softer the hair is, the easier it will be to shave it. Furthermore, since shaving cream is less likely to clog your razor, it tends to be the best option for working through a big load of hair.
  • Those who like their ritual and luxury. For many men, shaving with a cream fits into a routine and ritual that they enjoy. This tends to offer a more luxurious experience that includes applying water to the shaving cream and using a badger hair brush to lather it up.
  • Someone transitioning away from shaving foams. Shaving foams are based on shaving creams. Someone who already intends to switch away from shaving foam could find shaving cream to be a familiar and more comfortable experience to start.
shaving gel vs cream in post GEL

Shaving Gel

Shaving gels are the preferred shaving lubricant of those who like to keep their routine quick and snappy. In addition to being slightly quicker than a shaving cream, they also have numerous benefits to improve your shaving process, including superior lubrication for sensitive skin.

What Is It?

Shave gels are exactly what they sound like, a gel-based lubricant that creates a shaving barrier while moisturizing the skin. If you’re wondering how to use shaving gel, the process is very simple. You simply smooth enough product over your face to offer protection and a smooth glide.

Unlike shaving creams and foams, shaving gels will not lather. This also means that they don’t require water for use.

Shaving gels have a thick consistency, and most men spread them on in thin layers. Applying too much shave gel can make it tough to rinse off when you’re in a hurry. Additionally, the thicker consistency can clog the razor or make it more difficult to clean in between strokes.

A good gel for shaving will contain moisturizing oils and glycerin. Shaving gel isn’t bad for you overall. However, you need to watch which product you buy because there are many sub-par shaving gels on the market, which contain low quality ingredients, including skin-irritation causing parabens.

Benefits of Using Shaving Gel

  • Shaving gels are most often translucent, meaning that they offer you the better ability to see what you’re doing and where you’re shaving. This is good for someone who is cleaning up their beard or giving themselves a trim. It also helps with careful detail work, such as the ‘chiseled’ or stubble look.
  • You can use it without water, making it a quicker option than a cream. Shave gel contains oil that will help to soften your facial hair. It might not be as effective as warm water and shave cream, but it works in a pinch.
  • It’s a good all-in-one option for no-fuss traveling.

Who Should Use It?

  • Men with sensitive skin – Since shaving gels offer more lubrication and protection than a shaving cream, these are good for men with sensitive or irritable skin. If you’re using shave gels because you have sensitive skin, make sure to use a high-quality gel, and check the ingredients as much as you can. Make sure to choose a shaving gel that is fragrance and alcohol-free.
  • Someone looking for a no-fuss option. A good shave gel saves you time, while still offering a great shaving experience. Shaving gels are easy to apply and easy to use quickly without a lot of ceremony. To apply it, use your hands to rub a thin layer across the area that you will be shaving. It also allows you to shave without water.

Shaving Cream Versus Shaving Gel

Choosing the Right One For You

Choosing shaving cream vs gel comes down to a matter of personal preference.

Both creams and gels offer a different shaving style to influence your routine. While one creates more of a ritual around shaving, the other is quicker and simple.

Both come in various scents or unscented, and when purchased as high quality, they will both help you to get a good, close, and irritation-free shave.

That means the rest is up to you to test them out and see what you like the best.


  • Rebecca Moses

    Depending on the day, you’ll find Rebecca in a well thought-out ensemble that she handcrafted herself, or in hiking and rock climbing gear. An avid outdoorswoman, cyclist, and cat lover, Rebecca reminds us all on the Groom+Style team just how much we need to get outdoors. She’s worked in spas and salons off and on before going full-time with the G+S team. Linkedin: