If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Rolling Stone may receive an affiliate commission.
If shaving feels like a chore instead of a treat, the products in your bathroom cabinet might be to blame. Like the best aftershaves and the best razors, the best shaving creams can turn your grooming routine into an enjoyable experience that you might even look forward to.
Because many of us will use shaving cream every day, it’s worth shopping around to find the good stuff. Below is everything you need to know about shaving cream, as well as the best shaving creams to buy right now.
What is Shaving Cream?
Although sometimes misused as a catch-all term for any shaving product, shaving cream is actually different than shaving gel, soap or oil.
The best shaving cream should be light, airy and usually has a consistency similar to lotion. Some work best when lathered with a brush while others are brushless. In either case, shaving creams are smooth, easy to apply and great at protecting against nicks or razor burn.
Because it’s slightly thicker, shaving cream often includes soothing, hydrating agents in addition to hair-softening properties. That means smoother, healthier-feeling skin for the rest of the day.
Some shaving cream brands also come in a foaming aerosol can. These provide a faster lather, as the cream is foamed instantly when it comes out of the can. Because they’re so airy, shaving foams are also very easy to rinse off afterward (this makes them good for shaving your body too). Be careful when shopping for shaving foams, however: cheap foams can dry out facial skin.
How to Choose a Shaving Cream
If shaving cream sounds like the right product for your grooming routine, here are a few things to keep in mind while shopping for the best shave cream for you.
Lather: As mentioned, shaving cream comes in a brushless, foaming or lather (brush suggested) form. Brushless is probably the most popular variety with mid to high-quality shaving creams. Lather creams are great too (often very high quality), but they work far better with a brush.
Scent: Some guys like the confidence-boosting effect of a well-scented shaving cream, but others prefer to leave scent to their deodorant, cologne or aftershave. Be sure to check whether a shaving cream is scented or unscented. If the former, make sure it’s a scent you enjoy.
Hydration: One of the factors that really differentiates shaving creams is hydrations powers. A cream with hydrating ingredients, such as Vitamin E or aloe vera, will not only lend a more soothing shave experience, but it’ll also keep your skin healthier in the long term.
Sensitive Skin: Some of the best shaving creams for sensitive skin will contain naturally-derived ingredients (rather than synthetic) so as to not irritate your mug. Shave creams for sensitive skin are often unscented too.
The Best Shaving Creams
From basic shave creams to luxurious lathers, we’ve rounded up some of the best shaving creams for men to buy online right now.
1. Kiehl’s Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream
BEST FOR SENSITIVE SKIN
Kiehl’s proves its 150-plus years of expertise with products like this brushless shave cream. Formulated with menthol and camphor, the shaving cream leaves skin feeling extra fresh and rejuvenated. It also contains sesame seed oil for hydration and works great on sensitive skin. To apply the Kiehl’s shaving cream, rub a small amount over your face — no water required.
2. Bevel Shaving Cream
BEST FOR COARSE HAIR
Shaving can be painful for anyone with sensitive skin. Here’s where Bevel shaving cream comes in. The premium shave cream packs in nourishment from aloe vera, coconut water, shea butter and comfrey extract, and it doesn’t include any alcohol or parabens. This not only hydrates skin but creates a hefty barrier to protect from nicks and razor bumps. It’s ideal for anyone with sensitive skin or curly, unruly facial hair that other shaving products can’t handle.
3. Malin + Goetz Vitamin E Shaving Cream
This Vitamin E shaving cream from Malin + Goetz is equal parts moisturizer and shaving cream, effectively speeding up your grooming routine. The key ingredient, Vitamin E, works alongside amino acid proteins to soothe and nourish skin while you shave.
Although it’s a substantial, lotion-like cream, the Malin + Goetz won’t clog your razor and rinses off easily. It does have a light, minty scent, but this blends nicely with other products. When shaving, dampen skin before applying a thin layer over your face.
4. Claus Porto Musgo Real Shaving Cream
Claus Porto’s Musgo Real shaving cream is an old-school product (launched in 1930) that has been updated over the years without losing its charm. This modern iteration features ingredients such as lanolin, shea butter and walnut oil which work together to soften hair while soothing and hydrating skin. The Musgo Real comes in three rich scents, including this ‘Orange Amber’ fragrance which lends crisp notes of mandarin, bergamot and lemon.
5. The Art of Shaving Sandalwood Shave Cream
Another classic choice is this sandalwood shave cream from The Art of Shaving. Formulated with glycerin, the cream goes on easy and creates a rich lather — especially when used with a brush. The throwback shave cream contains no dyes or alcohol, and instead uses ingredients such as coconut acid to hydrate skin. As the name suggests, it also has a masculine sandalwood scent that’s noticeable yet not overpowering.
6. Le Labo Shaving Cream
Like everything from Le Labo, this shave cream boasts a top-of-the-line fragrance. Lead by bergamot and lavender, the refreshing, masculine scent is a great way to start your day. But, with nourishing coconut, chamomile and glycerin, the shave cream is more than meets the nose with hydration and ingredients that reduce razor bumps and burns. Apply a thin layer to wet skin for best effect.