The Surprising Thing Standing in the Way of Smoother Legs

We're going to take a big leap and guess that you probably don't spend too much time thinking about shaving cream. It's just one of those necessary, no-frills staples, like your toothbrush or tampons. (Although, don't get us started on tampons…)

But can we implore you to consider it just a bit more? Believe it or not, it's the single most important thing standing in the way of your smoothest, closest shave ever. Most run-of-the-mill formulas are packed with chemicals (including parabens and sulfates) that dry out and mess with your skin—and then some, considering your body absorbs a large percentage of the synthetics that you put on it. That's not even to mention the fact that those gel-to-foam formulas don't typically protect your skin all that well from your razor. (Skin expert Renée Rouleau blames the aeration in those formulas.)

The great news is that alternatives don't just exist—they're better. Superficially speaking, we've found that since swapping out our shaving cream for more natural options like balms and oils, our skin has never been smoother or more hydrated. The slip-like texture makes for an amazingly close shave (while keeping your skin protected), and the moisturizing ingredients often eliminate the need for post-shower lotion. 

Not sure how to go about choosing the right alternative? Below, we're highlighting seven tried-and-true products we love—all in varying textures. (What can we say? We like options.)

Aiming to step up your leg game even more? See the six shaving habits you need to drop immediately