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.)
If you still crave the thick texture of creams, a gel might be your best bet. We're big fans of Grown Alchemist's all-natural formula, which lifts the hair follicle for your closest shave possible. Plant extracts like aloe vera soothe and deeply hydrate the skin, and the earthy sandalwood scent also happens to be heavenly.
Similar to a gel, the thick, luxurious texture comes from an emulsion of ultra-hydrating oils. Use Nucifera's avocado and coconut-based salve to shave, and then slather it on again after you're done for additional hydration.
Not all creams are created equal. A formula that's free (or at least mostly free) of synthetics can be great for your skin, so make sure you're reading labels and shopping carefully. (Alba Botanica's Cream Shave is a great bet.)
Yep—add "shaving cream" to the ever-growing list of uses for coconut oil, somewhere between diet staple, hair mask, and the cure for the common cold (just kidding).
Coconut oil might be easier to work with since it's a little thicker (before melting, at least), but we'll use just about any oil for a super-close shave and incredibly moisturized skin.
If you're looking for the feel of an oil with a slightly more viscous texture, serums are your best bet. This luxurious formula smells of sandalwood and neroli, plus it foams ever-so-slightly.
This isn't any ordinary bar of soap: It's specially crafted to leave a layer of protection on your skin to avoid nicks.
Aiming to step up your leg game even more? See the six shaving habits you need to drop immediately.