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Reviewed: The 9 Best Shave Butter for a Smoother Shave

Shave gels and shaving creams have dominated the men’s skincare market for decades, perpetually in competition with each other. And as SPY readers know, we’ve consistently named Dollar Shave Club’s Shave Gel as the top option for a close shave. But there’s a lesser-known option vying to be king of the hair removal hill — shave butter.

Shave butter offers a super-close shave that rivals the results of its predecessors, and sooner or later you might be reaching for the best shave butter instead of your go-to shaving cream. 

This gel and cream alternative provides a low-lather shave that you scoop from the jar or squeeze from the tube and rub directly on your face. It doesn’t foam as you apply, nor does it come pre-foamed right out of the can. This yields a few key benefits when it comes to your standard grooming routine. 

To help you find the best shave butter, we tested the 12 most popular options to find out which offers the closest shave.


What Are the Benefits of Shave Butter?

Joey Skladany | SPY

First, the best shave butter will have a foamless design that allows it to go on thin (in most cases), so you can see where you’re shaving more easily. That means less wondering whether you missed a spot or not. Because the shave butter isn’t designed to expand and spread, you can skip the brush and bowl step you need for many other shaving products. Simply squirt or scoop a bit of shave butter into your hand and massage it into your skin and facial hair, coating every bristle or stubble. 

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Second, because the best shave butter isn’t concerned with artificial, over-the-top foaming, its formulas rely more on all-natural, plant-based ingredients. For example, one popular, well-established brand of foaming shaving cream contains propane. You know — propane; the same stuff you use to fire up the grill. Propane is a standard propellant in shaving creams to help create the foam and expel the cream from the can, but it’s obviously unnatural to use stuff like that on your face.

With the best shave butter, you’ll find more ingredients like macadamia nut and rosemary oils, pineapple and orange peel extracts, and shea, mango, and cocoa butter. Those are just some of the incredible ingredients from two of the most popular shaving butters. Not only are plant-based ingredients, butter, and oils great for your skin and make for a smooth shave, but you know what they have in them and they are not known to contribute to any illnesses or skin sensitivities. 

SPY reviewer, Joey Skladany, using one of the shave butters tested. Joey Skladany | SPY

Third, the thicker consistency does a better job of delivering nutrients and moisture to your skin, resulting in a smooth, pain-free shave and a rejuvenated feeling afterward. For an improved shave and better absorption of the hydrating and moisturizing ingredients, you’ll want to evenly apply the shave butter and let it sit for at least 15 seconds. As you shave, your skin will continue to absorb it. It may dry out depending on how fast you go, but using a little more goes a long way if you want to re-apply.

Lastly, the smooth consistency is easier on your razor, allowing the blade to glide without getting clogged as quickly. Sure, foamy shave creams are great at standing your facial hairs up, but they can clog razors and add time to your shave with all the rinsing. And that’s when using high-quality or safety razors; forget about using foamy creams with even the best of disposable razors.

We think every guy should give shave butter a shot for a high-quality shave that not only removes hair with ease, but also delivers a one-two punch of moisturization to the skin. There aren’t many shave butters on the market, but we tested 12 tried-and-true options below to get you started. 

Check out SPY’s selection of the best shave butter below. When you’re done, be sure to check out our guides to the Best Men’s Razors of 2022, as well as the Best Shaving Creams of 2022


The Best Shave Butter At a Glance

best overall

1. Woody’s Shave Butter

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Runner Up

2. Dollar Shave Club Shave Butter

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best glide

3. RemeVerse Shave Butter

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best texture

4. Clubman Pinaud Shave Butter

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best combo

5. Shea Moisture Smoothing Shave Butter and Restoring Cream

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best refill (ECO-FRIENDLY)

6. Beast Shave Butter

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best full-body

7. OmniShaver Shave Butter

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ven der hagen shave butter photographed on the floor
drug store pick

Van Der Hagen Shave Butter

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best ingredients

9. The Henna Guys Shaving Butter

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Okay for Men Shaving Butter

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Joey Skladany | SPY
best overall

Best For: The guy who is brand new to shave butter and demands nothing but the best. 
Why We Chose It: Smooth gliding? Check. Close shave? Check. Zero irritation? Check. Good smell? Check. Woody’s Shave Butter ticks all the boxes, making it the best of the bunch in this epic battle of butters. 

  • Size: 6 oz.
  • Key Ingredients: Aloe Vera, Vitamin E, Chamomile, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter

Testing Woody’s Shave Butter yielded some pretty remarkable results. When shaved alongside five other formulas in the neck area, you could run your finger across the skin and actually feel that its patch was the smoothest and most stubble-free. While the tube is quite expensive, it’s worth investing in the best shave butter if you’ve been searching for a near-perfect product that puts the care and protection of your skin first. 

Pros

  • Provides the closest shave of the bunch
  • Wonderful herbaceous smell (almost like basil) 
  • Left skin feeling very smooth 
  • Made in the USA

Cons

  • Quite pricey
Joey Skladany | SPY
Runner Up

Best For: The guy looking to save on money, but not sacrifice quality. 
Why We Chose It: Dollar Shave Club makes some of the industry’s best shave butter, and for good reason. The brand’s butter, like its gel and cream, delivers on performance, but not at a ridiculous price. 

  • Size: 6 oz. 
  • Key Ingredients: Golden Barley, Vitamins A, C, and E

Dollar Shave Club has developed a bit of a cult following, and rightfully so. What was once a monthly subscription box has evolved into an entire line of products (available in over 40,000 retailers) with shave butter as one of its stars. Not only does the product offer one of the closest shaves you can get, but it’s also affordably priced so that you can stock up and purchase the company’s other offerings (like beard oil) without breaking the bank. 

Pros

  • Goes on translucently for extra precision
  • Very affordable
  • Part of Dollar Shave Club’s impressive line of shaving products 

Cons

  • Felt a little greasy on the face
  • Contains alcohol, which can be drying
Joey Skladany | SPY
best glide

Best For: The impatient guy who is prone to nicking his skin. 
Why We Chose It: The razor practically glides on its own after applying RemeVerse’s smooth and slippery butter that makes shaving a breeze. 

  • Size: 7.5 oz. 
  • Key Ingredients: Shea Butter, Aloe, Squalene

Shaving can be quite the abrasive act on the skin, but not with RemeVerse. Apply a thin layer of butter and let the razor do all of the work. It really does feel like magic — like a scene from “Beauty and the Beast,” if you will — where an inanimate object takes on a life of its own. One gentle press of the blade against prepped skin activates the razor and allows it to glide in either direction and remove the hair swiftly and without pain or redness. The spearmint fragrance is also a wonderful way to start the day, working in tandem with a morning coffee to provide that much-needed jolt of energy. 

Pros

  • Impressively smooth and slippery glide 
  • Invigorating spearmint smell 
  • Thick texture that coats every hair follicle

Cons

  • Prone to blade-clogging
Joey Skladany | SPY
best texture

Best For: The guy whose beard and stubble grow in particularly thick.  
Why We Chose It: This classic brand is jam-packed with skin-healthy ingredients to create an almost frosting-like formula that nourishes the dermis while you shave. 

  • Size: 6 oz. 
  • Key Ingredients: Aloe, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Vitamin E, Chamomile

Clubman Pinaud prides itself on no-frills products that excel in providing consistency and quality. Its shave butter, in particular, represents everything that makes the shaving essential great: thick, luxurious, and able to create a barrier between the skin and blade that allows for quick, smooth strokes. While you may need to tap your razor a few times to discharge accumulated hair, it’s a minor inconvenience that’s worth the pay-off: smooth, bump-free skin that smells as good as it looks. 

Pros

  • Texture is almost like a frosting
  • Attractive, masculine scent
  • Can buy in packs of three or more to save money

Cons

  • Thickness of formula can clog blades
Joey Skladany | SPY
best combo

Best For: The guy who prefers a two-step shaving regimen. 
Why We Chose It: SheaMoisture’s dynamic duo works to not only provide a skin-tight shave but also protect and restore the skin after you’re finished. 

  • Size: 5 oz. and 2 oz. 
  • Key Ingredients: Shea Butter, Maracuja Oil, Tea Tree Oil

While the butter may not have offered the best shave of the bunch for this reviewer, it might be the best shave butter for curly hair, as advertised. Despite our experience, it was salvaged by a restoring cream that fed moisture directly to the face and alleviated irritation with tea tree oil. Also, its coconut-forward, sunblock-smell is a chef’s kiss, making the shaving experience something you actually look forward to and not a chore. Create a triple threat by incorporating the company’s beard balm into the mix, as well, which can be used to style, tame, and soften longer facial hair. 

Pros

  • Coconut smell will transport you somewhere exotic
  • Prevents redness and bumps associated with sensitive skin
  • Formulated with men of color in mind

Cons

  • Tugged on hair a bit
  • Works best in tandem, which adds an extra step 
Joey Skladany | SPY
best refill (ECO-FRIENDLY)

Best for: The guy who shaves daily and requires a larger supply. 
Why We Chose It: Not only is Beast a premiere product with its high-quality ingredients, but it’s the only option on this list that sells a 16-oz. refill bag so that you’re not spending hard-earned cash on bottle after bottle. 

  • Size: 16 oz. 
  • Key Ingredients: Aloe, Oats, Shea Butter, Ginseng

Some dudes prefer to be bare-faced every day, requiring hundreds of dollars in shave products to preserve that youthful glow. Thankfully, we found the best shave butter for guys who shave a ton. Not only does Beast offer refill pouches to keep things more affordable and eco-friendly, but it’s also a product that stands up to every other tube and jar in quality. The secret weapon is the ginseng, which reduces redness and brightens the skin so that it looks healthy, refreshed, and almost like you’ve emerged from a facial treatment at a spa. 

Pros

  • Environmentally-friendly refill bag
  • High-quality vegan ingredients
  • Left behind very smooth skin 

Cons

  • Formula is a bit runny 
Joey Skladany | SPY
best full-body

Best for: The guy who is shaving more than just his face. 
Why We Chose It: Butters are ideal for thick, coarse facial hair that requires excess moisturization, but OmniShaver’s Shave Butter more than delivers in providing these benefits for the rest of the body. 

  • Size: 6 oz. 
  • Key Ingredients: Tea Tree Oil, Shea Butter, Aloe

If you’ve ditched the barber and/or have zero interest in getting waxed, OmniShaver’s has the best shave butter for your needs. Formulated specifically for full-body hair removal, the silky, slightly tacky substance melds with your skin to ensure that every exposed layer is covered and coated. We particularly enjoyed using this on our arms where finer hair was gone after one quick stroke and can imagine it will have the same effect on gentlemen who are rocking and maintaining a bald scalp.  

Pros

  • Excellent for shaving arms, legs, and scalp 
  • Stays in place so you can be more precise
  • Formulated to work with the brand’s razor

Cons

  • Slightly sticky formula that isn’t blade-friendly
Joey Skladany | SPY
drug store pick

$5.90 $7.99 26% off

Buy Now On Amazon

Best For: Guys who want to try shave butter for the first time.
Why We Chose It: This popular shave butter for men has a great moisturizing formula and is available at most drug stores.

  • Size: 4 oz. 
  • Key Ingredients: Shea Butter, Aloe Juice, Papaya and Pineapple Enzymes

Because it’s available in most drug stores, this $6 tube may have been your first experience with shave butter. In our testing, we found it to be an effective moisturizer with a smooth consistency, and just a small amount of product was enough to cover the entire face and neck. Unfortunately, it is the only product that made me bleed after not softening my beard hairs enough. Of course, every beard type is different and this may work for men with finer facial hair, but I’d be remiss to not mention this less desirable outcome after using it. 

Pros

  • Super affordable
  • A little goes a long way
  • Moisturizing formula

Cons

  • Not great for thicker facial hair
Joey Skladany | SPY
best ingredients

Best for: The guy who is concerned about the products he puts on his skin. 
Why We Chose It: We could recognize nearly every ingredient that goes into The Henna Guys’ jars, which gives us the reassurance that it won’t react negatively with our skin. 

  • Size: 4 oz. 
  • Key Ingredients: Shea Butter, Aloe Juice, Papaya and Pineapple Enzymes

If you’re a stickler for high-quality, “clean” ingredients, look no further than The Henna Guys. The brand has concocted a line of the best shave butters with dermis-friendly ingredients like aloe juice and fruit enzymes. And the brand leads with them, unlike the hard-to-pronounce preservatives you’ll find with some other options. While the jar is somewhat small for the price, a little goes a long way and will last you months before having to place another order. 

Pros

  • Clean ingredient list
  • Great for sensitive skin
  • Provides a lot of moisturization

Cons

  • Butter separates in jar and may require mixing
  • Quite expensive for the amount

The Best Shave Butters: Honorable Mentions 

Though three options didn’t make the final cut, they’re still worthwhile investments that may work for many consumers. Here are some quick highlights on each product, as well as their shortcomings. 

Joey Skladany | SPY

$5.90 $7.99 26% off

Buy Now On Amazon

It has a fresh, invigorating scent, but is quite difficult to spread across the face. This also makes the butter accumulate on the razor, so you are constantly tapping the blades against the sink and rinsing them under warm water — not the most ideal experience for the guy on the go. 

Joey Skladany | SPY

$5.90 $7.99 26% off

Buy Now On Amazon

The pump feature made CODE 3’s shave butter easy to use, but there are problems with the formula’s consistency. It goes from gloppy to runny and I didn’t love the slightly granulated texture that reminded me of an exfoliator. The clean and masculine scent is great, though, despite the product feeling more like a shaving cream and gel hybrid than a lathering butter.

Joey Skladany | SPY

This product lived up to its name. There was nothing particularly memorable about the overall shaving experience. It did go on quite smoothly, but the overly-soapy fragrance was a bit of a turn-off. 


How We Chose the Best Men’s Shave Butters

Finding the best men’s shave butter wasn’t entirely difficult. With a somewhat limited market, there are really only 12 mainstream varieties that are sold through major retailers. 

Just as we tested for shaving creams and gels, there were six pillars of criteria used to determine the best of the lot: 

  • Clean Ingredients: The best shave butter formulas have high-quality, plant-derived ingredients. Look for these, as they’ll be less likely to contribute to skin irritation. 
  • Sensitivity to Skin: Shaving is an abrasive action. Many guys are prone to things like breakouts, rashes, and the inevitable nicks that tend to never stop bleeding. The best shave butter creates a barrier between the blade and your skin to prevent all that bad stuff. 
  • Coating Ability: A shave butter is not meant to lather, meaning you must manually apply it to your face so that it coats the skin and — hopefully — every hair follicle. 
  • Glide and Smoothness: It shouldn’t be difficult for the razor to run across the grooves of your face and leave behind a hydrated, smooth surface.
  • Scent: Since this is a product that is applied near the nose, it’s essential to choose a fragrant scent that is pleasant but not too overpowering. 
  • Price: You shouldn’t have to drop big bucks to yield successful results. 
Joey Skladany | SPY

When ranking the best shave butter, we start with the ingredients list. Know that the majority of skincare products have preservatives that aid with performance and extend their shelf life but also increase the risk of health issues when used in high concentrations.

Try your best to avoid the ingredients on the list below when shopping for a top-of-the-line men’s shave butter:

  • Parabens: These are chemicals and preservatives that can promote skin aging and trigger reproductive health issues.
  • Emulsifiers: These might cause eye or skin irritation and have been linked to hormone disruption.
  • Phthalates: These are endocrine disruptors linked to asthma, male fertility issues, type II diabetes, among other ailments.
  • Mineral oil: This is a petroleum byproduct that blocks pores and increases the risk of skin irritation.
  • Sulfates: Sulfates have been known to lead to health issues such as cognitive impairment, cell mutation, dermatitis, and nerve damage.
  • Benzene: This is a solvent that affects the immune system and may result in health issues.

Why Trust SPY When Buying Men’s Grooming Products

The research team at SPY has toured the grooming and shaving industry to identify products that dermatologists, grooming professionals, and editors are currently talking about. This includes products like the best face washes, the best moisturizers, as well as lesser-thought-of items like spray deodorants.

Over the course of a month, 12 different shave butters were tested. To keep the process consistent, a fresh razor blade was used each time and all product directions were followed as recommended to maximize application. We also tested multiple products at one time, lining them up on the neck area so that we could compare and contrast the feeling of skin and stubble. 

Products were then ranked and reviewed in various categories to accommodate a wide net of potential customers who prioritize different qualities (i.e. formula, price, scent, etc.). 


About the Author: Joey Skladany

Joey is a writer, editor, TV/radio personality, lifestyle expert, former entertainment publicist, and author of Basic Bitchen. As the son of a former esthetician, he has worked extensively in the men’s beauty and skincare space and is a frequent contributor to outlets like AskMen, Beautytap, Today.com, People, Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, Food52, Cosmopolitan, Apartment Therapy, and more. When not writing, he enjoys traveling, fine dining, perfecting his stand-up comedy routine, and volleyball. 

Recently, Joey has shared with SPY readers his experience testing the best body washes for acne, his picks for best shaving cream, and also his love for the Foreo Luna 4 mini.