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If you have sensitive skin, the daily, weekly or monthly ritual of shaving can be a stressful, painful experience. Even people without skin sensitivities suffer from shaving-induced skin issues, including redness, irritation, painful bumps, and razor burn.
If you already have sensitive skin, these issues can be magnified. Once razor burn begins to show signs of residence on your face and neck, it can be difficult to eliminate. Some people with sensitive skin have given up on shaving and instead embraced the recent comeback of beards. We love facial hair, but if you’re hiding your chin and cheeks because of sensitive skin, it’s time to free the flesh. You need the best shaving cream for sensitive skin.
To get a bit of expert advice on the best shaving cream for sensitive skin (and other tips and tricks for dealing with sensitive skin), we called up Dr. Corey L. Hartman, the founder and medical director of Skin Wellness Dermatology and assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Alabama School of Medicine, and Dr. Michele Green, a New York City-based dermatologist.
They gave us some of their recommendations and tips for dealing with sensitive facial skin, which we’ve incorporated into our recommendations below.
So what are you waiting for? A better, less irritating shave experience awaits.
1. Cremo Barber Grade Original Shave Cream
For the best shaving cream for sensitive skin, we strongly recommend the Cremo Barber Grade Original Shave Cream.
We’ve been using this to shave for years (about 10 for me) and it is perfect for all skin types, sensitive or not. Rather than an overly foamy cream, Cremo’s shave cream is super concentrated, so you only need an almond-sized quantity (or two, tops) for a super slick shave with minimal skin irritation.
However, Cremo’s cream is not great for anything longer than light scruff. It works best as a daily shaving cream, so if your beard has crossed the line from scruff to legit whiskers, you might want to choose another shaving cream for an optimal shave.
2. Aveeno Therapeutic Shave Gel
DOCTOR’S GO-TO SHAVING CREAM
Not only is the Aveeno Therapeutic Shave Gel budget-friendly, but it also comes highly recommended from Hartman, who called it his “go-to,” for its skin-prepping and skin-repairing ingredients.
“Aveeno’s a great product for people with sensitive skin because they use oatmeal, vitamin E and glycerin, which is another hydrating ingredient for all skin types. Some shaving creams don’t work with oily skin, but this one does. It’s available at any over-the-counter retailer and it’s a good option,” he said.
He added that it foams up really nice too “to prep and lubricate your skin.” We would add that it also has no added fragrances, one less thing that could get to your skin.
3. Schaf Shave Cream
DOCTOR’S SPLURGE PICK
Hartman told us Schaf Shave Cream was a fantastic shaving cream for especially dry and not-so-shave-friendly skin, even though it might run a little expensive for some guys.
“It’s more of a splurge, but it has extra-emollient ingredients, like vitamin E and hyaluronic acid. If your skin is really dry and dehydrated, it’ll help restore that skin barrier, which, by virtue of shaving, we’re interrupting … All of those will calm inflammation and give an extra level of protection to the skin barrier so when you shave you’re not doing as much damage as you could be,” Hartman said.
And hey, Schaf’s tagline is “It’ll feel like your razor was never there” and it’s specially formulated for sensitive skin, so spending a bit more to try it out will pay off big time.
4. Bevel Shaving Cream for Men
BY A BLACK MAN FOR BLACK MEN
Bevel is one of our new favorites thanks to its high-quality shaving products, such as the Bevel Shaving Cream for Men. It seeks to minimize ingrown hairs and skin irritation by creating a shave barrier that encourages the razor to cut at skin level, instead of below it. It also includes hydrating ingredients like aloe vera, vitamin E and shea butter to help maintain your skin’s natural moisture.
Men of all skin colors chimed in within the Amazon review section to sing Bevel’s praises, saying it was “simply the best,” a “great product for Black skin care” and “leaves my skin feeling good after a shave.”
5. Proraso Shaving Cream for Sensitive Skin
BEST FOR EXFOLIATION
We’re longtime fans of Proraso’s shaving products and so is Hartman. In particular, he said Proraso Shaving Cream for Sensitive Skin works wonders for sensitive skin because it will exfoliate the skin, ultimately improving and restoring it.
“It’s got lactic acid in it, which is an anti-aging alpha hydroxy acid that helps with exfoliation. So, it helps with texture and tone as well as discoloration,” Hartman said. “One of the issues with beards, in particular, is we don’t get enough exfoliation, which contributes to razor bumps. So knowing the cream has an extra boost of exfoliation is a feather in the cap here. It also has no mineral oils, parabens, phthalates or artificial colors.”
6. The Art of Shaving Sandalwood Shaving Cream for Men
The Art of Shaving Sandalwood Shaving Cream for Men is one of our all-time favorite shaving creams and it works great for any skin type, sensitive skin or not. You get a nice foamy lather to stand up hairs for a smooth-gliding shave. Sure, it’s a little pricey, but it’ll leave your mug clean-shaven with minimal irritation and a wonderful, subtle, masculine sandalwood fragrance.
If you’re worried about the fragrance irritating your skin, you can always go for the TAOS unscented shaving cream instead. It’s the same best shaving cream for sensitive skin, just without added fragrance.
Read More: Best Men’s Shaving Kits
7. Neutrogena Men Sensitive Skin Shave Cream
When it comes to something as intimate as shaving, people have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn’t work for them. Well, the reviews are in on Amazon, and the people love the Neutrogena Men Sensitive Skin Shave Cream, giving it 88% five-star reviews on more than 440 reviews.
And why wouldn’t they love this shaving cream for sensitive skin? It provides a comfortable shave, helps prevent bumps and ingrown hairs, doesn’t break the bank and doesn’t take much cream to work.
8. Vanicream Shave Cream
IF ALL ELSE FAILS
If all else fails, folks with super sensitive skin can always try the Vanicream Shave Cream. “It’s got no lanolin, no dyes, no perfume, no fragrance, no nothing,” Hartman said. But he did note, as did Amazon reviewers, that this is definitely a thick, non-foaming cream, and might not be for everyone.
But even so, Hartman said, it still “minimizes friction between skin and razor and has all those hydrating ingredients with none of the sneaky preservatives that can cause problems that people don’t even realize.”
If you’re finding that no shaving cream is helping and you think it’s due to ingredients in the cream itself, the Vanicream Shave Cream can at least help you eliminate ingredients that could potentially be worsening your irritation. Plus, it’s not without its own rejuvenating ingredients, such as glycerin and panthenol, which improve moisturization and healing.
Is there anything else besides changing my shaving cream I can do for sensitive skin?
Yes! For best results, there’s a lot more you can do. Here are a few of our tips as well as some advice from the experts:
Use the right tools at all times: “Shaving incorrectly or using the wrong shaving tools and products prior and after can cause further skin irritation,” Green said. We know you think you’re using the wrong shaving cream because you’re here, but you might also consider switching to an electric razor, the best traditional razors or even the best safety razors. (Safety razors, when used properly, can be excellent for shavers with sensitive skin.)
Prep your skin before shaving: Green advised, “If you have sensitive skin, your skin should be prepped correctly prior to shaving … [Apply] pre-shave oil or shaving cream formulated with aloe vera prior to shaving. Shaving cream … softens the hairs, making it easier to cut and shave the hair against the grain [and] avoid irritation and razor nicks. Also, take your time [and] do not rush.” We can’t echo the importance of a good pre-shave oil enough.
Avoid certain shaving cream ingredients, if it can be helped: Green said, “Avoid creams which contain menthol, alcohol or other skin irritants. Look for formulas with ceramides and hyaluronic acid. These formulas will soften and protect the skin while you shave without causing skin irritation.” For his part, Hartman added, “Alcohol is always an ingredient that everybody should avoid. That’s the worst thing you can do with sensitive skin because it’ll set you up with more problems down the road and dry out your skin even further.”
Don’t sleep on aftershave care: Not only are there a ton of excellent aftershave balms out there, but Green even recommended a DIY milk compress to soothe irritated skin after shaving. “Milk is excellent for skin irritations and can be used to soothe skin irritations. The milk contains lactic acid, which can aid in healing skin, and is great when applied as a cold compress.”
Here’s what you do for the milk compress:
- Pour whole milk into a bowl and allow it to sit at room temperature.
- Soak a washcloth in the bowl and then apply the washcloth to your face and hold for 15-minute intervals.
- After the compresses, apply over-the-counter cortaid cream to the affected area without washing off the milk.
- Repeat treatment two times a day until skin irritation resolves.
If nothing else works, there’s always more to try: Green said, “The best solution to avoiding ingrown hairs and bacteria from shaving is to consider laser hair removal. Hair removal uses the latest technology to deliver fast, effective treatments for both men and women. Laser hair removal is a permanent solution for excess hair or general hair removal. The light from the laser is absorbed by the pigment in the hair and destroys it.”