What’s old is new again in the men’s grooming world. Just think about it — several grooming trends of yore have made major comebacks, from straight razors to barbershops. Now shaving soaps are the latest to join the club.
What is shaving soap?
Shaving soaps are not the same as regular bar soaps, though they are produced in the same way. The key difference is purpose: Bar soap is meant to lather, cleanse and wash away while shaving soap is meant to lather, creating a protective barrier for the razor, moisturize and wash away.
In case you haven’t guessed, what sets shaving soap apart from bar soap is its formula and ingredients, given the production process is the same. Shaving soap has added fat, from either animals or plants like coconut oil, as well as glycerin, to give it its thicker texture, which is also responsible for its lubricating and moisturizing powers.
What are the benefits of using a shaving soap?
Compared to shaving gels and shaving creams, a wet shave with the best shaving soap can leave skin happier, healthier and better nourished. But perhaps the most notable benefits come in the form of money spent and duration. A well-made shaving soap could last months longer for a daily shaver than shaving cream in a can and it’ll do it for the same price or less in most cases. Plus, shaving soaps are great for travel and on-the-go grooming because they’re not liquid and won’t ever get confiscated by the Transportation Security Administration when flying. (No promises about your safety razor and extra blades though.)
How to use shaving soap?
Though there’s slightly more effort involved with shaving soap than with canned shaving cream, using shaving soap is pretty simple. You start with the shaving soap itself in a shaving mug or dish of some kind. (Some shaving soaps come with their own little dish, but any small mug-like or bowl-like dish you don’t care much about will be fine).
Once you’ve got your shaving soap, take a good shaving brush, run it through some water and then swirl it over the soap in the dish. This will create a nice lather on the brush’s bristles, which you then run up and down your mug. Repeat until you’ve got sufficient coverage on your face for your razor. That’s it! If you need more soap, just swirl, lather and re-apply as needed until you’re finished shaving.
With the basics out of the way, are you ready to add shaving soaps to your routine? We rounded up the best shaving soaps below to get you started. Give one of them a shot and you’ll see exactly what you’re missing when you prioritize the convenience of canned shaving creams.
1. The Art of Shaving Shaving Soap Refill
Always true to its name, it’s no surprise The Art of Shaving makes one of the best shaving soaps out there. It delivers an old-school wet-shave experience by lathering up into a rich formula that sets the stage for a clean shave that prevents razor burn and irritated skin. Maximize this shaving soap by pairing it with hot water and a shaving brush. The formula is chock full of glycerin and coconut oil, softening the skin and hair. Its addictive scent is courtesy of a custom blend of sandalwood oils.
2. Proraso Shaving Soap in a Bowl
Shaving and Proraso go way back. For decades, barbershops throughout Italy stocked the local brand, but now you can get the smooth experience stateside. Even the coarsest, thickest beards are no match for their best shaving soap, which instantly softens hair. The brand’s signature “hot soap” process is used to make the formula that works into a rich, creamy lather that’s infused with sandalwood to soothe skin and shea butter to moisturize, preventing razor burn and leaving skin silky smooth. And best of all, 91% of this formula’s ingredients have a natural origin.
3. Gentleman Jon Sandalwood Shave Soap
Eco-friendly product lovers will line up for this completely natural shave soap. Made in the US from glycerin for a creamy lather, the sandalwood scent is old school in the best way. Just one bar will last for months, making it a very economical choice.
4. Van Der Hagen Scented Shave Soap
Cocoa butter is famous for being one of the most nourishing ingredients for skin and this soap is chock full of the stuff, making it one of the best shaving soaps. The formula is designed to work for all skin types, from acne-prone to dry to sensitive. The gentle formula with natural ingredients will soothe skin while working into a luxe lather for a close shave, nixing razor burn along the way. The rich lather belies its price point.
5. Van Der Hagen Deluxe Face Shave Soap
Though the Van Der Hagen Scented Shave Soap won’t let you down, the Van Der Hagen Deluxe Face Shave Soap is hypoallergenic and offers 40% moisturizing ingredients, including aloe vera and shea butter. Your coarse beard and irritated facial skin don’t stand a chance.
6. Viking Revolution Store Shaving Soap for Men
Multitaskers will love that this soap works for shaving and sudsing up your face and body, making it the best shaving soap for those who like to buy only a few grooming products. To ensure it won’t run out in the shower, the bars are super-sized. A win for acne-prone skin, it clears out pores and blackheads while preventing breakouts. Ingredients from the Dead Sea deliver on detoxifying ingredients. As for shaving, it works into a lovely lather, giving off the natural scents of peppermint and eucalyptus.
7. Sir Hare Premium Shaving Soap for Men
FOR THE BARBERSHOP SMELL
Sir Hare prides itself on the fact that every shave soap is crafted by hand and packed into a container with a waterproof label that you’ll want to show off on your sink. Made exclusively with the finest ingredients, the tallow-based soap provides a great shave no matter which razor you use. Just one bar of soap brings more than 100 shaves, coating your skin in a creamy lather every time. The subtle scent of bergamot, cedarwood and oakmoss are impressively refreshing.
8. Men’s Soap Company Shaving Soap
GREAT MILD FRAGRANCE
As close to natural as it gets, this vegan shaving soap works for all skin types, even the most sensitive ones, to leave skin smooth and satisfied post-shave. The thick lather gets down to business to cushion the skin, preventing razor burn and irritation. The nourishing formula includes shea butter and glycerin to hydrate, as well as soy to soothe. The mild, earthy scent is fresh and clean.
9. Rocky Mountain Barber Company Cedar Spice Shave Soap
FOR MOUNTAIN MEN
This Cedar Spice Shave Soap by Rocky Mountain Barber Company Store will instantly transport you to the Rockies. The 100% natural shaving soap is made in small batches and can be used with all razor types and easily works into a frothy lather. Instead of artificial fragrance, it relies on sweet orange and cinnamon leaf oil for its signature cedar spice scent. The formula has shea butter and coconut oil to naturally lubricate the skin for a smooth shave, as well as avocado oil for its skin-loving nutrients.
10. Col. Conk Worlds Famous Shaving Soap
Switching from an electric razor or a gel to a proper wet shave isn’t easy if you’ve never had to work up a good lather. Luckily for you, Col. Conk’s Bay Rum-scented shaving soap makes the transition pretty easy and according to multiple reviews, it’s pretty easy to work into a lather. If that weren’t enough to convince you, Col. Conk’s also includes avocado oil and vitamin E.
11. Henry Cavendish Himalayan Shaving Soap
ALL PLANT-BASED INGREDIENTS
Henry Cavendish’s Himalayan shaving soap is 100% vegetable-based with ingredients like shea butter and soy extract. The glycerin content on this one also aids in a pretty mild smelling soap, as well as a silky smooth lather.
12. Williams Mug Shaving Soap
Williams Mug Shaving Soap seems to pride itself on having a lasting lather, which, when lathered properly, will help ease you into wet shaves.
13. WSP Rustic Shaving Soap
GREAT FRAGRANCE VARIETY
Free of synthetic dyes and preservatives, WSP’s Rustic Shaving Soap is 100% vegan and promises a quick lather with plenty of “cushioning and glide.” And if you like the smell of natural tobacco, or one WSP’s other excellent fragrances, then you’ll want this one.
14. Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood Shaving Cream Bowl
CLASSIC SHAVING SOAP
If you prefer the smell of sandalwood, cedar, lavender, rosemary and a hint of jasmine and rose, Taylor of Old Bond Street’s Sandalwood Shaving Cream Bowl is a must. It is more creamy than these other proper shaving soap options, but it requires the same brush-driven process, so we’ve included it here.
Don’t forget the shaving brush
Perfecto Pure Badger Shaving Brush
BEST SHAVING BRUSH
Shaving soap is amazing, clearly, but if you don’t pick up the Perfecto Pure Badger Shaving Brush, you’re going to be disappointed when you can’t use it. A shaving brush is essential for a wet shave with the best shaving soap and this shaving brush has a nice little wooden handle and uses 100% badger hair bristles. Badger’s hair makes for great shaving brushes because they lather well, last forever (except for the inevitable few that fall out) and even do a little exfoliating because of their coarseness.