Shaving gel and cream have dominated the market for decades, perpetually in competition with each other for the title of Best Shaving Product. However, there’s a new kid on the block, and he’s giving the old guys a run for their money. Originally popularized by The Dollar Shave Club, shave butter borrows benefits from other shaving products to create an innovative new go-to for your grooming routine.
Shave butter is low-lather, meaning you take it out of a tube or jar and rub it directly on your face. It doesn’t foam as you rub or come pre-foamed right out of the can. This yields a few key benefits.
First, this foamless design allows shave butter to be more translucent or goes 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 you can see your skin better while you’re shaving. Because the shave butter isn’t designed to foam up, you can also skip the brush and bowl step you need for many other shaving products. You just squirt or scoop a bit of shave butter into your hand and apply directly onto your face, massaging the butter into your skin and facial hair.
Second, because the best shave butter isn’t concerned with artificial, over-the-top foaming, their formulas rely more on natural plant- and fruit-based ingredients instead of chemicals. For one example, one popular, well-established brand of foaming shaving cream contains propane, you know, the same stuff you use to fire up the grill. Propane is a common propellant in shaving creams to help create the foam and expel the cream from the can, but it’s unnatural to use stuff like that on your face. With shave butters, you’re going to get more things along the lines of macadamia nut and rosemary oils, pineapple and orange peel extracts and shea, mango and cocoa butters, and those are just some of the awesome ingredients from two of the most popular shaving butters. Not only are plant-based ingredients, butters and oils great for your skin and make for a smooth shave, but you know what they are and they are not known to contribute to any illnesses.
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 apply the shave butter, massage it into your skin so it’s nice and even and let it sit for at least 15 seconds. Give it up to a minute if you like, but don’t wait too long or it’ll start to dry out.
Lastly, the smooth consistency is easier on your razor, allowing the blade to glide without getting clogged as quickly and easily. Sure, foamy shave creams are great at standing your facial hairs up, but they can clog razors like crazy and add time to your shave with all the rinsing. And that’s when using high-quality razors or safety razors; forget about using foamy creams with even the best disposable razors.
In conclusion, we think every guy should give shave butter a shot, as it’s poised to take over the shaving world and maybe dethrone those other shaving gels and creams once and for all. There aren’t many shave butters out there yet, but we dug around and found a handful of options to choose from. We also rounded up two non-foaming shave products that don’t call themselves shave butter, but use similar kinds of ingredients and feature many of the same benefits.
Below, you’ll find our editor’s selection of the best shave butters below.
1. Dr. Carver’s Easy Shave Butter
Dr. Carver’s Easy Shave Butter is responsible for kick-starting the whole trend. Once rubbed onto the skin, it’s almost completely clear so you can give yourself the most precise shave possible. It’s a Dollar Shave Club exclusive, making it easy to add to your current DSC subscription. To use the butter, squeeze a coin-sized amount onto your palm before spreading it around your face with a patting motion. Then let it sit for around 15 seconds before shaving (this is key for absorbing the nutrients).
2. Van der Hagen Shave Butter
Although shave butter is currently less popular than cream or gel, you can still find it for a reasonable price. This bottle from Van der Hagen is reasonably priced at just $6, and it’s also one of the best shave butters on the market. It comes highly rated from multiple outlets (4.4 stars on Amazon, with over 1,000 reviews), and it’s a favorite here at Spy. The formula is ideal for men with sensitive skin and it has a great, clean smell. Its effectiveness is largely thanks to shea, mango and cocoa butters, as well as macadamia nut oil for added hydration. When you’re finished shaving, you can actually rub the excess shave butter into your skin as a moisturizer.
3. Shea Moisture African Black Shave Butter
Some grooming products have a dark side, especially if you’re vegan or vegetarian. Animal products and testing are fairly commonplace, but it can be hard to tell when shopping around. This highly-rated shave butter, on the other hand, comes from Shea Moisture, a brand that has been open about its cruelty-free formulas and process for over 100 years. The butter is made using African black soap and a hefty amount of the brand’s signature shea butter, providing serious hydration while preventing ingrown hairs and razor bumps.
4. OmniShaver Shave Butter Shaving Cream
BEST FOR HEAD AND BODY
If you’re looking to shave elsewhere on your body, OmniShaver Shave Butter works for your head, arms, legs and really anywhere you want to shave. It comes out thick but goes on thin to make a smooth shaving surface wherever you need it, and you can use it as an aftershave moisturizer, too. Key ingredients include shea butter, aloe and tea tree and peppermint oils, which work to keep your skin smooth and hydrated all day. The only downsides for this butter are it’s not translucent and it’s not meant for your face. Though it’ll probably work for your face, because the butter is not designed for it, it could irritate more sensitive facial skin.
5. CODE 3 Shave Butter
EASIEST TO USE
It’s a crime that so few products use pump dispensers. Nothing makes a product easier to use and pump dispensers are especially useful when you only need a product on one hand, like say, when applying shaving products. CODE 3 Shave Butter comes with a pump and with eight ounces of product is also a great value, with the second-best price per ounce we found for a single bottle. This low-lather formula uses shea butter, lavender, rosemary, tea tree and more oils to keep your skin hydrated as well as panthenol, which easily absorbs into skin and hair to improve hydration, elasticity and reduce skin irritation. Use it on your head or on your face before you shave to improve razor glide and after you’re finished for silky smooth, redness-free skin.
6. Clubman Pinaud Shave Butter
BEST CLASSIC SHAVE BUTTER
Not too many established brands have developed shave butters since they’re relatively new as a category, but Clubman Pinaud, founded in 1810, decided to bring its 200-plus years of expertise to the table. Shea and cocoa butters with aloe, chamomile and vitamin E soften facial hair and set the stage for a great shave and calm skin the rest of the day. It leaves a clean, masculine scent so you’ll feel like you just left the barbershop, and like some of our other shave butters, it also works great as a post-shave balm.
It may have a few more chemicals than we’d like compared to competing shave butters, but it’ll still leave your skin feeling soft and rejuvenated. Heads up, this is a three-pack of Clubman Pinaud’s shave butter, so it’ll cost more upfront but delivers a great price per ounce for less money overall in the long run.
7. The Henna Guys Sandalwood Shaving Kit Set For Men
Shaving isn’t like other grooming tasks — it’s a ritual that most guys really enjoy. This makes shaving kits a great gift for any well-groomed dude in your life. This year, we highly recommend a shaving kit with shave butter. First, the recipient might not know about the benefits of shave butter yet, and now he can discover this men’s grooming product in a full kit. This one from The Henna Guys includes high-quality shave butter, natural pre-shave oil, a brush, and a nice bag for gifting.
8. The Henna Guys Shaving Butter Cream
If you don’t want to give the above set as a gift (we don’t blame you) or you already have oil and a brush and just want the shave butter, you can buy The Henna Guys Shaving Butter Cream on its own too. It’s got a rich, thick, buttery texture and consistency, but if you don’t use too much, it can go on thin for a smooth shave surface. Active ingredients like shea butter, jojoba oil and aloe juice moisturize the skin and soften rough facial hair while papaya and pineapple enzymes work to exfoliate your skin. Unlike the sandalwood butter included in the set, this butter uses frankincense and ginger oils for fragrance and has a nice dry, woody lemony scent.
9. Cremo Original Shave Cream
If you’re not necessarily looking for shave butter and are merely in the market for a non-lathering, non-foamy shaving cream, let us introduce you to Cremo Original Shave Cream. Kiss razor burn and irritation goodbye with this low-lather ultra-thin cream designed to stand apart from traditional foaming shaving creams and gels. It’s super concentrated and when mixed with water creates a super slick surface for your razor to effortlessly glide over. Once you apply it to your face, just add water as needed to keep things slick.
In addition to using natural ingredients, the Cremo Original Shave Cream also smells like a light citrus for a fresh scent to match your fresh-feeling skin. And if you like the original scent, you can pay the same price or a little extra for identical creams with different fragrances, like sandalwood, French lavender, sage and citrus or refreshing mint. Even paying a bit extra, Cremo is still unbelievably affordable, with the original shave cream costing about a dollar per ounce.
10. Jack Black Beard Lube Conditioning Shave
Though Jack Black Beard Lube Conditioning Shave definitely isn’t a shave butter, it’s super light, transparent, goes on thin, rinses easily and doesn’t dry out skin like foamy counterparts. Like the rest of Jack Black’s line of products, natural ingredients work to soften hair and hydrate skin, with silicone making the shave particularly smooth and menthol leaving your face with a cooling, clean feeling afterward. And if your skin is feeling a little irritated afterward, you can use some of the product as an after-shave conditioner. The only downside here is it’s quite pricey for a three ounce bottle.