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Here’s Why Guys Are Opting for Shave Butter Over Shaving Cream and Gel

Shave gels and shaving cream have dominated the market for decades, perpetually in competition with each other. But there’s a lesser-known competitor vying to be king of the hill: shave butter. This shaving cream alternative is finally starting to give the old guys a little competition. The best shave butter borrows benefits from other shaving products to create an innovative 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 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 foam up, you can skip the brush and bowl step you need for many other shaving products. You squirt or scoop a bit of shave butter into your hand and massage it 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 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 standard 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’ll get more things like macadamia nut and rosemary oils, pineapple and orange peel extracts and shea, mango and cocoa butters. 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 are and they are not known to contribute to any illnesses.

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Courtesy of Dollar Shave Club

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. As you shave, your skin will continue to absorb. 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 disposable razors.

We think every guy should give shave butter a shot for a high-quality shave. There aren’t many shave butters out there yet, but we’ve got a few tried-and-true options below to get you started. We also rounded up two non-foaming shave products that don’t call themselves shave butter but use similar ingredients and feature many of the same benefits.

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.

  

1. Dollar Shave Club Shave Butter

BEST OVERALL

Formerly known as Dr. Carver’s Easy Shave Butter, which helped kick-start the whole shave butter trend, the Dollar Shave Club Shave Butter is high quality, affordable and representative of the best in shave butters. Once rubbed onto the skin, it’s almost completely clear so that you can give yourself the most precise shave possible. Buy it one-off or subscribe for convenient shipments every two months.

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Courtesy of Dollar Shave Club

  

2. Van der Hagen Shave Butter

BUDGET PICK

Before we tried Dollar Shave Club’s excellent shave butter, we were obsessed with this Van der Hagen Shave Butter. Despite what you might expect, shave butter doesn’t have to be more expensive than drug store shaving cream. This bottle from Van der Hagen is reasonably priced at just $6 — perfect if you want to give shave butter a try — and it’s also one of the best shave butters on the market. It’s highly rated on Amazon (4.6 stars with more than 5,000 reviews), and the formula is ideal for men with sensitive skin. It has a great, clean smell, and it’s highly effective thanks to shea, mango and cocoa butters, as well as macadamia nut oil for added hydration. When you’re finished shaving, you can rub the excess shave butter into your skin as a moisturizer.

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Courtesy of Amazon

  

3. 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 8 ounces of product for 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 your face before you shave to enhance razor glide and after you’re finished for silky smooth, redness-free skin.

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Courtesy of CODE 3

  

4. The Henna Guys Soothing Shave Butter

MOST BUTTERY

The Henna Guys Soothing Shave Butter has 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. This butter also uses frankincense and ginger essential oils for a nice blast of fragrance.

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Courtesy of Amazon

  

5. Shea Moisture Beard Shaving Kit

GREAT COMBO

In addition to an excellent beard grooming kit, Shea Moisture makes great shaving kits, including this Shea Moisture Beard Shaving Kit. The kit contains the Shea Moisture Smoothing Shave Butter and Post-Shave Restoring Cream. The butter relies on maracuja oil and shea butter to provide a smooth, hydrating shave. If you want to skip the cream, you can also pick up the shave cream on its own too below.

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Courtesy of Amazon

  

6. Clubman Pinaud Shave Butter

CLASSIC SHAVE BUTTER

Not 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.

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Courtesy of Amazon

  

7. 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 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 also use it as an aftershave moisturizer. 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 of this butter are it’s not translucent and not meant for your face. Though it’ll probably work for your face, it could irritate more sensitive facial skin because the butter is not designed for it.

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Courtesy of Amazon

  

Shaving Butter vs Shaving Cream: What’s the Difference?

When deciding between shaving butter vs cream, there are two key differences to keep in mind: consistency and lather. Shave butter doesn’t lather and foam like traditional shaving cream. For guys that find all that lather to be messy and difficult to navigate, shave butter keeps less product between your skin and the razor, resulting in a smoother (though not necessarily closer) shave.

In addition, shave butter tends to have a softer, more luxurious consistency more like a moisturizer than your average shaving cream. In our experience, this can result in a more satisfying shave. And because the best shave butter brands use skin-nourishing and moisturizing ingredients, this can be a great alternative to shaving cream for guys with sensitive skin and ingrown hair.

Ultimately, there’s no better choice, and you should make your decision based on personal preference. Considering the best shave butter costs just $6-$8, why not give it a shot?

  

Also Consider: Top Shave Butter Alternatives

In addition to the shave butter featured above, we wanted to include some of our favorite alternatives. The products below offer similar benefits as the best shave butter, including non-foaming consistency and moisturizing ingredients.

1. Cremo Original Shave Cream

BEST NON-FOAMING 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, give the Cremo Original Shave Cream a shot. This low-lather ultra-thin cream was designed to stand apart from traditional foaming shaving creams and gels. It’s super concentrated and creates a super slick surface when mixed with water, perfect for your razor to glide over effortlessly. Once you apply it to your face, rub water into the space you’re about to shave.

In addition to using natural ingredients, the Cremo Original Shave Cream also boasts a fresh, light citrus fragrance 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.

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Courtesy of Amazon
  

2. Jack Black Beard Lube Conditioning Shave

PREMIUM PICK

Though Jack Black Beard Lube Conditioning Shave isn’t a shave butter, it’s super light, transparent, goes on thin, rinses easily and doesn’t dry out skin like its 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 exceptionally smooth and menthol leaving your face with a cooling, clean feeling afterward. And if your skin is a little irritated later, you can use some of the product as an after-shave conditioner. The only downside here is it’s a little pricey for a 3-ounce bottle.

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Image courtesy of Amazon