Sun's out, skin's out! Whether you're elated over the arrival of sundress season, like me, or you're ready to find a new way to get a smooth facial shave without using a traditional shaving foam or gel, I've got some shaving cream alternatives to share with you.
It all started several years ago when I began swimming at the local gym. This required a bit more diligence with my shaving routine to keep my skin moisturized—especially after frequent dips in chlorinated water, which can leave some people's skin (including mine) dry and itchy, according to an article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. I quickly got serious about finding shaving cream alternatives that would fit my green lifestyle and keep my skin in tip-top shape.
Prepping Your Skin for the Best Shave Ever
As the classic Benjamin Franklin saying goes, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." This is so very true when it comes to nurturing your skin. What you do before you shave can make a huge difference in both your overall skin health and the quality of your shave.
The American Academy of Dermatology says it's best to shave at the end of your shower or bath when your hair is softened and your skin is warm, moist, and clean. To prep for the shave, try using a natural body wash combined with an exfoliating loofah or bath brush to whisk away dead skin cells that would otherwise clog up your razor blade.
3 Shaving Cream Alternatives in Your Pantry
Now that your skin is clean, try swapping out your traditional shaving aid with a single-ingredient, naturally derived skin lubricant from your own home. These plant-based options create a smooth skin surface for shaving with a manual or electric wet/dry razor. I also like these shaving cream alternatives because they are free of artificial fragrances or perfumes, which can sometimes irritate my sensitive skin.
Plant-based oils specifically are known to have positive effects on our skin. A study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences (IJMS) reviewed the antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, wound healing, and skin barrier repairing effects of olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, shea butter, almond oil, and several others.
This honey-colored liquid is sourced from the Simmondsia chinensis perennial plant. The oil is known for its anti-inflammatory effects on skin and can be found in products for wound healing and anti-aging, per the IJMS study. The high concentration of wax esters in this oil makes it a "good repair option" for those with acne and various forms of dermatitis. To use jojoba oil as a shaving cream, simply pour a small amount of the oil in the palm of your hand, rub it with the other palm, then smooth it over the skin.
If you prefer a creamy substance, consider coconut oil. When kept in a jar at room temperature, the oil will have a firm to smooth texture, then quickly turn to a liquid when applied to warm skin, thanks to the oil's low melting point. Simply smooth the oil on the area you plan to shave. According to the IJMS study, coconut oil is known to have antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and skin healing properties, as well as the ability to help protect the skin from UV radiation.
Yes, the same oil that you use to make salad dressing can double as a skin-soothing shaving cream. The pale green-to-gold oil glides over the skin in liquid form, much like jojoba oil. This kitchen staple is known to work as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, and it promotes dermal reconstruction when applied to the skin, based on the IJMS findings.
Other Homemade Shaving Cream Options
Really, if you have any plant-based oil in your kitchen, try it for one shaving session to see if it allows your razor to glide easily over the skin and produce a smooth shave. Some other single-ingredient shaving cream alternatives to try include:
- Hemp oil
- Cocoa butter
- Grape seed oil
- Peanut oil
- Safflower seed oil
- Sesame oil
- Shea butter
- Soybean oil
- Sunflower seed oil
Since switching to these natural shaving aids, I've noticed fewer skin nicks and fewer post-shaving skin rashes. It also makes my skin feel softer since the shaving process doubles as an extra dose of moisturizing for the day. Learning how to make homemade shaving cream really can be as simple as opening your kitchen or bathroom cupboards!
Post-Shaving Skin Care Tips to Reduce Razor Burn
As I've experimented with the best way to get a smooth shave and reduce razor bumps, I've learned that how I care for my skin after shaving is just as important as how I prep and complete the shave itself.
After each shaving session, I like to immediately moisturize my skin. Whether I've used an electric razor or a traditional manual razor, I massage pure jojoba oil into my freshly shaved skin. This particular oil absorbs quickly, is odorless, and seems to help soften patches of dry skin on my elbows and knees, too.
Now, let's get a little personal. Are you a magnet for ingrown hairs and razor bumps? Whether you get irritation after a beard trim or when cleaning up your bikini line, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Department of Dermatology recommends that you take a moment to dab a cotton ball soaked with an astringent—such as tea tree oil—onto the freshly shaved skin to dry out the bumps and promote healing of the skin.
It is possible to get a clean, smooth shave simply by using natural skin lubricants tucked in your kitchen pantry. Give one a try during your next shower or bath! If you'd like to learn more natural ways to care for your body, visit the Naturally Inspired Solutions board by @tomsofmaine on Pinterest.
The views and opinions expressed in any guest post featured on our site are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of Tom's of Maine.
Why It's Good
If you have sensitivities to traditional shaving foams and gels, you're not alone. Switching to single-ingredient skin lubricants commonly found in your kitchen may reduce skin irritation and help you get a smooth shave and soft skin.