8 Best Shaving Gels For Men (Incl. Sensitive Skin) – Reviews and Buying Guide
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more
Grooming is not meant to be a chore. Instead, with the right tools including the best shaving gel, you should enjoy the process of transforming into the best version of yourself. And quite frankly, nothing feels manlier than lathering your face and getting a close shave with the best safety razor or the best straight razor.
Now, the reason most men do not enjoy wet shaving is that they haven’t learnt how to do it well. Most often than not they have a hard time getting the hard-to-shave spots, or they nick or irritate their skin.
Luckily, these are things that can be corrected by learning how to get the perfect shave and by getting the best shaving tool kit.
As you learn the ropes of wet shaving, you’ll find that having enough lather is as important as having a sharp safety razor in hand. therefore, we’ve taken the time to review some of the best shaving gels for men, including Clarins’ Smooth Shave Foaming Gel. But aside from reviewing the best shaving gel and other bestsellers, we’ve taken the liberty of providing a complete shaving gel buying guide. We include everything you need to know about this product and be a mini-pro when you go shopping.
Best Shaving Gel For Men (Summary)
What is a Shaving Gel?
Before we dive into the shaving gel list, it’s important that we are on the same page on what shaving gel is and what it’s not. Most men mistake the cheap foam aerosol shaving gels to be the real deal. But this could not be further from the truth.
Cheap aerosol shave gels come out as a gel and quickly lather a bit like shaving cream for men (but without the many benefits that a classic shaving cream has). Because of this, many confuse gels for shaving creams. However, quality shaving gels do not form a thick white lather. Instead, they produce a thin and consistent lather.
We’ll cover the differences between shaving creams and shaving gels later.
How to Choose The Best Shaving Gel
As a man who takes pride in purchasing quality products, you ought to know the factors to consider before making a purchase. With shaving gels, below are the things to bear in mind.
1. Your Skin Type
We all have different skin types. It’s easy to pick what your friend bought without giving this a thought. However, even with the best shaving gel, the results might be different if your skin type is different.
Shaving gels are made with varying levels of moisturization. As such, they serve dry and oily skins differently. Moreover, skin sensitivity plays a role in the type of shaving gel you pick. Luckily for you, we considered all these factors when putting together our list.
If you have acne-prone or sensitive skin, your shaving gel should be a little gentler than the rest. Regular shaving gels contain alcohol which helps in preventing infections when you accidentally cut or nick yourself. But on the flip side, it tends to irritate and dry out the skin resulting in unnecessary drama for your sensitive skin. But since you still need to disinfect your cuts and nicks, you can purchase a styptic pencil or an alum block.
If you continue experiencing irritations with alcohol-free shaving gel, consider purchasing safety razor blades for sensitive skin. But if yours is dry skin, choose a shaving gel with shea butter natural oils and aloe vera as ingredients. The idea is to find a gel that lubricates the skin without ridding it of its natural oils. For dry skin, you might want to think about an aftershave for men to help in locking in the moisture after every shave.
This shaving gel component is often overlooked. Now we are not saying that it should be your number one concern, however, you should consider it for several factors.
First, if you want a consistently smooth face, you will have to shave severally every week. As such, the shaving gel will be a constant part of your life. You, therefore, do not want to be stuck with a scent you cannot stomach. Also, bear in mind that the scent lingers for some time after use.
If you don’t want to have to worry about the scent, you can choose a scentless shaving gel. But if you’d like to explore you can play around with some delicious scents like lime, lavender and lemongrass. You could also opt for muskier and manlier scents.
And while you are at it, choose a fragrance that compliments your cologne and face moisturizer for men.
3. What You’ll Use it With
To have a great shaving experience, you will need a lot more than just a high-quality shaving gel. A high-quality razor for men will help you get a smooth and irritation-free shave.
Because the shaving gel isn’t self-sufficient, you need to understand how it plays and interacts with other tools and products you’ll use.
For instance, if you choose a shaving gel that is best when used with a shaving brush, you will have to research the best shaving brush to purchase.
Overall, grooming tools are never single purchases. Even if you buy them separately, for a great shaving experience you should think of them as a system. How you combine them affects the results you get. Speaking of a system, as a beginner (and to get better value), you should consider getting the best shaving kit for men – or if you want to go real hard-core, a straight razor shaving kit.
These kits contain every tool you need for success in your bathroom shaving sessions.
Shaving gels have similar ingredients to shaving creams. These include glycerin, potassium hydroxide, perfume, and water. You should always look at the list of ingredients on the label or packaging to confirm if the gel is hydrating or organic. Usually, these claims are misleading and the list of ingredients will put everything to light. Below are some ingredients you should look out for and others you should avoid like the plague.
- Eucalyptus – aside from having a great smell, it’s a natural cleanser. This means it prevents razor burns and ingrown hairs.
- Carrageenan extract – it helps to repair and soothe damaged skin after shaving.
- Aloe vera – you already know of the benefits aloe vera has for sunburns. But did you know it’s a great shaving gel ingredients which work to moisturize the skin?
- Colloidal oatmeal – you probably love having oatmeal for breakfast and would have never thought you’d find it in shaving gels. This ingredient fights against eczema and soothes rashes.
- Essential oils – essential oils hydrate the skin, smoothens wrinkles and balances hormones. Some of the common essential oils in gels include jasmine, tea tree, lavender and peppermint.
- Herbal and botanical extracts – olive leaf, chamomile and cucumber peel extracts help to protect the skin and soothe irritations.
- Isopentane – this is a harmful solvent that usually reduces gel quality. It can cause irritations and dry skin. It has also been linked to nausea and dizziness.
- Polytetrafluoroethylene – it’s the main ingredient in Teflon. With that in mind, it’s puzzling why some companies think its genius to add it to shaving gels. In the past, it has been linked to heart disease and breast cancer.
- Triethanolamine – shave gels that foam during application often contain this ingredient. However, it can cause hormone disruption. But unfortunately, it’s a common ingredient in shave gels.
- Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) – it’s an organic compound that most companies use according to FDA regulations. It’s often okay when it’s used in small doses. However, since it can cause lung, skin and eye irritations, the best shave gels omit it altogether.
With that said, we should echo that there’s no perfect product. However, we’ve put in a lot of effort to present you with the best shaving gels that adhere to industry guidelines and that will not cause harm.
Before you start shopping for the best shaving gel, you should decide on the product and the amount you are willing to spend. Choosing the best shaving gel is great but it’s not helpful if it’s without your budget.
As you set a budget to work with, remember that value is relative. A highly-priced gel doesn’t mean that it’s the best. On the flip side, a cheap gel doesn’t mean it is crap. Always do your homework to determine the value.
The Best Shaving Gels For Men 2021 Has to Offer
1. Clarins Smooth Shave Foaming Gel – Best Shaving Gel For Men
Some of the features that stand out for this shave gel include:
- A creamy foam
- A nice smell, that is consistent with the Clarins brand
- Ideal for moisturizing smooth skin
This shave gel is perfect for men who are low-maintenance but who are keen on having great grooming products. With that said, here’s a brief review of what the company has to offer. We should start by pointing out that Clarins is a company that has paid attention to its branding. They cut to the chase and have a signature smell that you’ll love. Most of their shaving products are of exceptional quality and this smooth shave gel is not an exception.
Clarins Smooth Shave Gel has a thick and generous foam. Because of this property, you’ll use a small amount of the gel on every shaving session. In addition to this, the lather moisturizes the skin and minimizes the risk of cuts and nicks.
Overall, this shave gel will leave your skin feeling smooth, and fresh. And even though it is a high-quality product it’s not crazy expensive.
2. Nivea Men Sensitive Shaving Gel – Best Shaving Gel For Sensitive Skin
Who doesn’t know about Nivea? If you don’t, you have probably been living in a cave all your life. Nivea is one of the leading industry brands in the world. It seems to produce any product that has anything to do with skincare. And even with their diversification, they’ve managed to stay on top of things and create high-quality lotions and gels for men and women. With such a reputation, you expect nothing less from the Nivea Men Sensitive Shaving Gel.
To kick start this short review, you should note that this gel is made specifically for men who have overly sensitive skin. If you have sensitive skin, you know how hard it is to find a product that fully caters to the needs of your skin. So based on this fact, the Nivea Men Sensitive Shaving Gel is a big deal.
But one has to wonder; what formula does Nivea use that makes the gel great for sensitive skin? Well, while other shaving creams use colloidal oatmeal, Nivea uses a set of different ingredients to produce the results. Of the list of ingredients, the ones that stand out most are Vitamin E and chamomile.
Also, given the fact that Nivea has earned the title of best overall aftershave balm, it means that they know how to provide comfort to their clients during shaving. Now, the chamomile added to the gel acts as an anti-inflammatory ingredient. Because of it, men with acne laden skin or sensitive skin will not experience a burning sensation like they do when they use other shaving creams.
The chamomile also acts as an anti-fungal ingredient. As such, even if you have residual bacteria on your face when you are done shaving, the chamomile along with the witch hazel, will see to it that you experience nothing but comfort. On the other hand, witch hazel has astringent properties. It is common in high-end aftershave balms.
But why is the astringent important? Well, it will provide you with relief from skin irritation by constricting the capillaries underneath the skin.
As for performance and consistency, Nivea Men Sensitive Shaving Gel is not blue as the label seems to suggest. Instead, it is off-white. And as for the lather, when rubbed between the palms, it has a wetter consistency.
Other things to note about the Nivea Men Sensitive Shaving Gel include;
- The can is rustproof
- It has a classic sandalwood scent
- The gel is ideal for men who are prone to develop razor bumps, to acne and those who experience severe skin irritations
3. Clinique Aloe Shave Gel – Good Allround Shave Gel
Some of the standout features for these shave gel include:
- It has chamomile as an ingredient
- It is rich in aloe
- The dispenser quality is high
This shave gel is ideal for men who don’t have problematic skin (normal skin type). If you aren’t sold on why you need a high-quality shave gel so bad, you should test Clinique’s Aloe Shave Gel. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll wonder what you’ve been waiting for all this time.
The most stand out feature is the aloe-rich property. The fact that it is rich in aloe vera means that it offers superior protection during a shave. The protection makes it an ideal choice for those with dry and sensitive skin and those who shave frequently.
Aside from this, Clinique has designed the gel container for easy application. With other containers, you might end up creating a mess during application. Even worse, they get clogged up after a couple of uses and accumulating some dust. But Clinique’s container design is solid and remains clean for long.
We should point out that the gel is hypoallergenic and oil-free. Moreover, it produces moisturizing and lightweight lather which helps to facilitate an easier close shave. It also leaves you with a cool and calm effect after the shave.
To improve the experience, the gel has a hint of chamomile. The scent is subtle and isn’t overwhelming. Moreover, it’s versatile and ideal for men with any skin type.
4. EZ Blade Shaving Gel – Budget Friendly Shaving Gel
Some of its best features include the fact that it is clear, oil-based and water-based.
It is a gel ideal for men on a budget but who are keen on grooming and their looks. Unlike other shave gels discussed so far, EZ Blade Shave Gel comes is packaged in a tub. The beauty of this shave gel is that it doesn’t require water to use.
It is said that you always get what you pay for. To mean that cheap products and tools are often low quality. While this is true for many products, the EZ Shave Gel is an exception. At its low price point, EZ still managed to deliver a quality product that’s gentle on the skin.
When you first scoop the gel, it looks slimy. However, it quickly forms a clear and smooth lather which helps the razor to glide over the skin smoothly.
The gel doesn’t require water partly because it is oil-based and it wouldn’t mix well anyway and also because it’s a non-foam gel. Because of this, you will not have to deal with the mess that comes with dealing with foam gels.
Aside from being mess-free, you need some skill to use the gel. This is mainly because it dries fast and requires you to shave fast.
5. Barba Italiana Dante shaving gel for Men – Best Transparent and Moisturizing Shave Gel
The stand out feature of this gel is that it’s highly moisturizing. Aside from this, it transparent and is made from quality ingredients.
Because of its ingredients, it is ideal for men with sensitive skin and who have a taste for luxury.
When you first glance at this product, the first word that comes to mind is eccentric. The design and packaging have an old-fashioned look. However, this does not mean that its ingredients and power are stuck in a time capsule. Barba Italiana Dante has adopted new ways of manufacture and use new high-quality ingredients to present an overall high-quality product.
The gel is clear and has a soft texture. Its transparency is well thought out as it allows you to see where you are shaving and the progress you are making. It is especially useful when dealing with some of the hard-to-shave spots.
Aside from this, the gel softens facial hair and makes shaving a breeze. Because you’ll be working with softened hair, ingrown hairs and skin irritations will be a thing of the past. Moreover, the gel is absorbent which means that a small amount will go a long way when you mix it with water.
The ingredients therein include panthenol, amino acids and sugars. These work together to moisturize and soothe sensitive skin.
6. Dr. Bronner’s Organic Shaving Soap – Eco-friendly Shave Gel
Experts love this shave gel for a couple of reasons including the variety of scents it has, the fact that it’s an organic product and as ethical ingredients.
This gel is ideal for men with oily skin and who love to leave a small footprint.
But this is not the only thing that this product has going for itself. Here is a brief review of our findings. Dr. Bronner’s Organic Shaving Soap is our top ethical-purchase. The ingredients are sourced and are in line with industry standards and regulations. These include white grape juice and organic sugar.
The gel lacks synthetic detergents and preservatives that can harm the skin 9even though some are approved by industry regulators). The idea behind the making of this gel was to make an organic and eco-friendly get which Dr. Bronner’s seems to have hacked.
When using this product we noted that it’s more effective when applied with a shaving brush. This is because it is thinner than most gels that we’ve listed so far.
But the fact that it is light makes it a great choice for those with oily skin. It will moisturize the skin without blocking the pores. And to top it all off, this gel is available in several scents. If you are not big on scents, you can have the unscented version. But if you want to smell fresh, you can opt for lemongrass Lime.
7. Bulldog Mens Skincare and Grooming Original Shave Gel – Rich in Essential Oils
Don’t let the name scare you. This shave gel is gentle and possibly what you need to improve your shaving experience. Some of its best features include the fact that it is packed in essential oils, it has a competitive price and assists in getting super close shaves.
Because of its features, we recommend it for men who want quality products but are on a budget. Most often than not, we are faced with a dilemma; either to fork out insane amounts of money for quality products or settle for low-quality products until we have saved enough cash. Unfortunately, low-quality products have potentially toxic ingredients. However, Bulldog seems to be on the road to solving this problem.
The shaving gel is free form toxins and instead has eight essential oils. These essential oils help it to improve the shaving experience by letting the razor glide over the skin. We saw this product working wonders even on tough beards. Even better, we loved it because it was scentless.
In all honesty, getting 6-ounces of this gel for its price is quite a steal. However, while the gel is one of the best in the industry,
the container isn’t. You might have trouble squeezing the gel from the bottle. Also, the lather is thin. This means you will have to still exercise caution as you glide the razor over your skin.
8. Harry's Shave Gel - Shaving Gel with an Aloe Enriched Formula – Gel With Thick Foam
The first thing that captures the hearts of many men about this product is the strong manly scent. Then when they get to use it, they fall in love with the thick foam and the ease of application.
This gel is also perfect for men who are hunting for the best save gel deal. Harry’s also offers great value with its shave gel. This particular gel lies between the cheap gels and the high-end gels. You receive the best of both worlds when you use it. The gel is rich and thick which makes it easy to apply and comfortable to shave with. It also contains cucumber and allows extracts which eave your skin feeling fresh after a shave.
Harry seems to have put a lot of thought into the branding as well. We thought it was tasteful and perfect for a man. Given that it’s a budget-friendly option, you can get three cans of shave gel for a great price without missing out on quality.
How to Use a Shaving Gel
Last update on 2021-04-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
At this point, you already know which shaving gel to purchase. That’s great news. But before you go, it’s also important that you learn how to use the shaving gel for maximum results.
To help you with this, we have compiled a short guide on how to use your shaving gel to improve your shaving experience.
1. Preparation, preparation, preparation
Preparation time is never wasted time. The time you spend preparing your skin for the shave will determine the results you get.
Putting in the effort before you dive in head first will make the difference between amateur and expert results. For instance, if you shave in the morning, you should know this about your skin – it’s puffy. So before you start shaving, do your other morning routines first and then come back to shaving. The time in between counts for everything
When you are ready to start, trim your facial hair. If you have long air, a pair of scissors will come in handy to trim it to a manageable length. Moreover, you can apply some pre-shave oil to help form a consistent and quality lather.
Lastly, get rid of dead skin that may be in the way of efficient hydration from the shave gel. You can opt to complete this last process while in the shower or use a cloth dipped in warm water. But regardless of where you choose to do this, ensure you use the best exfoliator for men. Rub the exfoliator gently on your skin to avoid irritation.
Unlike with shaving cream, lathering shaving gel requires a lot of effort. So take up the challenge to learn a new skill. The first step to generating quality lathe is to fill your shaving bowl with a good amount of gel. The amount you use will depend on the shave gel you have. Some are designed to be used in little amounts and other you’ll have to be generous with. You will have to read reviews on your shave gel and/or experiment a little. But generally, 3/4 –inch of your shave gel is fine.
Next, rub the gel in circular motions using your fingers for a couple of seconds. 20 seconds will work fine but then again, it depends on the gel you have. You’ll know the gel is ready when it starts to grow. Also, depending on your gel, adding some water will help create quality lather. Once the lather is ready, apply it evenly and gently on your skin. Always make sure you don’t leave patches of skin untouched.
3. Shaving Like an Expert
The process of shaving depends on the results you fancy. But generally, there are shaving tips you can follow that’ll improve your shaving process. These include:
- Shave with the grain. it’s always tempting to shave against it since it achieves a closer and smoother shave faster, but it also increases the chances of nicking and irritating your skin.
- Angle your razor at any angle between 300and 450.
- Use light pressure on your razor as opposed to pushing it across your skin. Also, remember to go slow and steady.
- Rinse your blade thoroughly to remove the gel clogging the blade.
- Shave the hair around your lips last since they are thicker than the rest. Shaving the last leaves them with more time to soften from the gel applied.
4. Post-shaving Tips
After a successful shave, it’s time to clean up. Start by rinsing your face with cold water since it helps to close the pores. Later, apply beard oil or aftershave balm to cool the skin and keep it in great condition throughout the day.
The gel might dry out your skin so it is good practice to apply some lotion or gel to it keep it rejuvenated. Lastly, ensure you store your tools safely and ready for your next shaving session. This means rinsing the razor and also ensuring that the tip of the shaving gel container doesn’t have excess gel clogging it.
Why Should You Use Shaving Gel
We are kind of doing this backward, huh? All the same, you are here. So why all the fuss about shaving gels, shaving cream and lathers?
First, we pointed out that creams and gels are different. Their main difference is in the lather they form. Since gels require less water, their lather is less running and soapy which is why you need some bit of skill to use it well.
Moreover, gels tend to be packed with moisturizing ingredients and have less fragrance which makes them a little less likely to irritate your skin. They are ideal for sensitive skin and are better lubricants.
However, since gels are thicker some men might find them awkward to use. And on the flip side, they tend to clog up razors if you are not keen on clean up during and after the shaving session.
As for shaving foam, they tend to be popular with men who adore wet shaving since they are easy to apply. This means that men who have little time to shave in the morning can use them without having to worry about spending too much time.
So which one is better between the two? It all boils down to personal preference. The reason you need to use gels is to avoid nicks and skin irritations. The fact that they are transparent allows you to see what you are doing without compromising on lubrication.
Must-have Shaving Accessories
Having the right shaving gel and razor will get you some good results but to get phenomenal results, you will want to get a lot more tools and accessories. Below are the top seven you cannot ignore.
Mustache and beard scissors can replace razors. However, very few men can pull off the look of their dreams with these scissors. So while they are candidates for the main event, they settle for supporting roles.
With a beard and mustache scissor, you trim overgrown and excess beards. Alternatively, you can use it to touch up your signature style.
The purpose of a shaving gel is to moisturize the skin and lift facial hair for efficient slicing. With improved efficiency, skin irritations, nicks and cuts are reduced.
But if you have dead skin, you’ll have to get rid of it first before you lather up. This is where the scrub comes in handy. A good pre-scrub will exfoliate the skin leaving it clean and supple. Usually, it requires little effort and works to improve the condition of your skin.
Besides getting the best shaving gel, men with sensitive skin will benefit from a good pre-shave oil as well. This oil adds a layer of protection and improves lubrication. There are many best pre-shave oils you can choose from. Just makes sure to take your time and consider all factors like your skin type and what works for you.
Some men insist that using a shaving brush with shaving gel isn’t necessary. However, by design, gels are thicker than creams and brushes will, therefore, make the lathering process easier.
Though you can use your finger, you’ll have to wash them before you start shaving. With a shaving brush, you’ll simply clean up after the shaving along with everything else.
Post-shave Balm and Aftershave
We often associate aftershave with cologne. For this reason, it’s mostly used to get a nice scent on you. But this is not the only reason aftershave was made. Actually, the primary use is to soothe the skin after a shave and to maintain its appearance and texture. Today, there are loads of variations to choose from including aftershave gels and post-shave balms.
With so many options, like with gels, it boils down to ingredients, fragrance and personal preferences.
Beard oil is beneficial in many ways than one. It helps to fix patchy beards, fight beardruff and soothe the skin after a shave. It also helps out to prevent ingrown hairs after a close shave.
After learning to apply beard oil, the next natural step is o choose the best brand that works for you. Getting a high-quality beard oil can be great for your post-shaving routine.
Overall, beard oil will complete your shaving process and have your grooming routine look more organized and the results will be amazing.
This shaving accessory is not used in the actual shaving but it comes in real handy for staying organized. With so many things on your shaving stand and often little time to shave and stay organized, it’s easy to get untidy.
Wash bags also come in handy when you plan on travelling for a day, a week, or a month. It allows you to keep your shaving essentials in one place for organization and also ensure you haven’t left anything behind.
How We Ended up With Our List
By now you should be a shaving gel expert. You should know what to consider and the product to pick from the shelves. This is all good news. Don’t worry if you have to go back to countercheck some details – it’s all part of the learning process.
So how did we come up with the list above? We would love to say we tried and tested every product out there, but unfortunately, we didn’t.
But we are pleased to mention that we sampled a large number of products before we zeroed in on these. And for the few that we couldn’t get our hands-on, we settled for in-depth expert and consumer reviews and videos to get a feel of what they have to offer.
And with that, we’ve come to the end of our guide. If this is your first rodeo, feel free to experiment with a couple of our top choices to get experience them for yourself and decide on which works better for you.
Last update on 2021-04-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API