Can You Use Regular Shaving Cream With a Straight Razor (Pros & Cons)
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You’ve recently been pulled into the straight razor shaving lifestyle – great. As the initial excitement of owning a straight razor fades, you realize you need a lot of learning, tools, and products to get the best wet shaving experience. Luckily, the fun is all in the learning process. Right now, you need shaving cream and are wondering, ‘can you use regular shaving cream with a straight razor?
While you can use regular shaving cream with your straight razor, there are better options you should consider. Regular shaving cream isn’t the best for prepping. Instead, it would help if you opted for a special straight razor shaving cream or a straight razor soap that can produce true lather.
Here’s an in-depth look into why we recommend true lather creams instead of regular shaving creams.
The Truth: Can You Use a Straight Razor with Regular Shaving Cream
You can use regular shaving creams with any shaving razor without experiencing major problems, and it’s often the ideal choice for wet shaving beginners on a budget. But even then, these men are urged to consider the following before committing. Regular shaving creams:
- Are way too thick – most regular shaving creams have a thick consistency and are spread evenly on the skin. Because of this consistency, they may stick on safety razor blades, making shaving and cleaning challenging. True lather shaving creams have more water, allowing them to get puffy and avoid these problems.
- Don’t make true lather – canned or regular shaving creams don’t generate true lather, and the razor doesn’t glide smoothly over the skin like with true lather creams. The result is a not-so-pleasing shaving experience marred with nicks and cuts.
- Don’t create a sufficiently smooth surface – straight razor design and aggressiveness require a good technique to pull off a smooth and close shave free of irritation, nicks, and cuts. These results are achieved by increasing the skin’s smoothness during the shave. Canned foam doesn’t stay on the skin for a smooth shave, even after being mixed with water.
- Contain some harmful chemicals – regular shaving creams often have harmful chemicals that irritate the skin or attract dirt and bacteria to the skin. Using straight razor shaving creams, you can avoid getting skin infections.
Why Is It Better to Use a Straight Razor Shaving Cream
Tons of straight razor shaving creams will give you a clean, silky, and pleasant shaving experience – you need to know what to look for and where to look. Most shaving creams are made with no parabens or alcohol, making them ideal for varied skin types, including sensitive skin.
Last update on 2024-02-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Good shaving creams should perform the following tasks efficiently:
Shaving creams are designed to help keep moisture in and between beard hairs during a shave. The moisture helps to keep the hairs soft and easy to cut. When you need less force to cut facial hair, the shaving process becomes more comfortable.
Shaving creams create layers of protection between the skin and the blade, ensuring less friction and minimizing the risk of razor burns, irritation, and redness. You also get to experience lesser cuts and nicks.
This is an intuitive task. You may not even realize it, but removing the shaving cream as you shave helps you keep track of areas where you’ve already run the blade, and this helps you not miss a spot.
- Refreshing and soothing
Using straight razor shaving cream leaves the skin feeling refreshed and soothed.
Can You Use Straight Razors Without Shaving Creams?
Yes, however, some risks come with doing this. The risks or side effects of using a straight razor without shaving cream include:
Nicks and cuts – when shaving without lubrication or protection from shaving creams, you expose your skin to the possibility of cuts and nicks, which takes away from the experience.
Razor burns – you’ll end up with red rashes after shaving without a straight razor shaving cream. Red rashes are often symptoms of itching, stinging, redness, or burning.
Razor bumps – the third side effect is that you may develop razor bumps after shaving. If you don’t prepare your skin for the shave, you’ll develop ingrown hairs, which in turn cause unsightly and painful bumps a couple of days after the shave. The ingrown hairs and bumps are caused by cutting the hair unevenly, which then curls back into the skin.
Types of Straight Razor Shaving Creams
Straight razor shaving creams are available in different types. You can choose which type works for you. The types include:
- Tub cream – these creams come in toothpaste-like tubes, making it easier to squeeze the cream out for use.
- Bowl creams – these creams come in bowl-shaped containers. You can scoop the cream and place it in a shaving bowl to make lathering easier.
- Shave soap – these are solid soap bar versions of shaving creams. To apply these, you’ll need a shaving brush and swirl it on the soap to create a rich lather.
Harmful Ingredients Contained in Shaving Creams
Many generic shaving creams are cheap, easy to acquire, and ready to use after unpacking. However, not all of these are great for the beard or skin. Many of these have harsh chemicals and some synthetic ingredients, including:
- Triethanolamine (TEA) – an emulsifying agent
- Propylene glycol – functions like glycerin to preserve beard moisture
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) – a detergent and a lathering agent
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) – this is a gentle version of SLS
- Mineral oil – it’s a petroleum byproduct and an alternative to several plant-based oils
- Synthetic coloring and fragrance
Be on the lookout for the above ingredients in shaving creams for straight razors. Using these creams with the ingredients listed will increase the chances of post-shaving irritations and may cause damage to sensitive skin.
How to Create Perfect Lather
We are stressing ‘true lather’ as the main difference between regular shaving cream and straight razor shaving cream. But assuming you get straight razor shaving cream, shaving gels, or soap, how do you create the lather advertised? Here’s a quick guide on lathering your shaving cream, soap, or gel.
Lathering Shaving Cream/Gel
If you’re using shaving gel/cream, follow this process to develop a good lather:
- Take a dollop of shaving cream and drop it in your lathering bowl
- Wet your shaving brush using warm running water to soften the bristles. Shake off the excess water to prevent creating a mess.
- Use circular motions to create a lather in the bowl
- If the lather builds slowly, add some water to the shaving cream. And if it gets too runny, add some cream to the mixture. The goal is to have a rich and thick lather –like thick yogurt.
- Wet your beard with some warm water and apply the thick and rich lather ahead of shaving
Lather Shaving Soap
If you’d rather use shaving soap to generate lather, below are the steps to follow:
- If you have hard shaving soap, pour some hot water on the soap and let it soak for a couple of minutes. This will allow the soap to soften in readiness to create the lather. This step isn’t necessary with soft soaps.
- Wet the shaving brush and swirl it on the shaving soap for a couple of minutes for the bristles to load up with soap
- Move to a lathering bowl and swirl your brush around to generate lather
- If the lather doesn’t build fast, add some water and if it’s too running, add some soap by swirling the brush over the soap again and continue whipping in the bowl.
- Like shaving creams, the goal is to have a rich and thick lather.
- Wet your beard hair with some warm water, and then apply the lather
Lathering Without a Bowl
If you don’t fancy the idea of using a lather bowl and would rather face lather, you simply remove the ‘bowl steps’ from the instructions above. Load the brush from the cream or soap and swirl it over your beard. The process may take longer than using a shaving bowl, but you can still create a rich and creamy lather. If the lather is taking too long, you can add water by dipping the brush in a little water.
Can You Substitute Shaving Cream?
While no product can deliver results and experience at the same level as good quality straight razor shaving cream, several alternatives are available. These include baby oil (good for lubrication), conditioner (good for moisturizing skin and hair), coconut oil (for its anti-bacterial properties), and honey (for its anti-inflammatory properties).
Why do I get pimples after shaving?
Shave pimples or razor burns/ bumps occur when the hair is cut and then regrows into the skin at a bad angle. The ingrown hair irritates the hair follicles, causing redness and swelling. Razor bumps are often used to refer to more persistent or severe skin inflammation.
Using the correct shaving cream will determine the shaving experience and results you get. Spending extra money on a quality straight razor shaving cream is a good move to ensure a great shave.
Last update on 2024-02-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API