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Shaving Cream vs Shaving Butter vs Shaving Soap: Which Should You Use?

It all does the same thing, so what’s the real dilemma between shaving cream vs shaving butter vs shaving soap? 

Table of Contents

What Is Shaving Cream?

Most of us are familiar with shaving cream. It usually comes in an aerosol can. White and fluffy like whipped cream, but doesn’t taste nearly as good. Expensive shaving cream sometimes comes in a jar with a brush so you can give yourself an authentic hot towel shaving experience. 

Guys who enjoy shaving cream tend to like its foamy texture, ease of use, and quick clean up. Some men have used it for so long that they don’t realize there are other options.

What Are The Pro’s And Con’s Of Shaving Cream?


• Shaving cream has that classic, irresistible cloud texture.

• Shaving cream is easy to use and cleans up quickly.

• Shaving cream shows you what areas you’ve already shaved. It’s a good teaching tool.

• Shaving cream is standard to the point that most guys default to it. If you watch a shaving tutorial on YouTube or ask a family member for shaving help, 9/10 times they’ll use shaving cream.


• The preservatives in shaving cream aren’t super skin-friendly.

• Shaving cream is not always easy to travel with. It’s prone to exploding in bags.

• Some shaving creams are too thick to properly shave fine hair.

So what sets shaving cream apart from the rest? It’s easy to use and familiar to most men.

Who Should Use Shaving Cream?

I recommend shaving cream for:

• Guys who want an easy, quick shave. Shaving cream does not need to lather or sit on your face for a minute. You can wet your jaw, apply some shaving cream, and get going fast.

• Guys who are learning to shave. You’ll find the best how-to’s and advice with shaving cream tutorials. Plus, it’s easier to follow what you have and haven’t shaved by the patterns in the cream. 

• Guys with thick hair. Shaving cream is thick to tackle thick hair, and it’s also relatively cheap, so if you need to touch-up your shaving job, you can add a second layer without guilt.

What Is Shaving Butter?

Shaving butter is the only product in this article that does not look or feel like its name. It comes in a tube. It’s translucent. And it’s slippery, but it doesn’t lather.

I think of shaving butter as an oddball in the wet shaving world. It’s just as convenient to use as shaving cream, but most guys can’t get over the fact that it doesn’t lather or have a fun texture, so it’s not as popular.

The one benefit it does have over creams and soaps is that you can let it sit on your face for a few minutes before you shave for an even better after-shave feeling. It nourishes your skin. It’s one of the best options if you want a shaving routine that feeds into your skin care routine.

What Are The Pro’s And Con’s Of Shaving Butter?


• It has shaving benefits AND skin benefits.

• It doubles as a shaving cream and after shave.

• Shaving butter is especially easy to travel with. The tube is more self-contained and fits in a checked bag nicely.

• Because shaving butter is translucent, you can see what hair you’re shaving while you shave. It’s easier to get a thorough job done.

• Shave butter is gentle on sensitive skin.


• Shaving butter doesn’t have an awesome texture like cream or soap.

• It’s picky. You need to leave it on your skin for a minute before you shave to get all the skin benefits.

• Shave butter is harder to rinse off than cream or soap.

So what sets shaving butter apart from the rest? It actually has skin benefits, on top of the shaving benefits. 

Who Should Use Shaving Butter?

I recommend shaving butter for:

• Guys with sensitive skin. Shave butter is packed with oils, fats, and (duh) butters. All those ingredients are incredibly skin-friendly and moisturizing. It’s a top-notch skin hydrator.

• Guys who like really detailed edging on their beard. The translucent color gives you more control over what you shave and how thoroughly you shave it. 

• Guys who tend to get razor burn. Shaving butter is kind to your skin before, after, and during your shave. You’ll feel softer than ever.

What Is Shaving Soap?

Shaving soap is classic. It’s become vintage to the point that most men associate it with a luxury shaving experience.

Shaving soap usually comes in a bar or in a jar. You’re supposed to add water to the soap and let it sit for up to 15 minutes to “bloom” the soap. When you swirl your application brush in the bloom, it’ll lather beautifully.

Is Shave Soap Different Than Regular Soap?

Shave soap is like regular soap on steroids. That’s the difference. After you “bloom” it with some warm water and start swirling your brush in it, it lathers like no soap on earth. 

The reason it lathers so well is because most shave soaps are triple-milled – that means they’ve been ground down multiple times, creating a super concentrated soap. It feels better against your skin than a normal soap would. And the lather helps your blade glide.

What Are The Pro’s And Con’s Of Shaving Soap?


• Shaving soap makes for a super slick shave.

• The lather is so soft and pleasant. It’s shaving cream’s one big contender.

• You get a close, soft shave with shaving soap.

• Shaving soaps are classic. They’ve been on the market for so long that plenty of brands have had decades – or even centuries! – to perfect their formulas.


• Shaving soap takes patience. You have to bloom it before you can start.

• There are plenty of low-quality “normal” soaps that try to pose as “shaving” soaps.

• Some shaving soaps leave residue.

So what sets shaving soap apart from the rest? It really is a luxury shaving experience.

Who Should Use Shaving Soap?

I recommend shaving soap for:

• Guys who want a smoother shave. Shaving soap is super slick. Some guys don’t appreciate the texture (it’s soap, after all), but shaving soap makes for the perfect razor glide.

• Guys who want a closer shave. Shaving soap lathers beautifully, but it’s still a thinner shaving product, which lets you get closer to the root of your hair.

• Guys with patience. Shaving soaps take pre-shave prep work, and you’ll need to take more time to lather and apply them. It’s not an on-the-go shave, but it’s great for guys who can exercise patience.

Shaving Cream vs Shaving Butter vs Shaving Soap: Which Should You Use?

The choice between shaving cream vs shaving butter vs shaving soap really boils down to personal preference. 

You’ll get a great shave no matter which you choose, as long as you stick with trusted and proven brands. They all perform well with a wet shave.

Though shaving soap is known for a luxurious shave, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for beginners. Shaving cream is a friend to guys who are learning. And shaving butter is really a class of its own with how different it is. If you have picky skin that doesn’t enjoy classic shaving options, it might be a good bet for you.

Think about the shave you want, and find the product that’s going to best serve your needs.

Frank Edwards is a men's grooming & style expert who is "internet famous" for being able to simplify complicated grooming routines into easy, yet effective rituals any man can do. As a professional analyst, he has spent years researching the biggest brands, products, experts, best practices, and breaking news in the space. He takes this analysis, tests it out on himself, and then documents everything in his writing. As a result, his experience-based articles are considered by some to be the gold standard in men's grooming and men's style.