Do You Really Need To Use Shaving Cream?

Shaving cream is marketed as a product that reduces irritation and makes shaving more comfortable. Anyone who has used it will attest that it makes for a smooth shave, but is it really necessary? Here's what you should know.

The purpose of shaving cream is pretty simple: it helps protect your skin while you shave. Even when you shave with a brand new razor, the blades will touch your skin as you glide them across your legs or underarms. This can cause irritation if the skin isn't properly lubricated. "Hydration softens the hair and skin, which helps reduce the amount of force it takes the razor to cut through the hair during a shave. Lubrication gives just the right amount of slipperiness between the blades and the skin," Elizabeth Compo, senior scientist at Venus, told Well + Good.

In addition to providing a barrier between your skin and your razor, there are other reasons people prefer to use this product. Some feel that it allows them to get a closer shave while others like that they can clearly see where they have already shaved to avoid going over the same area twice.

Any barrier on your skin will improve your shaving experience

Although shaving cream is designed specifically for shaving, you can use other products for a similar effect. According to Healthline, the safest alternatives to shaving cream are hair conditioner, cream-based body lotion, and aloe-vera gel. Soap and shampoo are better than dry shaving, but these products won't offer much protection for your skin and can cause your razor to get dull more quickly.

There are other ways you can make your shaving experience better overall, with or without shaving cream. Put off the chore until you've been in the shower for at least 10 minutes to allow your skin to soften and hair follicles to open up (via Good Housekeeping). Invest in a razor with four or five blades to get the smoothest result. You should also change your razor blades every two to three weeks depending on how often you shave. Dull blades are more likely to cause irritation and discomfort when shaving. Exfoliating ahead of time will also prevent razor burn by removing dead skin cells that can cause an uneven shave.