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Shaving cream substitutes that actually work

Christina Ablahad

Posted by Christina A.



Shaving Cream Substitutes That Actually Work

There are a few things that every grown man experiences in his life. One is finishing a poop to only then realize that you're completely out of friendly wiping options. Another is opening the fridge with ravenous hunger, only to find that it's empty of everything except a few condiments you never use. There's a theme here. We guys are good at running out of important things without realizing it. That's why plenty of you have been in the third situation. You need to shave (for work or a date or whatever), and you don't have any shaving cream. Some of you splash some water and rough it. 

The rest of you understand that an unshaven face is more pleasant for people to look at than the splotchy redness of a dry shave. Shudder. Today, you're going to see a different option for dealing with this nightmare. You can use things besides shaving cream to shave. It's not against the rules. Really.

The value of shaving cream

Before you go crazy and toss the shaving cream, you already have, understand that it's valuable. Shaving creams are specifically designed to help you shave. They reduce razor burn, razor bumps, developing a rash, and general discomfort. They're good lubricants, and most of them hydrate the skin too, which is very important after you shave.

None of these substitutes are as deliberately crafted for shaving as a good cream, so keep that in mind. The real idea here is that you have alternatives if you want or need them. You shouldn't skip straight to the substitutes without good reason — or without doing your homework.

Shaving Cream In A Man's Hand

Around the house

We're going to get this started by looking at alternative shaving lubricants you might already have around the house. Now, some of you embrace the bachelor lifestyle way too openly, and you're going to have an embarrassing shortage of these goods. Most of them should be in every home. Keep that in mind. Others are on point with your skincare, and you probably have superior options to what you see listed. That's great. These suggestions are more about the gist of things than the ultimate, definitive list of shaving gel alternatives.


Please, please tells us that you have soap. If this is off your list, you have much bigger problems than shaving cream. Jokes aside, soap is the classic alternative. Many years before shaving creams were even a thing, people used it for many, and in a pinch, soap can still get things done.

A few notes will help you. First, liquid soap is better than bar soap. That should be obvious. If you are using bar soap, be vigorous. You need a good, thick lather for a safe shave. If you skimp on the soap, you'll pay the price in blood. That came out grosser than intended, but it's still literally true.

Baby oil

You might be thinking that only dads and involved uncles need baby oil. That's because you're thinking too small. Baby oil is useful in lots of situations. For now, we'll focus on shaving. In particular, baby oil shines as a lubricant. You might find you get fewer nicks and cuts using this stuff than a cheap shaving cream (good gels usually keep up with baby oil).

Another advantage of baby oil is that it leaves you pretty clean afterward. It's like soap, but without any harshness. You can't fully replace showering with baby oil shaving, but you'll feel pretty fresh after going this route. That's assuming you don't slip and cut yourself. The drawback is that baby oil is a really good lubricant. It can mess with your grip if you aren't careful.


On the one hand, lotion seems like a logical choice. Shaving gels are always bragging about how they moisturize, but none of them moisturize as well as an average body lotion. On the other hand, a lotion is not on par with baby oil as a lubricant.

That's your trade-off, and it's why you only want to go with lotion when you're hard up for shaving cream. If you find yourself in this situation, be liberal with the lotion. Your instinct is to squeeze out enough to keep your skin fresh. That's nowhere near enough for a shave. You're going to get greasy using lotion as shaving lube, and you'll need to shower afterward. That said, you will have some pristinely moisturized skin when you're done, so that's a nice bonus. 

Cream In A Container


There's a little-known trick that we need to get out to the public. After trimming or shaving your face, washing with a hair conditioner is a great way to remove the dead skin and clipped hair. If you've ever rinsed after a shave and then gently scraped your face with your fingertips, you'll see the mass of skin cells that were harmed in the making of that baby face you're sporting. 

Conditioner is designed to soften skin and help break away dead cells. That's how it helps prevents dandruff, and you can see how this might be useful for shaving. You'll get less resistance and clog with the razor when you use conditioner. You'll also be left feeling tingly fresh, which is kind of cool. 

The downside is that conditioner isn't the best lube. Considering the amount you'll need to shave safely, it's an expensive alternative, so make it a last resort. Instead, you can shave with a different household lube and then wash with conditioner. You get the best of both worlds. 


Most shampoos will make for better lubricant than conditioner (with all-in-ones somewhere in between the two). That means the shampoo can give you a nice hydrating glide for the razor.

The greatest strength of shampoo is also its weakness. Shampoos are usually designed to have powerful oil solvents. That helps some of us fight our ridiculously greasy hair, but in terms of shaving, it means the shampoo will strip some of your natural oils. That's fine during the shave (in fact, it can help you get close with less irritation), but it's not ideal for your post-shave skin. The stripped oils will be missed, and you'll be at higher risk for dry skin and irritation. You can solve that with a little bit of moisturizing when you're done, but you have to know to plan for it.

Dish soap

Dish soap is shampoo on steroids. If you've ever done dishes by hand, you know that this stuff is an amazing lubricant. It can be a little too good. If you're going to shave with dish soap, be extra careful. It's so easy for the razor to slip in your hand.

Also, dish soap strips oils from your skin even better than shampoo does. That means you get an amplified version of the pros and cons of that effect. 

In the best case, your dish soap has a hydrating formula intended to help prevent harshness on your hands when you wash the dishes. Without this, the soap will be harsh on whatever part of your body is being shaved. Plan accordingly.

Going all natural 

For some of you, natural ingredients are a way of life. You're conscientious about your health, environmental impact, and how you interact with the world in general. We applaud that effort (even if we don't always match it). If you're looking for natural alternatives to shaving cream, this is your list.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is nature's version of baby oil. You can use it for a lot of the same stuff, so if you skipped down to this part, go back and check the baby oil link. It has some good stuff. When it comes to shaving, coconut oil is probably the best natural oil out there. 

Plenty of oils make for a great shaving lubricant. Some of those will be hydrating to your skin like coconut oil is. None of them will smell as good. Like other oils, coconut can be a bit more slippery than shaving gel. As long as you're careful while you get used to that, you'll be fine. As far as natural alternatives to shaving cream go, this is first on the list for a reason.

Nut butters

Stop snickering. You might think this sounds funny, but you need to sober up enough to learn something important. Shea butter and almond butter are the ultimate natural lotions. You can use either of them to shave (or anything more exotic that you might find). They are extraordinary for hydrating your skin, and it's why a lot of shaving gels include them in the ingredients list.

You can cut out the unnatural middleman and go straight to the butter. Like with lotion, you'll need to apply more than you might think at first, but you don't have to completely exhaust your supply for a single shave. You'll get a feel for it pretty quickly.

As for the men who find they have very few of these things on the list, you can use peanut butter (never crunchy). It's very thick, so you'll have to rinse the razor a lot more than normal, but it will work.


It looks like we're deep in the food section of this list. Sorry for making you hungry. Honey is not the easiest natural shaving gel to use, but it can work if you have the patience. First, you want raw honey. Processed honey has a different consistency, and the additives can be pretty bad for your skin and razor.

More importantly, you're probably going to have to cut your honey with water to use it. You want to get it closer to an oil-like consistency.

Once you get that part right, using honey will be pretty interesting. Because it's thicker and stickier than anything you've used before, you'll find that it helps avoid cuts and irritation. The downside is that you'll be covered in honey when you're done. It has some nice health effects on your skin, but you'll need a pretty vigorous shower after you finish shaving. Throwing back to previous items on the list, a little dish soap can help get the honey off of you.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

Aloe is already the key ingredient in so many skin products. Every gel or cream that claims to reduce irritation or itching probably has Aloe in it. If you use pure Aloe, you're going to get a much stronger effect. 

Taking the Aloe straight from the plant, it's going to be pretty thick. You might need to cut it with water or natural oil. When you get the consistency right, Aloe Vera is an amazing shaving gel. It glides pretty well, and it soothes the skin as you go. It helps you get a close shave, and it mitigates inflammation and irritation while and after you shave. For these last two effects, Aloe is the gold standard.

It takes more than shaving cream to groom

If you want to succeed in male grooming, you need a full set of tools. We've made it easy to complete that set by putting them all in The Perfect Package 4.0. It's somewhat remarkable that the only thing currently missing from the package is shaving cream. Did someone plan this? Are we devious masterminds? Can you look forward to a shaving cream from the gents at Manscaped soon? You'll find out soon enough.

In all seriousness, now that you have plenty of options for lubing the razor, here's the rest of what you need to trim the hedges around the boys.

Trimming comes first

One of the best things about trimming is that you don't need a lubricant at all. If you insist, you can use water in the shower to keep things gliding, but a trimmer as awe-inspiring as The Lawn Mower 4.0 needs no help. Just fire it up and get to work.

Of course, there is one form of help that's always welcome: cleaning up after the mess. For that, we invented the Magic Mat. It comes in the Perfect Package 4.0, and it makes clean up a cinch. Just remember to put it down before you groom. We didn't make it for covering messes indefinitely.

You can shave if you want to

But if you don't shave, you'll still be our friend. Remember, there is a difference in men's vs. women's razors. The truth is that trimmers are advanced enough these days that you don't need to touch naked steel to your delicate parts. If you insist, a safety razor and one of the lubricants listed above should get you where you want to go. You can also do this work above a Magic Mat to double down on easy cleaning.

Showering is key

Many guys don't understand this, but showering is the most important part of male grooming. There are so many ways everyone else gets this wrong. For starters, you shouldn't shower before you groom (that's the most common bad advice on the entire internet). While warm water can soften hair follicles, it's completely unnecessary to use a trimmer. What's far more important is that you clear away clipped hair and exfoliate your skin after a trim. We already mentioned how grooming could cause a buildup of dead skin cells. Take care of that right away.

The natural response to this is to groom in the shower. That's not much better. Clogged drain aside, grooming in the shower will likely keep you in the running water for too long. Tap water isn't kind to skin, so you're trading one form of harm for another. 

The ideal shaving order is to groom first, then shower with warm water. In that shower, you want to gently exfoliate with Crop Cleanse®. It'll promote super healthy skin, and it will make you smell good.

Use deodorant

Hopefully, you're in the habit of applying deodorant after a shower. You need to extend that habit to your crotch. Crop Preserver® is a deodorant designed for manly bits. It helps you manage your sweat and helps avoid a full-blown case of swamp crotch (on a really bad day, grab a Crop Mop®). Our formula also helps your skin to a speedy recovery after you groom. Maybe best of all, it reduces friction, so you're going to genuinely feel better about life throughout the day.

After you apply your deodorant, the last formula you want to use is Crop Reviver. If you've ever wondered, "What does aftershave do?", we're here to tell you that you've been missing out. It's Crop Reviver®. It's our gentle toner that finishes the job of helping you recover from grooming. It has an extra touch of Aloe Vera, so if you aren't using that to shave, you'll want to make sure you remember your Crop Reviver.

Dry before you dress

This section isn't advice. We just wanted to let you know that we also make boxers, and we think they're awesome. A pair is included in The Perfect Package 4.0, so you can try them and love them when you groom.

That about covers it. You learned a few million ways to lubricate before a shave. Then you learned that you don't need to shave much of your body. Beard removal is still in fashion, so you can apply the advice in at least a few instances. The most important thing you learned is that is the ultimate resource for all things related to male grooming. Aside from providing you with the best tools, we also offer mountains of advice — on topics like shaving cream substitutes that work. Go get your new body groomer today.



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