Want less skin irritation when you shave? What about less cuts? Learning the differences between shaving oil vs. cream will help you get the shave you want.

Knowing all there is to know about modern shaving products can be challenging. Even folks who have been shaving for years may stop and ask, “What's the difference between shaving oil and shaving cream?” Even though these products can both play a part in shaving rituals, each plays a unique role that can enhance your overall shaving experience.

Let’s get down to brass tax and learn about what precisely shaving oil and shaving cream are, as well as how they are each implemented in the shaving process.

Shaving oil (also called “shave oil” by some retailers) is pre-shave lubricant designed to decrease friction while shaving. Often, the oil accomplishes this process by soaking into your skin and conditioning it prior to razor application. In effect, this oil is designed to reduce to likelihood of common shaving irritants, such as nicks, cuts, and in-grown hairs.

When it comes to composition, many shaving oils are made almost entirely from plant-based components, including argan and jojoba oil. This makes shaving oil the more “natural” option when comparing shaving oil vs shaving cream.

Shaving cream, on the other hand, is likely more familiar to most regular shavers. Often found in a spray can, this classic option is designed to soften facial hair and moisturize the skin prior to shaving. This has the effect of decreasing the amount of undesirable tugging caused by the shaving process as a whole.

Shaving creams can be made up of a variety of natural and manufactured components, ranging from glycerin to aloe vera. Some shaving creams include alcohol, which should be avoided because it causes the skin to become excessively irritated post-shave.

The Difference Between Shaving Oil and Shaving Cream

When seen on the shelf of your local store, shaving oil and shaving cream may look very similar. Even looking at each bottle may lead you astray, as both promise to moisture your head or facial skin prior to a shave.

This similarity is apt given that functionally, shaving cream and shaving oil fill a similar role. Though the precise effects will vary from brand to brand, nearly all shaving oils and creams will soften the skin and hair in order to reduce shaving irritation.

The major difference between shaving oil and shaving cream can be found on the ingredient label. Shaving creams tend to be made up from several basic ingredients, including glycerin, stearic acid, myristic acid, potassium hydroxide, and sodium hydroxide.

Shaving oils, on the other hand, tend to vary more dramatically in terms of ingredients. As expected, shaving oils tend to incorporate a variety of popular oil types, such as olive, castor, and jojoba. Some even use specialized butters, such as shea and cocoa. Be on the lookout though, as some shaving oils also use alcohol as an additive, which can easily dry out your skin post-shave.

One common misconception is that shaving creams are for beards while shaving oils are for heads. In fact, both shaving creams and oils can be used for either type of shaving. In fact, as more and more men embrace the fully shaved aesthetic, you can expect more shavers to use their products for both purposes at once.

When aligned side-by-side, shaving oils tend to include more “natural” ingredients that some exacting customers value. Besides these compositional differences, shaving oil and shaving cream are more alike than they are different. This begs the question – which is better?

Shaving Oil vs Cream – Which is Better?

The debate between pre-shave oil vs cream is, in some ways, misguided. When it comes to enhancing your skin and preventing shaving irritation, both shaving oil and shaving cream are capable of providing excellent results. In fact, both products can be used in tandem in order to provide a transcendent shaving experience that will sooth even the most tender skin.

There’s also some consensus that holds shaving oil as a superior lubricant for shaving one’s head. While side-by-side testing isn’t available, folks who regularly shave their head have found shaving oil’s intended for head shaving do a better job than traditional canned shaving creams.

In the end, your choice comes down to personal preference. The best way to learn which product works best for your skin is to try them each in your own shaving routine.

Most experts recommend trying shaving oil first. After rubbing it on and allowing it a minute or more to soak into your skin, try a full shave with your favorite razor. You should find that your skin has become a smooth, moisturized surface over which your razor easily glides.

However, if you are still experiencing irritation, consider covering your layer of shave oil with a layer of shaving cream next time you need a trim. As you shave with the grain, you should quickly find that these products combined create a truly game-changing shaving experience.

Some may insist that their product still reigns supreme. But in the debate between shaving oil vs shaving cream, we really believe that both products hold the potential to change your shaving experience for the better.

Our Top Recommend Shaving Oils

Shavers that haven’t tried shaving oil wonder what the fuss is all about. Shavers who have tried shaving oil can’t stop extolling its virtues. Whatever side of the equation you fall on, you’re probably looking to sample the best shaving oils available in order to take your shaving experience to the next level.

After evaluating the real-life experiences of shavers like you, we’ve identified two of the finest shaving oils available on the market today. Give them both a try! Your head and face will surely thank you.

For Your Head

  • Alonzo’s Sensational Premium Natural Shaving Oil

shaving oil vs cream

Alonzo’s Sensational Premium Natural Shaving Oil can do a little bit of everything, especially for those looking to shave their head with a well-regard shaving oil. Alonzo’s is made up of many unique ingredients that other shaving oils do not offer. Coconut, apricot, bergamot, olive, and avocado oils – all cold-pressed during the production process in order to maximize their irritation-blocking properties.

Don’t let the “for men” label fool you. This shaving oil is for anyone interested in getting a smooth shave that doesn’t leave an excessive amount of residue when washed off. As more women try out shaved hair styles, you should expect more and more converts to this shaving oil.

Alonzo’s has specially tailored this premium formula to work with straight razors. Those looking to shave their head (and maybe even their face) the old fashioned was will surely find this product useful as a result

For Your Beard

  • ​Badger Pre-Shave Oil 

​Badger Pre-Shave Oil

Badger Pre-Shave Oil has been overlooked by far too many shavers. They don’t know what they’re missing – and they’re missing out on one of the richest shaving oil formulas around. Incorporating both extra virgin olive oil and baobab oil as a base, this shaving oil creates a smooth sheen through which your razor will glide without resistance.

As you apply and use this shaving oil, your nose will be treated to a truly unique scent experience. Infused with sea buckthorn and rosehip extracts, Badger Pre-Shave Oil users rave that no other shave oil (or shaving cream, for that matter) provides a comparable olfactory experience.

After you shave, Badger Pre-Shave Oil stays with you (and not as an undesirable residue). Instead, black pepper oil gently warms your skin and plumps up hair follicles, making your trimmed beard look even more full. Altogether, you’re going to have to search far and wide to find a shaving oil with as rich a formula as Badger Pre-Shave Oil.

Our Top Recommend Shaving Cream

There are a lot of shaving creams available on the market today. Every established and start-up company is trying to find a way to innovate on this tried and true formula used by men and women for decades.

Finding the best shaving cream can be difficult as a result of this market saturation. After combing hundreds of reviews and reading the experiences of real-life shavers, we’ve identified two of the best shaving creams for your face and head. Add a new splash of moisture to your shaving routine with one of these leading options.

For Your Head

  • Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood Shaving Cream Bowl​

taylor shaving cream

Considered by many to be the gold standard of head shaving creams, new and veteran shavers alike will find this product goes above and beyond their expectations. Botanical extracts are a key ingredient in every bowl of shaving cream from Taylor of Old Bond Street, allowing their products to stand out from the pack.

Taylor of Old’s shaving cream feels like a lotion at first, allowing it to spread easily without added mess. But in just moments, you can bring this cream to a hearty lather, reminiscent of traditional canned shaving creams. But don’t be fooled – this Taylor of Old’s shaving cream produces a far smoother, far closer shave than any standard-quality canned brand.

For added convenience, this shaving cream comes in a flat disk container about the size of hair gel or pomade tin. As such, it quickly and securely can fit into your travel luggage when you expect a close shave on the road.

For Your Beard

  • JACK BLACK Supreme Cream Triple Cushion Shave Lather

jack black shaving cream

If you’re looking for a luxury shaving cream that treats your face and skin like a king, look no further than JACK BLACK Supreme Cream Triple Cushion Shave Lather. JACK BLACK has set itself as a high-end beard care brand and provides a product that backs up their hype. Every drop of this shaving cream’s formula is filled with the very best in the field.

Known as the PureScience Formula, this shaving cream is free of synthetic fragrance, colorants, and parabens. Even though this formula contains several premium oils – macadamia nut, soy bean, and jojoba to name a few - JACK BLACK Supreme Cream is certified organic.

Even after the shave, JACK BLACK’s quality stays with you. Edelweiss extract mixed directly into the formula soothes the skin and prevents irritation from flaring up. Altogether, this shaving cream provides a premium portfolio of ingredients in order to provide one of the best shaves available on the market today.