Shaving Gel vs Cream: A Gentleman’s Guide to the Difference


Having a forest of facial hair can be irritating, especially if you aren’t the type to have perfect skin after shaving. 

Couple that with all the misconceptions about beard care and shaving and the risk of developing acne, and it can be a real headache to establish a healthy shaving routine.

Sensitive skin, shaving foam, shaving gel vs. cream—what is the right way to shave? 

Don’t Use Aerosol

First off, avoid aerosol cans like the plague. While these cans might give you the instant gratification of immediate lather, this entire canister could be what’s causing those razor burns on your skin.

The purpose of applying gel or cream on your face as you shave is to have your hairs stand up. Unfortunately, the airy texture of the foam from the shaving can doesn’t do this, which results in razor burns and uneven shaving. This is especially detrimental to men with sensitive skin.

Shaving Gel vs. Shaving Cream

If you’ve used either of these products, you’ll have noticed that the primary difference is in the lather. Traditional shaving cream is usually mixed with water and then brushed to create a lather—this is different from foam. Lather is much thicker with less air. 

Another difference that’s easy to spot is the time it takes to use either product. Since cream will have to be brushed into a lather, this can take a bit more time than simply applying shaving gel.

While many articles out there might conclude that either product is simply the best, there’s not a lot of truth behind this. Picking the right shaving product for you will rely entirely on how your skin reacts to it and how you feel before and after you shave.

There’s no one-size-fits-all, even if it is an expensive variety of gel or cream. With that said, here are the main differences, pros and cons, and what you can expect from using shaving gel vs cream.

Shaving Gel

Shaving gel is waterless and can be applied directly to your face. It’s defined as a lubricant, and is the consistency of a thick liquid – similar to hair gel.

The biggest attraction to using shaving gel is the speed of the shave. This is a perfect option for those situations where you just have to leave the house in a hurry or if you don’t want to spend too much time in the bathroom.

It’s one of the most popular products men use for shaving even today since it’s quick and convenient.


As you might have already inferred, the number one reason for using shaving gel over anything else is the speed and convenience it offers.

Here are the main benefits of using shaving gel:


You won’t need to use any extra equipment in the process save for a brush if you prefer to use one. This makes it ideal for shaving with minimal fuss wherever you are.


If sensitive skin is an issue, shaving gel usually comes with moisturizing ingredients to give yourself a much healthier shave.

The gel doesn’t clog your razor as quickly as thick lather which helps save time.  However, this experience can depend on how much product you need and the type of product you’re using.


Shaving gel is translucent which helps the shaving process since you’ll be able to see your beard hairs much more clearly. If you plan on trimming your beard precisely, shaving gel might just be your best bet.


The main drawback of shaving gel is that it can stick to your face, which results in the need for a thorough cleanup afterwards. If you accidentally apply more than is absolutely necessary, you might find yourself spending an extra few minutes in the bathroom as it won’t be easy to rinse off.

There’s also the potential that using shaving gel can cause your razor to clog. Again though this is usually only a result of an excess of product, so provided you can apply a moderate amount you should be fine.

Shaving Cream

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For gentlemen who prefer to take their time to get a really clean shave, the best way to do this is with shaving cream.

Ssince the cream stays on your face longer while you brush it into a lather, you also end up moisturizing and hydrating your skin pre-shave. This is a great way to avoid acne and razor burns.

The good thing about using cream is that you have control over the thickness of your lather. This way, you don’t have to get stuck with a certain gel that isn’t quite at the consistency that you want.


One of the main reasons to use shaving cream is for keeping your skin soft and supple, as well as the bristles of your facial hair. This takes care of some of the discomfort associated with a rough shave, so you should feel like you’ve had an ultra smooth shave.

Hydrates the Skin

Shaving cream is an excellent choice if you feel like your skin and facial hair could do with softening up.

Many men suffer from dry skin and facial hair, which can lead to skin irritation and discomfort. As such, using a moisturizing product like shaving cream can make your daily shave a lot more comfortable and soothing.

The added moisture you get with shaving moisture largely comes from the humectant ingredients, and can help eliminate razor sharp hairs.

Easy to Use

Since the lather from the cream is thick and white, you’ll be able to easily trace where you’ve already shaved.

This is one of the most compelling reasons to opt for shaving cream, especially if you’re someone who just wants to get the shave over with. If you’ve missed a spot, you’ll know based on where the cream is on your face.

Provides a Smooth Shave

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Shaving cream provides a smooth shave due to its thick consistency, and it minimizes the chances that you will suffer from cuts or razor burn.

This is great news for the guys who struggle to shave without redness and irritation in the aftermath.


The main drawback of using shaving cream is that you might need extra tools to make the most of it, including a shaving bowl that you’ll have to fill with water pre-shave.

You’ll need to generate a lather whenever you use shaving cream, which means you’ll need access to water and the right equipment. This makes it a slightly less convenient option when compared with shaving gel.

Alternative Options

There are also a whole host of alternative options you can look at if for whatever reason you don’t get on with shaving gel or cream, or if you’re travelling and don’t have access to them.

These options should provide you with a decent shave, provided you know what you’re doing, and they will provide varying results regarding smoothness and other factors.


The first thing you should reach for in the scenario that you’ve run out of shaving gel or cream and haven’t had a chance to replace it is some kind of oil.

The best oils are baby oil, coconut oil, and olive oil. Each have different benefits for the skin:

  •  Baby – baby oil is a moisturizing oil, so it can create a barrier for the skin which will help it to retain as much moisture as possible and keep it looking healthy and hydrated.
  •  Coconut – coconut oil is an excellent option due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
  •  Olive – olive oil might seem an odd choice, but given how rich it is in vitamins it can work wonders for your skin during a shave.


Hair conditoner is another bottle to reach for in the bathroom if you’re out of shaving products. Since it’s designed to moisturize hair, you can expect great results when using it to shave off excess facial hair.


Lotion is a hydrating product that can keep the skin lubricated as you shave. The one thing to bear in mind when using lotion to shave is that you want to apply it without smothering it into the skin too much.

Aloe Gel

Aloe gel is popular for treating sunburn, but it also has hydrating properties. As a result, it turns out to be a great shaving cream or gel replacement.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Shaving Gel VS Cream?

Is shaving cream or gel better?

Both products have their pros and cons. At the end of the day, it’s really all about what product works for you and if you have the time for cream or not. 

While cream might take longer to lather, this also moisturizes your skin and provides a great way to track your shaved areas.

On the other hand, Gel is quick and easy but can’t be easily manipulated into a consistency that you’d prefer.

A Final Word from The Trending Man

Getting a shaving cream or gel is all about preference. Before you find something that you might enjoy using, try to figure out if you have sensitive skin first. 

Just like skincare, gel and cream can also nourish your jaw to get a properly hydrated and moisturized shave.

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Article by:

The Trending Man

Our detailed review has been contributed to by multiple members of The Trending Man Review Team to ensure the best research and highest standard of quality. Have a good or a bad experience with one of the products? Please let us know, we love the feedback!

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