What Does Shaving Cream Do? [Simple Breakdown]


Shaving without an electric shaver is almost like an art form, and just as a painter needs water, a manual razor needs shaving cream.

While it’s possible to shave without shaving cream, we wouldn’t advise it, as it could leave you a lot worse off.

Shaving cream plays an essential role in the shaving process, serving to protect the skin by keeping it hydrated and lubricated. Without shaving cream, you’d likely be left with cuts, nicks, and razor burn every time you went to shave.

Shaving cream is an umbrella term for any product that softens the hair and provided hydration ahead of shaving.

It serves many purposes, and as such, should be considered indispensable if you want to have a pain-free, clean shave.

Purposes of Shaving Cream

The functions of shaving cream are numerous, and each of them contributes to a smoother, cleaner, and less painful shaving experience.

Let’s go through each purpose of shaving cream, as that should give you a much clearer idea of what exactly it can do for you during the shaving process.


The primary function of shaving cream is to hydrate the skin and facial hair.

You’ll notice that if you brush your fingers through your beard, the hair can be very bristly and harsh.

This makes them much harder to cut; just imagine cutting through a large handful of raw spaghetti versus cooked spaghetti; the difference is significant.

As such, you should look to hydrate the skin and facial hair to make for a more comfortable shave but also to make it easier on your blade.

With less friction, the blade can more easily cut through the hairs making for a clean shave.


Another purpose of shaving cream is to lubricate the skin.

By minimizing friction, you’ll find it much easier to glide the blade across your face with little resistance.

As a result, you will significantly reduce the risk of suffering from redness, razor burns, and general irritation.

So if you don’t want your face to end up looking like it’s been through an ordeal, shaving cream is the way to go.


Shaving cream can also help you to guide the razor around your face more easily.

If you have a visual aid in the form of a cream or lather, it’s easy to see the parts of your face that have already been shaved and those that haven’t.

It’s also a very satisfying process to witness, as you methodically but precisely remove the hair from your face.

Without shaving cream, there’s a good chance you would cover the same parts of your face more than once, which increases the risk of irritation and razor burn.


This last purpose is less of a direct result of applying shaving cream, and more of a psychological function that it can serve.

There’s something about a wet shave that is incredibly satisfying, and it can become a fun skincare routine.

As such, applying shaving cream that’s scented can keep you composed as you shave, which should, in theory, lead to less trouble with irritation and redness.

If you’re 100% focused on the process because you enjoy it, you’re less likely to rush and cause yourself harm or slip with the razor.

It forces you to slow down and think about what you’re doing, which is important for a clean shave every time.

The Downsides of Dry Shaving

The opposite of a wet shave in which you use shaving cream is, of course a dry shave.

A dry shave can be fine, but it also carries certain risks. Generally, it isn’t recommended unless you’re strapped for time or out of water. That is, of course, unless you’re using an electric razor, in which case you shouldn’t have any issues.

If you forego shaving cream, these are some of the most common risks that you run.


Without shaving cream, your skin will be dry and as such, will create friction for the razor as you shave.

On top of that, your facial hair will be firm and bristly, which will make it harder to glide the razor across your face without some form of irritation.

One of the primary purposes of shaving cream is to lubricate and hydrate the skin so that you have less risk of irritation.

Ingrown Hairs

Ingrown hairs and razor bumps are the worst.

If you’ve experienced them before, you’ll know how uncomfortable and unsightly they can be.

Ingrown hairs come about when you pull the skin taut during a shave, as this can allow the hair to re-enter the skin.

Razor bumps can be caused as a direct result of ingrown hairs, and can get infected over time.

The risks of developing both of these unpleasant issues is increased with a dry shave.

Cuts and Nicks

We’ve all had a cut or nick while shaving; that’s normal.

But the frequency of such cuts and nicks will be increased if you don’t first hydrate and lubricate the skin.

All it takes is a slight slip with a dry shave to pierce the skin, and this is much more likely to happen if you don’t have the smooth surface created by shaving cream which can ultimately protect your face.

What to Look For in Shaving Cream

If you want to make sure your shaving cream is effective, there are a few things to keep an eye out for.


Shaving cream is synonymous with lather, and unlike gel it creates a thick foam which is a good thing.

The thicker the lather you can stir up with your shaving cream, the larger the barrier between your skin and the blades of your razor will be.

Lather creates a buffer that should keep your skin well-protected during a shave.

If you invest in a shaving cream that creates a meager lather, you might run into some of the same issues associated with a dry shave such as irritation and razor bumps.


Viscosity refers to how thick a shaving cream is.

You generally want your shaving cream to be thick and slightly sticky, as this will provide an extra layer of protection from cuts and nicks.

Absence of chemicals

Artificial chemicals are abundantly used in many cosmetics, unfortunately.

These chemicals are intended to cut costs, but the trade-off is they can harm your skin.

For example, parabens have been linked to negative effects for years and synthetic fragrances can cause reactions in the skin.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is another common culprit, as it can remove some of the skin’s natural oils.

Frequently Asked Questions About Shaving Creams

What happens if you don’t use shaving cream?

If you don’t use shaving cream, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Without shaving cream, you are much more likely to suffer with redness, irritation, and razor bumps.

You could even develop ingrown hairs, which are a real pain to deal with.

Does shaving cream really make a difference?

Yes, if you aren’t using an electric razor it’s highly recommended that you use shaving cream as it can make a huge difference.

If you want your skin to stay hydrated and protected throughout the shaving process, you need to use shaving cream.

The consequences of not using it are much worse than the inconvenience of buying and applying it, so it’s a no-brainer.

Is shaving cream better than gel?

Shaving cream and gel are different options that both lend something useful to the shaving process.

Shaving gel is transparent, allowing the person shaving to get a good look at what’s being cut at all times and produces no foam.

Shaving cream produces foam and helps guide the razor as you can see what parts of the face you’ve already covered.

A Final Word From The Trending Man

Shaving cream is essential if you care about your face and you don’t want to leave the bathroom covered in razor bumps and redness.

It serves to hydrate, lubricate, and ultimately protect the skin so it’s absolutely worth investing in if you’re going to use a manual razor.

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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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