5 Substitutes for Shaving Cream | Ranked Best to Worst


More than once, I have forgotten to pick up more shaving cream after running out. Luckily, I learned a few solid replacements.

The five best substitutes for shaving cream are aloe gel, baby oil, coconut oil, hair conditioner, and if you don’t have any of those, soap can be used. Just don’t use soap more than once or twice, in a row since it is more likely than the other options to lead to dry skin or razor bumps.

Please read on for more details.

1. Aloe Gel

People use aloe vera to treat sunburns because it provides hydration and a soothing, cooling effect on the skin. These properties, along with its moisturizing ability, make it the best shaving cream substitute. 

It also provides a similar consistency to the standard shaving gel, and it will help the razor glide easily on your skin.

Some people also use aloe as part of their soothing and moisturizing skincare routine. The same properties make aloe an ideal shaving gel.

How to make your own aloe gel:

If you have aloe plants around the house, here is what you do:

  1. Harvest your fresh aloe vera, cut and extract the gel.
  2. Mix 3 parts aloe gel to 1 part olive oil and stir, blender is recommended for large batches and to obtain smoother consistency.
  3. Now, apply the mixture directly to the area you want to shave and leave for a while to soften your body hair and open your pores.
  4. Go ahead and shave in the direction of hair growth, then gently rinse off.
  5. Moisturize with the olive oil and package the mixture.

2. Baby Oil

Baby oil has been identified by physicians as an efficient moisturizer. It is a synthetic form of mineral oil. Baby oil acts as protection against moisture loss on the skin. 

Baby oil may not be as effective as shaving creams in softening the hair before shaving, but it protects the skin from harm by the razor. It is a good substitute in an emergency to replace shaving creams, and it is also a less toxic alternative.

How To Use Baby Oil for Shaving

A few of these processes will help you successfully utilize baby oil in your shaving routine when necessary:

  1. Wet your skin to soften your hair and pores. Preferably do this after or during your shower.
  2. Apply a light layer of the baby oil on your skin.
  3. Gently draw the razor along your skin in the direction of your hair growth, only gliding the razor across once on each section to avoid irritation.
  4. Rinse the shaved area with cold water to soothe it.

Baby oil has the tendency to clog the blades of a razor, so make sure you rinse the blade after each stroke over your skin.

3. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil, just like baby oil, is a very effective moisturizer. That and its anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and antioxidant properties are the reason for its ability to prevent irritation while shaving.

It is not suitable for oily or sensitive skin, as it could clog your skin’s pores.

Benefits of Using Coconut Oil for Shaving

According to an article published in the International Journal of Medical Sciences, coconut oil has several benefits:

  • Acts as an antioxidant
  • Is an antibacterial agent
  • Reduces skin inflammation
  • Fixes the skin barrier
  • Has high moisturizing properties due to its free fatty acids content

How To Shave Using Coconut Oil 

Coconut oil can be used on its own or together with another healthy substitute such as aloe vera gel to substitute for shaving cream. Here’s how to shave with coconut oil:

  1. Cleanse the area you want to shave first, then apply a thin layer of melted coconut oil onto the skin.
  2. Give your skin some time to absorb the oil and get softened by it.
  3. Gently shave the hairs off, then rinse with warm water or use a towel moistened with warm water to wipe the area.
  4. Now apply another light layer of coconut oil to the area to moisturize and keep the skin supple.

4. Hair Conditioner

Hair conditioner is an easy alternative if you mistakenly left out your shaving kit during a trip, or your shaving cream ran out in the middle of your routine. Although it’s meant for your hair’s hydration, it still has a noticeable effect on the skin’s pores. It will also make your body hair easier to remove by softening it.

How To Shave With Hair Conditioner

Hair conditioner is easy and effective as a shave cream alternative if you follow these steps:

  1. Wash the area to be shaved to remove dirt or anything that could clog the razor.
  2. Hydrate your skin by taking a shower before shaving, to allow enough absorption of water into your skin.
  3. Apply a thick layer of hair conditioner on the area, allow it to sit for a while, and give your skin time to absorb it. 
  4. Pick a sharp razor, cleanse it, and gently take short strokes at a time across your skin, shaving with the grain.
  5. Start with areas with thinner hair growth and work your way over to areas with more coarse hairs.
  6. Apply more conditioner if required and then rinse your razor after each stroke.
  7. When you’re finished, wash the shaved area with warm water to remove any hair or dirt.
  8. Apply any aftershave or moisturizer of your choice.

5. Soap

Bath soap, body wash, and hand soap are readily available, applied easily, and rinsed, making them apparent choices when you find yourself needing a shaving cream alternative. 

Beyond that, they’re more likely to make your skin dry when compared with other alternatives listed above. Hence, it is only advisable to use it once in a while.

Man Shaving and Complaining of Razor Burn

How To Shave With Soap

Here are a few steps to make for a smooth shave using only soap:

  1. Take a warm shower to clean your skin of dirt, open your pores and soften your body hair.
  2. Rub your soap over your bath sponge to form a thick lather and then apply a thick coat over your skin. Create as much foam as possible to protect your skin.
  3. Use a clean sharp razor, preferably one that comes with a moisture bar to protect your skin from the irritation that comes with shaving. 
  4. Shave with the grain of your hair to prevent nicks and cuts.
  5. Keep your skin wet always while shaving. Reapply the lather where it rinses off.
  6. Rinse your razor at intervals as you shave.
  7. Rinse the shaved area and dry off with a clean towel before applying moisturizer or aftershave.

Is It OK To Shave Without Shaving Cream?

Shaving cream is a cosmetic product made to lower the risk of cuts and nicks acquired when you shave and minimize scraping and damage to your skin. How does it do this? It softens and lubricates your hair and produces a protective and moisturizing lather as a barrier between the razor and your skin.

It is OK to shave without shaving cream, as long as you pick a safe alternative, such as aloe gel, baby oil, or hair conditioner. These products work by keeping your skin hydrated and moisturized, to reduce the risk of irritation.

If you find yourself needing to shave and without shaving cream, pick any one of the household lubricants available to you. You could still shave without any lubricant in an emergency, but you must do this very carefully. 

How To Shave Without Shaving Cream or Its Substitute

Shaving without a shaving cream shouldn’t be made into a habit and should only be done when in a bind because there are risks and side effects.

So, when shaving without a lubricant, the key is to be as gentle as possible, more than you would be when shaving with one. Note these points:

  1. Get a razor blade fresh out of the package for this purpose. It is less likely to infect you if you happen to cut yourself when shaving.
  2. Gently scrape your skin’s hair with the razor, moving in the direction of your hair growth. This will prevent bumps.
  3. It is best to use warm water or steam to open your hair follicles and pores before shaving.
  4. Cover the area you’re shaving with warm water using a washcloth while you shave, or better yet, use a showerhead to direct a continuous stream of warm water to the area you’re shaving. 
  5. Concentrate while you shave so you don’t injure yourself.
  6. Shave only critical areas and leave the rest for when you have a shaving cream handy.

Risks and Side Effects of Shaving Without Shaving Cream

When you shave without shaving cream, you’re scraping a sharp object (razor) over your soft, sensitive skin. You could do this carefully and safely, but not without its risks and potential side effects, such as:

Shaving Injury

When you shave without shaving cream or any alternative lubrication, your risk of getting a cut or nick may increase because there’s less protection on your skin. The additional friction leads to tiny skin tears and cuts which sting and can be unsightly.

Razor Burn

Even without the visible cuts and nicks associated with dry-shaving, there’s still the potential to scrape off your protective skin cells, which would, in turn, cause razor burn, redness, and itchy bumps after shaving. Without the moisturizing properties of shaving cream, your epidermis is drier and more susceptible to being scraped off. 

Razor Bumps

Razor bumps and ingrown hairs, also called Pseudofolliculitis barbae, are also side effects of dry-shaving. Razor bumps can be itchy, pus-filled, and prone to infections. While razor burn is visible almost immediately after shaving, razor bumps can take several days to form as the ingrown hair develops.

DIY Shaving Cream

Have you ever wondered what makes up your skincare products? They contain so many toxic substances, and that includes shaving cream. Some of these harmful chemicals include sulfates, phthalates, formaldehyde, and so on. 

To make a DIY shaving cream at home you will need to mix together a natural butter, such as mango or shea, along with a moisturizing oil, such as sweet almond or jojoba. You can also add in castile soap and coconut oil for maximum hydration. 

You can learn how to produce a healthy shaving cream at home, following this simple tutorial developed by Tiffany at the Don’t Waste The Crumbs blog. This recipe contains no toxic or harmful ingredients.

This natural, homemade shaving cream is better than the conventional shaving cream because:

  • It is easy to produce.
  • It is a healthier alternative.
  • It is unisex, can be used on the face (for adult males) or legs.
  • It is moisturizing. It will give you silky smooth skin without harmful toxins. Win-win!

DIY Recipe for Shaving Cream

The equipment you’ll need to make this shaving cream is a stand mixer or electric beater and a 4 or 8 oz (113.39 or 226.79 g) mason jar.

Ingredients

  • Two half oz (70.87 g) of mango butter or shea butter according to your preference
  • Two half oz (70.87 g) of coconut oil.
  • Three tablespoons of castile soap or anyone that works for you
  • Two tablespoons of sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil, or jojoba oil

What To Do

  1. Pour the measured amount of coconut oil or mango oil into a pot, apply warm heat until melted. 
  2. Once melted, briefly cool. Add your soap and oil and stir to mix thoroughly.
  3. Cool enough to transfer to a bowl, and then cool further in the fridge to harden.
  4. Give it time to harden (about an hour).
  5. After hardening, take the bowl out of the fridge. 
  6. Whip the mixture with a hand mixer for at least two minutes, until a fluffy consistency is achieved.
  7. It will look like whipped frosting when whipping is complete. The longer the whipping, the more it will increase in volume.
  8. After completely whipping, transfer your shaving cream to a dry container according to the quantity. A 4-6 ounce (113.39-170.09 g) container should be suitable.

Notes and Precautions To Take if Using This Recipe

  • This cream could make the bathroom floor or tub slippery, so be careful when using it in the shower.
  • Keep moisture out of the container as it could lead to bacterial growth, if which would cause spoilage. Use dry hands or spoons to scoop the cream out.
  • This shaving cream is thick. Therefore you will need only a tiny amount at a time. You will need to rinse your razor a few times while shaving.

Avoiding Razor Bumps

Everyone would love to have smooth skin after shaving, and the last thing you want is those annoying red bumps that appear called razor bumps.

The key to avoiding razor bumps when shaving is to use a clean razor and moisturize the skin before shaving. Using a dirty razor on dry skin can cause injury to the hair follicles, resulting in tiny red bumps, or razor bumps. 

Causes of Razor Bumps

When you scrape a razor across your skin while shaving, the first layer is removed—this can cause what is called “micro-injuries.” Also, after shaving, the hair curls inward and can be trapped by the new skin that forms over the micro-injury. This results in the formation of a bump. 

Now you can feel irritation, burning sensations, redness of the skin, and moisture loss– all known as the razor bumps, or in medical terms, pseudofolliculitis barbae

Other things can worsen razor bumps like scraping a blunt or dirty blade over your dry skin and omitting the moisturizing step immediately after shaving. Another cause of razor bumps is shaving against the line of your hair growth.

How To Quickly Eliminate Razor Bumps

Now you know the cause of razor bumps, and you’re probably wondering: how can I quickly remove these razor bumps? Unfortunately, there is no magic wand that can make it disappear overnight, but a few things can be done to help it along fast.

The following methods can help you treat razor bumps fast:

  1. Splash some cool water over your razor bumps immediately you notice them. This will shrink the open pores and comfort your skin.
  2. Moisturizing your skin immediately after shaving is essential, and also immediately you sight razor bumps forming. It will serve as hydration for your micro-injuries to heal quickly.
  3. Try applying  cortisone cream after the moisturizer to soothe the irritation.
  4. Aftershave products are made for this purpose, to reduce razor bumps. So, always apply them after shaving and on spots.
  5. If you want to go natural, try aloe vera gel, a healing gel for many things, including razor bumps.

How To Avoid Razor Bumps in Future

So, you’ve learned the causes of Razor burns and what to do to treat them as soon as they form (hopefully). Still, the real key is to stop them from forming in the first place. The first step is to give your skin certain care before shaving, as experts advise. You will be able to reduce the risk of getting a razor bump when you shave.

Before you prepare to shave next time, follow these steps to razor bumps:

  1. Get the area you want to shave wet using warm water, and then use soap to soften the skin and hair on that area before you begin.
  2. Get a new razor blade. If the razor starts getting blunt or your hair keeps getting caught, change the razor.
  3. Always use shaving gel. It will make it easier to get all the hair at once.
  4. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! After shaving, moisturizing the skin will ensure hydration of your skin and lead to healthy skin. 
  5. When shaving the bikini line, extra care should be taken as that is a susceptible area. Use Benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid instead of regular shaving gel. These will help to cast off dead cells on your skin.

It will also prevent the issue of cell clogging and irritation. You should have products that are recommended for the bikini line because of how sensitive the skin is down there; that way, you can avoid razor burn.

Thanks for reading!

For more, check out 11 Effective Substitutes for Soap in the Shower (Or Bath).

Jim James

Hey, I'm Jim and the author of this website. I have always been interested in survival, fishing, camping, and anything in nature. In fact, while growing up I spent more time on the water than on land! I am also a best-selling author and have a degree in History, Anthropology, and Music. I hope you find value in the articles on this website. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or input!

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