Here’s Why You Should Start To Use A Shaving Oil In Your Daily Regimen
Every man should know the proper shave routine – if not here’s a quick recap:
- First off you want to take a hot shower for several minutes (or applying a hot wet towel) to the area that you want to shave. The purpose of the shower is to help open up your pores and to allow your hair follicles to swell. When hair follicles become swollen its going to be much easier for a razor blade to pass through them in order to get a clean cut. The cleaner the cut, the less pulling on the root of the hair and ultimately the less irritation that is likely to occur afterwards. Pretty straight forward stuff.
- Once you hop out of the shower, you are going to want to pat dry your face, and then apply a bit of pre shave oil. Applying shaving oil is quite easy. If its your first time starting out, we recommend pouring out about a dime-sized amount (roughly 3-5 drops) into the palm of your hand, rub hands together and then spread it on to your skin.
- After the shaving oil is applied, then you will want to apply a high quality shaving cream with the use of a shaving brush. Shaving brushes provide an excellent gentle pre exfoliation of your skin among other key benefits. Beyond exfoliation, shave brushes also do a terrific job of making your hair follicles stand up straight which provides a stark contrast of applying shaving cream with your hands (where the hairs go in different directions and may also become matted down). When the hair follicles stand straight up, it will be much easier for the razor to pass through them making a clean cut.
- After the application of shaving oil and shave cream, you will want to make the appropriate passes to get all the hairs removed. Here at Tools of Men we heavily recommend that you pick up a DE safety razor as it will provide an incredibly close shave for a fraction of the price of a cartridge based razor.
- After you have completed your shave, we do actually recommend applying a pre shave oil again to your face in combination with an aftershave. We will explain why in just a bit.
As outlined above, you can see that pre shave oil is worked into both steps 2 and 5.
The purpose of the shaving oil before shaving cream application is that the oil provides a terrific extra layer of lubrication for your skin in combination with the shaving cream immediately thereafter.
While your follicles are swollen from the pre-shower, shaving oil will actually help the razor blade, be it a double edge safety razor, straight edge razor, or even cartridge razor glide effortlessly through the follicle in order to make a cleaner cut than if you were not using any extra lubrication.
The core purpose of shaving oil is to additional comfort in combination with your shaving cream when making the appropriate passes. So if you experience general skin irritation (i.e razor burn) or even razor bumps, shaving oil may be a critical component to helping you achieve a much more comfortable shave.
But the benefits definitely don’t end with just a comfortable shave, the ingredients used in pre shave oil provide so much more extra goodness.
Check this out:
What Is Pre Shave Oil Made Out Of?
To understand the benefits of using a shaving oil, you first need to understand the ingredients that make up the solution:
Any quality pre shave oil is made out of three core ingredients: carrier oils, essential oils, and vitamin oils.
Of all the the ingredients, by and far the most important one is going to be the carrier oil.
Carrier oils will make up the majority of any solution (typically north of 90%).
If you aren’t aware, carrier oils are typically derived from trees and seeds and are actually used in a plethora of beauty products on the market today for both men and women.
In fact you have probably been using them for years and never realized it (this is especially true if you tend to use all natural products).
By and far some of the most popular carrier oils that are widely used are going to be jojoba, argan, sweet almond, and grapeseed just to name a few.
You will typically see these carrier oils used in hand soaps, lotions, shampoos, and several other skin care products.
Within pre shave oil, you will see some of the above carrier oils used sparingly as they have a bit more thicker of a viscosity. One of the most popular carrier oils used within pre shave oils is castor oil since its a thinner oil (relatively speaking).
Castor oil (botanical name: Ricinus communis) is derived from the castor oil plant and may actually sound familiar. In fact back in the day (and even current day) castor oil was used as a laxative and was sold heavily within pharmacies. Even the the FDA classified castor oil as generally recognized as safe and effective for ingestion in the use of as stimulate laxative as cited in this abstracted over at the NIH.
Laxatives aside – here’s where castor really shines:
The actual skin benefits of castor oil, it is generally recognized across various sources and sites that castor oil helps heal inflamed skin, reduces pigmentation, fades blemishes, helps generally fight aging signs and stretch marks, reduces the occurrences of acne, and ultimately (and more importantly for shaving oil) helps moisturizes the skin.
Many carrier oils carry a lot of the same benefits as castor oil. However if you are looking for a particular set of benefits for any carrier oil, a simple Google search (i.e. [CARRER OIL] + benefits) will guide you in the right direction with plenty of articles out there to serve you.
One word to note when it comes to carrier oils (and also essential oils) is that you may notice that some companies like to use the botanical name on the label (i.e. Ricinus communis instead of just simply castor oil). Personally I am not a huge fan when companies do this as I am not a botanist, but this practice is widely used as it makes the product sound fancy/premium.
Speaking of ingredients, if a pre shave oil doesn’t have them listed on the bottle, we always recommend that you just simply select another one. We never recommend to get a “mystery” product in fear of any sort of allergic reaction.
If you are ever curious about a specific ingredient, a simple search will be able to provide you guidance.
Another common ingredient found in shaving oil is going to be the essential oil. Typically coming in several different varieties, essential oils inject a lot of the fragrances into shaving oil and an additional set of benefits.
While carrier oils are pretty muted in scents, essential oils can be really potent.
Even though essential oils provide scents, they typically dissipate after about an hour or two and shouldn’t be used in substitution of a cologne. Essential oils are simply a nice compliment to any additional scents you are using.
Like a carrier oil, essential oils vary greatly in the benefits they deliver. However as an example, sandalwood oil (which is found in many shaving creams and other mens products), is commonly believed to deliver some of the following benefits:
- Fights the signs of aging
- Tighten and helps sooth the skin
- Helps tone skin spots and heal scars
- Provides general relief of inflammation
- Natural antiseptic (helps prevents acne)
Since there are a plethora of essential oils on the market, we couldn’t easily list out all their benefits within this post, however just like carrier oils, a quick Google search should give you some great info on whatever is contained within a shaving oil.
The last common ingredient that you will find in shaving oil, and one that is highly regulated to the more premium brands will be the use of vitamin oils.
While an oil like Vitamin E oil will provide a bit more lubrication, it really shines when it comes to the skin benefits.
Vitamin E plays a key role in helping with anti-aging effects. Vitamin E is widely believed to “help to repair and improve the appearance of the damaged tissue” of scars.
Not only does it help make your skin look great, but also Vitamin E can help with the circulation of your blood and provide a terrific amount of moisture to your skin.
So when looking to pick up your next shaving oil, at a minimum we recommend selecting one that has both carrier oils and vitamin oils for maximum benefits. Essential oils are optional, but still deliver additional benefits and scents that also can smell amazing.
Now a quick word about ingredients of mass produced or really cheap shaving oils: Some products exist on the market that contain chemical based ingredients. We recommend that you steer clear of using these products. Many of these man made chemicals (typically ending in “cone”) aren’t going to easily absorb into your skin and don’t really provide any sort of natural benefits.
Why We Feel Pre Shave Oil Is Mistakenly Named
As you can see there are a lot of benefits derived from the core ingredients, we really recommend to be pretty liberal with this product and apply it both pre and post shave.
The skin healing and anti-aging benefits coupled with the antiseptic properties of some essential oils can help make your face (or head) both look and feel great.
However this will largely be dependent on your budget, as you can see below, the cost of pre shave oil can start to add up over time as it typically retails for about $15 an ounce.
Since any great pre shave oil only needs a few select ingredients, making your own is incredibly easy to do. In fact we have an entire post dedicated to the process on how to make your own pre shave oil.
When all is said and done, the total cost just weighs in at about $5.25 an ounce. In addition to the huge savings, when you make your own pre shave oil you have full and complete control to concoct any scent you want and the level of lubrication for maximum performance.
Lastly, if its your first ever time using a pre shave oil, we do recommend buying a bottle first so you can use it as a guideline of what your own pre shave oil should be like when made.
How Our Final Score Was Determined
Measuring a pre shave oil isn’t easy as there are just simply some metrics that are subjective. How does one measure the “comfort of the shave” objectively? Every persons skin is different as well as the sharpness of the razor blade making the pass in combination of the padding of the shaving cream, and ultimately the technique being used with each pass.
To try and make the review as objective as possible (while still letting you know our thoughts), each review is broken down accordingly:
Scent – One of the most subjective categories of this review process, we will examine the essential oils used within the pre shave oil and a few of their benefits. Historically speaking, we prefer more natural scents that some would classify as “manly” including products that contain sandalwood, pine, cedar, clove, and tea tree essential oils. So if you personally prefer likewise scents – keep this in mind. The amount of weight that is placed on this category is relatively low compared to the other metrics considered and has a low impact on the overall score.
Cost – Unless its a value size bottle, the cost of pre shave oil should never exceed more than $20 an ounce, especially given how easy it is to make. With that being said, we give more weight of the cost per ounce instead of the ultimate retail cost for the bottle.
Peer Reviews – Looking at both quantitative and qualitative metrics, we see what the general consensus is on why a pre shave oil is so great. Similar to what we did with our comparison of 80 different beard oils, we will also utilize our access to Amazon’s API to see what others think.
Performance – As we mentioned above, the most important but also subjective category is going is the ultimate performance of the shaving oil. Does your skin feel great afterwards? Any noticeable razor burn or general skin irritation? What are the benefits outlined from the carrier oils being used in the product? We will try our best to give you all the information necessary to make an informed decision.
Overall – Lastly we take all the metrics listed above and give the pre shave oil a final score – who will reign the winner of the best pre shave oil of 2017?
Review of The Best Pre Shave Oils of 2018