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Is it Safe to Use Canned Shaving Cream with a Safety or Straight Razor?

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By: Adam Williams

Safety razors have been around for over 100 years. However, canned shaving cream is relatively new and was invented in 1949.

At the time of its introduction, canned shaving cream was a revolutionary product that offered a convenient alternative to traditional lathering soaps that required both time and effort.

So, to answer the question, is it safe to use canned shaving cream with a safety razor or straight razor? The answer is yes, it is safe to use canned shaving cream with either a safety or straight razor – men and women have been doing this for over 70 years without issue.

However, is it providing the best shave possible?

Likely not; here’s why:

How shaving creams differ from one another?

Types of Shaving Cream picture

While we provide a detailed overview of the many different types of shaving creams here, the main differences between shaving creams come down to a few things:

  • Ingredients: Shaving creams have a variety of ingredients and chemical formulations, ranging from soap-based formulations to gel, foam, and other substances. Canned creams often use chemicals like stearic acid, triethanolamine, glycerin, and lanolin to create a foamy lather that helps to protect and lubricate the skin. In contrast, more traditional shaving creams and soap bars can contain natural ingredients like essential oils and fatty acids, which provide a thicker, protective barrier.
  • Consistency: Shaving creams also vary in consistency. Some creams may be thicker and pastier, whereas others can be light and airy. This makes a difference in the type of lather created and the resulting shaving experience.
  • Application: Canned gels and foams are best applied directly to the face, whereas traditional creams and soaps require a shaving brush and a bowl for lathering. Shaving brushes are a multi-faceted tool; they also help to exfoliate the skin, lift the hair, and create a thick, creamy lather.

How the shaving cream affects shave performance

When using well-made shaving cream and a shaving brush, you’ll experience a closer, more comfortable shave. The reason why is that good shaving cream will help to retain moisture close to the skin and soften the hairs, making them easier to cut.

No matter the form or type of shaving cream you use, if the key properties are met (i.e., moisture retention, lubrication, and protection of the skin), then you’ll get a good shave.

How do shaving brushes play a factor in the shaving experience?

shavette with brush and mug

One of the biggest mechanical differences between a canned shaving cream and a more traditional one is the addition of a shaving brush. Shaving brushes work extremely well in many different areas. First, they provide a gentle exfoliation to the skin to physically remove the dead skin cells.

This is beneficial in that it prevents clogged pores and ingrown hairs. Second, shaving brushes help to evenly distribute the cream or soap and create a thick, creamy lather. Lastly, shaving brushes allow the hairs to stand on end rather than being matted down when you apply the lather resulting in fewer but more efficient passes of the razor.

When using a canned shaving cream you will lose out on these notable benefits.

Adam Williams

As the lead editor of Tools of Men, Adam loves men's grooming products. Particularly of interest is managing facial hair and perfecting the art of the modern man's skincare routine. His work has been featured or quoted in several publications, including New York Magazine, Vice, Sharpologist, MIC, Elite Daily, and more.

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