Switch on your television and you’ll be sure to see a commercial brandishing the latest shaving gel within 5 minutes. Promising the smoothest shave yet, a scantily-clad lady will sometimes appear at the end to give her seal of approval.
Then head to your local supermarket. You’ll see that the hygiene aisle will likely feature rows of those same gels in shiny cans. They’ll probably be around shoulder height because, after all, “eye level is buy level”. Look down and you may see a few sad-looking budget foams.
If you’re lucky, you might have a limited choice between Palmolive shaving cream and oddly retro pucks of Williams shaving soap.
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Discover Shaving Soap & Cream With Bespoke Unit
With Bespoke Unit, you can learn everything you need to know about shaving soaps and lathering. Currently, we offer the following detailed guides:
Soaps don’t only provide the best shave, they’re also kinder to your skin. Modern gels and foam are often packed with synthetic chemicals, which are actually detrimental to your health. Before you know it, you’ll realise that you’d never consider foam or gels again.
Most traditional creams and soaps contain considerably fewer or no chemicals at all. Therefore, it’s no surprise that they’re in reemergence as consumers become more aware of the products they use.
Through the above guides, you’ll learn all the advantages of using traditional soaps and creams over foam and gel. Furthermore, you’ll discover that the budget required is far less than foam as a typical soap can last years.
We’ll introduce you to the best products that we’ve tested with a consideration for every budget. Finally, we also recommend that you read our series of shaving brush guides as well as they’re a necessary tool for lathering.
What’s The Difference Between Foam, Soap & Cream?
Foam and gel are ready-to-use when delivered right out of the can. However, soaps need to be whipped into a lather first. As we live in a fast-paced society that caters to convenience, it’s no surprise that soaps fell in popularity.
Shaving soaps have existed since the early 19th Century and many are still made with the same traditional methods today. They’re often supplied as solid pucks, which fit into a shaving bowl or scuttle.
Like normal soap bars, they lather when they come into contact with water. This means that they rarely feature artificial stabilisers like foam or gels, which ensure they retain their liquid form.
Meanwhile, shaving cream actually predates soap by several millennia. In fact, it was first used in Mesopotamia by Sumerians in 3000 BC who used animal fats and ashes to create basic soap. It was also popular among the Ancient Egyptians. The Romans made a couple of improvements, which were relatively unchanged until the Renaissance.
Overall, the main difference from soaps is that traditional creams use potassium hydroxide instead of sodium hydroxide. This ensures that the resulting soap is softer and doesn’t go hard. However, added glycerine and other substances can be used to prevent hardness.