Most shavers use the convenient cream-in-a-can when they start out shaving. Aerosol creams are inexpensive and widely available, but these types of shaving creams can have more chemicals than you may care to lather on your face on a daily basis. The numbing agents present in most aerosol creams can really take a toll in the long run, and who likes extreme dryness and premature aging? This is where the classic, tried and true products get their due recognition. With or without a shave brush, these creams create a rich lather that protects and nourishes skin.
Soap or Cream?
Ingredients aside, whether to change your style of shaving is also a question of which razor you are comfortable using. For the traditional shavers, those that use shaving blades or straight razor, there is no doubt which product to use. Soaps are slick and cushion well against the blade. Those who use safety razors may benefit from the protection shaving creams offer. Creams are also easier to use, while soaps take some getting used to. Learning how a brush can create lather with the texture you prefer requires some patience. However, shaving experts do suggest eventually moving up to either a tallow-based or glycerin-based a soap after becoming comfortable with creams and shaving.
Tallow-based soaps are a more expensive option in buying shaving soap. Sometimes they can cost more than $40 per bar or “puck”. However, many will say it is worth the cost. They last much longer than your average can of shaving cream, and it will often come in its own bowl to use in lathering. The lather is also more luxurious and stable and infinitely better for the skin. However, it may be difficult for the beginner to use. They have a notoriously hard texture, and no two soaps use exactly the same technique or length of time to get to a usable lather. Shaving brushes are ideal, of course, for these soaps, and with some experimentation, the lather from shaving soap will provide a lather with a better cushion than shaving cream. The best way of creating a rich lather is starting with a wet, but not too wet, dense brush. With the soap in a mug or shaving bowl, work the brush back and forth for a few minutes. If the soap appears too dry, wet your brush one more time. If the lather appears too runny, drain the excess water from your mug and flick off some water from the brush. Keep working with it until you have a workable lather.
Glycerin is a by-product of tallow and makes the soap product look more translucent than the soaps with a tallow base. These are the less expensive shaving soap option and come in a variety of qualities for reasonable prices. Lather is more easily achieved using a shave brush with these soaps, which makes them ideal for new shaving soap users. The lather is rich and thoroughly moisturizing because of the high levels of glycerin. Their lather and smell is not as superior as the tallow-based soaps, but they will still allow for a good-quality shave.