Looking for some of the best shaving soaps?
I got you covered.
When you do shave, it's important to make sure that you have a shaving soap to ensure a smooth stroke every time.
Read my comprehensive reviews of the most preferred shaving soaps in the market today to help you find the best companion for your razor.
If you are looking for rich lather when wet shaving, I'd recommend using a shaving soap, but there are lots of different types of shaving soaps out there today. And here are our top picks...
Short on time, here's my top picks. Want to learn more? Keep on reading.
A special intro on shaving soaps
Shaving without the help of any form of lubricant or moisturizer often leads to skin irritation. Shaving soap is a special type of soap that is intended to provide enough moisture on the skin for smoother and cleaner strokes.
Did you know...?
Shaving soaps have been used since the early 14th century. Its popularity significantly dropped after the shaving cream was introduced to the general public during World War 1. Recently, shaving soaps are dramatically regaining popularity as more and more men prefer the traditional way of wet shaving.
A shaving soap is made primarily of fat and glycerin. The former provides the needed lubrication on the skin while the latter acts as emollient which traps moisture necessary to soften up the beard for easy shaving.
Shaving soap is typically hard in texture and round in shape. With a bit of water and a shaving brush, the soap is whipped until it produces a lather which is applied on the surface of the skin that will be shaved.
Why choose shaving soap over shaving cream?
Apart from shaving soap, shaving cream is also a good option to moisturize and lubricate your face and neck for smooth and irritation free shaving. But why should you choose a shaving soap over cream?
Although shaving cream is a modern product compared to the classic soap that our great, great grandfathers used to love, the latter still has a number of advantages over the former.
Yes, shaving creams provide thicker cushion and are much easier to lather. Creams are generally cheaper than their hard soap counterparts.
But shaving soaps last much longer than creams, making them more cost-effective for wet shaving.
To date, there’s a wide variety of shaving soaps to choose from and there’s a lot of them formulated for sensitive skin. And shaving soaps provide higher lather quality and better protection for your skin.
Choosing the best shaving soap
Triple-milled vs Croap
Considering the processes involved, there are two main types of shaving soaps – triple milled and croap. When it comes to quality, triple milled shaving soaps are the best there is.
It typically requires more time for lathering, but this type of shaving soap gives a top caliber lather. You will need to pre-soak the soap with water for a couple of minutes.
Using a shaving soap for wet shaving requires a great deal of patience and getting used to. In most cases proper wet shaving usually takes about 10 to 20 minutes per session. Enjoy every minute of your wet shaving activities. Consider it as a time for relaxation rather than a challenge.
Croap (cream + soap) on the other hand, is a better alternative for those who are always on the go or who have very little time to spare for wet shaving.
Most croaps offer the same lather quality as triple milled soaps these days, but don’t last as long.
Tallow vs Vegetable Oil Based Soaps
As mentioned earlier, shaving soaps are made mainly of fats which can either be tallow or vegetable oil and glycerin.
Tallow is basically fat derived from animals. Traditional shaving soaps are made of animal fats, which some claim provide better lather quality and richness.
On the other hand, there are also shaving soaps with vegetable oil bases like argon, coconut, and olive. With good formulation these days, vegetable based soaps are able to deliver equal quality and conditioning effects with those made of animal fats.
Here are more tips in choosing the best quality shaving soaps.
Watch this video to learn how to make your own shaving soap:
How to use a shaving soap
Shaving soaps are quite hard in texture and need to be pre-soaked in hot water at least for a couple of minutes to soften up.
So before you dig in for some lather, make sure that you have all the necessary tools first – a shaving bowl (can also be a mug or cup) and a shaving brush.
I also recommend soaking your shaving brush with water along with your soap or you can just simply do it with running hot water, just enough to wet those bristles..
- Place a few drops of water on top of the soap and swirl the brush on it.
- Once you have loaded the brush with the soap, swirl it in a separate bowl that has a small amount of water or you can add the water in drops gradually as you continue swirling stuff.
- Continue the process for about 2 to 3 minutes until you have achieved a full rich lather with ideal consistency.
- Wet your face with warm water before applying the lather.
- Using your shaving brush already filled with lather, massage your face in circular motions until the area that needs to be shaved is covered evenly.
For those second and third passes, you can simply add a few more drops of hot water to re-lather. After using your soap, let it air dry for future use.
What makes for a good quality shaving soap?
The richness of the lather and its ability to protect your skin while shaving, depend on the overall quality of the soap.
Whether you prefer a tallow or vegetable based soap, it is important to consider the product’s fat content. Ideal fat content should be around 30 to 50 percent, which guarantees finer, richer and more consistent lather.
But judging on the packaging of most if not all shaving soaps, you can never really tell the product’s fat content unless you try it yourself. I also recommend going for triple milled soaps because they are sure to deliver a thick and rich lather.
My smoothest picks on shaving soaps
Now that I've covered some of the basics, let's get into some of my favorite products.
Henry Cavendish is one of the most trusted makers of men’s care products. Their shaving soaps are blended with shea butter that contributes to the soap’s revitalizing capability. The soap is an ideal choice for vegans because it is coconut oil based and formulated with soy to help soften skin. The soap has a mild smell making it perfect for those who are more sensitive to fragrances.
Sir Hare shaving soap is a scented type through the unique blending of oakmoss and bergamot aromas. Sir Hare is an ideal choice for men who prefer the traditional tallow based shaving soap. It has an extra moisturizing capability thanks to added ingredients such as Shea and Mango butters. What’s good about this soap is that it comes with its own 8 oz container so you won’t trouble yourself looking for a shaving bowl.
Proraso Shaving Soap could be a good choice for those who would prefer and enjoy a cooling sensation during and after shaving. It has added ingredients of eucalyptus and menthol. and is formulated for all skin types. This soap is vegetable oil based so I’d recommend this one for vegans as well. Proraso Shaving Soap also comes with its own cool and conveniently designed tub for easy lathering.
The Blades Grim is a popular maker of men’s personal care products ranging from blades and razor coffins to soaps, oils, and colognes.
The Blades Grim Smolder Scent Luxury Shaving Soap has undergone saponification process through its main ingredients coconut oil, lye, and glycerin.
This soap is made of all natural ingredients so it is pretty much safe to use for all skin types.
From another trusted maker of men’s personal care products, Lather and Wood Shaving Soap is a handcrafted tallow and coconut oil based product. The soap has a mild barbershop scent that sticks with you even long after you’re done shaving. The soap is also dashed with shea and mango butter, which can help in delivering that extra moisturizing effect on your skin for that cool and smooth finish.
As discussed earlier, there are various types of shaving soaps available in the market today and each has its own unique set of advantages and downsides.
Not all of us have the same skin type. Some easily react on specific ingredients while others seem to do well no whether the soap is tallow based or made from vegetable oils.
The soaps mentioned above also have varying requirements with regards to the time needed to acquire rich and consistent lather.
My verdict is that the best shaving soap is the one that best matches your unique personal preferences. After all, everyone is constantly encouraged to make an informed purchase.
Written by Robert Ordway
Raised in the small mill town of Lake Station, Indiana, Robert’s blue collar upbringing exposed him to little if any of the clothing industry. Robert has been following the menswear industry for over a decade and has been significantly influenced by the book, Dressing the Man by Alan Flusser. From 2009-2012, he worked in retail sales at both Brooks Brothers and JCrew. In 2015, Robert received the Custom Clothier certification from the Custom Tailor and Designers Association (CTDA), the oldest continuously operating trade organization in the United States. He is the former owner of Rusted Oak, a men’s retail clothing store in Valparaiso, Indiana.
Today, Robert's mission is to teach men of all shapes and sizes about grooming care, general life style tips, and of course male fashion stemming from his deep career in the fashion industry.