Life really is about the small things—the fresh steam of warm coffee or tea in the morning, the rich lather of grooming products alone in a humid sanctuary. Shaving is one of the most foundational rites of masculinity, and very razor carries out a ritual. So, have you re-duxed your grooming routine lately?
For a while there, shaving cream truly dominated the men’s shaving market. Lately, however, vintage grooming classics like single blade razors and facial brushes are re-entering the modern layman’s home with increasing vigor. Shaving soap ranks amongst the useful of these re-imagined traditions, perhaps for its longevity, ecofriendliness, skin benefits and more.
This grooming product works best when applied with a facial brush, so you’ll need to keep that tool handy.
Both offer wide ranging benefits for all bearded people, but those with facial hair more suited to shaving soap’s unique properties will relish the substantial lather and other benefits of the best shaving soap for men more than warm blankets against an alarm clock.
What is Shaving Soap?
Shaving soap serves as a lubricant between the razor and skin while you’re shaving. Where shaving cream is water-based, shaving soap is solid by nature. It’s usually made from fats and/or oils as a base to lend stability. Without these fatty stearic acids, shaving soap would lack the capacity for rich lather that differentiates it from your average bath soap. It’s economic—a single puck can last upwards of a year. That means less packaging, and less waste. It’s easier to package non-water-based shaving soap in biodegradable cardboard packaging.
Your first shaving soap should come in a tub that’ll hold it safe as the months bring new adventures. This grooming product works best when applied with a facial brush, so you’ll need to keep that tool handy. As The Personal Barber explains, “We would always recommend you use a shaving brush when applying your lather because of the added benefits that a shaving brush provides such as lifting up the hairs and the volume of lather generated.” Once on, it provides a close shave for all skin types.
How to Choose the Best Shaving Soap
Base ingredients matter. Each possesses its own merits. Tallow, for example, is a fat typically derived from cattle that yields an impressive lather. Glycerin, on the other hand, is sourced from vegetables, so it’s vegan and more inclined towards slickness, maximizing your razor’s glide.
For practical purposes, container alone can make or break even the best shaving soap. It should be a convenient shape and built to last many refills. Some shaving soap even comes with the necessary shaving brush, if you don’t already have one on hand.
This is the act of re-processing soap to smooth out inconsistencies and impurities while removing excess water. Soaps that feature extra milling are better quality, but also a bit more expensive. Sometimes the luxury’s worth it though—many people praise triple-milled soaps for their robust lathers and extended longevity.
Shaving soap isn’t all about facial hair, it’s also about skin! If you have dry skin, the best shaving soap for you will contain moisturizing ingredients like shea butter. On the other hand, people with sensitive skin should avoid excess ingredients and fragrances. There’s all kinds of niche formulas out there suited to specific skin situations.
In the spirit of shaving’s storied history across human kind, scent ties in closely with the grooming act’s masculine roots. Today, culture’s idea of masculinity has expanded exponentially, which means shaving scent offerings have extended beyond cult classic offerings like bay rum and sandalwood to include contemporary options like Himalayan salt and lavender.
Get Sudsy with the Best Shaving Soap Today
Modern Icon: Sandalwood Shaving Soap by The Art of Shaving
New York-based brand The Art of Shaving has set the standard for the modern man’s luxury grooming products, albeit at relatively luxury rates. Their sandalwood offering costs $55 for beginners who need the wooden storage bowl, and $34 for a standalone soap refill. This $21 seed capital for storage makes a reasonable investment, however. This sturdy bowl might be beautiful, but it’s also crafted from solid wood built to last. Reviewers note numerous benefits to this sumptuous glycerin-based shaving soap, from its irresistible scent to utility in air travel. Universally adored across the board, this versatile work of grooming art kicks our roundup off on a high note.
Best Bay Rum: Col. Conk Bay Rum Shaving Soap
Across brands and eras and sensibilities, bay rum ranks one of the most prevalent and well-loved scents for men’s grooming products. Col. Ichabod Conk makes the most of this aroma, all at once woody and spicy and sugary, with their super economical shaving soap. This larger puck, weighing in at 3.75 ounces, costs an incredibly affordable fee of just $5.50. For that price, you get a sumptuous foam that comes from a glycerin base enriched with Vitamin E and Avocado Oil for extra skin nourishment. Suitable for sensitive skin, this soap cleanses and hydrates while giving you a close shave with a truly “heady Bay Rum scent.” Go big or go home on this one.
For Sensitive Skin: Mitchell’s Wool Fat Shaving Soap
On the other hand, those with sensitive skin will want to err on the unscented side of the equation. Fortunately, Mitchell’s of England manufactures one of the best shaving soaps out there, sensitive skin or not! As the product description recounts, “It was in the early 1930’s that Bradford chemist, Fred Mitchell, realized that the natural lanolin content of wool fat was keeping the hands of local sheep shearers and wood sorters exceptionally soft. That realization led him to create a soap that could be beneficial to delicate complexions and sensitive skins.” Equipped with lanolin and omitting all scents to keep with the fresh aura, Mitchell’s Wool Fat Soap minimizes razor burn without sacrificing indulgence. What’s more, it comes in a sweet ceramic bowl, an added touch of elegance and endurance for your shaving experience.
Most Comforting: Shaving Soap Bar by Badger
If you’ve ever taken an American road trip and pulled off the highway to relish the phenomenon that is the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain, then you probably recognize the Badger brand. Not only are their cozy products available in Cracker Barrel’s famous country stores, they’re also uniquely comforting of their own accord when it comes to scent and packaging and texture. This natural and organic puck comes loaded with aloe vera and coconut oil to leave your skin soft and supple. Essential oil Bergamot tops off their formula with scientifically proven mood boosting effects. Take the olfactory idea of home on the road with this super comforting option.
Artisanal: Goat Milk Shaving Soap by Anarchist Soap Co
With 2,211 reviews on their Etsy site, a perfect 5 star rating, and nearly 13,000 sales, Anarchist Soap Co certainly seems onto something. Their all natural soap comes formulated with extra slickness suited to shaving. Its gorgeous visual marbling comes from a blend of ultra nourishing goat milk, coconut oil, activated charcoal and bentonite clay. Steven Sandler’s five star review says it better than we could: “I’m a regular user of Anarchist’s products, but this was my first time trying the shave soap. I’m delighted with the results. My beard is like barbed wire, and as I get into my 50s, it just keeps getting worse. With this shave soap, the razor cut through my beard like it was overcooked spaghetti. Outstanding product.”
Hottest New Scent: Triple Milled Shaving Soap by Henri et Victoria
Looking to expand beyond industry standard scents like sandalwood and bay rum? Henri et Victoria makes some of the best shaving soap for men out there today, by virtue of both substance and style. Their tallow-based shaving soap has been triple-milled for maximum quality, ensuring a sumptuous shaving experience through and through. However, the imaginative brand has paved a real name for themselves with experimental scents unlike any other shaving soaps out there. We’re most intrigued by their most popular scent, Cognac and Cuban Cigars, the subject of much internet poetry at the hands of avid reviewers. When shelling out for upper echelon shaving soap, opt for an experience that brings your luxury into all five senses like this incredible product.
Best Vegan: Shaving Soap by Men’s Soap Company
If you’re in the shaving soap game for its eco-friendly benefits, then check out Mens Soap, a company that prioritizes the planet’s wellbeing while still providing an unparalleled shaving experience that soothes and revives your facial hair and skin. Their 4oz starter shaving soap comes equipped with a reusable bowl for the fair fee of just $14.95. This vegetable-based shaving soap is vegan, never tested on animals, and manufactured ethically in the United States. Its formula includes the perfunctory glycerin and shea butter, but also more exciting ingredients like safflower, soy, and sweet almond for extra nourishing capabilities. The coup d’etat comes from its subtle lavender scent, a hard-to-find aroma for the mens grooming market. Relax with this built-in aromatherapy, rest assured there’s so many versions of the best shaving soap out there, waiting for your discovery.