Shaving soap – here is why and how to use it!
Listen up. Here are the secrets to a totally smooth shave.
The first is using high quality products like organic shaving soap and perfectly sharp blades for a closer shave. The second trick is knowing how to properly use these products. For instance, knowing how to use shaving soap can mean the difference between a rough, uneven shave and soft, smooth skin.
Let’s break it down. Ever since the 1800s, shaving soap came in the form of solid bars. Fast forward to 1949 and the first aerosol shaving cream was made. I’m sure you’re familiar with those pressurized shaving foam cans. Press a button and out comes a thick foam ready for use.
This can of wonders is very convenient. Sadly, an aerosol can is also extremely wasteful.
If I may say so, sometimes all you need to do to achieve desirable results is to go back to basics. For bump-free skin, learning how to use shaving soap is as simple as it gets.
So here it goes.
- Wet the solid soap bar and make a lather in your hands.
- Apply the lather onto your skin (legs, face, etc.).
- Wet your razor and shave.
- Rinse off hair and shaving soap.
- Wash with your regular soap to eliminate extra dead skin and prevent razor bumps.
Oh, and one last thing—don’t forget to moisturize afterwards! It’s also best to use this product (and most shaving products) in the shower for easier clean-up.
Keep in mind that when you shop for shaving soaps online, you’ll most likely come across circular solid soaps labeled, “refill puck.” Beyond the obvious puck shape, what this means is they’re meant to be used in shaving bowls and applied with a shaving brush.
So exactly what is a shaving bowl and a shaving brush? Traditionally, barbers used shaving bowls and brushes to apply the lather onto men’s faces.
On one hand, you might find a shaving brush and a shaving bowl helpful if you have thick hair. A shaving brush helps create a richer lather and lets you control how much you apply with precision.
But honestly, along with a trustworthy shaving soap, your hands are good enough. Shaving bowls and brushes are usually reserved for people with thicker facial hair or for people who might use a straight razor. Think barbers or people with beards.
Really, it’s just a matter of how invested you are in shaving.
Yes it’s true, there are shaving aficionados who would scoff at us using our bare hands and no shaving brush, but hey, it works either way.
For what it’s worth, if you want to dabble in traditional shaving, here are simple instructions on how to use a shaving bowl and brush.
- Soak your brush in the bowl with hot water for up to two minutes.
- Massage the soap with your brush in a circular motion for up to 20 seconds.
- Take your shaving bowl (with a few drops of water left in it) and swirl your brush inside.
- Swirl brush around the bowl up to a minute, depending on how thick you want the lather to be.
- Apply the foam onto your skin.
- Rinse off excess soap and hair.
- Apply after-shave or moisturizer.
You’re probably wondering how much shaving bowls and brushes cost. Well, it depends on the quality of the products, but expect to spend around $20 for a decent set. Unsurprisingly, higher quality sets will cost more.
Of course, you can use a regular shallow and wide bowl if you aren’t fully ready to commit.
Furthermore, pay attention to what the bristles and handles are made of. More often than not, the brushes will be made of synthetic fibers like nylon. Unfortunately, these plastic fibers are usually non-recyclable.
Other natural alternatives are not 100% vegan either–many brushes are made of hair from animals like boars or badgers. They do last a long time, and if the company you buy from is using sustainable practices, then go for it! Needless to say, you will need to do further research if you want to be shaving buff. Moreover, you’ll need to do more research to be an eco-friendly shaving buff.
But let’s get back to the main point. Now that you’ve figured out how to use shaving soap, let’s move onto which shaving soaps are worth using.
My favorite shaving soap bar
I am in love with this EcoRoots’ Solid Shaving Soap Bar. This is my favorite shaving bar so far.
Here are the key highlights why:
- Vegan product
- USDA-certified organic ingredients
- Packaged in zero plastic
- Crafted with shea and cocoa butter for hydration
- Created with bentonite clay and coconut oil base
I know a lot of shaving soap for women have vague scents like “Feminine Mist” or “Fresh Ocean,” which does sound good in theory. However, EcoRoots’ shaving soap is infused with natural scents from essential oils. Expect to smell and experience the soothing effects of citrus notes and lavender thanks to lemon, litsea cubeba, rosemary, lime, bergamot, eucalyptus and lavender essential oils.
Basically, this soap contains zero synthetic fragrances or artificial ingredients like aerosol cans or liquid shaving creams do.
Need one last reason to try out this soap? It comes naked as a solid bar–completely zero waste. I tell you what. Even if some aerosol cans are recyclable, they are usually topped with plastic dispensers and caps.
The Marketing Behind Shaving Soap for Women
Don’t be fooled by shaving marketing. Here’s what I mean. Shaving is a matter of preference–not everyone does it. A lot of women think it’s anti-feminist. Some people go as far as saying we should all just stop shaving altogether.
Hear me out. I’m not saying that the history of shaving is not tainted with a sexist agenda. Yes, women are unfairly targeted when it comes to looking “clean” and “smooth.
Teenage girls feel pressured to figure out how to use shaving soap as early as middle school. What’s more, the average woman feels the need to be hair-free, usually on special occasions like romantic dates or in professional settings like the workplace.
Listen: I get that these pressures exist.
However, some people, like me, still shave for themselves. I don’t do it to appease men or anybody else but for myself. It’s an aesthetic choice, and I stand by it. Beyond that, it’s a matter of comfort. I can’t stand underarm hair in the summer. I am already uncomfortable and sweating, I don’t want to deal with sticky, hairy underarms too.
But one of my issues with shaving beyond environmentally-unfriendly habits isn’t with the social oppression. It’s the unfair price differences.
Here’s the catch with shaving soap for women. A lot of women-targeted shaving products like razors, soaps, and moisturizers are more expensive than men’s products. Razors are razors. Although all blades are not made equally, the average women’s razor should not cost more than the average men’s razor.
This so-called pink tax applies to everything from earplugs to helmets and even car insurance. Now, I’m going to stop right here because this is a whole another discussion.
But you get the point. Women’s shaving products are more expensive than men’s but they essentially perform the same functions. So don’t be fooled by products labeled shaving soap for women or razors for women.
Unless the soap is specifically for facial shaving with a shaving brush, then any product is fair game. What’s my point? Shopping for zero-waste shaving soap for women might be tricky and time-consuming.
Good news: I’ve curated a short list of shaving soaps below that are eco-friendly, natural, and most importantly, budget-friendly.
Four other shaving soaps to try
Ethique’s company mission is to eliminate plastic waste, starting with personal care products. For starters, this dual shampoo and shaving bar alone saves three plastic bottles. Think of all the plastic-packaged shampoos and shaving creams you’re saving! Moreover, the paper packaging is completely compostable.
The vegan ingredients include cocoa butter, coconut oil, yellow clay, coconut milk, lime, orange, and peppermint essential oils.
The bar weighs 3.88 ounces.
Aspen Kay Naturals offers high quality hand-made products that use zero waste packaging. This means compostable and recycled materials, and vegetable-based ink.
What else? Their body and shaving soap contain all organic ingredients. Your skin will benefit from shea butter, coconut oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, and castor oil. Additionally, the soap contains calendula-, chamomile-, and turmeric root extracts. Kaolin clay helps remove dead skin cells and reveal smooth skin underneath. Last but not least, aloe vera helps seal in skin moisture.
Although the soap contains palm oil, it is certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil as responsibly-sourced.
This bar weighs 4 ounces.
Beauty by Earth offers natural products like shaving soap and facial masks to ensure your skin glows without using harmful chemicals. In addition to that, their shaving soap is packaged in recyclable paper.
Their soap creates an extra rich lather using only organic ingredients like sunflower seed-, coconut-, and safflower oil. Cocoa seed butter and shea butter add an extra layer of moisture even after you leave the shower. They also add delightful natural fragrances like ylang ylang, vetiver, lavender, and rosemary.
This bar weighs around 4 ounces.
Lastly, Balade en Provence is an artisan soap company based in France. They use zero waste ingredients and packaging to deliver vegan and organic products like this shaving soap. Moreover, the packaging is recyclable and printed with vegetable ink.
If you love citrus scents–specifically a sweet orangey lemon scent–this bar is worth trying out. The soap itself is made of 20% shea butter, so say goodbye to dry skin. The other 80% is made of vegan ingredients like coconut oil, and lavender and citrus essential oils.
This soap weighs about 1.8 ounces. I admit, this one is smaller than the average soap bar, but it lasts a while and the superior ingredients are worth it.
Alternatives to shaving
If you think shaving is not right for you, there are other options you can try. Depending on your skin and hair type and your core values, there are different advantages and disadvantages with each hair removal method.
1. Laser hair removal
- Pros: Semi-permanent, relatively painless
- Cons: Requires several sessions, costly
- Pros: Natural, less frequent than shaving
- Cons: May be painful for sensitive skin, can be expensive*
3. Depilatory creams (hair removal creams)
- Pros: Easy to use, smooth results
- Cons: Chemical-based, may cause a reaction
4. Epilators (hand-held electric tweezers)
- Pros: Last longer than disposable razors (Read: eco-friendly section below), semi-permanent
- Cons: May be painful, possibly high upfront cost
These methods of hair removal are not created equally. Not all are eco-friendly. For example, depilatory creams often come in plastic tubes, and epilators still use power and batteries. Nevertheless, if you’re in a special situation where shaving with a razor isn’t feasible, these other methods might prove useful.
*Note that you can also try waxing at home to reduce costs. However, be prepared for less-than-perfect results at first. I would say consult a friend who’s an expert at waxing or do thorough research online. In other words, watch lots of videos and investigate as many wax brands as possible!
You’ve learned how to use shaving soap–here are other ways to go green
Besides zero waste solid bar shaving soaps, here other ways you can make your shaving routine more environmentally-friendly.
For starters, you can switch to a reusable safety razor. The disposable razor market is valued at over $34 billion dollars. Just imagine how many people are using plastic handle razors and throwing them every day.
What’s worse, the metal parts are usually not recycled–nobody bothers to separate the blades from the handle. Sadly, when something is inconvenient, the environmentally-friendly option gets overlooked.
So instead of buying those disposable pink packs of plastic razors, try a high-quality razor with replaceable blades. Yes, safety razors might make you think of barbershops and bleeding cuts. But trust me–they’re actually so easy to use, not to mention much more eco-friendly.
Remember when I said don’t forget to moisturize after shaving? It’s true! Having smooth skin isn’t just about knowing how to use shaving soap. To prevent annoying bumps, an after-shave moisturizer can make a world of difference. Nevertheless, be careful not to fall for unrecyclable plastic-packaged moisturizers.
Additionally, make sure the ingredients themselves don’t contain plastic–or worse, chemicals that harm your skin.
Many lotions have additives that either preserve the product, keep the product from sticking to the container, or make sure the product applies on smoothly.
Don’t worry. This natural oil-based moisturizer doesn’t need any of these additives to work well. It’s made of certified organic sunflower seed-, hemp seed-, jojoba seed-, and coconut oil for true hydration. Additionally, it contains vitamin E and lavender and lemongrass oil for a natural scent.
What’s better than the fact that these ingredients are organic? They’re harvested and processed with fair trade practices. This means the suppliers and producers are paid a fair wage. Moreover, the ingredients are harvested with sustainable farming practices.
Well, we’ve reached the end.
Can you believe you clicked on this article looking to learn how to use shaving soap and learned so much more than you bargained for?
If you’ve stuck around for the whole spiel, I’m impressed.
But I hope you learned a thing or two about shaving beyond soaps. The shaving industry is filled with contradictions and issues, but you, the consumer, are the key to helping change it.
We’ve covered how to use shaving soap, but we’ve also covered how to step back and recognize where we can make more environmentally-friendly changes in our skin care routine. Whether you opt for a zero waste shaving soap or switch to reusable safety razors, the choice to do better is always yours.