Shaving isn’t dead. There are still plenty of guys flying the flag for the fresh, clean-shaven face. But, numbers are dwindling. Thanks to the surge in popularity of bushy beards, the once-cherished art of shaving has waned.
Men are no longer well-versed in the nuances of a clean shave, instead opting for beard maintenance—losing the appreciation for the meticulous techniques and tools involved in achieving a face as smooth as a baby’s bum.
Well, not on my watch, hairy friends. I’m here to introduce the best shaving soaps, urging you to give them a try.
So, whether you’re ready to go as clean as cue bull or simply want to tidy up your neckline, grab your razor (straight or safety) and keep reading for my round-up of the products that deserve pride of place in your grooming cabinet.
Upon searching countless sites and reading hundreds of reviews, I’ve come up with the following trusty list for you. Using the best shaving soaps can be a transformative experience, not only ensuring a smooth and irritation-free shave, but also allowing men to reconnect with the timeless ritual of self-care and grooming.
Throughout this guide, I’ll be highlighting the soaps that should be sitting proudly inside your shaving bowl. From Taylor of Old Bond Street’s version to Proraso’s budget-friendly pick, these are the options that provide the best lather, lubrication, and nourishment for the skin, ensuring a satisfyingly close yet reassuringly soothing shave.
Best Shaving Soap
Why it’s great: Enriched with essential oils and discreetly fragranced, this shaving soap brings the barber experience to your bathroom. A must-have that doesn’t break the bank, it creates a creamy, rich lather (fairly quickly, I should add) that softens facial hair and prepares your skin for a clean, close shave. If you like it (I’m almost certain you will), you can simply order a refill that can go back into the elegant wooden bowl that’s included.
How to use it: You’ll need a wet shaving brush to swirl into your soap to create a lather. Once happy, apply the product to your face using circular motions, ensuring even coverage. Shave as usual and reapply more soap if needed. Rinse your face and brush once finished.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: The sandalwood scent has a warm, rich, and woody aroma that gives me slight grandpa vibes. It’s a classic gentleman whiff, so not ideal if you prefer something sweeter.
Active Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Geraniol | Skin Type: All | Type: Bar | Size: 3.5oz | Scent: Sandalwood
Why it’s great: Proraso has been around since 1948, so it’s fair to say they know a thing or two about creating the best shave soap. Made with sandalwood oil and shea butter, this one lathers up to a creamy consistency that will soften and nourish dry skin and coarse beards. Better yet, it’ll give you a super close shave without nicks and cuts.
How to use it: Work the product up to a rich lather and apply evenly with a wet shaving brush to damp skin. For best results, the brand suggests applying a pre-shave cream first. Once you’re finished, wash your face and clean your brush.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: The aroma of sandalwood is fairly mild compared to similar products. If you want something with a little more punch, you may need to reconsider.
Active Ingredients: Sandalwood Oil, Shea Butter, Water | Skin Type: Sensitive | Type: Bar | Size: 5.2oz | Scent: Sandalwood
Why it’s great: Delivered in a hand-turned, polished Acacia wood bowl (suitable for refills) this shaving soap is the kind you’ll refuse to hide away in the cabinet. Place it proudly on your bathroom sink and take in the fresh oceanic fragrance as it luxuriously lathers to provide a close, smooth shave.
How to use it: Soak your shaving brush in warm water for a few minutes to soften the bristles before loading it with product and transferring it to the bowl and creating a lather. Apply to your face in circular motions and shave as normal. Finish by rinsing your face thoroughly with cold water and pat your face dry with a clean towel.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: It’s not cheap, but what do you expect from a product made by the world’s oldest barbershop; with historic clients including Frank Sinatra and Winston Churchill?
Active Ingredients: Glycerin, Geraniol, Limonene | Skin Type: All | Type: Bar | Size: 3.3oz | Scent: Oceanic
Why it’s great: Enriched with soothing aloe vera, this all-natural shaving soap produces a non-irritating, light lather that doesn’t clog your razor. Instead, it leaves your skin feeling soft and clean without dryness or residue.
How to use it: To use Badger’s shaving soap, start by wetting your brush with warm water and shaking off the excess. Next, swirl the damp brush over the soap to load it up. Create your lather by either using a separate bowl or directly on your face in circular motions. Shave as you normally would and finish by rinsing your face and shaving brush thoroughly.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: The scent is subtle and doesn’t last very long. Make of that what you will.
Active Ingredients: Coconut Oil, Glycerin, Aloe Vera | Skin Type: Dry | Type: Bar | Size: 3.15oz | Scent: Bergamot & Vetiver
Why it’s great: Crafted by artisans in New York, it’s an all-natural formula that uses only pure ingredients without any nasty bits. A staple for any shaver, it creates a rich, thick lather that conditions, moisturizes, and protects your skin while softening your beard.
How to use it: You know the drill. Wet a shaving brush (with warm water) and then swirl it on the soap to create a rich lather. Apply the lather evenly to your face, using circular motions to lift and soften your beard. Proceed with your normal shaving routine and rinse the brush and soap after use.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: While the majority of the reviews are glowing, some customers have reported an ever-so-slight burning sensation when it first touches sensitive skin.
Active Ingredients: Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Water | Skin Type: All | Type: Bar | Size: 4oz | Scent: Bay Rum
Why it’s great: Sustainable and suited to dry and sensitive skin, Bambaw’s soap helps to cleanse and purify the skin while the added aloe vera provides a soothing moisturizing effect. Formulated with natural ingredients, it’ll soften and lift hair to give you a super close cut and silky smooth results.
How to use it: Wet your brush with warm water and shake off the excess. Swirl the damp brush over the soap and then apply the lather to your face (and head, if you’re bald and need a trim). Proceed with your normal shaving routine and rinse the soap and brush after use.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: As it’s a natural product, it doesn’t lather up as creamy as some of the other best shave soaps I’ve shared.
Active Ingredients: Aloe Vera, Glycerin, Sunflower Oil | Skin Type: Sensitive | Type: Bar | Size: 2.5oz | Scent: Unscented
Why it’s great: Not only does this shaving soap lather up in seconds, it smells seriously good and helps your razor glide across your face without any slip-ups or nicks. Enriched with soothing and natural ingredients, it’s suitable for all skin types, whether it’s dry, sensitive, or acne-prone.
How to use it: Wet your brush with warm water (you know that already), but don’t give it a pep talk; it’s just a brush, after all. Then, swirl it around the soap like you’re mixing secret ingredients and whip up a lather. Apply it to your face and start shaving. Afterward, rinse your gear, dry it off, and don’t forget to strike a pose in the mirror.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: While Van Der Hagen’s shaving soap is generally considered one of the best, not all of its ingredients are natural. This might be a concern for those with specific ingredient criteria.
Active Ingredients: Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Water Glycerin, Myristic Acid | Skin Type: All | Type: Bar | Size: 3.5oz | Scent: Fresh
Why it’s great: Giving off a masculine scent that will have the ladies falling at your feet, this sweet-smelling soap will be your saving grace when you run out of aftershave. It’s cleverly crafted for a fuss-free product that lathers up nice and thick to soften even the roughest facial hair.
How to use it: You remember how this goes, right? Wet your brush, give it a little shake, and then swirl it on the soap’s surface to load it up. Apply the lather to your face and get ready for the smoothest shave of your life. Don’t forget to rinse your gear afterward.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: It’s not the most expensive shaving soap, but it does come at a premium price point. Having said that, many users consider it worth the investment due to its high-quality ingredients and exceptional performance.
Active Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Potassium Stearate | Skin Type: All | Type: Bar | Size: 4oz | Scent: Masculine
Why it’s great: Handcrafted and cured for three weeks, this hasn’t ended up as one of my best shave soap recommendations by chance. Offering up a smooth and hydrating shave, it lathers up nicely for ultimate gliding that’ll have you puckering your lips in approval.
How to use it: To use MoonDance’s soap, wet your shaving brush and swirl it over the soap to create a lather. Apply the lather to your face and shave as you usually would. Clean your brush so it’s ready for next time.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: It doesn’t have a scent. Ideal for sensitive skin, but could be a dealbreaker if you like your soaps to smell nice.
Active Ingredients: Shea Butter, Glycerine, Saponified Oils | Skin Type: All | Type: Bar | Size: 4oz | Scent: Unscented
Why it’s great: Free from chemicals and 100% vegetable-based, this soothing shaving soap has no hidden nasties yet still manages to give off a rather pleasant aroma. Long-lasting and moisturizing, it will leave your skin feeling smooth without drying it out or causing irritation.
How to use it: Wet your trusty shaving brush and give the soap a few good swirls. Apply the lather to your face and shave away. Rinse off and admire your smooth, clean-shaven face.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: Looking for the kind of scent that’ll have heads turning as you walk into a room? I’m afraid you won’t be finding that here.
Active Ingredients: Glycerin, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Water | Skin Type: All | Type: Bar | Size: 3.8oz | Scent: Himalaya Fragrance
The Best Shaving Soaps: Buying Considerations
Pay attention to the ingredients list, and look for natural, high-quality components. The best shaving soaps often contain ingredients like glycerin, shea butter, or essential oils. These provide moisture, lubrication, and a pleasant fragrance while being gentle on the skin. Avoid products with harsh chemicals or artificial fragrances that can cause irritation.
For ultimate skin satisfaction, it’s important to consider your skin type when selecting a shaving soap. Some soaps are formulated for sensitive skin, while others cater to those that suffer from dryness or excess oil. Choosing a soap that matches your skin type can help prevent issues like razor burn or redness.
The best shaving soap for men should produce a rich and stable lather, which is essential for a smooth and comfortable shave. Look for products known for their lathering capability, as this will ensure the razor glides easily across your skin, reducing the risk of nicks and cuts.
Why You Should Trust Us
As a fashion writer and overall connoisseur of all things man, it’s my passion to find the best products of all types. For total transparency, I’m currently rocking some stubble—the five o’clock shadow kind. Using a razor and shaving soap to tidy up my neck and the top of my cheeks. I also use it for the back of my neck, as I’m growing out my hair.
I was previously using an electric razor, and it wasn’t until recently that I set out on the exact search that you’re undertaking right now: to find the best shaving soap on the market. Which is why I’ve been able to provide you with a list of products that I know will get the job done. I also had a little help from other guys who have tried them first-hand.
Finding the best shaving soap for men is a crucial step in elevating your grooming routine. The right shaving soap not only ensures a smooth, irritation-free shave but also adds a touch of luxury to your daily ritual. By considering your skin type, the ingredients used, and the lathering ability of the soap, you can select a product that suits your specific needs.
Taylor of Old Bond Street’s sandalwood soap is perfect for seasoned shaving enthusiasts and first-timers alike, offering the perfect blend of functionality and indulgence. It will enhance the art of shaving and help you achieve that close, comfortable, and satisfying shave.
There are alternative products like shaving creams and gels that can provide lubrication for a shave. However, shaving soap remains a popular choice because of its ability to create a rich, stable lather that helps the razor glide smoothly and reduce friction. This can minimize the risk of nicks and cuts.
Shaving soap and cream serve the same purpose, but they have some key differences. Shaving soap comes in a solid form and requires a brush to lather it into a foam, offering a traditional and often more luxurious shaving experience. Shaving cream is a pre-foamed product that doesn’t require a brush. It’s more convenient and faster to apply, making it a popular choice for those seeking a quicker and more straightforward shave.
Technically, yes. However, it’s not the ideal option. Regular soap lacks the specific lubricating and protective qualities of shaving soap or cream. Shaving products are formulated to provide better glide for the razor, reduce friction, and minimize the risk of irritation, nicks, and cuts. Using regular soap can result in a less comfortable and less effective shave, potentially leading to skin issues.