Whether you use shaving cream or in my case natural shaving soap bars there are times when you get caught without your usual product and maybe reach for a bar of hand soap. But if you do forget your shaving cream should you use hand soap as an alternative?
As a general rule, you can use soap as a replacement for shaving cream, bars or oils however prolonged use of low-quality hand soap can cause detrimental effects, especially for those with allergies or sensitive skin. Short-term use is generally fine even though it won’t give you the best shave.
I’m not saying it happens a lot but I have, quite recently in fact, forgotten to take my shaving soap bar on a recent trip. When I realised what I’d done I reached for my phone to research whether I can use hand soap to shave with and here’s what I found.
Top Tip: If you want a quick answer read on to the end where I summarise the pros and cons of using soap as shaving cream.
Pros of Using Soap as Shaving Cream
Whilst this advantage is not necessarily for ad-hoc uses, if you are thinking of replacing your shaving cream with hand soap what I found was that one of the most significant advantages of using soap as a shaving cream alternative is the cost savings.
High-quality shaving creams can be expensive, and they tend to run out quickly.
On the other hand, a bar of soap is usually more affordable and lasts much longer.
This cost-effectiveness makes it an attractive option for those on a budget or looking to reduce shaving expenses.
2. Skin Hydration
There are many soaps that are formulated to hydrate and moisturize the skin.
Although I found that you may need to spend a little more to get the right soap this can be a significant benefit when using them as shaving cream.
The added moisture can help soften the beard and create a protective barrier between the blade and the skin, reducing the risk of nicks and irritation.
Top Tip: Look for soaps that contain natural moisturizing ingredients, such as shea butter, glycerin, or aloe vera, for the best results.
3. Environmental Friendliness
It wouldn’t be right if I skipped over the eco-friendliness of bars or soap.
Again, if you’re thinking of switching out shaving cream, soap bars are often packaged in minimal or recyclable packaging, making them a more environmentally friendly choice compared to aerosol cans or plastic tubes used for traditional shaving creams.
There’s no doubt that choosing soap can be a small but conscious step towards reducing your environmental footprint.
I like to make my life simple and so if I am travelling the less I have to carry with me the better.
Soap is a versatile grooming product.
It can be used not only for shaving but also as a body wash, face cleanser, and more making it a perfect choice for travelling or camping.
It’s also a convenient choice for those who like to keep their grooming routine simple and minimalistic.
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5. Scent Variety
Interestingly I find shaving creams and foams quite boring when it comes to how they smell.
Compare this to soap bars which come in a wide range of scents, soap bars allow you to choose a fragrance that best suits you.
Whether like me, you prefer a refreshing citrus scent or maybe a more masculine woody aroma, you can find a soap that you love.
This is especially appealing if, perhaps for cost saving you want to skip cologne or aftershave, as the soap’s scent lingers on the skin.
So that’s 5 great reasons why you may want to swap out your shaving cream for soap.
The Cons of Using Soap as Shaving Cream
1. Lack of Lubrication
For me, this is the biggest drawback of using soap instead of proper shaving cream of soap.
What I find personally is that, while soap can provide some moisture and hydration, it often lacks the lubrication properties of specialized shaving products.
A good shaving cream or soap creates a slick surface, allowing my razor to glide smoothly over the skin.
Soap, especially the cheaper options may not offer the same level of slip, which can lead to razor drag, skin irritation, and increased risk of nicks and cuts.
2. Potentially Drying
Similar to the lubrication concern above I find that not all soaps are created equal, and some may contain ingredients that are too drying for your skin.
I looked into this problem further and it seems that soaps with a high pH or harsh detergents can strip away the skin’s natural oils, leaving it feeling tight, dry, and uncomfortable.
Top Tip: To avoid this issue, opt for a soap that is specifically designed for sensitive skin or contains moisturizing ingredients.
3. Lathering Challenges
Personally, I love a rich, creamy lather when I shave which I can’t seem to replicate with standard hand soap.
Achieving good lather with soap can be more challenging than with a dedicated shaving cream.
Many soaps produce thin or inconsistent lather.
I find that the quality of the lather significantly impacts my shaving experience, as a thin lather doesn’t seem to provide adequate protection for my skin.
4. Fragrance Sensitivity
While the variety of scents is a pro for many, it can be a con for those with fragrance sensitivities or allergies.
Some soaps may contain strong fragrances or essential oils that can irritate the skin or trigger allergies.
Top Tip: If you have sensitive skin or respiratory issues, it’s essential to choose a soap with a mild or fragrance-free formula.
5. Skin Type Considerations
If like me you have sensitive skin then you do need to be a little careful using hand soap, especially over the long term.
If you are considering switching out shaving cream for soap think about your skin type.
If you have sensitive skin, using a soap that is too drying or lacking in moisturizing properties can lead to discomfort and irritation however if you have oily skin you may find soap to be a viable option due to its cleansing properties.
Success will depend on your skin type.
Summary of the Pros and Cons
Swapping Shaving Cream for Shaving Soap Bars
Some time ago I switched out shaving cream for good.
Switching to natural shaving bars has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my personal grooming routine.
Not only do they contain all organic ingredients they also solve a lot of the cons related to the hand soap I reference above.
Natural shaving bars are designed to give good lubrication, provide good moisturising properties and produce a good lather.
Shaving bar manufacturers produce products that care for our skin no matter what type we have. They are great for sensitive, dry and oily skin.
Here’s my go-to shaving soap bar if you’re thinking of swapping.
- Will Protect And Balance Your Skin
- Formulated To Focus On Natural And Organic Ingredients
- Helps Soften And Lift Your Hair Before Shaving
- Lasts Longer Than Wasteful Shaving Products
- Environmentally Friendly Alternative To Shaving Gel
In my personal experience using soap instead of shaving cream is ok for short periods of time.
For example, when I’m travelling and I forget my shaving bar then I’ll reach out to hotel soap to have a good shave.
But please note, if you do have any allergies or have sensitive skin you must be careful using products you’re not familiar with.
If in doubt perhaps try washing your hands and then face as a test before fully committing to shaving.
The problem with using hand soap instead of shaving products starts when you use them for a long term.
Hand soap is not designed for long-term shaving use so not only is it more difficult to use day to day but also could cause long-term detrimental effects such as dry and irritable skin.
Ultimately, the decision to use soap as shaving cream depends on personal preferences and priorities.
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly, eco-conscious option and are willing to invest time in finding the right soap, it can be a suitable choice.
However, if you value a consistently smooth and comfortable shave, traditional shaving bars, creams or gels might be more appropriate.
For me, I made the switch to organic shaving bars and never looked back but it’s important to explore different options to find what works best for you.