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What is Shaving Soap?

Pamela Pleasant
Pamela Pleasant

Shaving soap is soap that produces a substantial amount of foaming lather. The lather softens the coarse hair so that it can be removed easier. It also allows the razor to smoothly glide over the face and neck area, which decreases the possibility of getting nicked or cut. Shaving soap puts a barrier between the face and razor for added protection. This is a way to get an extremely close shave without irritation or bumps on the skin.

Even though there are a few brands of soap that offer excessive lather, they typically are not the same as shaving soap. Along with the extra lather, these other soaps only work to cleanse the skin. They can also take out moisture and dry the face. Glycerin or other moisturizers are normally added to soap that is used for shaving. It reduces the chances for skin irritations or dry scaly skin.

Shaving soap may help reduce the risk of razor burn from shaving.
Shaving soap may help reduce the risk of razor burn from shaving.

Bentonite clay is another important ingredient found in shaving soap. This clay works to exfoliate the skin, which means that it can reveal the newer skin that lies beneath the dead skin cells. It can also hold water within the skin for added moisture. Bentonite clay is used in clay baths and spa treatments and it is known for naturally removing toxins and impurities from the body. Although it does not have a sudsy or foaming consistency, it does offer a soft, slippery feel to the shaving soap.

Most soaps used for shaving have a pleasing fragrance but they are typically scented with essential oils or other types of naturally scented moisturizers. This is because shaving soap is mainly used to avoid any irritations to sensitive skin. Heavy perfumes and chemical cleansers can cause allergic reactions that result in rashes, skin irritations, and bumpy skin. Shaving soap is made with all-natural ingredients and using it can decrease the risk for an allergic reaction. These ingredients are good for the skin and they can produce softer, younger-looking skin.

Using the correct razor along with shaving soap is important when it comes to stopping things like razor burn, ingrown hairs, and bumps. A single-bladed razor is recommended for the closest and safest shave. Exfoliating and completely cleansing the skin before applying the soap also helps to reduce skin irritations. Applying soap using a shaving brush can increase the lather production and it can be mixed and then spread evenly all over the face and neck.

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Discussion Comments


@ddljohn, @turkay1-- You're right. The best shaving soap I've ever used was made of 100% goat's milk. It worked great! Beer soap is another that works well with shaving because it lathers more.

I actually think that any bar of soap that is labeled as "shaving soap" should have no problem lathering or keeping lather because soaps get tested for their properties and are given points according to it. I know this from my brother-in-law who makes homemade soaps. He gives each of his soaps points based on how creamy it is or how well it lathers.

But I do agree that shaving soaps with a lot of chemicals and perfumes end up drying out skin afterward. So it's best to stick with more natural ones with less perfumes and that are actually labeled as "shaving soap." The organic store in my neighborhood has quite a few good options.


@ddljohn-- Have you tried shaving soap with milk or cream?

I had the same problem you described before. I couldn't find a shaving soap that worked like a foam and still moisturized and hydrated my skin enough. That was until I found a shaving soap that's made with milk.

This is a really creamy soap. It lathers really well and is very moisturizing. It also has olive and coconut oil in it which is very good for skin. It gives me a clean shave and a super soft face afterward. And this is an all natural, organic product. So it's a win-win.


I personally enjoy using a good shaving soap rather than foam because it's much better for my skin and my dad used to use shaving soap too.

A good shaving soap is actually hard to find because the natural soaps that moisturize tend to foam up well but then go flat while shaving which makes it much easier for irritations to happen. I'm always looking for shaving soap that give a good thick lather that stays throughout the shave. Otherwise I will have to re-lather during the shave to avoid bumps.

Because of this, I end up using shaving soaps with a lot of additives that end up drying out my skin. I haven't been able to find the best shaving soap that lathers really well and also moisturizes as of yet.

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    • Shaving soap may help reduce the risk of razor burn from shaving.
      By: Artem Furman
      Shaving soap may help reduce the risk of razor burn from shaving.