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Summer is here and with it, smooth shins and chins, if that’s your thing. We’ve all been guilty of tinkering, slathering on hair conditioner, or lathering soap with water to shave. But for super dewy skin without bumps or nicks, there’s a whole world of natural creams, gels, oils and mousses to explore.
To help you choose the right one for your skin, we turned to Debra Jaliman MD, board-certified dermatologist and author of the book “Skin Rules: Trade Secrets of One of New York’s Top Dermatologistswho helped us navigate the tricky road of razor burns and inflamed bumps. (See ‘What to look for when buying a natural shaving cream.’)
“Using shaving cream or gel is important because it makes the razor glide, helping to prevent friction, which can cause razor bumps and ingrown hairs,” says Dr. Jaliman. “Natural shaving creams are very good for sensitive skin.”
Our list avoids the no-no’s such as artificial fragrances, phthalates, and parabens. We also scoured the non-profit EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics database for top-ranking products listed that meet strict health and safety standards, protecting you from unnecessary chemicals. We have also shortlisted creams certified by independent third parties based on various guidelines.
Ahead, our list of perfect companions for your reusable razor this season.
Our selection of shaving creams is Counterman Smoothing Shave Cream (see on Beautycounter) that’s brimming with the goodness of moisturizing shea butter and soothing aloe, with no added fragrance. A user-friendly option is the Badger Shaving Soap Bar (see at Earth Hero) which is great for your skin and gently trims stubble.
What to look for in a natural shaving cream
The perfect shave depends on various factors. Like your razor skills, a sharp blade and, of course, the right lather that helps you get that close shave. To answer all your grooming questions and more, we spoke to Debra Jaliman MD, board-certified dermatologist and author of the book “Skin Rules: Trade Secrets of One of New York’s Top Dermatologists.”
Dr. Jaliman says the fewer ingredients a product has, the less chance there is of allergic reactions. She says some of the good ingredients to look for in a shaving product are aloe vera, shea butter, glycerin, and jojoba oil. You can also use these ingredients to make your own shaving cream.
1. Aloe vera: Bonus points for creams containing this anti-inflammatory ingredient that reduces post-shave redness. “Aloe is great for skin irritations and inflammations,” says Dr. Jaliman. “It refreshes and soothes the skin.”
2. Shea Butter: Thanks to its natural vitamins and fatty acids, shea butter is extremely hydrating. It also contains anti-inflammatory cinnamic acid.
3. Glycerine: “Glycerin works to hydrate the skin by drawing water from the air into the outer layer of the skin,” says Dr. Jaliman. “It generates a protective layer that helps prevent moisture loss.”
4. Jojoba oil: Acting as a natural skin conditioner, jojoba oil seals in moisture, forming an effective barrier against outside elements such as the cold that can dry out your skin. “It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe irritated skin that can result from shaving,” says Dr. Jaliman.
Alright, so I know what to look for. What should I avoid?
Remove all shaving lubricants that contain harsh ingredients. If your bar soap and shaving cream contain similar ingredients, rather than moisturizing your skin, you will be dehydrating it.
For sensitive skin, Dr. Jaliman advises looking for alcohol-free shaving creams. “Aloe vera and colloidal oatmeal are great ingredients to look for in a shaving cream if you have sensitive skin,” says Dr. Jaliman. Colloidal oatmeal is said to be anti-inflammatory and soothes irritated skin.
When it comes to acne-prone skin, she recommends that you avoid creams containing heavy oils such as coconut oil or shea butter. “These are generally great for the body, but be sure to use them on your face if you’re prone to acne,” says Dr. Jaliman.
The best thing about most shaving creams and gels is that they are versatile enough to use on all areas. However, Dr. Jaliman cautions, “If you use shaving cream on your bikini line, make sure it’s not full of added fragrances that can irritate that delicate area.”
Why trust Treehugger?
Treehugger helps you achieve a smooth, nick-free shave using the mildest creams, gels, oils and foams. Kind to you and clean for the earth, we’ve brought in a dermatologist to make sure you only mop your hair, leaving your skin soft and dewy.
Author Neeti Mehra is a veteran of the luxury industry who is also committed to sustainable, slow and mindful living. She loves exploring the world of ethical, homemade skin and hair care.