A lot of thought and preparation goes into a great shave. After all, shaving is an essential part of any man's grooming routine, and the face is one of the most important features of his body. Good shaving cream can make all the difference in the world. This guide will explore everything you need to know about shaving cream, from its history to how to use it properly. We will also dispel some of the most common myths about shaving cream so that you can get the perfect shave every time.
Understanding the Shaving Process
To understand why shaving cream is so important, it is first necessary to understand the process of shaving itself and how this critical grooming product fits into the equation. Because although it may seem ludicrous that we now spend countless hours removing hair from our faces (and bodies) that will inevitably grow back, shaving has become and remained an essential ritual for numerous cultures and societies around the world. And it is one that has evolved over time.
It may seem simple at first. After all, shaving is quintessentially the removal of hair from the skin using a razor. And the razor is a sharp blade that cuts the hair at the skin's surface. But in actuality, there's more to it than this basic description.
A good shave requires the use of water and lubrication to make the hair softer and easier to cut. Lubrication also helps to reduce the friction between the razor and the skin, which can lead to irritation. The ideal shaving method will also exfoliate the skin to remove dead skin cells and help to prevent ingrown hairs. And finally, a good shave will also moisturise the skin to help it look and feel its best. We'll get into more specifics after we briefly explore the history of shaving.
A Brief History of Shaving
The practice of shaving has been around for thousands of years, and it is an integral part of many cultures and societies. Shaving is seen as a rite of passage in some cultures, while in others, it is simply a way to keep oneself well-groomed. But regardless of the reasons behind it, shaving has remained an important part of the male grooming routine.
Shaving can be traced back to prehistoric times when primitive man would use sharpened stones and shells to remove hair from his face and body. In fact, some of the first razors were made from sharpened flint blades that were dragged across the skin to remove hair, likely to prevent the buildup of ice and debris. It also likely prevented unwanted guests, like lice, from taking up residence. Thus we can see that shaving has its origins in utility and not vanity. It was essential to avoid infection in cold climates and to stay clean and hygienic in hot climates.
Fast forward to the civilisations of Egypt and Greece, where body-hair removal was an obsession. Not just faces but entire bodies were shaved. For Egyptians, this was done for aesthetic reasons, as well as hygiene and comfort in the hot desert climate. However, body hair was seen as unsightly. So it was removed using sharpened copper and bronze razors, especially among the higher classes and especially by the Pharaohs. They wanted to present themselves as being god-like and perfect.
The ancient Greeks also practised shaving and did so for similar reasons as the Egyptians. They also associated body hair with barbarism, and so it was seen as something that needed to be removed. This is likely why many statues and depictions of Greek gods and heroes show them with smooth, hairless skin. To the Greeks, shaving was seen as a way to keep oneself clean and presentable. It was also thought that shaving made one look more athletic, which made it popular among athletes competing in the Olympic Games.
From these brief examples, we can see that shaving began as a way to maintain hygiene and presentability. But over time, it has become much more than that. It has become an important part of many cultures and societies worldwide, and it is now seen as an essential part of the male grooming routine.
The Introduction and Evolution of Shaving Cream
An archaic form of shave cream first appeared around 3000 BC. A rudimentary form was documented in Sumer, which combined wood alkali and animal fat to create a preparation used to soften facial hair before shaving.
Until the 1900s, not much advancement was made. Men used basic bar soap, lathered it on their faces, and then shaved. This often resulted in razor burn, ingrown hairs, and other skin irritations. In fact, it wasn't until the early 20th century that shaving cream as we know it today began to be developed.
Frank Shields, a former MIT professor, developed one of the first shave creams in 1919. It was marketed under the name Barbasol and was an instant hit. It was thick, creamy, and had a pleasant scent. And it was born out of necessity, as Shields, like many men, had sensitive skin and was tired of the irritation caused by using soap to shave. This echoes Seven Potions' story, which involves founder John Bouridis saw a need for premium men's grooming products and set out to fill it.
It wasn't until the mid-20th century that shaving cream really began to be mass-produced and marketed to the masses through the introduction of the first pressurised shaving cream. And then, in the 1970s, shaving gel made its debut. All of these advancements were great for men seeking a smooth shave, tired of razor bumps and irritation, and simply wanting ultimate comfort while looking good.
Now, some fifty years later, a revolution and renaissance are happening in the shaving industry. Men are rediscovering the importance of a close, comfortable shave and are looking for ways to get the best shave possible. And that is where Seven Potions and high-quality Shave Cream come in.
Shaving Cream vs the Alternatives
The modern gentleman has many choices when it comes to shaving products. There are shaving creams, shaving foams, shaving gels, shaving soaps, and even shaving oils. With so many options, it can be challenging to know which one is right for you. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a shaving product.
- First, you want something that will provide a close shave.
- Second, you want something that will help to reduce irritation.
- And finally, you want something that smells great and leaves your skin feeling smooth and soft.
Let's explore these products a little more so you can make the best decision for you, understanding what each one offers.
What is Shaving Cream?
Shaving cream is the gold standard when it comes to getting a close, comfortable shave. It is typically made with an emulsifier, which helps to create a barrier between your skin and the razor. This barrier not only provides lubrication for a close shave but also helps to reduce irritation.
Shaving cream is also generally more hydrating than other shaving products. This is important because it helps to reduce the risk of razor burn, ingrown hairs, and other skin irritations.
Finally, most shaving creams have a pleasant scent that will leave you feeling refreshed and invigorated.
There are various types of shaving cream available. Here is a rundown of what to expect when you're shopping for the perfect addition to your shaving regimen:
- Lather Shaving Cream – This type of shaving cream is designed to be used with a brush. It is usually applied to the face with a wet brush and then worked into a lather. As a result, it is typically thick and creamy. This is the best option for those embracing their traditionalist shaving roots and seeking an old-fashioned shave cream. Seven Potions Shave Cream falls into this category.
- Brushless Shaving Cream – This type of shaving cream does not require the use of a brush and does not come in an aerosol can. Generally, it has a similar consistency and texture to lotion and builds a light lather when applied to the face.
- Foam Shaving Cream – Shaving foam starts as a cream, but when it is dispensed from an aerosol can, it transforms into a foam that has a light, airy texture. It is designed to be applied directly to the face with your hands and does not require the use of a brush.
What is Shaving Gel?
Shave gel was developed to provide extra lubrication while still being easy to apply directly to the face. It has a thick, gel-like consistency and is designed to be applied with your hands. The first shave gels could be worked into thick lathers, providing extra lubrication for a close shave. However, modern versions of shave gels have now been developed to be non-lathering. This means they provide lubrication without the extra step of working them into a lather.
Non-lathering shave gel, sometimes called a shave glide, is a good option for those who need to do precision shaving. That's because one of the benefits of shaving gel that doesn't lather is that it is transparent. This means that you can see exactly where you are shaving, which can help to reduce the risk of razor burn or nicks.
What is Shaving Soap?
If you think shave soap sounds old school, you're not wrong. Shaving soap is a traditional shaving product that has been around for centuries. It is usually made from natural ingredients and requires the use of a brush to generate a lather. However, thanks to advancements in dermatology and knowledge about which ingredients are beneficial for the skin, some excellent shaving soaps for men are available that can provide a close, comfortable shave while still being gentle on the skin.
The key to getting the most out of shave soap is to ensure you have a high-quality shave brush to work the soap into a thick lather. A lousy brush will make it difficult to generate a good lather and can even cause razor burn. But with the right shaving brush in hand, you'll be primed to execute a traditional shave like your grandfather used to enjoy.
What is Shaving Oil?
Shave oil can be any oil that is safe to use on the face. It can be applied directly to the skin to provide the lubrication necessary for shaving. Everything from single-ingredient options like coconut oil to multi-ingredient formulations exist, giving gentlemen like yourself plenty of choices and options in this category.
Don't be surprised if you haven't heard much about shaving oil. Generally, shaving oil is not as popular as other options as it isn't as good for sensitive skin or those prone to razor burn. Instead, most men tend to use shave oil as a pre-shave, applying it to their face before applying shaving cream. This provides an extra layer of lubrication and can help to prevent razor burn.Seven Potions Pure Equilibrium Pre-Shave Oil is a great example, formulated with natural ingredients designed to provide a close, comfortable shave.
What Shaving Product Is Best?
When it comes to the best shaving product, it really depends on your needs and what key ingredients you are looking for. For those with dry skin, for example, you might want to consider a shaving cream or gel that contains more moisturising ingredients than other options. This will help to prevent any skin irritation or razor burn. If you have sensitive skin, on the other hand, you might want to look for a product that is fragrance-free and hypoallergenic. And, of course, if you are looking for a luxurious shaving experience, you might want to go for higher-end shaving cream or soap.
In terms of key ingredients, all shaving products generally contain three key components: lathering agents, moisturisers, and lubricants.
- Lathering agents help to create a rich foam that helps to lift the hair follicles and prepare them for a close shave.
- Moisturisers help to hydrate the skin and protect against razor burn.
- And lubricants help to reduce friction and prevent nicks and cuts.
So, which shaving product is best? Again, it really depends on your key needs and preferences. But if we had to choose one option as the superior choice — and yes, we're a bit biased — we would go with Seven Potions Shave Cream. It contains all of the key ingredients mentioned above, plus it is made with natural, vegan ingredients that are gentle on the skin. Plus, it comes in a stylish matte yellow tube that looks great in any bathroom, especially when displayed with Seven Potions' other essential shaving products and tools.
Why You Should Use Shaving Cream
There are many reasons to use shaving cream, but these are our top seven:
1) Shaving cream helps to protect your skin.
Shaving can be tough on your skin, especially if you have sensitive skin. However, shaving cream helps to create a barrier between your skin and the razor, minimising irritation.
2) Shaving cream leads to a closer shave.
When your hair is properly lubricated, your razor can glide more smoothly over your skin. This leads to a closer shave with less risk of nicks and cuts.
3) Wet shaving is better for your skin.
Dry shaving can cause the skin to become dry and irritated. Wet shaving, on the other hand, helps to keep the skin hydrated.
4) Shaving cream can help to prevent ingrown hairs.
Ingrown hairs are more likely to occur when the hair is dry and brittle or when your hair follicles are clogged. Shaving cream helps to soften the hair, making it less likely to become ingrown. And a good, close shave helps the hair follicles clear, reducing the risk of ingrown hairs.
5) Shaving cream can help to soothe your skin and prevent razor burn.
High-quality shaving creams contain ingredients like shea butter or vitamin E, which can help to soothe and nourish the skin. This can help to prevent razor burn and other skin irritations.
6) Shaving cream can make shaving more enjoyable.
Let's face it: shaving isn't always fun. But using a pleasant smelling, luxurious shaving cream can make the experience more enjoyable.
7) Shaving cream is an essential part of a well-groomed look.
A well-groomed, modern gentleman takes care of his appearance, and that includes his facial hair. Using shaving cream is one small way to show that you're serious about looking your best.
Achieving the Perfect Shave with Shaving Cream
Learning how to use shaving cream properly involves reviewing the whole shaving ritual. There are many steps in the process, and ensuring you have the correct shaving cream for your skin type is only one. Also necessary are using a sharp razor, preparing your skin before shaving, and using an aftershave balm to moisturise your skin after shaving. Let's take a closer look at each of these steps:
1) Prepare Your Shaving Brush
A great shave starts with the Seven Potions Shaving Brush. This top-of-the-line shaving brush is designed with the modern gentleman in mind. The ultra-soft synthetic fibres of the brush are specifically chosen for their ability to create a creamy lather, and they are gentle enough to use on sensitive skin. The comfortable handle ensures that you have a firm grip while you are shaving, and the balance of the brush makes it easy to manoeuvre.
Soaking your brush for at least 3 to 5 minutes before use is a good practice, as it will help soften the bristles and prepare them for creating a rich lather. You can soak your brush in warm water while you shower to ensure it's ready to go when you are.
2) Wash Your Face
We recommend shaving after showering because the warm water will help to soften your facial hair and open up your pores. If you don't have time to shower, simply washing your face with warm water will do the trick. Be sure to use a face wash designed for men's skin, as these are formulated to be gentle on the skin and effective at cleansing away dirt and oil.
We recommend Seven Potions Face Wash, the perfect solution for any modern gentleman who desires a clean, hydrated face without using harsh chemicals. Our natural and biodegradable cleansing ingredients are carefully chosen to offer a mild yet effective touch, while our hardworking hydrators and anti-inflammatory ingredients provide the best experience possible. This is also the perfect time to apply pre-shave oil to further prepare your skin and hair for the shave.
3) Prepare Your Shaving Cream
Once your face is clean, it's time to prepare the shaving cream. Place a small amount of shaving cream into a shallow bowl, and using your pre-soaked shaving brush, work the cream into a rich lather. If you find that your shaving cream is not producing enough lather, add a few drops of water and continue to work the brush until the desired consistency is achieved. If your lather is too watery, add a bit more shaving cream.
The goal is to create a thick, creamy lather that will help to lift the hair away from the skin and provide a smooth surface for your razor to glide over. Each product on the market is a little different, and it may take some time for you to get used to using the amount of water that works best with your particular shaving cream.
4) Apply the Shaving Cream
Now that you have the perfect shaving cream consistency, it's time to apply it to your face. Using circular motions, massage the lather into your facial hair, making sure to cover all areas evenly. Take your time with this step and make sure that the entire surface area is covered. Your goal is to ensure the rich, thick lather covers all skin you intend to shave.
5) Time to Shave
Now that your face is prepared, it's time to start shaving. Be sure to use a sharp razor for the best results. A dull razor will tug at your hair and can cause irritation, so it's crucial to replace your razor blade regularly. We recommend the Seven Potions Safety Razor, which is designed for both comfort and precision. The long handle gives you a firm grip, and the double-edge blades provide a close shave without irritating your skin.
Start by shaving with the grain of your hair, using gentle strokes. If you find that you are not getting a close enough shave, you can go against the grain, but be careful not to press too hard, or you may irritate your skin. Rinse your razor frequently to remove any buildup of shaving cream or hair.
Savour the process, and don't rush. As we've said, shaving should be treated as a ritual. Thanks to advances in dermatology and the field of men's grooming products, there's no reason why you can't enjoy a comfortable, close shave without any irritation.
6) Rinse Your Face
Once you're done shaving, it's time to rinse your face with warm water to remove any excess or remaining shaving cream and then once again with cold water. The cold water will help to close your pores and soothe your skin. Avoid using hot water as this can dry out your skin.
7) Aftershave Care
Apply a post-shave balm and/or moisturising lotion to help hydrate your skin and reduce any inflammation. We recommend Seven Potions Post Shave Balm, which is designed to nourish and protect the skin while reducing redness and irritation. This luxurious balm was specifically developed to calm razor rash and protect freshly shaved skin. At the same time, it deeply moisturises and nourishes, restoring hydration levels within skin cells. A comforting combination of natural ingredients, including jojoba oil, mimics healthy human sebum production, preventing stiffness and cracking while keeping skin cells elastic. The result is a healthy, even-looking complexion all day long.
Using the right moisturiser can also be beneficial for your skin. After all, your skin deserves to look its best, and Seven Potions Anti Ageing Moisturiser can give it the treatment it merits. This fragrance-free product has been formulated to help hydrate and moisturise the skin, giving it everything it needs to stay looking its best. We’ve combined top-shelf ingredients in a lightweight, easily absorbed lotion that will leave your skin feeling smooth and looking younger.