What Is Shaving Soap?

Aug. 15, 2023

After seeing the amazing benefits you can get from switching to a single blade razor, it's likely you have also looked into switching from an instant foam/gel to a natural shaving soap.

But you may be wondering; "Can I just use regular soap for shaving?", the answer is a resounding no.

So, what makes shaving soap special? The difference is in the ingredients used and how this affects the final product.

Regular soap is designed for its cleansing properties. It generates a lather that helps to strip the skin of dirt and oils. In short, it cleans you.

But a shaving soap isn't meant to clean you. The point of a shaving soap is to provide a protective barrier between your skin and razor blade so you can have a comfortable shave.

Regular soaps tend to have a very thin, watery lather that is great for washing off dirt and grime but it isn't going to provide much protection from a blade.

Shaving soaps are therefore designed to create a much bigger and denser lather to give you that protection you need. Furthermore, most shaving soaps today aim to do more than just protect your skin. Using different combinations of ingredients, modern shaving soaps can have a range of properties that affect the quality of shave you're able to achieve.

Some of the qualities of shaving soaps:

Lather Volume - This is how much lather is generated when you work it with your shaving brush. Soaps that generate lots of lather tend to be very easy to use because they don't take much effort or time to prepare. Many wet shavers seem to hold the view that 'bigger lather' = 'better soap' but this isn't really the case. A big lather can be quite drying or lacking sufficient protection so it's best to aim for a happy medium.

Slickness - Arguably the most important factor. This is how slippy the lather is; how well it allows the razor to easily glide over the skin without friction. An important aspect of slickness is whether or not it stays after the lather has been removed as we're all prone to going back over a spot we've already done.

Stability - Unlike a regular soap, the lather of a shaving soap needs to stay on your skin throughout your entire shave. It shouldn't dissipate or dry out midway through.

Moisturising - Shaving soaps don't need to be cleansing to strip your skin of oils, which can make it dry, so instead they include moisturising ingredients that keep your skin hydrated and soften your hairs for a more comfortable shave and post-shave feel.

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