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Believe it or not, for a long time I thought shaving creams were more or less unnecessary add-ons to a hair removal routine. I assumed that ingrown hairs, nicks, razor burn, and general irritation were the price to pay for being vain enough to shave above the knee. But it wasn’t until I tried my very first shaving foam that I realized how wrong I was.

“You should always use a shaving cream—putting a razor against your skin with no buffer is going to cause irritation,” says Fur co-founder and CEO Laura Schubert. As it turns out, everyone knows shaving cream is necessary. Once you find the right one for your skin type, shaving creams will help you get a smooth, close shave without any irritation. Here, find the 13 best shaving creams you’ll wish you knew about sooner.

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1

Best for All Skin Types

Gillette

Satin Care Ultra Sensitive Shave Gel for Women

2

Best for Irritated Skin

Fur

Moisturizing Shave Cream

3

Best for Sensitive Skin

Vanicream

Shave Cream

4

Best for No Nicks

Athena Club

Cloud Shave Foam

5

Best for Rough Skin

eos

Shea Butter 24H Moisture Shave Cream

Now 34% off

6

Best for Soft Skin

Truly

Happy Hairless Shave Butter

7

Best for the Bikini

Coochy Plus

Intimate Shave Cream

Now 31% off

8

Best for a Bright Skin

OUI the People

Moisturizing Shave Gel-to-Milk

9

Best for Cooling the Skin

Proraso

Shaving Cream

10

Best for Multi-Use

Hanni

Shave Pillow Moisturizing Body Gel

11

Best Shaving Oil

Tree Hut

Bare Moisturizing Shave Oil

12

Best Gentle Foam

Flamingo

Foaming Shaving Gel

Now 12% off

13

Best for Traditionalists

Cella Milano

Shaving Cream Soap Almond

14

Meet the Experts

15

Is it okay to shave without shaving cream?

“A shaving cream or gel is a must,” says Dr. Lal. “Shaving cream or gels act as lubricants that make it easy for razors to glide on the skin. This reduces the risk of nicks, cuts, and abrasions.” A shaving cream can’t be duped with your regular cleanser either. “If you were in a bind you can use a moisturizing soap but it may not provide enough [slip] required for a clean and smooth shave,” adds Dr. Lal.

16

What does shaving cream actually do?

“When you shave, you’re taking off a layer of dead skin and debris and opening your pores up in the process, so it’s incredibly important that the product you’re using has ingredients that won’t clog your pores or irritate your skin,” says Schubert. “Shaving cream increases the friction on the skin, which allows razors to glide over the skin. It also lubricates the hair making it easier to cut,” adds Dr. Lal.

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