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Shaving Cream Substitute: What Works and What Does Not


The first time I shaved as a preteen, I cut myself so badly I had to call my mom. I used a brand-new razor I had found in the bathroom. 

I was not supposed to be shaving yet, as my mother had told me to wait until I was older. And I used nothing like shaving cream. 

I just applied the razor to my 11-year-old skin. Blood. Everywhere. 

“Mom!” I screamed from the bathroom. 

My mom came running into my blood-curdling screams and lost her mind. The rest, as they say, is history. 

I still have the scar where I took a chunk out of my leg just above the top of my foot thirty years ago. Since then, I have tried virtually every razor you can imagine, and I have at long last found my groove. 

I rarely cut myself while shaving now, and I chalk a lot of that up to having a vast array of products on hand. 

Shaving cream substitutes are essential for me because I run out of whatever I happen to be using all the time. I need to be able to reach for a backup at a moment’s notice.  

Table of Contents: 

  • Why Shaving Cream?
  • 5 Best Shaving Cream Substitutes
  • Shaving After Care Essentials and What Not to Do
  • Wow Skin Science for Your Bath Shelf

Why Shaving Cream?

You need some type of shaving cream, gel, or soap. You need it. Period. 

Without shaving cream, your razor will not slide smoothly along your skin, making you more prone to cuts and nicks and the dreaded razor burn. 

Well-made shaving cream also adds moisture and protection to your skin before, during, and after shaving. 

For thousands of years, women have used ingredients like aloe vera, coconut oil, and various nut oils to prep their shaving space - and for a good reason.  

apply shaving foam to legs, shaving foam for women

The one exception to the must-have rule is if your razor comes with a gel strip already built-in. I used a highly effective razor with a built-in strip for years. 

It worked well at protecting my skin from cuts and nicks, and as a bonus, by the time the strip ran out, the razor was worn out, so I always knew when to replace it.  

I stopped using those razors when I discovered how much landfill disposable razors create. Since then, I have been using a metal safety razor and an all-natural shave soap bar, which often runs out before I realize and can replace it. 

Thus, I am back to needing lots of shaving cream substitutes on hand when I do inevitably run out. And I am not alone. 

According to the latest studies, roughly 80% of women shave their legs. We are in this together, ladies! 

5 Best Shaving Cream Substitutes

  1. Body Wash 

The body wash is the first and most obvious shaving cream substitute. If you use body wash to clean up, you can use it to shave. 

Indeed, back when I used body wash, I never even bothered to buy shaving cream. I just lathered up to wash, shaved my legs, and rinsed off. 

Now, I use an all-natural unscented body soap for sensitive skin, so I am out of luck in that department.  

  1. Conditioner 

I have used conditioner in a pinch on many occasions. I use a conditioner bar, so I reach for it when I run out of my shave soap bar. 

It is made with aloe and coconut oil, so it goes on smooth and comes off clean. Any conditioner you have on hand should do as it is soft and silky enough to prep your shave space.  

  1. Body Oil 

I used to slick on a body oil after my shower while still wet. I was young and experimenting with my skincare routine. 

The oil took the place of my post-shower lotion routine, and I loved it. It made my self-care so much quicker and easier. 

If you happen to have body oil on hand and in the shower, you can use it as a shaving cream substitute. The oil is thin enough that it won’t clog your razor and should rinse out well.  

shaving legs with razor

  1. Hair Oil 

Another oil that should not be too heavy, hair oil, is a great last-minute swap if you happen to keep it in your bathroom.  

  1. Coconut Oil 

A substitute and even an altogether replacement for shaving cream, coconut oil works for pretty much anything. 

It goes on very thin and will not clog your razor, it adds moisture to your shower routine, and it smells heavenly. 

You cannot lose. 

Shaving After Care Essentials and What Not to Do

Bear in mind that of all the substitutes for shaving cream you may want to use, you should never reach for anything with alcohol. 

You have likely felt alcohol in an open wound; shaving with alcohol is the same thing. You will feel the burn. Another no-no is a salt or sugar scrub after shaving. It burns, and it can cause a razor burn.  

What you want to focus on after you shave is moisture. Apply body oil or an all-natural lotion to support the clean, smooth feel you are going for. 

Wow Skin Science for Your Bath Shelf

Below you will find links to a couple of products that will go nicely either as shaving cream substitutes, replacements, or after-care essentials to your shaving routine. Happy shopping! 

Body Wash Collections 

These body wash collections can be standalone body washes or pull double duty as your wash and as your shaving product. The nice thing is they are all-natural, vegan-based, so you do not have to worry about alcohol or other harsh chemicals.  

Body Creams and Oils 

These creams and oils are also all-natural and vegan based. The oils can be used as shaving cream subs or just as end-of-shower oils. The creams are wonderfully moisturizing for your after-shower routine.  

Follow the links and browse the products, selecting among your favorite scents and textures. You are sure to find one, or more, skincare products to love.

Shanna Mendez

Shanna Mathews Mendez is a freelance writer and blogger on topics related to self-care, naturopathy, female empowerment, and motherhood. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and children, where she enjoys traveling, being active outdoors, and studying herbalism and plant-based remedies in her free time. Drawing on her graduate degree in comparative literature and her own life experiences, she is currently writing her first book. She can be found online at her website

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