Skip to content

Question: Creams vs. Soaps

Listen to this article

I’m often asked if I prefer shaving soaps or shaving creams.  I like both actually.  All things being equal, I can get good lather out of either.  In two cases–DR Harris Arlington and Crabtree & Evelyn Sienna–I’ve tried both the cream and the soap and preferred the soap, but I think it was because the scent was more pronounced in the soap (which is weird because I’ve generally found the creams have stronger scents than soaps).  I also find myself gravitating towards soaps in the summer and creams in the winter.

Do you have a preference?  What is your all-time favorite cream or soap?


Shave tutor and co-founder of sharpologist. I have been advocating old-school shaving for over 20 years and have been featured in major media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Lifehacker. Also check out my content on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!View Author posts


28 thoughts on “Question: Creams vs. Soaps”

  1. I would recommend Liz Earl’s shaving cream. Its expensive but makes a really nice thick cream and smells great.
    I have extremely sensitive skin and its the first product Ive tried that doesnt mess my skin up.
    I finish off with with L’Occitan After-Shave Balm, which again smells great.
    Dont know if you guys can get these products in The US, maybe you could review them though.

  2. My top soap is the Palmolive Shave Stick-amazing, top cream is the body shop maca root, and I most want to try the Institut Karite soap.

  3. Any reason you prefer one over the other in the winter. I've just started trying to lather on my face. To do this I've been using nothing but soaps. I have probably 20 different soaps and creams but always go back to Tabac for some reason. I just can't get enough of it!

    Hot Cologne Reviews for Men

  4. While I'm not fond of the fragrance, I've found the Institut Karite soap to be the absolute best for sensitive skin. It has become my every day soap, although I still enjoy using C&E's Sienna soap, and the C.O. Bigelow's version of Proraso cream

  5. SOAP. (1) 50 g Palmolive shaving stick from Europe is fantastic (and essentially free). (2) regular cedarwood glycerin soap from PEARS. (3)A bar of ivory soap with aloe. Get yourself a high quality badger brush and any of the above will give you a phenomenal shave.


    Cream, by a country mile. Perhaps my Rooney silvertip is too soft for soap, but my mother always told me a bad workman blamed his tools! At the moment, I think equally highly of Cyril Salter creams and Truefitt creams. TOBS and Body Shop maca root are tied in second place. My two cents!

  7. Creams all the way. I can't lather soaps well, and I find them drying. My favorite creams are Proraso, JM Fraser's, Musgo Real and anything made by Taylor of Old Bond Street.

  8. I have always preferred soaps to creams. My all-time favorite shaving soap is Mitchell's Wool Fat, but others are close.


  9. I switch back and forth between creams and soaps, depending on my mood. My current favorite soap is Tabac and my current cream is Speick. Next week, it'll probably be something else!

  10. I am a fan of uberlather also. My favorite combos are MWF + Proraso; the shave den's iced zero + menthol mist; and mama bear's unscented + Godrej DeLuxe – all with a few drops of glycerin.

  11. Been using soap but no luck creating a decent lather.

    Recently bought some Speick cream and it's amazing. Had the best shave I've ever had today (Gillette Slim adjustable, Speick shaving cream).

    Also, it doesn't have the chemical crap that one finds in Proraso and other similar creams (seriously, they are full of crap – no way I'm putting that on my porous, absorbant skin).

    Amazing how little cream one needs to get a decent lather.

  12. When I was using soaps I found I was getting a weird fungus according to my doctor. I quickly sanitized my razor, upgraded from a boar brush to a nice badger, and started using C.O. Bigelow cream. No more fungus either. I also started putting in a 1/2 tbs of glycerin and man what a lather and feel! On special days I add a tiny drop or mint oil from my child's home-spa kit (when they are not looking) and its like heaven on my face.

  13. I gave creams & soaps away a long time ago. Personally, I don't think you can go past a good shaving oil. My fave is the Musgo Real. Keeps your blades sharper longer too. Don't believe me ? Try it, you'll be surprised.

  14. I prefer creams right now, because I have yet to create as decent a lather from a soap (glycerin). The two times I did get a semi-decent lather from a soap, I found it to be more drying than the creams.

    Actually, when used together, it makes a great lather!

  15. I actually use them together on a daily basis.

    Following a useful tip from one of Mantic59's early videos, I use a few dabs of shave cream and mix it with shave soap on the brush in a Muhle shaving mug. I find this creates a really good lather.

    I choose to use the Geo F Trumper Lime cream & soap.

    Cairns, Queensland, Australia

  16. There's something I've been wondering about creams and soaps. Do they all perform the same or are the scents such as sandalwood, lemon & lime, etc.. just there for fragrance purposes?

    What I mean is, for example: sandalwood is usually recommended for dry skin, right?( Or so that's what shaving cream/soap manufacturers say) but is there really a difference if one was to buy lavender scented cream instead of the sandalwood. Do the different scents actually matter for skin types?

  17. In the early days of my DE "career" I used creams almost exclusively as my lathering skills weren't that great. 2.5 years later I've found myself using soaps more often. Palmolive, Tabac and Mitchell's Wool Fat are my favourites and I've been using the last most days since the cold weather set in.

  18. Nikolaj Hawaleschka Stenberg

    For me it's about the brush. See even though it might not actually be the case; I tend to prefer shaving soap with some brushes and shaving cream with others. What time of the year it is makes little difference to me.

    I prefer the Speick shaving cream.

  19. Honestly I've come to enjoy both. I used to do creams almost exclusively, but having had contact with some nice soaps (Such as Tabac) I have found that I like them as well. Just depends on the scent and what mood I'm in for that day.

  20. What frame of mind I'm in really determines whether I use a soap or cream on any given day. I love Castle Forbes Creams and Caraceni. There are a bunch of nice soaps out there like Mitchell's Wool Fat and of course the SRD soaps.

    Have fun,


  21. Pretty new to DE/Shaving Brush shaving, roughly a year and a half or so. My brother in-law got me started. He started me with a Bay Rum (no idea what company) that looke more like water. It was okay, no real lather.

    Because of the great reviews I tried Proraso and have been using it since. I've almost used up my cream that comes in a tub and it's wonderful. I'm waiting to use the cream.

    I'm not sure about what to use as a mug. I want to try soaps. Any tips on mugs for soaps? I've heard it can be a pain to lather if your soap is smaller than the mug, because it keeps moving around.

    1. I just use a standard size drinking mug to hold my soap. After it gets wet, the soap will stick to the bottom no matter how small it gets.

Comments are closed.