If I’ve Never Used Shaving Cream, Should I Start Now?

You should try everything once, as they say (well, almost everything).

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They walk among us: People who, for whatever reason, have never hopped on the shaving cream train. They say shaving cream is unnecessary and does nothing in the way of improving your overall experience of shaving. They swear by shaving with nothing more than water and a sharp blade. Are they onto something? Are they neglecting their skin? Esthetician and skincare expert Gregory Dylan adamantly argues for the latter.

“Shaving cream or foam is essential to a good, clean shave,” he explains. “It provides slip for the razor and helps to minimize razor burn, while also helping to soften beard hairs for a smoother shave. A good shaving product will always improve the performance of your razor and the quality of your shave.” Lesson learned: Shaving cream does your face good, and many shaving myths are exactly that — myths.

To better understand how shaving cream works, think of it as lube — a strange analogy, I know, but just follow along. Essentially, it acts as a slippery barrier between the razor and your skin, meaning less friction, and therefore less damage to your handsome face. It also absorbs into your hairs, softening them for a more effortless shave. This is important, because less moisture means you end up using more pressure to achieve a closer shave, and that pressure is actually one of the biggest causes of irritation and redness.

None of this is to say you need to use shaving cream. If you have success shaving without shaving cream, by all means, go ahead. But at least give it an honest try, because you might find that shaving cream really does improve your shaving experience — and results in you looking less like you were attacked by a hive of angry bees afterward.

There are also an assortment of shaving cream alternatives if you want to start there. Just know that you can hop aboard the shaving cream train whenever you want — my personal invite to you never expires.