Last updated on November 28th, 2018 by Garrick Dee
Shaving gels have gotten such a bad rap because of inferior brands loaded with chemicals that irritate skin.
But don’t discount these products because there are brands that actually use ingredients that will not dry out the skin.
Combine that with the rising number of men looking for great quality gels, companies have stepped up and coming up with better products.
And that’s what we’ll be focusing right now – the best shaving gels.
Before revealing the list, I feel that it’s important that you know what exactly a shaving gel is. Lots of men mistake cheap foam aerosol “shave gels” as a true shaving gel but that simply isn’t the case.
When you use cheap aerosol products what comes out is a gel substance that easily turns into a white lather similar to a shaving cream. Hence folks mistake this product as a shaving cream.
True shaving gels don’t have that property. In fact these products hardly produce any lather at all. Instead of a thick white shaving cream like appearance, shaving gels come has a thin soap-like lather. It’s hardly looks like a shaving cream or shaving soap.
All you need to use these are your fingers and a decent razor. If you have not read about our article about safety razors please take the time and read it here.
I’ve also written an in-depth guide comparing a safety razor and cartridge razor from the pros and cons to cost differences. These should help you make the right choice between these two types of razors.
Men who are looking for something that does not require a shaving brush or bowl would benefit most from a shave gel.
Like what I’ve said earlier, these products don’t require anything else but water to lubricate the skin.
In fact, some might argue that shave gels are great for sensitive skin because of the lubrication and moisture it provides.
The lubrication part is a huge plus according to a lot of reviews because it has a thicker consistency than a shave soap or cream.
In fact, very good products will provide a lubricating barrier that’ll protect the skin from the sharp blade.
This helps protect the skin from razor burn or ingrown hair. If you suffer from any of these issues then give this a try.
Also the clear property of it helps straight razor users get better visibility. Electric razor users will also benefit from the transparency.
Another benefactor would be men who have facial hair left on their faces like a goatee.
The lather-less property helps them trim without any lather hindering visibility.
Don’t forget to check out our beard style guide to give you more inspiration for beards.
First rule of thumb would be avoiding anything from an aerosol can. These products contain a lot of propellants that will dry your skin.
Next on the check list would be to look at the ingredients.
The more natural ingredients it contains the better.
If you have sensitive skin, look for something that does not contain any fragrance as this can irritate skin.
Ingredients such as rosemary and eucalyptus extracts will help as a natural antiseptic.
Aloe Vera helps moisturize and nourish.
With the huge myriad of products flooding the market right now, it’s overwhelming with so many options.
So here’s a rundown of the shave gels that we think are best.
One of the very few shave gels that’s truly fragrance free, Every Man Jack is a winner here because of its low price and non-toxic ingredient list.
It does not contain any Parabens, Phthalates, Dyes, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, none of that nasty stuff. If you’re looking for a product that’ll not irritate sensitive skin then give this a try.
Chamomile extract helps soothe and hydrate while aloe and vitamin E soothes irritation and protects skin.
This is hands down the best shaving gel available. It’s fragrance-free and does not contain any harsh chemicals that will irritate the skin. If you’re used to canned shave gels but want something better, then using this will be a seamless transition.
Here’s another fragrance and paraben free option that’s slightly more expensive.
Like Every Man Jack, Bulldog shave gel does not contain anything toxic. It contains 8 essential oils, jojoba oil, Aloe Vera and Konjac Mannan that protects, lubricates and nourishes for a smooth and irritation free shave.
This is brush-less shave gel (you don’t need a shaving brush) and will help you get a close shave even if you have a tough beard.
Men with sensitive skin will have another option because this product does not contain any fragrance.
No fragrance and parabens means this product will work great for most men, even those with easily irritated sensitive skin. Like the Cremo cream this shave gel does not need any shaving brush and a little goes a long way so a 5.9 ounce tube lasts a long time.
Ask your wife and she may be familiar with the Clinique brand since they are universally known brand in women’s cosmetics. But they also make men’s grooming products and their Aloe shave gel that’s fragrance free.
This product has slowly gained traction in men’s grooming because of its performance.
Thanks to the high aloe content, this shave gel will provide great cushion and the oil free formulation does not leave behind an oily residue.
Aloe also helps soothe razor burn and some it provides such good moisture that some men say that you will not need to apply after shave.
If you have oily skin, give this a shot as Aloe will absorb excess oil.
This will cost around $25 for a 4.2 ounce bottle, this shaving gel is pricey. But a little goes a long way.
Don’t let the low number of review dissuade you from trying this product. Clinique has high aloe content that help moisturize, protect and soothe razor burn.
Tomb45 is another newbie in the wet shaving community with the tagline “designed by Barbers for Barbers”.
Their product contains Aloe Vera and vitamin E that moisturize, soothe and replenish skin. It’s also one of the cheapest options in this list at just a little under $10 for an 8 ounce squeezable bottle.
If it’s something that barber’s use then it has got to be good. And you’ll see in the reviews that Barbers give this product a thumbs-up!
And feedback has been positive. Men say that this shave gel provides very good protection – blade slides smoothly. Being transparent helps a lot if you use a straight razor see what you’re doing.
However some men complained that it has a thin consistency and you need a lot of product for it to be slick which makes it less cost effective.
Tomb45 is another Aloe-based shaving gel that a lot of men swear by that protects and hydrates skin. If barbers think that this product is good then it must be.
When it comes to using organic ingredients, a few brands is as popular as Dr. Bonner. Their shave soap/gel contains an USDA certified all-organic ingredient list that fits anyone looking for such.
These include pure-castile liquid soap base and organic shikakai extract, organic coconut oil, cannabis, jojoba, peppermint, etc.
However despite the all-natural content some men found that this product lacks lubrication. Using a shaving brush helps create a richer lather but if you don’t have a shaving brush then opt for the other options in this list.
Dr. Bonner’s all-organic composition at less than $11 for a 7 ounce bottle is a great deal. However you may need a shaving brush to create a richer and slicker lather. Not an ideal option if you don’t have one.
This shave gel from Anthony logistics contains all-natural ingredients that will work well for sensitive skin. It contains a myriad of ingredients that heal, moisturize and protect the skin from the rigors of shaving.
The Aloe content helps moisturize skin and relieve irritation thanks to its antiseptic properties.
It also contains carrageenan that the manufacturer says soothes and heals but EWG says that this is a fragrance and hair conditioning agent. Two other ingredients – Eucalyptus and Rosemary extract also provides some relief to irritation.
One thing to note is that even if this goes on clear, rubbing this creates some sort of lather that may be a pro or con depending on your preference.
Despite being labelled as “fragrance-free” this product isn’t. Men say that it leaves a cool, menthol sensation post-shave that can irritate.
Anthony shave gel’s ingredient list is impressive and looks promising but reviews are mixed in terms of the protection it provides the skin. Some men say that it works while others say it lacks lubrication. So this is a case of YMMV (your mileage may vary).
There you have it, 6 shave gels that’ll help you get a close and irritation free shave. We really like the Old Man Jack shave gel because it’s cheap and it works well. Bulldog is another good option but slightly more expensive so the choice is yours.
Of course your mileage may vary but the safe choice would be something that does not contain any fragrance.
If you find this guide helpful please share it with your friends to spread the word.
Garrick spends his days researching and writing about grooming. When he’s not in front of his computer, you can find him hanging around with his wife and son.