Gel vs Soap vs Cream.

Discussion in 'Shave Clinic & Newbie Check-In' started by Danny., Feb 23, 2013.

  1. Hi.
    I was just wondering why is it that experienced shaving hobbyists consider shaving soaps and creams to be better than gels?

    Your average man on the street is using a shave gel from a can (typically Gillette) and wouldn't even think of buying a bowl of soap and a brush. On the flip side, anyone who's anyone in the world of shaving uses either a solid soap or a cream from a tube. I have watched hundreds of videos on YouTube and not a single shaving enthusiast ever uses a shave gel.

    I was just wondering why is this? Are gels that bad? Why is a traditional soap or cream better?

    Don't get me wrong, since discovering the traditional soaps I now enjoy using them. But why are gels taboo in the world of de and straight razor shaving?

    Sorry if that seems like a dumb question, but I'm a noob and I need educating :)
  2. I switched from canned gel to the nicer creams and a brush last fall, but I only started DE shaving like 3 weeks ago. I was originally given a sample of Anthony Logistics shave cream and Proraso green. I tried to use them without a brush and couldn't really tell a difference in them and the can of Gillette Sensitive that I had. I picked up a cheap brush on a whim one day and decided to try them that way. There was no comparison - even using cartridges. The shave was a closer shave, it felt better, and I thought they smelled good. Even if I never tried DE shaving, I'd be done with cans of gel/foam. The nicer creams just made that much difference in my shave. I've not tried a shaving soap yet. My first one should be coming in from bullgoose the first of this coming week, but I'm curious to see if it's going to give the close shave like the creams.


    Edited to add:

    Until I received the samples of the nicer creams I used the canned gels and creams because I didn't even realize that anything else was out there. The creams and soaps aren't carried by my local grocery or drug stores where I bought my shaving stuff. The cans and cartridges are all they have around here.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2013
  3. Marco

    Marco Steward Contributor

    Mate, no question is dumb when it comes to traditional wet shaving and is properly asked. Shaving soaps and shaving creams are higher quality products compared to any canned gel or foam. They do work with a shaving brush and this fact alone already puts them in a superior league - remember a great shave is gotten with a proper prep and what is there better than a good brush lifting the whiskers and massaging the skin? Also, many traditional soaps and cream coming from trusted brands or artisan makers contain the finest natural ingredients and no preservatives, unlike most gels or foams. They also smell better and create a better, more effective lather. All these things put together make shaving more enjoyable and results are clearly superior. Just my thoughts.
  4. Niles

    Niles Moderator Emeritus Contributor

  5. After reading Marco's answer, this thread can now be closed.

    PS - Welcome to B&B Danny!
  6. Hi Danny, welcome to B&B! If you get a chance, stop on by the Hall of Fame and introduce yourself in more detail.

    To answer your question: I really think that Marco nailed it, but let me add my personal experience. I have used a brush and good quality cream since I started shaving in the 70's, but the few times that I tried a gel or foam in a can, I felt that my face was really dry after shaving. If you have a look at the list of ingredients of most popular gels/foam, there's an awful lot of stuff that sounds like it belongs in a chemistry lab instead of on your face--and there is little or no water in there, which is the best way to soften up whiskers and make shaving pleasant. For me, the difference was immediately obvious, and I kept to my brush and creams/soaps even while shaving with a Trac II and Mach 3.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2013
  7. Why settle with a hamburger when you can have Filet Mignon? Both will fill you up but one is a better experience.
  8. Thanks for the info. So on the whole, tins of gel are full of chemicals and can dry the skin.
    In my own experience of using the soap and brush I thought it had felt more moisturising and certainly better fragrance. I just thought it was strange that gels are so popular in general, but unpopular with shaving enthusiasts. I suppose its the same as de vs cartridge, if supermarkets only sell cartridges and gel, that's all people will buy. Until of course, they somehow stumble across the alternative and try something different.

    I did sort of introduce myself a couple of months ago when I first joined and started my de journey, but I will try to introduce myself properly in the hall of fame later.

    Thanks again.
  9. Any time, Danny. That was a good question. Assumptions about the "right' way to shave often get propagated as facts if no one is bold enough to actually ask hard questions. That's what companies like Gillette are counting on.

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