6 Best Shaving Soaps for an Old-School, Effective Shave

Daniel Bishop
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Shaving is a pretty personal thing – everyone has a slightly different technique, different products and different ideas about what makes shaving a comfortable, smooth, and enjoyable experience. But in reality, there are indeed some products that are just better than others. There are some things that, with any luck, you may have grown out of – like whichever nasty, old, cheap drug store shaving cream you lathered on with your college roommate and your roommate's dad's old Gillette Sensor Excel razor.

You have most likely become accustomed to the better shave creams and gels that have higher quality ingredients, protect your skin and provide lubrication to keep a closer, smoother, longer-lasting shave. Gentle formulas that are free of harsh chemicals and fragrances.

The best shaving soaps yield excellent results and that I am here to help.

NameCategoryProduct
Proraso Shaving Soap in a BowlBest OverallProraso Shaving Soap in a Bowl
Van Der Hagen Scented Shave SoapBudget PickVan Der Hagen Scented Shave Soap
Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood Shaving Soap in a Wooden BowlUpgrade PickTaylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood Shaving Soap in a Wooden Bowl

1. Proraso Shaving Soap in a Bowl

Our rating: 9 / 10

Proraso Shaving Soap in a Bowl

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Pros:

  • You don’t need much of it to get a perfect, comfortable, and irritation-free shave
  • Also effective at keeping your skin from drying or drying as it is kind to sensitive skin
  • Mild and fresh scent
  • Works for all skin types and even though it is called sensitive, it still worked out well on our ’normal’ skin tester
  • Easily creates a thick, rich and creamy lather that’s impossible to miss and it’s long-lasting
  • It’s very practical and convenient

Cons:

  • The bowl is quite small, so you may need to use more of it than you’d like to get a good shave
  • It’s a little tricky to find

Proraso Shaving Soap is the perfect product for those who are less inclined to spend very much money but still want to get a great value, and high quality shave, from a top-shelf product.

They have all the qualities of a great soap, at a price that makes it perfect for first-time wet shavers as well as those who have preferred a manual razor throughout their lives.

2. Van Der Hagen Scented Shave Soap

Our rating: 9 / 10

Van Der Hagen Scented Shave Soap

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Pros:

  • Refreshing scents
  • Includes shea butter and glycerin for moisturizing
  • Final ingredient list is short but contains non-irritants
  • Great price

Cons:

  • Taste is a little overwhelming at first
  • Best used with a brush

Shaving can be a real terror when you don’t have the right shaving tools to do the job right.

The Van der Hagen scented shave soap comes with three packages, each containing 3.5 ounces of scented goodness.

As with other products on our list for best shave soaps, Van der Hagen has made this option with a third party company, ensuring the high-quality you’ve come to expect from them.

3. Henry Cavendish Himalaya Shaving Soap

Our rating: 9 / 10

Henry Cavendish Himalaya Shaving Soap

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Pros:

  • Made in the USA
  • High-quality soap
  • Able to be had at a more affordable price
  • Lathers up quickly even in hard water, and provides a pleasant invigorating feeling on the skin
  • Made out of all natural ingredients

Cons:

  • Requires frequent re-applications of shaving cream as it doesn’t provide a very long-lasting lather
  • Doesn’t exactly “provide a smooth shave”

For those of us who still recall the legendary old-school barbershop straight razor shave, the experience of a smooth and fresh shave is what it’s all about.

These days you can still have that same experience with a double edge blade, with better results than those of a standard cartridge razor.

The Henry Cavendish Himalaya Shave Soap will provide you with just the type of shave that you’re looking for, without breaking the bank.

4. Barrister and Mann Bay Rum Shaving Soap

Our rating: 8 / 10

Barrister and Mann Bay Rum Shaving Soap

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Pros:

  • Made with essential oils and fragrances
  • Has a fragrance that is reminiscent of a spicy rum drink
  • The soap has a great post-shave feel to it
  • Contains moss like ingredients to calm your face
  • Large load size for more value
  • The soap does not dry out your skin

Cons:

  • The scent of the lather is not very strong
  • Does not last long

2.25 Ounce

That being said this soap is a great choice especially if you are looking for a soap that will moisturize your skin with ingredients that will leave your skin feeling great. The price of the soap is on the higher end but it is worth the money.

5. Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood Shaving Soap in a Wooden Bowl

Our rating: 8 / 10

Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood Shaving Soap in a Wooden Bowl

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Pros:

  • You can choose between 9 fragrances
  • Taylor offers three different soap types to choose from
  • All Taylor products are handcrafted
  • Great for both wet shaving and dry shaving
  • This particular model is triple milled
  • Comes in a great looking wooden bowl
  • The wooden bowl is durable and has a great design
  • You get a lot of bang for your buck
  • All Taylor products are made in England
  • You can choose from a 3.5 oz, 5 oz, or 20 oz container

Cons:

  • The container is not very tight fitting so it may leak
  • Does not come with a brush

This is one of the best shaving soaps on the market and our top pick. The elegant scent, high quality, longevity, and overall value are all factors that make this product a great buy.

The high-quality soap provides easy lather in the bowl or directly onto the face. It also rinses away quickly and doesn’t leave any type of sticky residue.

This particular model is triple milled to help protect your skin and create an incredibly rich lather.

6. Maison Lambert Shaving Soap

Our rating: 8 / 10

Maison Lambert Shaving Soap

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Pros:

  • The soap bar is fairly long-lasting
  • It is easy to lather, even if it is too dry
  • Provides excellent protection, even on sensitive skin
  • Scent does not last

Cons:

  • Some people may find the smell unpleasant
  • A bit pricey
  • Cannot be shipped to P.O. boxes

The Maison Lambert shaving soap is a product that is handmade with ingredients that are rich in antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals which will not only protect your skin but also improve its quality.

The soap will leave your skin feeling smooth and supple, and the ingredients that it is made from will reduce inflammation and irritation on your skin.

The soap’s lather is high in glycerin which will help to keep the moisture content in the skin. The soap has a very unique and strong smell, and the smell will last long after the shave is complete.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best soap for shaving?

Here are the best shaving soaps for an old-school, effective shave. The market offers far more than a simple can of shaving foam. These best shaving soaps offer the critical shaving qualities of the finest old traditions.

Here are the six best shaving soaps.

{1}. SHAVE PREP SOAP Made in Selden, New York, this mild shaving soap for men is made with tallow and lanolin, both conditioning ingredients. The lather leaves skin feeling soft and moisturized.
{2}. SMITH’S OLD FASHIONED SHAVE SOAP This classic shaving soap is famous for its fine lather and ability to create a rich, dark, protective coat to shield the face from irritation. The fine lather protects the face, builds a perfect foundation for a close, comfortable shave.

Which is best shaving soap or cream?

Shaving creams and soaps can lather up and may have different scents, but they’re not the most important factors when it comes to helping you get a close shave. A pre-shave oil or aftershave balm will get your face and pores ready for a great shave. The most important ingredients in a shaving cream are lathering agents like stearic acid, and perhaps even sodium hydroxide.

Shaving creams and soaps are also best used with a shaving brush for great results. A shave brush helps to exfoliate the surface of your face, warm up the hairs and skin, and coax out trapped hairs prior to shaving. It’s also easy, quick, and fun to use.

Is it OK to shave with soap?

Both the modern man and the refined gentleman prefer shaving with soap over shaving with foam or gel. Shaving with soap is as old-school as it gets, and it actually gives a closer shave than shaving foams and gels. Shaving with soap is more about the experience and the ritual of it than the shave itself. Younger men nowadays have a faster, more frenzied lifestyle, so shaving with foam or gel is more comfortable and the time saved is worth the tradeoff.

However, shaving with soap is a losing proposition for the refined gentleman. He has more time on his hands and shaving with soap allows him the pleasure of the ritual, the option of a closer shave, and a more manly reward in the end, once you get the hang of it.

What is shave soap good for?

Shave soap is often overlooked and is often considered by many to be ‘old-fashioned.’ However, it’s actually highly advantageous to use a good shaving soap that helps you get a smooth shave.

First, it lubricates and softens facial hair, which allows you to get a closer shave without cutting yourself. Second, the soap provides a natural, moisturizing barrier between your face and the blade, which protects both skin against irritation and blade against corrosion.

Traditional Western and Eastern cultures both have longstanding traditions of using shave soap and you can find it wherever high-quality shaving products are sold. It can cost a few dollars more than canned shaving foam. But shave soap lasts significantly longer and the extra cost can be justified if you consider the big picture.

Conclusion

So you’ve taken the plunge and gotten rid of your old disposables, and now you’re ready to take the next step and buy a proper shaving kit. While you could just go online and order one, and we’ll definitely be recommending a few of the best sellers there when you get to that point; there’s actually a few things that will help to decide things like which brand and style, the benefits of one kind of handle and not another, of one kind of blade and not another, etc. All of this is information that can be found here.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Proraso Shaving Soap in a BowlBest OverallProraso Shaving Soap in a Bowl
Van Der Hagen Scented Shave SoapBudget PickVan Der Hagen Scented Shave Soap
Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood Shaving Soap in a Wooden BowlUpgrade PickTaylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood Shaving Soap in a Wooden Bowl