Shaving Gels & Foams Smackdown: Natural vs Mainstream
This smackdown goes out to my husband. Over the years, he's been very good about testing out all the stuff that I buy for him "because it's better than that other crap you're using". Most the time he just puts up with it, but occasionally he asks me what, exactly, is so bad about the mainstream stuff he's been using for years.
He could just grow a beard, but a few Movembers
on the trot have convinced us all that he's not really a facial hair kind of bloke. He's stuck with shaving. If your man is, too, read on and find out why he should be moving away from the mainstream, and going for a natural shave gel or foam.
How do Shaving Gels & Foams Work?
Shaving gels and foams work by
moisturising and softening the hairs, so that they're easier to shave. They also provide a layer of lubrication on your skin so that you get less irritation, and so that the razor glides, rather than scrapes, across your skin. Shave gels usually contain soaps, detergents and lubricants to clean your face and allow you to shave easily.
To get the best shave, you really should be using shaving soap and a bristle brush, according to the Village Barber
. Both my brothers swear by their local barber who gives them a haircut and a proper wet shave. They both reckon it's the smoothest and closest shave you'll ever get.
Of course, not everyone has time for a soap and bristle brush shave every day, but my husband gets around this by only shaving every third or fourth day. He's looking pretty rough (or so I tell him!) by the fourth day, but he's used soap and a bristle brush since well before I met him. He says it's the only way to get a really good, smooth shave.
Alcohol based shave gels and foams dry the skin, so ideally you're looking for something with good lubrication, some nice moisturising oils and good foaming ability. Of course, if you're shaving every day and you need to do it quickly, a product that's already foamed is a big time saver. So, let's check out our two foaming shave products, the natural vs the mainstream.
What's in Acure Foaming Shave Gel
: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glycerin, Babassu Oil Polyglyceryl Esters, Xanthan Gum, Carageenan, Citrus Bergamia (Bergamot) Essential Oil, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Extract (and) Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Ferula Galbaniflua (Galbanum) Resin Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Crambe Abyssinica Seed Oil Phytosterol Esters, Salix Nigra (Willowbark) Extract, Arnica Montana Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Extract, Calendula Officinalis Extract, Avena Sativa Kernel Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Azulene (Chamomile Extract).
Bergamot oil can be photosensitizing. This one is a low furocoumarin bergamot, however, which is a non-photosensitizing essential oil.
The only ingredient I'm not much of a fan of is the phenoxyethanol
. Otherwise, this is a great ingredients list. The foam part of this shaving gel is created by the use of those clever little foam pumps
, where the liquid is mixed with air to create a foam. There's no propellants required, just air and some clever packaging.
The bonus part of using foam pumps is that you actually use less product
each time, so it makes the product more economical to use, too. This is better for the environment, as you're buying less often.
What's in Gillette Sensitive Skin Shave Foam
: Water, Triethanolamine, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Laureth-23, Butane, Isobutane, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Propane, Fragrance, BHT.
There's just no comparison with these two products. Whereas the Acure product is full of aloe vera, glyceryn and natural oils, the Gillette product is just full of chemicals that are bad for people and bad for the environment.
Triethanolamine scores a 5 on EWG
, and is a respiratory toxicant and skin allergen. Butane (7 on EWG
), Isobutane (7 on EWG
) and Propane (4 on EWG
) are all propellants, and is what gets the stuff out of the can. They're all skin irritants or allergens.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a surfactant, and it's used to help foam and clean your skin. SLSs are irritants
, like many sulphates, and can be especially damaging to eyes.
Fragrance is another irritant, and should be avoided where possible. Fragrances
can contain phthalates and endocrine disrupters, too.
And finally, butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) gets a 6 on EWG
. It's a preservative, and a known skin irritant or allergen.
For a product that's marketed as being for sensitive skin, there sure are a lot of ingredients that are irritants and allergens.
Smackdown: Acure Foaming Shave Gel vs Gillette Sensitive Skin Shave Foam
There's just no contest here - the Gillette product is rubbish, and the Acure one is really good. Why would you choose the mainstream product here?
Other Natural Shaving Products
There are a few natural shaving gels, creams and balms out there.
Dr Bronner's Shave Balm
. Lasts forever, and definitely works better if you use this with a brush.
Weleda Men's Shaving Cream
. Another good product that lathers well with a brush, or can be used without a brush. This seems to last for ages, too, and it has a lovely smell.
Badger Shave Soap
. This one is an old fashioned bar soap, that will give you a good lather when you use a brush.
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