What's in Your Shaving Cream?

Save your skin with these must-read tips.

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A good one helps keep stubble at bay and makes the shower a less gory place (major nick… nooo!). Here's why plain old soap can't compare.

What You'll Find in Most Creams

Lathering Agents: Lathering agents add volume and texture to the cream, helping to keep skin protected from nasty cuts and razor burn. Some common ones are laureth-23, stearic acid, and palmitic acid.

Hydrators: Hydrators like glycerin help soften skin and hair to give you a closer shave.

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Gases: Gases act as propellants to push the product out of the can. Pentane and isobutane are two of the most widely used.

Pro tip: Have sensitive skin? Avoid products with alcohol, and go with a fragrance-free cream formula.

Follow These Shaving Rules

Rule #1: Prep Well

To prevent irritation, always shave at the end of your shower. That way, the steam can help soften your skin and stubble. It's also a good idea to let the cream sit on your skin for a minute before you grab the razor — it'll make hair bendable for an easy shave.

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Rule #2: Mind Your Blade

It needs to be clean and sharp for the closest shave. An old, dull razor will drag against your skin no matter how much cream you use, and it won't slice off hairs neatly. Avoid nicks or razor burn by replacing the blade every two weeks. And despite what you may have heard, it's OK to shave against the direction of your hair growth. As long as that blade is sharp, you shouldn't end up with rashiness.

Rule #3: Follow Up With Moisturizer

Shaving gently exfoliates your skin and can make it dry, so be sure to slather on a rich cream right after you shower. Any thick lotion should do the trick, but one with super emollients like cocoa butter or shea butter works best.

Ran Out of Shaving Cream? Use This Instead

Your best bet is your guy's shaving cream. It's got the same basic ingredients (just in a more manly smelling formula). Or in a pinch, you can swap in hair conditioner, olive oil, or a creamy body lotion. Just stay away from bar soap and body wash, which don't create a thick enough lather to let the blade glide easily across your skin.

This story originally appeared in the July/August 2016 issue of Dr. Oz The Good Life.

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