Skip to Content

Shaving Soap vs. Regular Soap: Is There Any Difference?

Shaving Soap vs. Regular Soap: Is There Any Difference?

Shaving is an essential part of our grooming routine; for most men, it is a daily activity. Thus, it is common to use regular bath soap if it is readily available. That may be acceptable, depending on the product, but it is not advisable as shaving soap is more suited for that purpose.

While regular soap is meant to aid the removal of dirt and excess oils, shaving soap has a different function. The latter aims to create a stable lather that softens hair and allows the blade to glide easily. That foam also provides smoothness and prevents cuts that would otherwise be a norm. Thus, these two soaps are different.

Do You Need Shaving Soap?

Yes, you need shaving soap if you shave regularly. These soaps usually contain different properties from the usual bath soap, including hydrating and moisturizing effects that provide slickness during shaving.

It also prevents the drying of the hair or beard. Some brands have additional benefits like antiseptic, soothing, and anti-inflammation.

Types of Shaving Soap

The types of shaving soap differ according to the properties used to classify them. They come in different shapes, including bars, sticks, and pucks. Based on ingredients, the three types are tallow-based, glycerin-based, and hybrid soaps.

The first type uses animal fat as the base and is usually the most common.

The second type uses a glycerine base to provide enough hydration.

On the other hand, hybrid shaving soaps use either tallow or glycerine, but in small amounts. Their properties are based on plant-derived stearic acid from fatty substances like palm oil or coconut oil. Most people use them as a vegan-friendly substitute.

Ingredients in Shaving Soap

As mentioned earlier, shaving soap has some properties that make it different from regular soap. The contents are responsible for these outcomes.

Soaping or Foaming Agents: The soaping agents are the components that contribute to lather formation. For shaving soaps, the foam must be stable enough to produce the required effect. Most brands use both sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide so that it easily rubs off on the brush despite being hard.

Fats and Oils: The stearic acid in oils in shaving soap adds to the foam stability and provides moisture and skin nourishment. The most common base is tallow which comes from animal fat. Thus, some replace it with glycerine or palm oil for a more sustainable and eco-friendly option. Some manufacturers use other oils like cocoa butter, castor oil, and coconut oil.

Fragrance: One desirable feature of good shaving soap is a great scent. The producers achieve that with a mixture of fragrances. They could also add essential oils like lavender, rose, lemon, and eucalyptus. However, people with sensitive skin may need to avoid such soaps because a high concentration of these components can cause skin irritation.

Bentonite Clay: Bentonite clay, also known as sodium bentonite, absorbs water. Therefore, it provides slip to the soap and allows for a smooth shaving experience. It also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that promote skin healing. Producers may substitute this component with kaolin.

Other Ingredients: There are other ingredients your shaving soap may contain to give the desired result during and after shaving. A component like vitamin E would help to nourish the skin. Emulsifying wax also holds water and produces a soothing feel while making the soap last longer. Manufacturers may also add other excipients, including preservatives, to make the soap last longer.

Applying the Shaving Soap Correctly

You must apply shaving soaps correctly to get the right effect. For that, you must have the best shaving materials, including a good razor. It would be best to have a shaving brush and a deep dish or bowl to produce the lather. Experts also recommend using warm water because it relaxes the skin and opens the pores.

Wet your brush with warm water by soaking it while you prepare your face. Then lather the soap in the bowl or dish. Keep stirring until the foam formed is thick. You can apply the foam on your face using circular motions, starting from the sideburns.

This technique stabilizes the cream and softens your facial hair to smoothen the process. Note that if the lather is too bubbly, you must apply more of the soap. Meanwhile, if the cream becomes too thick, it indicates the need for more water. When you get it right, you can then start shaving.

Showering With Shaving Soap

Can you shower with shaving soap? The answer is no. As explained earlier, regular soaps have unique properties that make them fit for skin cleansing. Meanwhile, shaving soap contains more conditioning and moisturizing ingredients to soften the hair.

However, there are divided opinions concerning the issue of using shaving soaps to bathe. Though not a substitute for regular soap, they usually have a nourishing and moisturizing effect. That is a desirable quality and can be great for the skin. Note the impact on your body and ensure it does not irritate or cause any reactions.

Some people believe that if shaving soap does not irritate your face, you can use it to shower. Also, the different brands available are unique and may have extra ingredients like vitamins that provide other benefits. Nonetheless, we advise against showering with shaving soap since that is not its purpose.

Using Regular Soap to Shave

Some people use regular soap when shaving soap is not available. And though we do not recommend it, it can also be a substitute. It provides a similar effect if your soap has good moisturizing properties and lathers well. It would depend on the brand you use and the ingredients.

Moreover, some people ask, is it okay to use soap instead of shaving cream? Since shaving cream works the same as shaving soap, they are interchangeable. Thus, you can also use regular soap as a substitute when necessary. Some people recommend adding oil to provide a moisturizing effect.

Meanwhile, if the shaving cream or other desired product is unavailable or expensive, there are other options. You can easily learn how to make shaving soap and do it at home because the process is straightforward. That way, you can add the ingredients you want for better effects.

Substitutes For Shaving Soap

Sometimes, you may run out of shaving soap and forget to restock. Or your favorite brand may be unavailable at the time. Thankfully, some regular skincare products can provide a smooth shaving experience. However, you must understand that some may not have the same benefits as shaving soaps.

  • Shaving Cream: Shaving creams are just as popular as soaps but work differently. The former does not require you to work up a lather. All you have to do is apply and leave it in for a few minutes before using a razor. It is the most acceptable substitute, and some people find it easier to apply.
  • Aloe Gel: Aloe Vera gel is a great skincare gel many people keep at home. It has moisturizing and soothing effects, making it a good substitute for shaving soap. It helps soften the hair and is mild on the skin, so there’s no irritation. Some brands even contain this ingredient because of its unique properties.
  • Hair Conditioner: Using hair conditioner to shave might seem strange, but there are claims that it works well. That is because it produces a similar effect of softening and hydrating the beards. It provides enough slip that makes the shaving process smooth. Thus, the texture mimics that of shaving cream or soap.
  • Oils: Another good substitute for shaving soap is coconut or olive oil. They are common in the home and have a light texture to provide the slippery effect you need for a smooth and close shave. They help retain enough moisture to soften the hairs and allow adequate lubrication.

How Long Can You Keep Shaving Soap?

The average shelf life of a shaving soap is six months, though some brands may last up to a year. Home-made products may stay up to a few months with the right storage conditions. The high fatty acid content may cause it to go rancid if there is no stabilizer like wax. That is why some people keep them in the refrigerator.

The frequency of usage may also determine how long the shaving soap lasts. Using it daily will reduce the time it spends on your shelf. However, the important thing is to preserve it appropriately. Ensure you drain the water thoroughly after each use to avoid melting and spoilage.


Now, you understand why shaving soap is essential and different from regular ones. The next thing to know is how to get the best shaving soap, as that determines your experience to a large extent. Various brands and types of shaving soap exist, and what makes them similar are the ingredients contained.