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By Kiehl’s Education Team

Should you be using shaving cream or shaving gel? Discover which product is the best fit for your specific skincare needs.

Model with shaving cream on their face shaving their cheek

Shaving might be a perfected part of your grooming routine, one that you rarely think twice about. But for some, it can be a challenging task that leaves you with razor burn and a few not-so-flattering bumps. Whether you’re doing a full beard shave or cleaning up your stubble, creating (and sticking to) a great shaving routine with essential products is key to achieving a close, comfortable shave. 

While having a quality razor is at the top of the must-have list, if you want a safe, clean shave that is free of irritation, having a shaving aid in your grooming arsenal is just as important.  

When you’re shopping around for shaving products, the question of whether or not you should use a shaving gel or cream ultimately depends on your specific shaving needs and sensitivities. For example, your choice in either formula might depend on where you’re grooming, how often, and how sensitive the skin is in those areas. 


When you are shaving any area (whether it’s removing hair on your legs or shaping up your beard), there is always a risk of developing
razor bumps or burn. The process of gliding a sharp blade across your skin multiple times a week can sometimes have a harsh effect on
your skin, which is why prepping the skin as much as possible before shaving is so important. Shaving cream formulas are aerated,
which means that they have a greater surface area and provide more coverage. They create a barrier between the skin and your blade,
protecting and lubricating your skin to ensure a clean, cut, and irritation-free shave. Priming your skin with shaving cream or shaving gel a
few minutes before you pick up your razor can also help prevent ingrown hairs.

Tube of Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream White Eagle

Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream White Eagle

Our Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream White Eagle is made with cooling and calming ingredients like Menthol, Camphor, and Aloe Vera and helps prep any skin type for an ultra-smooth, comfortable shave. A favorite among sensitive skin types (thanks to its soothing, fragrance-free formula), this shaving cream can also be used to shave your legs.  


While shave creams and shave gels both can help with achieving a smoother, softer shave, there are a few differences between the two
— mainly, the consistency. Shaving creams have an airy texture that lathers up, while shaving gels are clear and lightweight. At the end of
the day, choosing between the two product types all comes down to what you’re grooming and how you need to groom it. Shaving
creams can help condition and soften the hair, whereas shaving gels lubricate the surface of the skin if you’re grooming shorter hair. If
you’re relatively new to shaving, a shaving gel might be easier to work with. These transparent formulas do not lather, so you can clearly
see what you are shaving for a more precise finish. On the other hand, if you enjoy classic, lathering formulas, and prefer a shaving aid
that will cover a large surface area, a shaving cream is likely to be a better fit.


Following a dedicated shaving routine is the best way to ensure smooth results every time you reach for your razor.

Bottle of  Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash

Step 1: Prep Your Skin and Hair

Your shaving products may be unique to your skin type and shaving tool of choice, but all shave routines should follow a few key steps. The first one is always to start with clean, damp skin. Begin by wetting your face, which helps to soften your facial hair—starting your shaving routine while you are fresh out of the shower or in the shower can help you achieve the best results. Your skin will already be clean, soft, and free of any excess oil or dead skin cells, making it easier to get a smoother or closer shave without damaging the skin. Be sure to use a face wash like our Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash to effectively remove any dead skin cells, dirt, and oil while giving your skin a fresher, healthier appearance. 

You can also use a scrub to further prep your skin. Facial Fuel Energizing Scrub is a Kiehl's-favorite because it not only exfoliates but also helps soften tough facial hair for a more comfortable, closer shave. Exfoliating the skin before shaving can help reduce incidences of ingrown hairs, bumps, and can also lead to less resistance on the skin to help your razor last longer.  

Kiehl's Expert Tip: If you are shaving your body rather than your face, we suggest shaving in the shower instead of saving this step for afterward. Load your hair up with a hair mask, like our Amino Acid Scalp Moisture-Restoring Treatment Mask, that needs a few minutes to work its magic, then shave while you wait to rinse it out.  

Tube of Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream with Menthol White Eagle

Step 2: Apply a Shaving Cream or Gel

Once your skin is ready for shaving, it is time to apply a shaving cream or gel. Use upward, circular motions to rub the shaving aid onto your skin with either your fingers or a shave brush. Applying the formula with a shaving brush can help create a more even coating. If you opt for this method, try a brush-on shaving cream like our Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream with Menthol White Eagle. If you have thicker hair, let the cream or gel sit for two to three minutes to penetrate and soften the hair before you begin shaving. 

Model with shaving cream on their face shaving their cheek

Step 3: Start Shaving

Now that your skin is prepped and your shaving products are applied, it is time to grab your razor. Our recommendation is to shave in the direction that your hair grows to help prevent razor bumps and burns, but you can tailor your shaving experience to whatever feels most comfortable or effective for you. After each time you swipe your skin with the razor, run it under hot water before you continue. You should also discard your razor or razor blade and replace it with a new one after five to seven shaves.

Tube of Ultimate Razor Burn & Bump Relief

Step 4: Use Post-Shaving Products as Needed

No matter how well you prep your skin, you may still experience bumps or some skin irritation from shaving. Whether your skin feels red, irritated, or bumpy post-shave, there are products specifically formulated to target these concerns. To reduce feelings of irritation caused by shaving, we recommend our Ultimate Razor Burn & Bump Relief. This formula contains Aloe Vera, Lipo-Hydroxy Acid, Willow Herb Extract, and Vitamin E, and works instantly to hydrate, remedy feelings of irritation, and gently exfoliate to help reduce the appearance of ingrown hairs. After shaving, apply a small amount of product to the shaven area with clean fingertips, avoiding contact with your eyes. 

If you have oily or blemish-prone skin, add our Calendula Herbal-Extract Toner to your shaving routine. This unique facial toner is formulated with soothing Calendula and Allantoin and helps to balance oily-prone areas and soothe skin when used as an aftershave lotion. Moisten a sterile cotton pad with the formula and apply it to your skin in any areas where it is needed.


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