Eva asks…Is there a difference between men’s and women’s shaving creams? And what are the merits of shaving oils and lotions?
The Right Brain replies:
The main ingredients in shaving creams are the soaps that soften hair and lubricate skin. Most formulas create this soap my mixing a fatty acid (like stearic acid or palmitic acid) with an alkaline ingredient (like triethanolamine). This is true of products for men or women.
Let’s look at some ingredient lists for examples:
Typical Men’s shave cream #1 (Edge):
Deionized Water, Palmitic Acid, Triethanolamine, Stearic Acid, Isopentane, Sunflower Oil Monoglycerides, Sorbitol, Aloe Barbadensis Gel (Aloe Vera Gel), Fragrance, PVP, Isobutane, PEG 90M, FD&C Blue 1
Typical Mens’ #2 (Gillette):
Water, Stearic Acid, Triethanolamine, Isobutane, Laureth 23, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Propane, Fragrance, Butane, BHT
Typical Women’s Shaving Cream (Skintimate):
Purified Water, Palmitic Acid, Triethanolamine, Stearic Acid, Isopentane, Sunflower Oil Monoglycerides, Sorbitol, Lanolin Alcohols, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E, USP), PEG-90M, PVP, Fragrance, Isobutane, FD&C Red 40
See the similarity? There products differ by a few ingredients but the basic soap components are the same. The sensory characteristics are different but both types perform the same basic function.
What about lotions and oils?
Most lotions are similar to creams in composition but they’re usually not in aerosol form. Shave oils are quite a bit different. They usually consist of a mixture of vegetable oils without any water. Therefore, they don’t wet the beard as well as creams although they do lubricate the skin. Some people prefer creams, others prefer oils. Go figure.