Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How can a man get the best shave possible?

Choosing Shaving Creams and Oils

Many men have questions when it's time to choose shaving products. What's the deal with shaving oil? Is there a difference between shaving cream and gel? Do you really need aftershave? Let's get to the bottom of shaving oil, first.

Shaving oil may be new to you. It's not the same as the blade oil that electric razors need. Shaving oil is a pretreatment for your skin that adds additional lubrication between your skin and the razor blade. Look for oils that are plant-based, such as olive oil -- these will be less likely to clog pores or leave you feeling greasy -- and apply it to your skin before you lather up with shaving cream.

And speaking of shaving creams, when you choose a shaving cream or gel, look for a product that's thick and hydrating. The purpose of these gels and creams is to create a protective layer between your skin and the razor, which helps to reduce irritation and razor burn. It creates a slippery surface for your razor blade to glide over, which equals less drag and irritation. Creams and gels also help soften your stubble, and if they don't contain alcohol-based ingredients, they will also help soften and moisturize your skin.

Aftershaves, the last step in the product line, offer more than a pretty smell -- they help to close your pores, and the best ones also moisturize your skin. Choose an aftershave that's a lotion or balm and that contains hydrating ingredients such as shea butter, glycerin, jojoba, coconut or other oils. Be sure it doesn't contain alcohol-based ingredients -- these will only strip moisture and natural oils from your face.