The role of shaving cream is to provide a buffer between the rough old razor and your delicate facial skin. The cream acts as a sort of spackle that gives the razor some glide rather than getting caught on bumps and hairs. Ideally, the cream will also cleanse and moisturize. So, what skin-loving ingredients should you be looking for in your shaving cream?
Water is the main ingredient in all creams, and a lot of high-quality creams contain soothing herbal infusions. They're usually listed at the head of the ingredients list, right next to the water. Chamomile is a great shaving cream ingredient because it's a natural anti-inflammatory and is well-known for its skin calming properties. Aloe is another excellent inclusion because it's very soothing and healing to your skin. Also, look for glycerin, which is a humectant that draws water into your skin to help keep it moisturized.
Herbal extracts are also ever-present in good quality creams. Marshmallow extract comes from the marshmallow root (the plant, not the puffy confection) and is a natural anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory, which helps keep razor burn at bay. Evening primrose extract is another anti-inflammatory that also helps ease itchiness. Calendula extract, which is just a fancy word for the common marigold, is helpful at easing the discomfort from minor burns and cuts, which are common during shaving.
You'll also want to look for a shaving cream formula that contains moisturizing tree nut oils like soybean, sesame, olive and coconut. These natural oils are great for keeping facial skin soft and supple. And as far as scent goes, keep an eye out for all-natural essential oils. These scented oils are plant-based, so they not only smell great, they serve a function as well. Peppermint oil is common in shave creams and provides a nice tingle at the end of your shave. Cinnamon oil has a pleasant aroma and actually helps lift the hair for a really close shave. And if you want to call up your inner lumberjack, cedarwood has a nice, mellow, woodsy scent.