It may seem OK to substitute your face soap or body wash for shaving cream, but trust us: Shaving cream will make your skin happy.
Shaving cream, gel or lotion creates a layer of protection between your skin and the razor blade. That protective layer reduces the drag of the blade, in turn reducing the irritation you have from shaving, such as shaving bumps and razor burn. Choose a thick gel or cream with hydrating ingredients, and let it sit on your skin for a few minutes to soften hairs before shaving.
Also, take note. Anything with alcohol-based ingredients will only dry out skin, and menthol can cause allergic reactions.