Editor’s Note: This post has been updated to reflect new selections for 2016.

There are three main factors to every shave: the razor, the lather and the man. While the latter is out of our control (everyone’s skin is different), you have options when it comes to the razor and lather of choice. For razors, there are straight, safety, disposable, electric and cartridge options, each with its own benefits. The same is true for the shaving medium: Creams, oils, soaps and gel all behave differently. Mainstream foams that come out of aerosol cans, like Gillette or Barbasol, can actually irritate skin — in fact, some claim that those foams do little more than show men where they’ve already shaved. Instead, we suggest using higher-quality creams, like the ones here. Unlike the foams, these creams contain more hydrating and conditioning elements, without many of the chemicals that dry out skin. The result is a healthier face and a more comfortable shave.

– Additional Contribution by K.B. Gould

Crown Shaving Co. Shave Cream


This rich and hydrating shaving cream is made in Toronto. According to the brand, it’s meant for “vagabonds, gentlemen and ruffians,” which we take as hyperbole to simply mean: men can, but don’t have to, use a shaving brush with it.

Cremo Shaving Cream


Unlike many popular foam shaving creams, Cremo’s product doesn’t contain any air. The result is a shaving cream that’s more lubricating and protective. Basically it’ll help you get a much closer shave, even if you just have average blade skills.

Elizabeth Street Shaving Cream


Looking for a shaving cream that’s protective and smells great? It has a complex scent with hints of rosemary, juniper, fir and vetiver. Try this guy. It’s handmade in Brooklyn.

Harry’s Shave Cream


This is Harry’s signature shaving cream. It’s moisturizing, with coconut and marula oils, and because they sell direct, each bottle is extremely affordable.

Penhaligon’s London Blenheim Bouquet Shaving Cream


On top of making a vast number of boutique fragrances, this luxury, 146-year-old British perfume house also specializes in men’s grooming products. Plus it’ll leave your skin smelling subtly of citrus and musk.

Proraso Shaving Cream


Proraso has four shaving creams, designated by color: red (for thick-bearded men), white (for sensitive skin), blue (moisturizing) and green. This green tube is their staple, for all skin types. It’ll leave your face with a subtle menthol scent.

The Art of Shaving Shaving Cream


For guys who simply want a smooth shave, choose this unscented option. It’s hydrating and can be used with or without a shaving brush. Just make sure to shave as you usually would, “during or after a hot shower.”

Malin + Goetz Vitamin E Shaving Cream


Here’s a shaving cream that’s specifically made for men with sensitive skin. Using a combination of vitamin e and amino acid proteins, they say it’s able to more effectively balance the ph levels in a man’s skin. Try it to find out.

Wm. Neumann & Co. Shaving Cream


The brand has redefined their original 1911 formula using a blend of various ingredients, including high-quality oils, aloe, shea butter and botanical extracts. The result is a creamy and invigorating shave cream that boasts notes of sandalwood, rosewood and vanilla.

D. R. Harris Shaving Cream


This London-based company makes shaving creams with several scents, including rose, eucalyptus and almond. This is their lavender. It’ll leave your face moisturized and smelling like spring.

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