Can You Use Soap as Shaving Cream?

Curious about, “Can you use soap as shaving cream?” The short answer is yes.

You can use soap as shaving cream. It will provide three out of four key functions of shaving cream: lubricate, track, and soothe + refresh. 

Can I use soap instead of shaving cream?
Can I use soap instead of shaving cream?


Shaving cream creates a lather, which acts as a protective barrier between your skin and the razor blade. This minimizes the friction and chance of redness, razor burns, scrapes, irritation, and overall damage. As a result, you can get a safer shave. 

Like shaving cream, soap can lather. The lather formed can do the same thing as that of shaving cream. Hence, soap can get the job done, too. 

However, the lather that you get from soap is not exactly the same. It is typically thinner and less stable. So, when you use it to shave, razor gliding is not as seamless. Hence, you may have to exert more effort and spend more time shaving

It will also require more moisture. You must have a quality lathering brush and a lot of practice. The latter will need more effort and time on your behalf, too. 


When you apply shaving cream, then remove it while shaving, you mentally track where you have already run around with the razor blade. As a result, you will not miss certain spots and shave the same spots too many times, causing irritation. 

Soap can help you keep track of your shaving in the same way as shaving cream. Thus, it is an adequate alternative. 

Soothe + Refresh 

After shaving with shaving cream, your skin will feel soothed and refreshed. With soaps, you can achieve the same sensations. Hence, it is not a bad idea to use soap instead of shaving cream, when the latter is not readily available. 

The function that soap misses, compared to shaving cream, is hydrating or moisturizing. 

Hydrate + Moisturize 

Since soap is made for cleansing, it has strong surfactants to effectively get rid of grime, firt, and other impurities. As this occurs, however, natural oils can be stripped away too. 

Specifically, soaps tend to have sulfates. They are not capable of distinguishing between natural skin oils and oils that are supposed to be cleared. Thus, they just take all the oils away, leaving the skin dry and prone to irritation. In the long run, your skin will also look aged. 

Shaving cream formulas contain ingredients, such as essential oils and emollients, that deliver hydrating or moisturizing effects so users’ skin do not dry out. 

Unlike shaving cream, soaps do not have these ingredients. And so, they cannot hydrate or moisturize the skin. 

Generally, because it is not specifically made for shaving, it will not do as good of a job as shaving cream. So, it is still better to use shaving cream. You should only use soap as a substitute for shaving cream when you are in a bind. 

Can You Shave With A Soap Bar?

Yes, you can. A soap bar can get the job done as long as it can give you a stable lather so that your razor blade can glide easily across your skin and does not cause irritation. 

When deciding on a soap bar, you must look for ones that contain moisturizers and skin and hair nutrients. In addition, it is best that your soap bar of choice does not have toxic components like added fragrances, artificial colors, and sodium laureth sulfate, that can cause irritation.

You can also use hand or body soap. So, you do not have to ponder, “Can you shave with hand soap?” or “Can you use body soap as shaving cream?” 

If you are choosing between a soap bar or liquid hand or body soap, the latter might be better as it is more commonly made with added hydrating or moisturizing ingredients — better for just-shaved skin. 

For example, Dove soap is an alternative worth considering. Many shavers have shared online that Dove soap is a viable option because: 

One: It can create a stable and dense lather quickly.

Two: It is a lot more affordable than other soaps sold in the market. The price range for Dove soaps is between $5 and $30. You can choose the one that fits your budget. Other soaps, such as Nivea, do not have options below $15.  

Three: It contains Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate and Stearic Acid. The latter (Stearic Acid) is an emollient that can smoothen and soften the skin. It also helps create a rich lather that feels velvety, whereas the former (Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate) is the less aggressive and harsh alternative to surfactants.

Four: It is unscented, and so, is a truly free-fragrance option. 

Even though it is not extremely slick, it is still slick enough for the razor blade to glide. So, case in point: Dove soaps can make a good shaving cream substitute.

How To Shave With Soap And Water

You can shave with soap and water. The next section will show you how. 

  1. Pick a soap to use. It should be able to lather and totally cover your skin. It is also best to go for one that is moisturizing, as it will enable your razor to glide across the skin smoothly, preventing irritation.
  2. Head into the shower. Clean your hair to get rid of any accumulated dirt and use warm water to soften the hair. You must allow 10 to 15 minutes for the water and heat to fully soften your skin and open up the hair follicles, which will enable a better and closer shave. 

In case you cannot go into the shower, soak the area that you intend to shave for 1 to 2 minutes with a towel and warm water. 

Before your shower, if you want, you can also exfoliate. 

  1. Squeeze soap or lather the soap bar in your hands with the help of a bit of water. You can also add a few drops of glycerin to increase the lather. The glycerin will help moisturize your skin and prevent itchy and minor irritations, as well. 
  2. Once you have a frothy lather, rub it over the area that you intend to shave. 
  3. Choose a razor that is suitable for your skin type and check to make sure that the blades are not dull, especially if it is not new and you shave often. 

Switch them if they are dull. Dull blazers are often caused by clogs. The clogs can trap moisture and invite bacteria, leading to an increased risk of nicks, cuts, ingrown hair, and even infections. 

  1. Start shaving. Make sure you shave in the grain of the hair/ in the same direction you are growing to minimize the risks of getting razor burns and nicks if you are shaving facial hair or pubic hair. 

If you are shaving your legs, chest, armpits, or other places on your body, shave against the grain to get a smoother outcome. But be sure to go slowly. 

  1. As you shave, see to it that your skin remains wet and there is enough lather. You can reapply if necessary. 

Also, rinse your razor under hot water often to get rid of accumulated hair. This will help you get a smooth shave and reduce irritation. In addition, it will assist in maintaining your razor lifespan. 

  1. Rinse your skin with cold water after you finish shaving. This will ensure that the pores are closed up. 
  2. Pat dry the newly shaved skin with a fresh, dry towel. Do not rub the area dry, as it can cause irritation. 
  3. Moisturize with an oil, lotion, or aftershave product. Usually, oils and lotions are for the body, while aftershaves are for the face. Moisturizing can soften the skin to stamp out ingrown hair and relieve inflammation or itching. 
It is possible to shave with just soap and water
It is possible to shave with just soap and water


Can you use soap to shave your legs?

Yes, you can use soap to shave your legs when you are in a bind. Here are the steps that you should take: 

  1. Get a double-edge safety razor instead of a razor with multiple blades as hair can easily get clogged in it. Then, as a result, you will pull and tug the hair, causing irritation or razor burns.
  2. Moisten and soften your legs with hot water and steam. You can either do this in the shower or bathtub for several minutes.
    1. For the former: Set your legs under the shower head, switch it on, and let the water from the shower head hit your legs. 
    2. For the latter: Fill your bathtub with warm water, then sit in it for several minutes, making sure your legs are submerged. This opens up your pores and makes it easier to pull the hair strands out of their follicles. 
    3. Or you can place a warm soaked towel on the area for several minutes. 
    4. Or, you can shave in the shower with water falling onto the area.
  3. If you are using a bar of soap, place it between your hands and rub vigorously to form a lather. If you are using liquid soap, dispense a dollop into your palms, add a bit of water and rub your hands together to lather.
  4. Spread the lather that you have just made over your legs, making sure you cover all the areas that you intend to shave. 
  5. Press the razor against your skin with moderate pressure to get rid of the hair at the follicle.
  6. Hold your razor and angle the blade at 45 degrees.
  7. Take your razor and shave, starting from your ankle. Make sure you rub it slowly against the grain (direction of your hair growth). 
  8. Shave the areas that do not have any tricky corners or crevices. Then, shave the tricky areas. Stretch the skin areas with your fingertips to make shaving easier if necessary.
  9. Rinse the razor under running water as you go to unclog hair from the blades.
  10. Remove the hair stroke by stroke. Each stroke should be about 2 to 3 inches and make sure your strokes do not go up to 8 inches in length. Note: Make sure you are not going through the same areas too many times. Also, always keep your skin wet. As you shave, you can reapply soap and water if necessary. 
  11. Splash the area that you have just shaved with cold water to get rid of loose hair and close up your pores. The latter will prevent bacteria from getting in.
  12. Rinse your legs thoroughly to remove all the soap. 
  13. Use a dry, fresh towel to dab the excess water from your legs, pat drying the skin. 
  14. Put on lotion, aftershave, or moisturizer to complete.
You can shave your legs with soap nd water in 6 steps 
You can shave your legs with soap nd water in 6 steps

Can I use soap to shave my pubic area? 

Since the pubic area is more sensitive, you should not use soap to shave your pubic hair.

Soap can cause the pubic area’s mucosal lining to become dry and unhealthy. Then, this can result in a number of other problems. Anal fissures, lichen sclerosus, inflammation, to name a few. You may also more likely get infections. 

So, use a shaving product and do not look for other answers to, “What can I use instead of shaving cream on my pubic area?” 

Can you shave without shaving cream and just water? 

Shaving is doable without shaving cream. However, you are likely better off with shaving cream. 

Shaving with just water means there is more friction between the razor blade and your skin. As such, you cannot get as smooth of a glide, and there will be pulling on your hair follicles, which can lead to irritation and razor burns.  

Note: People with ultra sensitive skin must be extra careful when deciding to shave with only water. 

Nevertheless, you can get two benefits when you shave with just water.

  • One: You can cut down on cost. 
  • Two: You can see the hairs clearly while you shave.


Now that you are armed with the answer to, “Can you use soap as shaving cream?” from this article, you should be able to make decisions when shaving.

Lee Cantor

Provide the best shaving product reviews and shaving advices to the wetshaving community and friends.

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