Shaving cream is a cosmetic product that softens and lubricates your hair to make shaving easier. When you apply shaving cream to your skin, it creates a lather that serves as a protective, moisturizing barrier between the razor and your skin.
This is meant to lower the risk of cuts and nicks from your razor and to minimize scraping and damage to your skin. Shaving cream can also help you get a closer shave.
But what about when you need to shave but don’t have shaving cream available? If you find yourself in this position, you still have plenty of household options. In a pinch, it’s also possible to carefully shave without using any lubricant at all.
Let’s go over what happens when you shave without shaving cream and what to do when you don’t have any handy.
When you shave with a hand razor or safety razor, you’re dragging a sharp surface over your skin’s soft, sensitive surface. It’s possible to do this carefully and safely. But there are some risks and side effects caused by dry-shaving.
Nicks and cuts
Shaving without shaving cream may increase your risk for a shaving injury. When you shave without any lubrication (known as dry-shaving), there’s less protection on your skin when you shave.
Dry-shaving has the potential to scrape off skin cells, even if you don’t visibly nick or cut your skin. This can cause razor burn, itchy bumps, and redness after shaving.
Even if you don’t have shaving cream at your disposal, you can use some alternatives. People who are allergic to shaving cream, rejoice: There are plenty of other safe options for you.
Note that shaving with shower gels or soaps can coat your skin and make it slippery. That means they can dull your razor blade because they don’t rinse off of it as well. They can also make it more likely that you hurt yourself shaving.
Safer alternatives to shaving cream include:
- hair conditioner or cream rinse
- cream-based body lotion
- aloe vera gel
If you don’t have any options for a shaving cream alternative, you can shave with only water.
Steaming up your bathroom with a hot shower will help open up your pores and hair follicles. Then switch the stream to a warm (not hot) temperature before shaving carefully.
Finish the shower with a jet of colder water to help lock in moisture, and use lotion if you have it once you’ve toweled off.
You shouldn’t make it a habit to shave without shaving cream because of the risks and side effects, but obviously, there isn’t always a choice. Sometimes, you just run out.
The key to shaving without shaving cream is to treat your skin even more gently than you would when you shave normally.
- If you don’t have shaving cream handy but you do have a brand new razor available, use it! A razor or blade cartridge fresh out of the package is less likely to spread bacteria if you do injure yourself shaving.
- Don’t push hard against dry skin with a razor, and shave with the grain of your hair (even though shaving against the grain is what gets you a slightly closer shave).
- It’s a good idea to use warm water or steam from a shower to open the hair follicles before you shave.
- Use a washcloth to cover the area you’re shaving with warm water as you shave. If you’re able to get a continuous stream of warm water via a showerhead, even better.
- Don’t multitask. Concentrate on the task at hand to prevent injury.
- When you run out of shaving cream, it’s definitely not the ideal time to shave your entire body. Keep the area you shave to a minimum, only hitting the visible areas of hair or hair you’re particularly concerned about.
- If you have to shave a sensitive area like your armpits, your bikini line, or your pubic area without any shaving cream, keep in mind that you’re probably not getting a super close shave. You’re also running a higher risk for razor bumps or ingrown hairs afterward. Make your decision accordingly.
After you’ve dry-shaved or shaved with only water, take steps to take care of your skin to minimize side effects.
- Create a moisture barrier for your skin by using aloe, shea butter, coconut oil, or your lotion of choice.
- If you have some handy, use your favorite aftershave.
- Tend to any nicks or cuts to your body by using a healing ointment like bacitracin or neomycin (Neosporin) and covering with a protective bandage.
- When you shave next, make sure that you do have shaving cream available before you get started.
Shaving without shaving cream shouldn’t be your preferred option, but it’s possible to do it safely.
By following recommended practices, going gentle on your skin, and taking good care of your skin afterward, you can make the best of the situation. But do try to have shaving cream available for next time.