Beard care vs. skincare for men

The best shaving creams and aftershaves for your face and neck

Stephanie Papanikolas Avatar

Stephanie Papanikolas
Sep 19, 2019 · 4 min read

We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

If you’re suffering from dry skin, ingrown hairs, or acne after you shave, your beard care products might be to blame. Irritating and pore-clogging ingredients are super common in shaving cream and aftershave lotions, which can be super upsetting to the skin beneath. So if you’re looking for the best shaving cream and aftershaves for men, here are some beard care tips that won’t leave you with beard rash or razor burn.

The basic beard care kit

It’s fair to say that, just like our skin, everyone’s beard is individual, so there’s not necessarily any one-size-fits-all routine for your neck and face.

If you’re prone to ingrown beard hairs, you might be shaving a little too close. Super curly, wiry hairs can grow into the skin, causing acne-like bumps. Letting your beard grow out a bit has the benefit of making certain ladies weak in the knees, and also preventing razor bumps. Using an electric razor like the one by Philips Norelco is the best way to make sure your shave isn’t getting too close for comfort.

For best beard results, you should soak your fuzzy face and neck with a shaving cream for several minutes before starting your shave, and apply a moisturizing aftershave balm when you’re finished. Whether it's a face foamer, beard oil, or any other product, make sure they don’t have ingredients that can irritate your skin or clog pores. And, after shaving, you should cleanse your face to remove any lingering product residue.

Ingredients to avoid in men’s shaving

If you want to decipher the ingredients of your skin and beard care products, you can use CosDNA.com to analyze whether or not they’re pore-clogging or irritating — anything rated 3 or above in the “acne” and “irritant” columns should be avoided.

Unfortunately, men’s skincare is positively overrun with ingredients that have been proven to be pore-clogging and irritating. Here are the most common ones I’ve come across:

  • Glyceryl Stearate SE

  • Glycine Soja Oil

  • Sodium lauryl sulfate

  • Laureth-23

  • Isopropyl Palmitate

  • Isopropyl Myristate

  • Coconut oil

  • Denatured Alcohol

  • Fragrance

Some ingredients — like alcohol and fragrance — are nearly impossible to avoid completely, so keep in mind that the higher up an ingredient is on a list, the more of it is contained within the product. And if a product has several bad ingredients on its list, don’t risk it.

The best drugstore shaving cream and aftershave for skin sensitivity

Need to replace your old shaving kit with stuff that won’t break you out or break the bank? Here’s what to look for at your local pharmacy:

Cremo Cream Shave Cream

($8.29, 6.0 oz)

An ultra-lubricating shave cream with allantoin and aloe that softens your beard while soothing the skin beneath. Because it contains essential oils and synthetic fragrance, this one might not be the best for sensitive skin. But when it comes to the best drugstore shaving cream, this one is as close as it gets.

Try pairing it with…

Every Man Jack After Shave Face Lotion

($12.49, 3.2 oz)

This refreshing aftershave balm gets its kick from menthol esters while butylene glycol gives a soothing boost of hydration. With a fragrance-free formula, this lotion is perfect to apply all over the face and neck to keep your beard and face moisturized.

The most bang-for-your-buck shaving cream and aftershave for skin sensitivity

Whether you want facial locks laden with luxury or you’re just looking for something special for the beard in your life, here’s the product duo to reach for when you want to indulge.

Jack Black Beard Lube Conditioning Shave

($35.00, 16.0 oz)

This shave cream doubles as a pre-shave oil and skin conditioner, giving you the most bang for your buck. Glycerin and dimethicone replenish moisture, helping to soften your hair and skin, preventing razor burn. Meanwhile, menthol gives the refreshing kick of a classic shaving cream.

Jack Black Post Shave Cooling Gel

($20.00, 3.3 oz)

This post-shave lotion is formulated to soothe skin irritation and minor cuts. Free of alcohol and added fragrance, the aftershave gel makes skin feel cool and refreshed without stinging or burning. Aloe and witch hazel promote healing while glycerin, allantoin, and sodium hyaluronate reinforce the skin’s natural moisture barrier.

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A beard’s best friend

It can be tough to tell the difference between breakouts and razor bumps, and for good reason: anti-acne ingredients can actually help treat inflammation caused by ingrown hairs too! Curology offers custom prescription-strength topical creams with bump-busting ingredients such as tretinoin, azelaic acid, and clindamycin that exfoliate, clear bacteria, and improve hyperpigmentation. Sign up for a free trial and choose between just the custom cream or the complete 3-step set for just $4.95 to cover the cost of shipping and handling.

Stephanie Papanikolas Avatar

Stephanie Papanikolas

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