The 13 Most Soothing, Smooth and All Around Best Shaving Soaps for Men

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There are few things that can make a modern man feel more like a classic gentleman than grabbing a proper shaving brush and lathering on a soft layer of a good shaving soap.

Sure, nowadays there are dozens – if not hundreds – of brands pushing various shaving gel, shaving cream and lotion products that can give you all sorts of skin-boosting benefits.

Daniel Craig as James Bond shaving
“Shaving soap may be good enough for James Bond, but it’s not good enough for me.” – No one, ever

But as Moneypenny said as she (sexily) shaved Daniel Craig’s James Bond in Skyfall:

Sometimes the old ways are the best.

(Side note: while I happen to think she has a point, let’s be honest—I’d probably believe damn near anything said by a beautiful woman while she sexily shaves James Bond.)

I’ve recently gotten interested in wet shaving, which is the kind of soap-based shave that requires a shaving brush and a good lather, and did a deep dive into the top shave soaps, user reviews and comments on Amazon and other websites.

To help you get a great wet shave – not to mention a great wet shaving experience – in this post I’ll round up some of the best mens shaving soaps that I’ve found, and share a few insights from online reviewers who explain why they love each one.


The Quick & Dirty↓

You can use the table of contents below to get (a lot) more info about each soap, but here’s a quick summary of our top picks:


Why You Should Trust Us 

Irreverent Gent Founder and Editor-in-Chief Dave Bowden has been a grooming-and-style-obsessed service journalist for more than a decade. 

He’s been covering men’s skincare and fashion since founding Irreverent Gent in 2016, and his grooming tips, style advice and shopping recommendations have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, and Men’s Health, among many others.

How We Chose the Best Shave Soaps

Expert Advice

User Reviews

Personal Experience

For this article Dave consulted the most knowledgeable shaving expert he knows – his barber Danny, of Hasting’s Barbershop in Toronto – and combined his input with that of online reviewers to get a diverse mix of expert and user opinions.

He also leveraged his own personal experience, and his years of experience writing about men’s grooming and skincare products.

To learn more about how we rate and review products, check out our product review and round up policy here

Alright, preamble over. Let’s get to the good stuff!


The Best Shaving Soaps for Men

Rounding Up the Must-Have Mens Shaving Soap
Overall Best Men’s Shaving Soap ↓

The Art of Shaving

Art of Shaving Shave soap
Features:
  • 5 Stars
    • 13 reviews
  • Available in 2 scents
  • Comes with wooden bowl
Why It’s the Best Shave Soap Puck:

The Art of Shaving has elevated removing your facial hair to a form of… well, you see where this is going.

The company has made a name for itself by not only offering some of the best shaving soap on the market, but taking the same approach to a wide range of high quality men’s grooming products, including everything from fragrances to the razor blade you need to complete your shave.

Their traditional shaving soap puck tops our list of the best shave soaps because it’s formulated to provide the perfect wet-shave experience, and generate a rich, foamy lather that lets the blade glide easily along the skin (which is more or less everything you could ask of a good shaving soap).

In addition to providing a good lather and a smooth shave, it’s also rich with skin-enhancing ingredients like essential oils, glycerin and coconut oils.

And unlike other types of soap, it’s completely free of synthetic dyes and alcohol, both of which can irritate your skin.

It’s non-comedogenic, meaning it’s designed not to clog your pores, making it a good option for guys who are prone to acne and other forms of skin irritation.

As an added bonus, it comes in two different scents – sandalwood and lavender.

Promising Review:

“This is hands down, the best shaving soap I have used. It smells amazing and helps get a smoothest shave that I have had in a while. Sandalwood is my favorite smell. I really like the wood bowl that the soap comes in.

– titan3432410

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Best Shaving Soap for Safety Razor ↓

D.R. Harris & Co

D.R. Harris & Co
Features:
  • 4.5 Stars on Amazon
    • 77 ratings
  • Scented with citrus and vetiver
Why It’s the Best for a Safety Razor:

The Windsor shave soap from D.R. Harris is specially formulated to last a long time and produce a rich, thick lather that both softens your beard and protects your skin, making it one of the best lathering shaving soaps on the market, and great for use with an old school safety razor.

It also comes with its own mahogany bowl, an equally old school and decidedly masculine touch, which you can keep after your first purchase and fill with soap refills.

(In addition to the Windsor, D.R. Harris offers a pretty wide range of other shaving soaps and skincare products.)

Promising Review:

“I’d heard some really positive things about D.R. Harris products and decided to try them out. The Windsor scent is very pleasant but also very faint. The lather and slickness of this soap is top notch and makes up for the lack of scent. “

– JJL

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Best Shaving Soap for Sensitive Skin ↓

Proraso

Proraso shaving soap
Features:
  • 4.7 Stars on Amazon
    • 3,838 ratings
  • Formulated for sensitive skin
  • Notes of apple and lime
Why It’s Great for Sensitive Skin:

The preferred shaving soap of both my 94-year-old Italian grandfather and the old school Italian barbers he exclusively frequents, Proraso’s shaving soap is a classic product that’s as old school and unimpeachable as it gets.

This variation is specially formulated for sensitive skin and includes oatmeal and green tea to soothe and protect even the most sensitive skin types, offering a comfortable shave that’s free of irritation.

Promising Review:

“This is my favorite shaving soap! Even though it is the neutral sensitive soap, it has such a wonderful pleasing aroma. Sometimes I just smell it for the heck of it because it smells so clean and nice. It lathers up nicely and adds such a slickness to your shave that you get a very close shave, 100 times better than what you get with canned shaving cream. “

– mwm9r

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Best Lathering Shaving Soap ↓

Williams Mug Shaving Soap

Williams Mug shaving soap
Features:
  • 4.8 Stars on Amazon
    • 484 ratings
  • Pack of 12
Why It Gives a Great Lather:

Williams Mug puts the words “For a long lasting lather” right on their logo, which should give you some idea of what their soap is all about.

This is an affordable, no-frill shaving soap that basically has one goal: to be the best lather shaving soap on the market.

It’s worth noting that while their soap is excellently reviewed and much loved, it also contains something of an irony:

While the brand is called “Williams Mug,” this soap does not come with any mug or bowl to hold it, so you’ll probably want to pick up a separate shaving soap bowl if you don’t already have one.

Promising Review:

“Great lather, great shave, great Price. If you’re willing to use the mug and brush, this is an excellent product and very cost effective.”

Shaunagain

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Best Natural Shave Soap ↓

Men’s Soap Company

Men’s Soap Company shaving soap
Features:
  • 4.6 Stars on Amazon
    • 1,454 ratings
  • Made from vegan plant ingredients
Why It’s the Best Natural Shave Soap:

The Men’s Soap Company named the fresh scent of their all natural plant-derived shaving soap “Himalaya,” which reviewers describe as a “somewhat river/wilderness aroma” and “what I imagine Nepal to smell like.”

(They’ve also released a Bay Rum scent, which is a more traditional scent for shaving soaps.)

The company has a strong commitment to using only natural ingredients, so their soap is naturally derived from vegan plant ingredients and free of toxins, parabens, sulphates and dyes.

Promising Review:

“This is my second order of this soap, and I have really liked it. It lathers well, and a puck will last at least 3 months.” 

– Luv2Brew

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The Best of the Rest ↓

The five soaps above earned the top spots on our list, and with good reason:

Our research indicates that they’re the best options for enhancing your wet shaving process.

But they’re hardly the only good options on the market, and your tastes/needs may differ from ours.

So it’s worth taking a closer look at some of our honorable mentions, any of which could be a good choice for you.


Taylor of Old Bond Street

Taylor of Old Bond Street shaving soap
Features:
  • 4.6 Stars on Amazon
    • 11,532 ratings
  • Available in 10 scents
Advantages:

Taylor of Old Bond Street is a London-based men’s grooming brand founded by the eponymous Taylor family in the 19th century, and still owned and operated by the family today.

In other words: they’re about as authentically old school as it gets, and would probably be the preferred shaving soap of 007 even if they didn’t both have Bond in their names.

Their top rated shaving soap is available in 10 different variations/scents and comes in its own resealable shaving bowl, so you won’t need to buy one separately.

While there are multiple scents available, the one featured here is one of the most classic, and probably your best bet.

Many of the reviews I read said that it’s not only a great scent, but the best sandalwood shaving soap on the market, and a lot of them specifically called out the lather as being better than many other brands.

Promising Review:

“I absolutely love Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood! This is my second product I’ve bought from ToOBS and it is the best! I’m 50 years old and I can still remember what an old tyme barber shop (not a hair stylist) smells like, and it smells just like this…  I was able to get amazing lather with my pure badger brush right on my face.”

Trekker

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Mitchell´s Wool Fat

Mitchell´s Wool Fat shaving soap
Features:
  • 4.6 Stars on Amazon
    • 910 ratings
  • Soap only – bowl not included
Advantages:

Another old-school brand out of the UK, Mitchell’s Wool Fat began making soap in the 1930s in the town of Bradford, Scotland, when chemist Fred Mitchell made a (very Scottish) discovery:

The natural lanolin content of wool fat, which kept the hands of local sheep shearers and wool sorters so soft, could also be beneficial to delicate complexions and sensitive skins. Today their soap, including this shaving soap, is still made to Mitchell’s original formula.

A note on this one:

You can usually buy Mitchell’s Wool Fat shaving soap with a bowl to put the soap in, but for some reason the one with the bowl is unavailable on Amazon as of the time of writing.

Fortunately you can still get plenty of Mitchell’s soap refills, and there’s no shortage of shaving soap bowls that you can buy separately for roughly the same price.

Promising Review:

“Seriously, the lanolin makes all the difference in this shaving soap. It surpasses that soap disk you find at the corner store for a buck two-fifty… This large puck is worth every penny. I always get a great shave with this quality soap.”

– Tom S.

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Viking Revolution

Viking Revolution shaving soap
Features:
  • 4.6 Stars on Amazon
    • 1,696 ratings
  • Sold as a 4-pack
  • Each with a different scent
Advantages:

Viking Revolution’s 100% natural shave soap comes as an affordable four-pack that offers four distinct scents: cedar and pine, sandalwood, sage and cream bay rum.

Though the scents vary, each bar is formulated to form a great lather that’s necessary for a good wet shaving experience.

They also offer what they call the “Viking Guarantee,” meaning that if you’re dissatisfied for any reason, you can contact the company and they’ll “take care of it.”

(Which I assume means they’ll give you your money back, and not do whatever mobsters do when they say they’ll “take care of it.”)

Promising Review:

“If you are new to shaving with a brush this is a great starter pack to try, or even if your experienced. All of the soaps lather up well, just be sure to add water in small increments until the lather tickles your fancy.”

Jerad Cudiamat

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Colonel Conk

Colonel Conk shaving soap
Features:
  • 4.8 Stars on Amazon
    • 489 ratings
  • Glycerin soap
  • Sold in packs of 3 or 6
Advantages:

Fragranced with bay leaves and Jamaican rum that evoke the scents of the Caribbean, this glycerin shave soap from Colonel Conk is a classic that evokes the old fashioned barber shops of a bygone era.

Available in packs of three or six, it’s worth noting that this one doesn’t come with its own bowl like some of the other shave soaps on this list, so you’ll want to pick one up separately if you’re going to try it.

Promising Review:

“If you have not tried Col. Conk Shave soap, you should. Glycerin based it is easy to use as is right from the container it comes in, or like me easy to melt in the microwave to fill out into my soap / lather bowel.”

BigdoginTexas

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Van Der Hagen

Van Der Hagen shaving soap
Features:
  • 4.7 Stars on Amazon
    • 4,123 ratings
  • Available individually or in 3-pack
Advantages:

Van Der Hagen’s scented shave soap is a good all-purpose men’s shaving soap that’s designed to work well for guys of all skin types, including sensitive, acne-prone and dry skin.

It includes cocoa shave butter that makes for an irritation-free shave that will leave your skin feeling smooth and smelling fresh all day.

Promising Review:

“My father was a barber and I spent many days hanging around in his shop. Whenever I smell the scent of Van Der Hagen luxury soap I’m immediately transported back to those good old days of humming electric razors, snipping scissors, and casual conversation.”

– S. Dawes

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Gentleman Jon

Gentleman Jon shave soap
Features:
  • 4.6 Stars on Amazon
    • 699 ratings
  • Glycerin-based
Advantages:

Another glycerin-based shaving soap, Gentleman Jon’s natural shaving soap puck provides a creamy lather thanks to the vegetable glycerine and a mixture of coconut and palm oil.

While I haven’t tried this one myself, reviews suggest that it also lives up to its claim of being long-lasting, so depending on how often you shave, you probably won’t have to shell out for a new puck all that often.

Promising Review:

“This soap hits the mark on every aspect a shaving soap should have: cushion check, glide check, lasting lather check, scent check, price check, natural and simple ingredients check!”

– yariana

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Sir Hare

Sir Hare shaving soap
Features:
  • 4.6 Stars on Amazon
    • 1,157 ratings
  • 4 oz of soap in an 8 oz container (meaning no bowl necessary)
Advantages:

Sir Hare’s hand-crafted shaving soap is made in the USA and includes refined shea butter, mango butter and coconut oil among its main ingredients, all of which combine to offer a thick creamy lather that protects your skin.

Each 8 oz jar contains 4 oz of soap, which effectively makes the container its own soap bowl, leaving you enough room to get your shave brush in there and create a nice lather.

Promising Review:

“I went back to using a modern razor but decided to keep using Sir Hare shaving soap- and, it is a great combination. I get a closer shave than with standard shaving cream and the soap doesn’t irritate my face. Highly recommended.” 

– Pete H.

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Rocky Mountain Barber Company

Rocky Mountain Barber Company
Features:
  • 4.4 Stars on Amazon
    • 264 ratings
  • Smells like cedar and orange
Advantages:

Like Sir Hare’s shaving soap above, Rocky Mountain Barber Company’s comes in its own container that doubles as a bowl (although in this case the container in question is a cool tin with a distinctly outdoorsy vibe).

The 100% natural shave soap can be used with any type of razor – including cartridge razors, safety razors and of course a straight razor – and comes with a naturally sweet and spicy scent that reviewers really seem to love thanks to the inclusion of orange and cinnamon leaf oil.

Promising Review:

“First the scent is amazing. It smells like a burning fireplace and is understated and does not linger afterwards, so I can use any aftershave without the scents clashing [but the scent is so pleasing I wish RMBC would make a post shave balm in this scent.”

– Dave T.

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Shaving Soap Buying Guide

While the above options represent our top picks for the best men’s shaving soaps, you might not know which one will produce the best results for you specifically.

To help guide you on your quest for the perfect shave, we’ve put together the below buying guide that will help you find find the best soap to suit your specific needs.


Key Ingredients to Look For

When you’re looking for a high quality shaving soap, the first thing to look out for is the ingredients, which affect not just the quality of the shave but the health of your skin.

Natural Oils

These are included in a lot of shave soaps because they have moisturizing properties, and help provide a smooth glide by creating a barrier between the razor and your skin, reducing the risk of irritation.

Good natural oils to look out for include:

  • Coconut oil
  • Shea Butter
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Mineral Oil
  • Vitamin E

Glycerin

This is a humectant, meaning it draws moisture to the skin. A shaving soap with glycerin can help ensure your skin remains hydrated throughout the shave, minimizing the tugging and pulling of hairs.

Essential Oils

Beyond imparting delightful fragrances, many essential oils have skin-beneficial properties. For instance, tea tree oil is known for its antiseptic qualities, while lavender can be soothing.

Avoiding Harmful Chemicals

Always read the label. Avoid soaps that contain parabens, sulfates, and artificial fragrances, especially if you have sensitive skin. These can cause irritation or allergic reactions.


Types of Shaving Soaps

Hard vs. Soft Soaps: Hard soaps tend to last longer and are less messy. Soft soaps, or semi-soft soaps, are easier to lather and can be more hydrating. Your choice between the two often boils down to personal preference.

Creams vs. Pucks: Shaving creams are typically softer than pucks and can be faster to lather. Pucks, on the other hand, are solid and may offer a more traditional shaving experience.

Triple-milled: This is a process where the soap is passed through milling machines three times to thoroughly mix the ingredients and extract air. The result is a denser, longer-lasting soap with a consistent lather.


Fragrance and Scent Profiles

Popular Scents: Sandalwood offers a classic woody note, lavender is calming and floral, while citrus can be invigorating. Other popular scents include mint, cedar, and tobacco.

Longevity of Scent: Some soaps hold their fragrance throughout the shave, while others fade. If scent is crucial to your shaving experience, look for reviews that speak to a soap’s staying power.

Personal Preference: Scent is subjective. What one person loves, another may dislike. It’s always a good idea to sample a few to find your favorite.

Unscented Options: For those with sensitivities or allergies, unscented shaving soaps can be a boon, offering all the benefits without any added fragrance.


Lathering Properties

Judging Capability: A good shaving soap should produce a thick, creamy and dense lather that provides cushion and lubrication. It shouldn’t dissipate quickly.

Tools for Lather: A quality shaving brush can significantly improve lather quality. Whether you prefer boar, badger, horsehair, or synthetic is a matter of personal preference.

Water Hardness: Hard water can impede the lathering capability of some soaps. If you find your soap doesn’t lather well, it might be worth considering a water softening solution or distilled water.


Suitability for Different Skin Types

Sensitive Skin: Look for hypoallergenic formulations, or those with soothing ingredients like aloe vera or chamomile. Avoid soaps with heavy fragrances or known irritants.

Dry vs. Oily Skin: For dry skin, consider soaps enriched with moisturizing agents like shea butter. For oily skin, opt for soaps with balancing ingredients, perhaps with some clay content.

Allergies: Always patch-test a new soap on a small skin area before full-face application to ensure there’s no allergic reaction.


Price vs. Value

Price Spectrum: Shaving soaps can range from budget-friendly to luxury. Price doesn’t always equate to quality, but it can often be an indicator.

Value for Money: Consider how long the soap lasts (cost-per-shave). A pricier soap that lasts several months might offer better value than a cheaper one that finishes quickly.

Longevity and Cost-Per-Shave: This metric can be more insightful than upfront costs. For instance, a triple-milled soap might be more expensive initially but can last significantly longer, offering a lower cost-per-shave.

Now that you know what to look for, you should be able to navigate the myriad options in the shaving soap market.

Whether you’re buying for efficacy, experience, or both, there’s likely a perfect shaving soap waiting for you.


More Resources ↓
More Men’s Shaving Tips and Recommendations from Irreverent Gent:
Banner image via Supply on Unsplash (Thanks guys!)

About Dave Bowden

Dave Bowden

Founder, Irreverent Gent
Author, Man in Command and Stop Doubting, Start Dating
Writer, Really Wordy Author Bios

Dave Bowden is a style blogger, menswear expert and best-selling author (in Canada—but still!) whose advice on how to look good and live well has been featured in New York Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Men's Health and more.

When not obsessing over style and self-improvement, he can usually be found spending time with his wonderful wife and two amazing sons, indulging in a hoppy craft beer, or sobbing over the woeful state of Toronto's sports teams.

Check out Dave's Style Story to find out how a chance encounter with his friend's step-dad taught him the value of looking good and living well (don't worry—it's less creepy than it sounds!), or email him at [email protected] if you want to get in touch.

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