Better Goods Personal Care

The Best Non-Toxic Shaving Creams (Rated on Ingredients)

Better Goods

Feb 21, 2022

Over the past 2 weeks we researched the ingredients in the most popular shaving gels from brands who represent their products as being natural.

Today we'll be looking at:

  • The problem with traditional shaving gels.
  • The ingredients to be concerned about.
  • The importance of preservatives in shaving gels.
  • The harmful ingredients you should avoid.
  • Ratings for 12+ popular non-toxic shaving creams.

Shaving gels go straight down the drain after using them. What's the point in being concerned about the ingredients in them?

There are actually two very good reasons why you should be concerned, both of which have to do with the fact that shaving makes the skin more vulnerable.

First of all, the warm water opens up the pores, potentially letting more of what's on your skin absorb into it. Secondly, the act of shaving you exfoliate the top layer of skin, exposing the fresh and more delicate layer of skin underneath. This further makes the skin vulnerable to what's lurking inside the product.

Since most men and many women shave every day, this can add up to a lot of exposure over a long period of time. For this reason, many conscious shoppers choose more natural and clean shaving gels.

The Problem With Traditional Shaving Gels

Like most other personal care products, shaving gels are made as cheaply as possible. Not only are many of these ingredients possibly irritating to the skin, or even worse, potentially causing serious health effects, but they also have an impact on our environment.

All of these ingredients go straight down the drain, ending up in our water supply, having an unknown effect on our environment.

Thankfully, we've seen a big push for cleaner and more conscious products in recent years, and this also applies to shaving products.

There are several natural and even organic shaving gels available that skip the nasty ingredients and replace them with natural, nourishing ingredients that leave the skin feeling better than before.

The Ingredients To Avoid In Shaving Gels

Standard shaving creams and gels all have a similar set of ingredients. You'll find about 80% water in most products, with the remaining 20% consisting of ingredients that lather, propellants to get the product out of the can, and binding the lathering ingredients to the water.

If you shop for a traditional shaving gel, it's almost a guarantee that it's going to be full of ingredients that could potentially be harmful. These ingredients include things like:

  • Fragrance - If you see fragrance on a label, you have no idea what's in it. Fragrance is protected as a trade secret, and can include any number of chemicals from a list of over 200. Not only are fragrances common allergens, but they've also been linked to other health issues.
  • Mineral Oil - Often used in shaving gels and creams as a moisturizer. Mineral oil is derived from petroleum, and sits on top of the skin, blocking the skin pores. Better shaving gels will use natural, plant-based oils.
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • Triethanolamine (TEA)
  • Palmitic acid
  • Ispoentate
  • Glycols (propylene glycol, ethylene glycol, and butylene glycol)
  • Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)

Preservatives

Whenever water or aloe is in a product, it always needs a preservative. There's no way around this, because without one, mold and bacteria grows. Not only does it spoil the product, but mold and bacteria can often be invisible.

While many people would like to avoid preservatives, it's simply not safe to have a product like a shaving gel without them. You won't be able to find one that doesn't have preservatives.

Preservatives To Avoid In Shaving Gel

  • Parabens - Anything ending in -paraben. This includes: methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, and benzylparaben.
  • Methylisothiazolinone
  • Methylchloroisothiazolinone
  • Quaternium-15
  • DMDM hydantoin
  • Imidazolidinyl urea
  • Diazolidinyl urea
  • Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate
  • 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol

Better Preservatives in Shaving Gel

Because it's necessary to have some kind of preservative in a shaving cream, look for ones like these, which are safer to use.

  • Sodium Benzoate
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • Potassium Sorbate
  • Dehydroacetic acid
  • Vitamin C / ascorbic acid

Our Ratings

We audited the ingredients of the top-selling shaving gels that advertise themselves as being "clean". They're rated on this scale:

Best ???? – These products are the best of the best. They contain great ingredients, are non-toxic and are often the best choice for our environment.

Good – These products are typically quite good, but don’t go above and beyond like our best choices.

Iffy – These products are typically okay, but have some issues that make us unable to give them a “Good” rating. Often times they contain ingredients or materials that are questionable.

Bad – These products typically have toxic ingredients or issues that make them dangerous or unsuitable to use. These products should typically be avoided.

Shaving Gels Rated: Best

Well Kept

Shave Oil
Rating: Best🌟
Price: $34 ($8.5 per oz)

This shaving oil from Well Kept contains a very simple list of natural ingredients. If an oil works for you, this might be a great option.

Ingredients:

Potential irritants: 1*

Dr. Bronner

Unscented Organic Shaving Soap
Rating: Best🌟
Price: $9.99 ($1.43 per oz)

This shaving soap contains a list of organic ingredients and has no potential irritants whatsoever. For this reasons, we give this product our best rating.

Ingredients:

Now Solutions

Nutri-Shave Shave Cream
Rating: Best🌟
Price: $7.49 ($0.94 per oz)

With a clean list of ingredients, only one potential irritant, and a great price, this shaving cream tops our list of natural shaving gels.

Ingredients:

Potential irritants: 1*

Shaving Gels Rated: Good

Weleda

Gentle Care & Protection Shaving Cream
Rating: Good
Price: $18 ($7.2 per oz)

This shaving cream from Weleda contains a safe list of ingredients. It does contain fragrance, but it’s an essential oil blend, which generally only carries the risk of potential skin irritation.

Ingredients:

Potential irritants: 4*

Kiss My Face

4 in 1 Fragrance-Free Moisture Shave
Rating: Good
Price: $7.95 ($0.72 per oz)

This fragrance-free shaving lotion from Kiss My Face contains a relatively clean list of ingredients. It’s a safe choice for anyone looking for a shaving gel with natural ingredients.

Ingredients:

Potential irritants: 2*

Pacific Shaving Company

Natural Shaving Cream
Rating: Good
Price: $7.99 ($2.35 per oz)

This shaving cream has a long but natural list of ingredients. Rather than water, the main ingredient is organic aloe.

Ingredients:

Potential irritants: 3*

Ursa Major

Stellar Shave Cream
Rating: Good
Price: $26 ($4.91 per oz)

Benzyl alcohol is the only ingredient of concern for those with sensitive skin or a tendency for allergic reactions. There are a few other potential irritants as well, but other than those, this is a clean shaving cream with organic ingredients.

Ingredients:

Potential irritants: 3*

Alba Botanica

Mango Vanilla Very Emollient Cream Shave
Rating: Good
Price: $8 ($1 per oz)

This shaving cream has a clean list of ingredients, with the only downside being for those with sensitive skin. This product contains a substantial list of potential irritants, but this shouldn’t be an issue for most people.

Ingredients:

Potential irritants: 9*

Shaving Gels Rated: Iffy

Tree Hut

Tahitian Bean Bare Moisturizing Shave Oil
Rating: Iffy
Price: $11.99 ($1.56 per oz)

Polysorbate 20 has a risk of being contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, both of which are linked to carcinogenicity. For this reason, we can’t recommend it over other products.

Ingredients:

  • Water,
  • Polysorbate 20,
  • Polyquaternium-10,
  • Glycereth-26,
  • Glycerin,
  • Vanilla Extract (Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract),
  • Tahitian Gardenia Flower Extract (Gardenia Taitensis Flower Extract),
  • Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera Oil),
  • Argan Oil (Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil),
  • Grape Seed Oil (Vitis Vinifera Seed Oil),
  • Sesame Seed Oil (Sesamum Indicum Seed Oil),
  • Jojoba Seed Oil (Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil),
  • Tocopheryl Acetate*,
  • Shea Butter (Butyrospermum Parkii Butter),
  • Allantoin,
  • Oat Kernel Extract (Avena Sativa Extract),
  • Phenoxyethanol*,
  • Hydroxyacetophenone,
  • Potassium Sorbate,
  • Sodium Chloride,
  • Hexyl Cinnamal,
  • Linalool*,
  • Coumarin*

Potential irritants: 4*

Bulldog

Original Shave Gel
Rating: Iffy
Price: $6.99 ($1.18 per oz)

This shaving gel is formulated with a few ingredients that give us pause. First of all, cocamidopropyl betaine is a well-recognized contact allergen. Secondly, the gel contains fragrance, and although the brand claims it’s “natural” fragrance, this doesn’t exclude it from possibly containing phthalates. This ingredient is often added to fragrance to make the scent last longer, and it’s a possible carcinogen.

For this reasons, we can’t recommend this shaving gel over others we rated.

Ingredients:

  • Water,
  • Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice),
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine*,
  • Glycerin,
  • Coco-Glucoside,
  • Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer,
  • Phenoxyethanol*,
  • Sodium Chloride,
  • Sodium Hydroxide*,
  • Benzoic Acid,
  • Fragrance,
  • Menthol,
  • Dehydroacetic Acid,
  • Konjaku Root Extract (Amorphophallus Konjac Root Extract),
  • Camelina Seed Oil (Camelina Sativa Seed Oil),
  • Green or White Tea Leaf Extract (Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract),
  • Potassium Sorbate,
  • Sodium Benzoate*,
  • Citric Acid,
  • Tocopherol

Potential irritants: 4*

Giovanni

Moisturizing Sensitive Shave Cream
Rating: Iffy
Price: $6.99 ($1 per oz)

This shaving cream is fragrance-free. However, it contains polysorbate 60, which carries a risk of being contaminated with 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide. For this reason, we can’t recommend it over other shaving creams.

Ingredients:

  • Water,
  • Isopropyl Palmitate,
  • Stearic Acid,
  • Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride,
  • Jojoba Seed Oil (Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil),
  • Olive Oil (Olea Europaea Fruit Oil),
  • Sunflower Seed Oil (Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil),
  • Glycerin,
  • Tocopheryl Acetate*,
  • Cetyl Alcohol,
  • Glyceryl Stearate SE,
  • Polysorbate 60,
  • Dehydroacetic Acid,
  • Benzyl Alcohol*,
  • Hydroxyethylcellulose,
  • Sodium Hydroxide*,
  • Rose Hip Oil (Rosa Canina Oil)*,
  • Phenoxyethanol*,
  • Shea Butter (Butyrospermum Parkii Butter),
  • Organic Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice),
  • Organic Acai Berry Fruit Extract (Euterpe Oleracea Extract),
  • Organic Goji Fruit Extract (Lycium Barbarum Fruit Extract),
  • Organic Fig Fruit Extract (Ficus Carica Fruit Extract),
  • Organic Green or White Tea Extract (Camellia Sinensis Tea Leaf Extract)

Potential irritants: 5*

Shaving Gels Rated: Bad

eos

Pomegranate Raspberry Shave Cream
Rating: Bad
Price: $3.99 ($0.57 per oz)

This shaving cream is far from natural, containing a long list of potential irritants as well as mystery fragrance. We cannot recommend this product.

Ingredients:

Potential irritants: 11*

 
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