I know why you’re here.
You’ve tried every shaving cream marketed as being the best for sensitive skin and yet, you still end up with razor burn.
It’s time to break out the big guns to finally get a smooth shave.
I’m talking about using the best pre shave oil for a smooth and comfortable shave.
Even if you don’t have sensitive skin, using a shaving oil or cream will give you a much better shave experience.
As long as you use a good one.
Which ones are worth it?
You’ll have to read the rest of the article for the reviews to find out! If you don’t have time then check out the table below to see how they compare.
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What a pre shave oil does
Do I need to use a shaving oil?
I get this question in the barber shop all the time. The short answer is that it isn’t 100% necessary, but does have a lot of benefits which I will go into in a moment.
If you are doing a wet shave then you can certainly do without it. For those guys that want a comfortable shave like you get when doing a wet shave but don’t want to add time to their shave then using a shaving oil is just the ticket.
There are two primary functions of a shaving oil: Lubrication and Conditioning.
First and foremost using a pre shave cream or oil is going to help your razor glide across your face. By allowing the razor to move without causing any drag will reduce the risk of razor burn dramatically. It won’t completely eliminate the risk, however, unless you follow a few steps in addition. I’ll go deeper into that in the FAQ section at the end of the article.
Then there is the conditioning factor.
Many of the best shaving oils out there will contain a mixture of carrier oils and essential oils that will condition your face.
These oils will add tons of moisture to your skin while also toning and cleansing your pores. By using a pre shave oil, you not only get a smoother and more comfortable shave, but your skin comes out healthier and more elastic as a result.
What to look for in a pre shave oil
Not all shaving oils are the same. Many purport to give you a more comfortable shave and yet have 0 effect.
That means if you don’t pick an oil from the list below you’ll have to do a little bit of homework.
Here are some things to watch out for so you know if you’re looking at the best pre shave oil or not.
Ingredients it should have
Going through the list of possible ingredients that you should see in your oil would be impossible.
Instead here are some general guidelines to look for in your oil.
The carrier oil not only dilutes the essential oils so they aren’t harsh but also add some benefits to your skin.
Some great carrier oils for your pre shave are:
- Argan Oil – This is the number one carrier oil out there for everything skin and hair related from shampoos to hand lotions. It is highly moisturizing and will repair your skin from any damage it may have.
- Coconut Oil – For your skin there are few oils better than coconut oil. It will not only moisturize but it also disinfects to kill bacteria.
- Jojoba Oil – When you shave you typically strip your skin of its natural oil called sebum. Adding jojoba oil to your pre shave is ideal since it perfectly mimics your sebum so your skin stays elastic and healthy.
- Castor Oil – Since castor oil is a clarifying oil, it is great if you have oily skin. It will help regulate sebum production and keep your skin a bit drier. It is also a good disinfectant and will clear out the bacteria from your pores. It is not good for guys with dry skin, however.
Then for essential oils look for some that will add some other benefits to your skin and even add some scent to make it smell nice.
- Peppermint Oil – A great way to stimulate the skin which will increase blood circulation is peppermint oil. This increase in blood flow brings oxygen and nutrients to your outer layer of skin for a healthy glow. Plus the menthol quality feels awesome.
- Rosemary Oil – If you have acne then using a rosemary oil will help clear your pores of bacteria and help prevent acne from coming back. And it is very gentle on the skin.
- Sandalwood Oil – For that classic old school barbershop scent, try finding a shaving oil or cream with sandalwood as a scent. The best pre shave oil should smell manly and classic and this is the best oil for that.
- Vitamin E – Vitamin E is one of the best things you can add to your skin. Mainly because it is a great moisturizer but also because it is an antioxidant that will remove the toxins from your skin cells.
If all you have are those ingredients, then you’re already looking at one of the best pre shave oils you can use. Your face will love you for it after your shave!
Ingredients it shouldn’t have
Unfortunately some brands are going to sneak some stuff into your pre shave cream or shaving oil that you really don’t want to see in it. Usually they are there to maximize profits for them at the expense of your skin.
Here is a quick list of some of the things to avoid to keep your skin healthy.
- Parabens – To extend shelf life, many cosmetics add parabens since it is an effective antimicrobial agent. The problem for many people is that it is also an effective xenoestrogen. That means it can mimic estrogen and wreak havoc with your hormones. For some men, this means a lower sperm count.
- Petrolatum – This is a by product of petroleum that is often added since it provides a ton of publication. Truth be told it is a really good ingredient to help get a smooth shave. The problem is that it can possibly have some cancer causing agents when it is not properly refined. Since you can never know if it is fully refined or not it is best to stay away from it.
- Fragrance/Parfum – These are synthetic scents to make your shaving oil smell nice. The problem is that the ingredients used to produce these scents don’t have to be disclosed. If you have sensitive skin then it is best to avoid these synthetic fragrances since they can be quite harsh and drying in some cases.
Our List of the Best Natural Pre Shave Oils
I decided that since there is such an enormous choice of all natural and even organic pre shave creams and oils that I should focus solely on those. There’s really no reason to go for anything with harsh chemicals when the natural ones do as good a job and without any nasty side effects.
Van Der Hagen Luxury Shave Oil For Men
For a luxury experience without paying luxurious prices, you can get an all natural shaving oil that will give you an excellent shave with Van Der Hagen.
Looking at the list of ingredients is impressive. It is chock full of carrier and essential oils that all add their own features to give you the smoothest shave possible while also doing wonders for your skin.
Here are just some of the oils you’ll find and what they will do for you:
- Shea Butter, Argan Oil, Olive Oil and Almond Seed Oil – These oils all add up to a potent mixture for ultra moisturizing of the skin. The argan and almond seed oils penetrate deep within the skin to moisturize and lock in that moisture so your skin stays elastic. The olive oil also provides a ton of antioxidants to keep your skin healthy.
- Jojoba oil – This will keep your skin hydrated and elastic due to its ability to mimic your skin’s natural oils.
- Grapeseed Oil, Avocado Oil and Slippery Elm – These ingredients and more will give you exceptional glide for your razor to prevent drag and provide a cushion to reduce razor burn.
- Witch Hazel – To gently disinfect your skin without drying it out there is Witch Hazel. This extract will clean out your pores of bacteria and prevent any from spreading from the shave.
Moisturizing the skin is important, but equally important is the fact that your stubble needs to be softened. The unique mixture of oils will penetrate into the follicle and soften them up. This makes for a smoother but also closer shave.
When your razor can slice easily through the hair, it can get right down close to the root.
This blend of oils is good for any skin type, but I think it works great for sensitive skin especially.
The mixture of oils is packed with emollients that will really hydrate your skin to soothe it after the shave.
Not only that, but the fact that your razor is able to cut through soft stubble easier means you aren’t going over the same spot multiple times to get closer. This reduces the chances of razor burn very effectively.
Added Bonus: This works equally well with electric shavers as it does for a regular razor.
The Gentlemens Refinery ‘The Standard’ Pre-Shave Oil
This is another shaving oil that can be classified as luxurious. And the price reflects that. More expensive than the Van Der Hagen, by quite a bit is this exquisite shaving oil by the Gentleman’s Refinery.
This is a very simple, yet highly effective blend of oils. This shaving oil is ideal for guys with sensitive skin. If you suffer from razor burn then you will love how soft and soothe your skin after using this pre shave oil.
Here’s a list of the ingredients:
- Sunflower Seed Oil – This is a strong antioxidant that will rid your skin cells of free radicals that speed up the aging process. Sunflower oil is very common in many anti aging cosmetics for its power to reduce the signs of fatigue of the skin.
- Jojoba Oil – I’ve already gone into depth about how great this carrier oil is for your skin, but to recap it acts like your skin’s own natural oil. It will also regulate how much sebum your skin produces so your face won’t get oily. If you have oily skin then this is a good ingredient to have in your shaving oil.
- Lime Oil – Lime oil is a wonderful toner for the skin. By that I mean it has properties which tighten the skin by closing up the pores. This tight skin gives you a much closer shave since it closes up around the roots of your follicles. It also provides a nice, bright fragrance to your shave.
- Chamomile Oil – Besides the floral aroma that it provides as well as some soothing aromatherapy, the oil from Roman Chamomile is used as an anti inflammatory agent. This is why this is such a good oil for sensitive skin since this oil helps soothe razor burn if it does occur.
- Vitamin E – If you spend a lot of time in the sun then having Vitamin E will help reduce the effects of UV ray damage to the skin. It isn’t a sunblock, though, so don’t get the wrong idea. Just if your skin suffers from too much sun then this will help revive the damaged cells.
When it comes to a luxurious shave, shave oil should go on light and be easily absorbed into the skin to relieve the effects of the razor. That is what you get from this one. It also has a very nice, light fragrance that is very relaxing and soothing.
The shave you get is also very close. It not only helps the blade glide across your skin but also to get right down to the root and then tighten the skin. When you feel your face after the shave the skin will be tight as a drum.
Jack Black – Beard Lube Conditioning Shave
When it comes to using a pre shave cream, the best ones will soften and condition the stubble. If you don’t shave every day then this is essential as it will give you a very smooth and close shave.
Jack Black Beard Lube will condition the skin and hair so your razor will glide across the skin and cut right through even longer stubble with ease.
Since this will reduce the number of passes you have to make with the razor, you’re less likely to get razor burn.
Since this works as a conditioner, it is also a wonderful after shave lotion that will hydrate and soothe your skin. Your face will feel cool and comfortable with your skin elastic and plump.
It has a number of oils in it that will take care of every aspect of the shave.
- Macadamia Nut Oil and Jojoba Oil – These are ultra hydrating and contribute to a soft beard making it easier to shave. The macadamia nut oil penetrates deep under the outer layer of skin to soften the stubble all the way down to the root.
- Peppermint Oil and Eucalyptus Oil – For a very invigorating sensation the peppermint oil and eucalyptus oil have menthol properties. This not only feels great as it wakes you up, it also livens the skin to stimulate an increase in blood flow.
I wish that it didn’t have any alcohol in it, which it does, as it can dry out the skin after using it for a while. Luckily the oils balance out the drying nature of the alcohol so it never feels dry. Guys with sensitive skin may feel like it starts to irritate the skin after prolonged use, so I would stay away if you have dry skin.
The formula is very lightweight and goes on very easily even though it is a cream and not an oil.
Surprisingly it does not seem to clog up razor blades as is fairly common with pre shave creams and oils. This lightness also means that it won’t leave your skin feeling greasy afterwards.
Glycerin is one of the best emollients that you can use as it not only penetrates the skin adding moisture, but it blocks the moisture locking it in. This will keep your skin moist for much longer than with many shave oils. In essence, it protects your skin from drying out if you are living in an arid area or are exposed to the sun a lot.
Crown Shaving Co. Supreme Glide Pre Shave Formula
Somewhere between a pre shave cream and oil lies Crown Shaving Company Supreme Glide. It is specially formulated to give an insane amount of cushion and glide to your razor. It is incredibly slick so even a light layer will get the job done. Like others on this list it also softens the stubble to add to the ease of shaving.
The key is that it isn’t an oil so it doesn’t feel greasy. It is easily the lightest of the formulas that I reviewed in his article. Which also keeps this lasting a very long time. A little goes a very long way.
So what is in it that makes it work so well?
- Aloe Juice – One of the best ways to soften your skin is with aloe juice. It is very lightweight and gets absorbed quickly. It is also great at soothing the skin if you have sensitive skin or are prone to razor burn.
- Glycerin – To really allow your razor to glide, glycerin could be one of the best ways to go. It creates a very slick surface, but it also penetrates into the skin to help soften the whiskers as well as plump it up. This is why you don’t need too much of the lotion for it to be effective.
- Orange Fruit Extract – Instead of using an oil, an extract from oranges is used to go after the free radicals in your skin cells. This is a great way to repair your skin and leave it healthier after your shave.
- Meadowfoam Seed Oil – This is very much like jojoba oil in that it is a sebum replacement. It doesn’t help regulate your production quite like jojoba but it does lock in moisture and will soften the stubble down to the roots.
- Sugar Maple – It’s not just for breakfast! This is nature’s Retinol, or an alpha hydroxy acid that is instrumental in reducing the signs of aging. After using this for a while for shaving, you’ll notice less wrinkles and any dark spots you have on your face will be lighter.
As with many of the pre shave creams and oils I have reviewed in this article, this one does double duty by providing an excellent shave experience that will leave your face feeling soothed. At the same time it will also give you a ton of benefits that you would normally need to use an anti aging cream to reproduce. I love when products can do more than one thing really well!
Brickell Men’s Hybrid Glide Pre Shave Oil
Brickell is one of my favorite brands for just about any grooming product. They take the extra time to craft a product that is all natural and gets the job done better than most without using any harsh ingredients.
What I love about this best pre shave oil is that it works equally well for electric razors and regular since you can get away with a very thin layer.
It would be too long to go over every carrier and essential oil that it contains but here is a list of the most effective ones:
- Argan Oil, Jojoba Oil and Grapeseed Oil – These will form a thin, yet very slick, layer that will help your blade glide and without getting gummed up. They are very lightweight so get quickly absorbed deep into the tissue.
- Aloe Vera Juice – This is what gives you that soothing and comfortable feeling post shave. It repairs the damage the blade does and keeps razor burn at bay.
- Coconut Oil and Castor Oil – To disinfect the skin so you aren’t spreading around bacteria with your razor, these two oils will do the trick. The coconut oil is very lightweight and will condition while it works. The castor oil is really effective at cleaning out your pores and killing the bacteria there. I will say that if you have sensitive skin then the castor oil might irritate you a little.
- Vitamin E and Algae Extract – These two ingredients together will repair your damaged skin cells and leave your skin more elastic and strong. This way you will be able to withstand the effects of the sun and pollution better without seeing your skin sag or look dull.
A little goes a very long way with this pre shave. It is not the cheapest one out there, that’s for sure. But, since it will likely last you a couple of months, I think it is worth the money.
If you use an electric razor and often feel the burn then I highly recommend that you try this one. Since it is very slick it provides a very smooth experience with far less drag than with most pre shave lotions for electric razors.
Since electric razors can leave your skin feeling irritated even when you don’t have sensitive skin then this may be just the ticket.
As usual with all Brickell products, it doesn’t contain any synthetic ingredients like parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, petroleum by products or synthetic fragrances. It is never tested on animals and is always vegan.
How to use pre shave oil
It isn’t a complicated procedure to use a pre shave cream or oil, but it isn’t as simple as just putting it on your face and going to town with the razor.
In fact you may find yourself frustrated with the fact that you’re still getting razor burn and that your blades are often getting gunked up.
Here are some tips to getting the most out of your shaving oil.
Open the Pores
Make sure you apply heat and humidity to your face before applying the oil. You want your pores open and your skin ready to absorb the oil or cream. That means either taking a hot shower with lots of steam and hot water on your stubble, or using a wet, hot towel.
You can even do both. Before you get into the shower, put a small towel in your bathroom sink filled with hot water. When you get out of the shower and dry off, then wring out most of the water and place it over your face. Leave it there for a good 5 minutes to allow the pores to open up even further.
Apply to the Beard
Now is the time to get the oil all over your stubble.
Pour a tiny amount into the palm of your hand and then rub it between your hands. Then rub it all over your beard.
It shouldn’t feel greasy so resist the temptation to add more so it feels slick to the touch. It is going to go under the shaving cream don’t forget. If you use too much you risk it clogging up your razor especially if you use an electric razor.
Make sure you vigorously rub it in. You want to lift the hair up away from your face so you can cut very close to the skin.
Put on Some Shaving Cream
There are some shaving oils that are formulated specifically to be used on their own, but the ones on the list are best when combined with a shaving cream.
If you are doing a wet shave then you are probably going to rub a lot of the shaving oil away so make sure you give it a couple of minutes to get absorbed into the skin.
If you are using a regular shaving cream out of a can or applying with your hand then just put it on as normal.
Use Very Hot Water
Now for the moment to shave. Use whichever razor you like, whether a straight edge, safety or cartridge.
Fill up your sink with very hot water. You’ll want to make sure you rinse the razor in water hot enough to loosen the oil or cream so it doesn’t clog your blades. Especially if you are using a cartridge with 4 or more blades.
Those blades are so close together that it really traps the oil and hair combined with the shaving cream and can be tough to get out.
Hot water makes it very easy.
After you’ve finished the shave, just rinse off your face well to get the rest of the oil off. Your face should feel clean and refreshed and not greasy.
If you used any of the shaving oils from the above list then I am sure you won’t feel like you still have an oily face after.
FAQ About Shaving Oils
Q: Can I use a beard oil as a shaving oil?
A: So if I am understanding this right, you bought all the stuff to grow a glorious beard and have decided it isn’t for you. And you don’t want to be stuck with leftover beard oil.
I get it.
I wouldn’t say that you can’t but it really depends. The formula for beard oil may result in some really heavy oil on your face that clogs your blades. It may also not readily absorb into your skin to provide the glide you need for the razor. I guess the answer is go for it and see how it goes and then check back here if it didn’t work for you.
Q: Can I use pre shave oil with an electric razor?
A: If you read the above reviews then you no doubt saw a few of the shaving oils that can be used with either. The trick is to find one that goes on in a very thin layer. It would be very easy to clog your electric razor or even find the results unsatisfactory if you use a thick one.
Q: Can I use a pre shave oil as an after shave balm?
A: it isn’t the best idea, but it isn’t like you can’t. Some of the ones in the list above go on light and get absorbed quickly. They definitely have the right soothing ingredients to leave your face feeling refreshed.
These days it is so easy to find exactly the right grooming product for your specific needs. I hope this list of natural shaving oils has helped you see that finding the right one shouldn’t be too difficult.
The ones reviewed above are all excellent quality and give you a superb performance.
If you have sensitive skin or just hate the feeling of razor burn you owe it to yourself to add the best pre shave cream or oil to the mix.
It may seem like an unnecessary extra step but the reality is that it does help tremendously.
If you have any questions about any of these shaving oils or which is the best pre shave oil I have tried then drop a line in the box below and I will get right back to you!
Just remember if you find yourself stuck on which one to get to just check the ingredient list. Go for the most natural one and you can’t go wrong.
I’m an outdoor enthusiast and have sported a full beard since I was in my early 20’s. Originally, growing a beard was a way to save time when getting ready each day, but I quickly realized that keeping a neatly trimmed beard takes work and some forethought. That’s where this site comes in.
You get to benefit from my years of experience. I’ve reviewed many of the top hair clippers on the market today and also included some information on what works best for me. A great beard will turn lots of heads in your direction.
Since I never know when I’m going to find myself being photographed, whether it’s climbing in Yosemite, or playing volleyball on the beach, it’s important to me to always look my very best. Maintaining my beard is part of my daily routine and I hope you’ll find some useful tips and information on this site to help you on your journey.