A man's shaving routine is a matter of personal taste, but choosing the right shaving lubricant – whether it's a foam, cream or gel – can make a world of difference for your skin. Shave gel is relatively new to the grooming market, so we asked Michael Gilman, founder of the Grooming Lounge in Washington, D.C., to break it down for us. It's a great pick for men with sensitive, dry skin because it softens thick hair while coating the skin with moisture.
"When it comes to shave gels, most guys have success with a multi-bladed razor, as opposed to a straight or double-edged razor," he says. "You can use those with a gel, but it doesn't achieve as good of a result."
If you prefer a single-blade, shaving creams will likely give you a closer shave because they do a better job of lifting whiskers off of the face. But if you prefer a multi-bladed razor, there's little difference between using a gel or a cream. Go with the texture that agrees with your skin.
It's also important to consider the shape of facial hair you're trying to achieve. If you're looking to meticulously craft your beard or mustache with symmetrical, straight lines, shave gels are translucent, allowing you to see exactly where you're shaving. Thick creams make shaping facial hair more difficult. Moisture is also a factor. Shave creams and foams that come in aerosol cans often contain alcohols that dry out the skin. Shave gel, in general, is more moisturizing.
If you want to give shave gel a try, Gilman recommends this formula by Anthony Logistics. "It has these aloe beads in it that burst," he says, "and it's super moisturizing and good for your skin.” [$18, anthony.com]