Few know that one of the essential steps to shaving happens before you ever pick up a razor or apply shaving cream.
If you’re experiencing frequent irritation, unsatisfying shaves or dry skin due to harsh shaves, pre-shave oil might have the answers you’re looking for.
- Top 5 Pre-Shave Oils (Summary)
- What is Pre-Shave Oil
- Benefits of Pre-Shave Oil
- How Pre-Shave Oil Works
- Ingredients to Look For
- Ingredients to Avoid
- How to Apply Pre-Shave Oil
- Pre-Shave Oil vs Other Shaving Lubricants
- How to Choose the Best Pre-Shave Oil
- 13 Best Pre-Shave Oils – Reviews With Pros and Cons
Top 5 Pre-Shave Oils (Summary)
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For more detailed and complete product reviews on benefits and features, keep reading.
What is Pre-Shave Oil
Pre-shave oil is a skin product normally applied before the shaving process begins. It generally precedes any shaving soaps, creams or gels.
The product generally has a slick, oily texture that lubricates both the skin and razor, allowing the blade to glide effortlessly across the hair.
Benefits of Pre-Shave Oil
Pre-shave oil is part of any complete shaving routine. Here are some of the many benefits of incorporating it into your grooming process:
Softer Hair Growth
In many ways, pre-shave oil functions much like traditional hair conditioners to smooth and soften hair. This not only makes for a softer, more touchable facial hair, it also makes bristles much easier to trim.
Softer facial hair isn’t just easier to shave, it’s easier to shape and sculpt as well.
If you’re aiming to trim up existing facial hair using a pair of durable hair clippers or one of the best trimmers for stubble beards, using pre-shave oil can help make hair manageable and easier to cut.
A pre-shave oil, however, is not to be confused with beard oil. While pre-shave oil does soften hair, it does so to make for an easier trim.
Meanwhile, the best beard oil is for those wishing to keep and maintain a current, established beard.
Dry skin damages more easily, ages quicker and can easily become uncomfortable.
While there’s a myriad of influences on your skin’s overall hydration level, using a pre-shave oil is one measure that can help your facial skin from dying out.
Besides lubricating the skin for hydration, some pre-shave oils also have additional vitamins or minerals which work to moisturize and repair dry skin.
Using a pre-shave oil in conjunction with hydrating products such as one of the best face masks for moisturization or high-quality lotions can keep skin feeling fresh.
Razor burn and other forms of skin irritation are caused when a blade drags along or tears at your skin.
Pre-shave oil (along with selecting premium razors for sensitive skin) can help diminish the appearance of razor burn and bumps, by lubricating the skin’s surface and minimizing irritation.
Those with especially sensitive, rash-prone skin will likely reap the biggest rewards from using a high-quality pre-shave oil before beginning their grooming routine.
Pre-shave oil makes for a smoother, closer shave. When massaged into your facial hair roots, the ingredients of pre-shave oil work to lift the bristles of your beard upward, allowing the razor to get a closer, cleaner cut.
Pre-shave oil also makes for a smoother shave by lubricating your skin, allowing the razor’s edge to glide across the surface seamlessly, cutting hair extremely close to the root.
How Pre-Shave Oil Works
Pre-shave oil can be used on your head, face or body. Regardless of location, the product functions the same.
Pre-shave oil helps prime the skin for the shaving process. By implementing natural oils, it creates an extra layer of lubrication.
This extra lubrication allows the razor’s blade (whether it is a safety razor, shavette razor or any variation of disposable razors) to glide effortlessly over the skin, reducing the occurrence of irritation or razor burn.
Pre-shave oil also makes for a closer shave. Because it softens hairs and bristles them upwards, the razor blade is able to get a closer, cleaner cut, making for an overall smoother shave.
Ingredients to Look For
While ingredients will vary from one product to the next, all quality pre-shave oils will include some variation of the same three basic ingredients: carrier oils, essential oils and vitamin oils.
As always, you’ll want to look for products that are all-natural and organic.
These should make up the majority of the product’s ingredients. A few great, all-natural carrier oils to look for include jojoba oil, argan oil and grapeseed oil.
Often associated with their natural fragrances, essential oils vary greatly in their purposes and benefits.
One common essential oil found in men’s products is sandalwood, which is a popular antiseptic and is known to rejuvenate skin.
Other popular oils may include eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, clove and peppermint. While carrier oils and vitamin oils are mandatory, essential oils are added bonuses which usually add a pleasant scent or soothing effects.
Vitamin E is one of the most common, beneficial vitamin oil that frequently appears in pre-shave oils.
Among its many benefits, it works to ease inflammation and repair damaged skin. It’s also one of the top sources of pre-shave oil’s lubricating properties.
Ingredients to Avoid
The market is unfortunately flooded with low-quality, damaging pre-shave products. To be sure you’re selecting an oil that will help and not hurt, you’ll need to consult the product’s label.
Steer clear of products with unnecessary chemicals. Oils with synthetic ingredients or unnecessary ingredients might provide initial hydration, but strip your skin of its ability to naturally balance oils in the long run.
While it can be hard to recognize the harmful ingredients from the helpful ones, a good rule of thumb is to stay away from any ingredients ending in “-cone” as this usually indicates chemically-based ingredients.
If you can’t find a full ingredients list on the bottle of pre-shave oil, it’s recommended that you refrain from purchasing it.
Products with high-quality, beneficial ingredients will have nothing to hide and proudly boast their contents on the label.
How to Apply Pre-Shave Oil
Just as the name implies, pre-shave oil is applied before the shaving process begins.
For a premium shaving experience, you’ll want to start your grooming process after washing your face using a quality face cleansing product to rinse away grime and ready your pores for your pre-shave product.
Next, pat your face dry, get out your shaving supplies and pre-shave oil and complete the following steps:
Place a few conservative drops of product into your hand. Remember, when it comes to pre-shave oil, a little goes a long way.
A small bottle of the product will likely last you months, even with regular use, so go light.
Before you apply the oil to your face, body, head or other intended location, you’ll want to rub it vigorously into your hands. Then, massage the oil onto the desired area, making sure to rub all the way to the hair’s roots.
For optimum performance, allow the oil to soak into the hair for one or two minutes. This gives it time to fully penetrate the bristles, making hair softer and easier to trim.
While you’re waiting for the oil to do its thing, wash the excess product from your hands. This is where high-quality oil comes in handy.
While a premium product will wash easily off fingers and palms, a cheap pre-shave oil becomes greasy and hard to rinse.
The next step is most often to apply a shaving gel, cream, soap or foam.
If you’re after the perfect wet shave, you might consider employing the help of one of the best shaving brushes to apply your shaving product, which helps lift facial hair for a closer shave.
After the product is applied, pick up your preferred razor and shave as per normal, enjoying a closer, smoother cut and feel.
Afterward, you’ll want to apply a quality aftershave lotion or other finishing product to put the perfect final touch on your fresh and rejuvenated face.
Pre-Shave Oil vs Other Shaving Lubricants
As the name implies, pre-shave oil is intended to be used before the shaving process begins.
If you commonly experience irritated or razor-burned skin, it’s clear your shaving lubricant isn’t quite doing the trick. For those individuals, pre-shave oil adds a bit of comfort and ease to the shaving process.
While some outliers do prefer to use pre-shave oil and skip other lubricating products, it’s more commonly accepted as a predecessor to shaving creams and soaps, not a replacement.
This means you never have to choose between pre-shave oil and shaving gel, cream, soap or foam. But don’t make the mistake of mixing them up because each product serves its own function in a certain, specific way.
If you’re struggling to keep shaving lubricating products straight or trying to decide which is for you, here’s a quick overview of gels, creams, soaps and foams and how they compare to their pre-shave companions:
Shaving Gel vs Pre-Shave Oil
A gel is the only latherless shaving lubrication method. It trades in a thick, buffering consistency for smooth and simple efficiency.
Because it’s extra sleek and extra slippery, it’s a common go-to for those with sensitive skin.
Like pre-shave oil, gel products focus on accommodating sensitive skin by optimizing lubrication. Gel also commonly includes aloe vera or some other moisturizing agent, making it a popular choice for those with dry skin.
For those with especially dry or easily irritated skin, a shaving gel paired with a hydrating pre-shave oil can be the perfect recipe for a pain-free shave.
Shaving Cream vs Pre-Shave Oil
Shaving cream uses a full, rich lather to serve as a cushion between the razor and the skin. Frequently applied with a brush, shaving cream takes a bit more effort than foams or gels and can be a bit more difficult to find in the store.
Like pre-shave oil, shaving cream aims to lift hairs from their base, making it easier for the blade to access them.
As with pre-shave oils, a small amount of shaving cream can usually go a long way. However, the nature of the ingredients of shaving cream makes typically both more expensive and harder to find.
One of the major pros of using shaving cream is that it’s comparatively easy to rinse off after use. While some pre-shave oils may be difficult to remove entirely, shaving creams generally wash off with ease.
Shaving Soap vs Pre-Shave Oil
When it comes to a traditional shave, shaving soap is the classic choice. It’s been around for ages and delivers a rich, full shaving experience that shaving soap advocates swear is unparalleled by other lubricating products.
The luxury it delivers doesn’t come without a price, however. While products like gel, foam and pre-shave oil can be applied straight out with no fuss and little preparation, shaving soap takes time and patience to set up.
To start using shaving soap, you’ll need a brush, a mug and the right touch to whip up that perfect lather. For some, the process is worth the reward. For others, another lubricating product is better.
Shaving Foam vs Pre-Shave Oil
Not to be confused with shaving cream, shave foam generally comes packaged in an aerosol can and is currently the most commonly used shaving lubricant.
Because it can be applied immediately, requires zero preparation and is incredibly affordable, it’s the number one choice for low-maintenance men who prioritize efficiency over luxury.
While it’s quick and convenient, its ingredients are rarely high in quality.
While pre-shave oils generally have all-natural carrier oil bases which may also contain essential oils for natural fragrance, shaving foam will often contain many synthetic ingredients and chemicals.
Among other potentially harmful ingredients, shaving foam has been known to include parabens, which have been linked to the disruption of the endocrine system and even cancer.
While shaving foam’s ingredients are generally more questionable than those of cream, pre-shave oil or shave soap, they are extremely convenient.
Additionally, they can be used with any type of razor, making them a prime choice for versatility.
How to Choose the Best Pre-Shave Oil
For most, choosing the best pre-shave oil will come down to the same major elements: the products, ingredients, price and overall performance.
The best pre-shave oils include all-natural, non-synthetic ingredients. Avoid any products containing ingredients ending in “-cone” as this generally indicates the presence of potentially harmful synthetic materials.
On the other hand, quality pre-shave products will include a blend of carrier oils, vitamin oils and essential oils. A few specific ingredients to look for include grapeseed oil, vitamin E and sandalwood oil.
Shave oil can run anywhere from $10 to $50 depending on the product you select.
While you don’t have to go with the priciest oil on the market to get positive results, it’s good to keep in mind that price and quality of ingredients are often related.
The most affordable pre-shave oil will likely have preservatives, synthetic materials, artificial fragrances and other ingredients you should stay clear away from.
The good news is that if you’re after a middle-of-the-line product with mostly natural ingredients that won’t dry out your skin or disrupt the balance of your natural oils, you do have many options and you don’t have to break the bank to buy a high-performing product.
The overall performance of a pre-shave oil is measured by its ability to lubricate the skin, allowing for a closer, higher-quality shave.
Nothing is peskier than a pre-shave oil that clings to your hands and refuses to wash off. Lower-quality products cling to skin, leaving behind a greasy surface.
As an added bonus, the best products leave behind a finishing scent and fresh, hydrated skin.
13 Best Pre-Shave Oils – Reviews With Pros and Cons
Shave Secret Pre-Shave Oil is often regarded as one of the best and most affordable products of its kind. Don’t be fooled by the 18.7ml bottle and its low price point as it delivers excellent results.
This shaving product is packed up with soothing menthol, natural ingredients and essential oils all in one bottle. With only a few drops, you are sure to get enough lubrication and protection when shaving.
Furthermore, it’s comfortable to use and allows a smooth shave. No matter what type of razor you use, it offers a clean shave without skin irritation.
Not only that, it also leaves behind a subtle scent which makes shaving more fun.
- Doesn’t irritate the skin
- Excellent protection and lubrication
- Easy to clean off
- Clogs most razors
Proraso Pre-Shave Oil contains a classic formula that helps to soften your beard and protect your skin. Some of the essential ingredients are oats and green tea. The oats help to moisturize your skin while the green tea prevents aging.
It also contains eucalyptus and methanol, which help to make shaving a lot easier and smoother. Not only that but the blend also keeps the skin fresh and calm after the shave.
One of the exciting parts about this product is that it doesn’t clog your pores and razor. Also, for those with sensitive skin, this shaving cream is your best bet to provide excellent results and it doesn’t cause any skin irritation.
One of the best ways to get an incredible result with this product is to wet the skin. After that, you can apply a small amount of the cream (about a pea size). Next, rub the cream gently in a circular motion and then start shaving.
You can also apply this cream after shaving and rinse your face to help disinfect and protect your skin. Overall, the cream provides you with a sweet fragrance and it’s a bit pricier than most brands. However, considering its benefits and ingredients, it’s surely worth the price.
- Moisturizes the skin
- Doesn’t feel oily and slick on the skin
- Allows the razor to glide easily
- A bit pricier than other brands
Lather and Wood Pre Shaving Oil promises the perfect shaving experience. One of the most amazing features of this grooming product is that it doesn’t use synthetic chemicals which can harm your skin. Instead, it’s made from a healthy mix of seven natural oils which include cranberry, sandalwood and olive oil.
Since it’s unscented, it’s a perfect option for men who are allergic to scents and their ingredients. However, it’s also a good product for users who don’t want the smell of their shaving oils to overlap with the smell of their cologne or deodorant.
The blend softens the beard and conditions the skin underneath. Overall, it provides an extreme smoothness that ensures a comfortable shave.
Shaving with this product doesn’t require much fuss. Apply a single pump of the mixture, leave for half a minute and massage it into your facial hair. Also, you shouldn’t worry about using too much oil as the item uses the pump to control the flow of the oil.
- Safe for people with allergies
- Doesn’t irritate the skin
- Contains natural ingredients
- Doesn’t lather well
Taconic Shave Pre-Shave Oil contains all-natural ingredients. It’s enriched with vitamin E, which makes it safe for your skin.
The blend moisturizes your skin and makes your beard softer, thus allowing the blade to glide smoothly. If you want pre-shave oil that offers protection from rashes, razor burns and bumps, use this product.
Since it comes in an easy to use the bottle, you can apply the mixture without spilling its contents. All you need to do is to pump the oil on your fingers, then rub it on the area to be shaved and add your shaving soap or cream.
People with allergies can use this oil comfortably as it doesn’t have any fragrance.
- Doesn’t have an overpowering smell
- Works well on sensitive skin
- Moisturizes skin and makes the beard softer
- Leaves the skin slightly oily
If you’re looking for one of the best pre-shave oils that can protect your skin against razor burns, look no further than the Art of Shaving. This pre-shave oil allows your razor to glide smoothly without hurting your skin.
The oil contains a unique blend of natural ingredients and essential oils. This mixture helps to soften your beard for a smooth and comfortable shave at all time. It’s non-sticky and doesn’t leave any oily residue.
The sandalwood leaves you with a soothing aroma after shaving. The fragrance is subtle and will not affect your eyes when used.
When it comes to a low price point, this pre-shave oil product tends to be on the pricier side. If you’re to consider viscosity, it’s a bit thicker. Luckily, the oil provides excellent protection, lubrication and produces great results.
- Has a unique blend of essential oils
- Provides subtle earthy scent
- Lasts longer
- Hard to wash off after shaving
For those with sensitive skin, Pacific Shaving Company Oil offers a skin-friendly solution that doesn’t cause any skin irritation. It contains natural and organic ingredients that reduce irritation and help to keep the skin calm after shaving.
It moisturizes the skin and keeps it looking healthy at all times while allowing your razor to glide smoothly, giving you a better shave. Unlike other pre-shave oils on the market, this item has a nice texture that doesn’t feel sticky on your skin.
The pre-shave oil has a blend of natural and plant-derived ingredients that help to nourish and protect your skin. Its ingredients include grape and tangerine peel oil, aloe vera, fruit extract, avocado oil and others.
The big plus is that you don’t need to apply other products after shaving because this one works well to disinfect and keep your skin smooth. It leaves you with a subtle fragrance that isn’t overpowering.
- Friendly on sensitive skin
- Protects the skin for a smooth shaving
- Made from eco and animal-friendly ingredients that are safe for your skin
- Doesn’t quite rub into the skin
Vikings Blade Oil offers a perfect mix of great ingredients that can help you get the ideal shave on even a sweaty face.
The ingredients include olive oil, rosemary leaf oil, seed oil and tocopheryl acetate which works well on all types of skin. When combined, these elements work on the facial hair and the skin, thereby allowing the blade to glide without causing any bumps or skin irritations.
This oil has a scent of sandalwood and western red cedar. However, the scent is light and will complement any cologne and deodorant that you might be wearing.
This shaving oil comes in a small bottle that’s easy to use. All that is needed is a little pump, however, you should press lightly to prevent wastage.
- Protects your skin from irritation
- Offers a subtle scent that lingers for hours
- Works well even on sweaty skin
- Expensive for its size
The American Shaving Oil stands out when it comes to having an all-natural list of ingredients. It works well to prevent razor burn and skin irritation, thereby promoting smooth and comfortable shave.
For men of all ages, this is one of the best pre-shave oils to have handy because it helps to protect your skin against cuts and nicks. This pre-shave oil also prevents skin conditions such as rashes and red bumps. There’s no need to worry if you have sensitive skin as it allows you to enjoy a pain-free shave.
It has fast absorbing oils like argan, grapeseed and jojoba that helps to condition, moisturize and prepare your skin for a comfortable shave. Not only that, but it also contains blends of avocado, sweet almond and olive that provide excellent lubrication and protect the skin. This, in turn, allows the razor to glide over the skin smoothly without any skin irritation.
This pre-shave oil is gentle on the skin and it provides you with a subtle fragrance that leaves your face smelling fresh. Also, it makes your skin feel softer, healthier and doesn’t leave any oily residue.
- Leaves the skin softer and healthier
- Provides you with a lingering, pleasant scent
- Protects your skin against all forms of irritation caused by razor burn
- Has thickening agents and synthetic oil
Pre-shave oil by Truefitt & Hill allows a comfortable shave without razor burns. It has a nice and thick consistency which provides excellent protection to your skin.
This pre-shave oil provides great glide and leaves your skin well moisturized and soft. It also helps your blades last longer. Furthermore, you’ll find it easy to wash it off from your face since it leaves no oily residue after shave.
The oil contains an effective formulation that helps to soothe dry skin. It doesn’t clog pores and thanks to the antioxidants, it also reduces ingrown hairs.
Additionally, this pre-shave oil is suitable for people with sensitive skin. For added benefit, it has a subtle and masculine scent which provides a soothing and refreshing effect.
- Repairs your skin after shaving
- Reduces skin irritation, rashes, ingrown hairs and bumps
- Extends the life of your razor
- Too thick consistency
Taylor of Old Bond Street Pre Shave Oil is a vintage product that can ease shaving of sensitive skin. It also ensures comfort during close shaving.
You can purchase the oil in a 1.06 oz bottle which comes in a retro package. However, the container doesn’t have any stopper to prevent spillage. Each bottle contains a blend of natural ingredients such as castor oil, witch hazel and aloe vera leaf juice.
With such ingredients, your skin is protected from razor bumps and ingrown hairs. Shaving with this oil is easy and comfortable. Before shaving, pour a small amount on your hands and rub lightly on the facial hair.
The oil is thick, so a few drops are enough for your grooming sessions and the product will last for a long time. Surprisingly, it doesn’t clog razors even when used for a while.
The oil offers a heavy sandalwood scent which disappears almost immediately after use. So if you want to use it with cologne or you have allergies, this oil is a worthy investment.
- Prevents nicks and offers a clean shave
- Protects your skin from irritation and ingrown hairs
- Has a thick texture
- Cap doesn’t screw tightly
If you’re shaving for the first time or you’re looking for more affordable pre-shave oils, then check out Shaveology. This pre-shave oil contains a blend of essential oils, botanical and natural ingredients.
They help to soften the facial hair while providing excellent lubrication. This way, it prepares your skin for a comfortable shave as it reduces friction and allows the blade to glide easily. Furthermore, vitamin E helps to refresh your skin, leaving it healthy-looking.
The oil works well to keep your skin smooth and moisturized without leaving any oily residue. Not only that, but it also forms a protective layer on your skin that helps to prevent razor burns and skin irritation. With this said, it’s an ideal option for those with sensitive skin.
One exciting part is that a single bottle of this oil will provide you with almost six months of comfortable shaves. Pre-shave oil this good feels incomplete without a soothing scent. Hence, this oil offers you a pleasant and subtle scent that’s refreshing and energizing.
- Contains a blend of natural ingredients that are comfortable on the skin
- Doesn’t contain any agitating product or alcohol
- Vitamin E helps to fight the effects of aging
- Has an overly thick consistency
American Crew Oil has some features that make it a good option. For example, this item is budget-friendly and can help you get a close, smooth shave by reducing bumps and nicks.
The shaving product contains a blend of natural oils, such as peppermint, clove and eucalyptus.
These ingredients give an attractive scent and protect your skin during shaving. This is why this product even heals dry skin caused by harsh weather.
Besides, eucalyptus and olive oils moisturize the skin, thereby allowing the blade to move smoothly. For a perfect shave, use this product with shaving cream.
- Provides a subtle and refreshing fragrance
- Feels smooth on the skin
- Doesn’t clog the razor
- Extra slippery during use
eShave is another unique pre-shave oil that helps protects the skin, spreads across the hairs and lets the blade glide smoothly. It’s also lightweight and loaded with nutrients that’ll prevent ingrown hairs and razor burns.
Ingredients in this item include grape seed oil, almond oil, castor oil and safflower oil that moisturize and clear the skin beneath the beard. It also comes with vitamin A and E that offer a layer of protection between your face and blade. Overall, the blend doesn’t clog your razor or feel sticky on your face.
It comes in a small bottle that has a flip cap covered pump. Looking at the bottle design, you can control the flow of the oil during use and avoid wastage. With this product, there’s no need to worry about dry or irritated skin because it soothes and prepares the skin for a close shave.
The oil works on all types of skin and can be used daily. Since it has a refreshing white tea scent, you’ll enjoy using this product. You can also use pre-shave oil with your favorite cologne because of its scent subtle nature.
- Hydrates the skin perfectly
- Softens tough facial hair
- Offers a smooth blade movement
- Difficult to wash out
Can you apply pre-shave oil on your head or body?
While pre-shave oil is most commonly associated with the face, it can definitely be used on the head and body.
In fact, it can be used anywhere because the product helps to lift hairs from the skin for a closer, smoother cut.
To fully optimize your head shave, you’ll want to invest also in one of the best razors for head shaving.
Does pre-shave oil cause acne?
Products with lower-quality ingredients may be difficult to rinse off, leaving behind a greasy residue that can clog pores and cause acne.
If you select a pre-shave product with all-natural, quality ingredients, the oil will rinse effortlessly off the skin before shaving.
In this way, if you stick to natural pre-shave oils, they’ll work to improve your complexion and overall skin health rather than harming it.
Can coconut oils be used as pre-shave oil?
For the ultra-minimalist, coconut oil can be used as a pre-shave oil.
Many swear by using coconut oil in their shaving routine, claiming it helps moisturize skin and prevent irritation.
As an added, bonus, you can be sure that it’s 100% natural and has no potentially harmful synthetic ingredients.
Because it comes in such high volume at such a low price, it’s also one of the cheapest options when it comes to pre-shave lubricants.
For some men, shaving lubricants like shaving cream, soap, foam or gel work well to stop skin irritation before it starts.
For those with especially sensitive skin (or men looking for an extra-close shave), pre-shave oil is the perfect addition to your shaving routine.
Among its many benefits, it softens hair, hydrates skin and allows for a closer, smoother shave.
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