Shaving cream is a substance that is applied to the face or wherever else hair grows, to provide lubrication and avoid razor burn during shaving. Shaving cream is often bought in a spray can, but can also be purchased in tubs or tubes. Shaving cream in a can is commonly dispensed as a foam or a gel. Creams that are in tubes or tubs are commonly used with ashaving brush to produce a rich lather (most often used in wet shaving).
The cream itself commonly consists of a mixture of oil, soaps, surfactants, and water or alcohol, manufactured under carefully controlled conditions to ensure proper pH and consistency
.A rudimentary form of shaving cream was documented in Sumer around 3000 BC. This substance combined wood alkali and animal fat and was applied to a beard as a shaving preparation.
Until the early 20th century, bars or sticks of hard shaving soap were used. Later, tubes containing compounds of oils and soft soap were sold. Newer creams introduced in the 1940s neither produced lather nor required brushes often referred to as brushless creams.
Soaps are used by wetting a shaving brush, which is made out of either boar hair or badger hair, and swirling the brush on the soap then painting the face with the brush. Brushless creams do not produce a lather there by removing its ability to protect the skin against cuts. Traditional soaps are still available today from such makers as the Art of Shaving, Crabtree and Evelyn and Geo. F. Trumper.
The first cans of aerosol shaving creams were sold in the 1950s and by the following decade this format attained two-thirds of the American market for shaving preparations. The gas in shaving cream canisters originally contained chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) but this substance was increasingly believed to be detrimental to the Earth's ozone layer. This led to restrictions or reductions in CFC use, such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency ban in the late 1970s. Gaseous hydrocarbon propellants such as mixtures of pentane, propane, butane and isobutane could be used instead of the CFCs. Because of the large proportion of water in pressurized shaving cream, the risk from the normally flammable hydrocarbons was reduced. The logic behind a canned shaving cream is this: by canning the lather rather than the cream or soap the shaver can save time not having to build the lather. While this is true it is often argued that this method removes a lot of the original purpose behind the cream and/or soap in the process. By canning the cream it can no longer protect the face, because it doesn't lather, or so it is argued. Canned cream's sole purpose, it is argued, is to lubricate the face so that the blades can cut the hairs as they no longer provide any protection from cuts.
Many brands exist at a variety of price points and fragrances today. From Barbasol shave cream, a light, unscented foam that is sold as cheaply as $1.99 to the more upscale brands like Grooming Lounge Beard Destroyer Shave Cream and Truefitt and Hill's classically fragranced offerings, consumers have a variety of choices to fit their skin and beard type. The presence of mentholated shave creams has grown recently as well, owing to this compound's powerful ability to numb the skin and prevent redness or irritation.
In the late 1980s, shaving gel was developed that is dispensed from an aerosol can. In 1993 the idea was improved by The Procter & Gamble Company with a post-foaming gel composition, which turns the gel into a foam after application to the skin, combining properties of both foams and gels.
In 1996 a British company called King of Shaves launched two shaving gels in a tube. The packaging was recyclable and no CFCs were used in the manufacturing process. Since then, many companies including Gillette, Nivea and L'Oreal have followed suit and launched shaving gels in tubes.
Several own brand variations are available including Tescos, Asda, Sainsburys and Morrisons.