I Ditched Aerosol Shaving Cream for Mess-Free Shaving Bars and Sticks—And I’m Never Looking Back

Photo: Well+Good Creative / Good Time / Hanni
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You're in the shower ready to shave your legs. You squirt the shaving cream into your hands, it foams up real quick, and now half of it is on the floor. While trying not to slip, you slather the foam on your legs only to see more of it slip off your skin and slide toward the drain. This is the experience so many people who shave are used to—but solid shaving cream, which comes in stick and bar form, is here to change that. And let me tell you: I made the switch a few months ago and I'm never looking back.

Hanni stepped into the body-care space with a bang in 2021, introducing the Shave Pillow ($24), a solid shaving cream stick, in May of that year. Then, Lola Arnao launched in April 2022 with its Shave Bar Starter Set ($45), which includes a totally plastic-free option that resembles a bar of soap. And that was just the beginning: Over the past few months, we've seen big-time expansion in the category. WYOS launched with four stick-skin-care options, including the shaving suds stick Disappearing Act ($16); Good Time released its Moisturising Shave Bar ($14), and Kitsch launched its Solid Shave Butter ($9).

Experts In This Article

Because these products don't use an aerosol can, they don't inundate you with a whole bunch of foam—which is a good thing, IMO. But, they still lather up thanks to gentle surfactants (aka cleansers) derived from coconut oil. Each of the below bars also contains either glycerin, shea butter, or both. These are super moisturizing ingredients that give the products their buttery-smooth textures. The formulas also contain soothing ingredients like oat kernel extract or adaptogenic mushrooms to help offset any irritation that can come along with shaving. They feel as if a lotion bar and a soap bar had a baby and offer a mess-free alternative to traditional shaving cream in a much smaller package. Just wet them, wet your skin, rub them on, and get to shaving.

Solid shaving creams "offer a couple of things to the consumer," says Wendy Charland, COO and co-founder of WYOS. "They're travel-friendly not only because they're solid and they're small, but they also won't leak in your bag. They also offer direct application."

Additionally, they offer a sustainable benefit. "When you're creating solid products, they use less water in the formulation, and the shipping impact is significantly less because they're smaller and lighter," says Charland. Although they're small, a little goes a long way. For example, a Lola Arnao's 3oz bar replaces two cans of shaving cream.

If you're using a solid shaving cream that's a bar rather than a tube, it's also plastic-free. "The ideal plastic-free shower wouldn’t be complete without an alternative to traditional shaving cream," says Jenn Stryker, body and hair-care expert at Good Time. "We developed a formula that can be used anywhere on the body with just the right balance of lather and slip for a smooth shave, without all the packaging you get from a can of shaving cream."

When it comes down to bar versus stick, I enjoy both for different reasons. The most obvious reason I love bars is that they're plastic-free. But, I do think the plastic tube that the sticks come in can be beneficial—they allow for mess-free application and they're easier to travel with. I plan to keep the bars in my shower for everyday use and keep the sticks tucked away for travel. No matter which one you choose, you can't go wrong.

Hanni, Shave Pillow — $24.00

Shave Pillow is the perfect name for this stick, which has a super luxe gel-to-milk formula and glides on effortlessly to deliver the perfect shave. It pushes up like deodorant and it feels so good on my skin. In addition to helping you get a good shave, it’s got adaptogenic mushrooms to soothe and protect skin and cactus water, which is full of moisturizing electrolytes and protective antioxidants.

Lola Arnao, Shave Bar Starter Set — $45.00

At first, I thought this set was overkill. I figured the brush looked cute but there was no way it made any difference—and then I tried it. The brush makes this bar lather into a perfect foam that you can’t replicate without it (trust me, I tried.) The set also comes with a wooden tray for storage and a canvas bag for travel. However, if you just want the bar, you can grab it for $19. It’s made with oat oil to soothe and prevent ingrown hairs, French rose clay to give an extra smooth shave, mango butter to moisturize deeply, and apricot kernel oil to soothe.

WYOS Disappearing Act — $16.00

This was the first solid shaving cream that I tried, and the one that made me convert. It’s a gel formula that’s not as buttery as the other options. Because I have dry skin, I tend to prefer those thicker options, but by no means did I find this stick lacking—it still gave me a great shave without irritation. And if you have oily skin or don’t love buttery body care, this is hands down the best option. It’s made with a couple of forms of glycerin (making it nice and slippery!) and anti-inflammatory ginseng root extract.

Good Time, Moisturising Shave Bar — $14.00

Good Time makes some of my favorite bar soaps, so I was stoked to try its shaving bar. Out of all the ones I tested, this one provided the best lather. But, it’s still super moisturizing—it’s packed with shea butter, glycerin, aloe leaf juice, and oat kernel extract. It’s got a round, flat shape, allowing it to fit nicely in your hand and coat your skin with ease.

Kitsch, Solid Shave Butter — $9.00

What I love most about this bar is the price. At $9, it’s the most affordable on this list. The formula is super simple—it has just two gentle surfactants, shea butter, natural fragrance, titanium dioxide, and vitamin E. The surfactants allow it to lather, the shea butter moisturizes, and the vitamin E soothes.

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