Shaving Cream Alternatives for When You’ve Run out of Lather

Before you reach for that liquid soap, consider these (much, much better) options.

Man looking in mirror while shaving with son.

First of all, if you’ve run out of shave cream or shave butter, shame on you! It has literally never been easier to keep stocked with shaving supplies. But let’s assume the worst has happened: You have a week’s worth of stubble, a virtual job interview in two hours, you’re out of shave cream and you’re casting about for alternatives.

The most important piece of advice we can give here is this: Do not be tempted to try the soap. We know, we know, it seems like the obvious choice. It’s right there! It foams! It’s right there! But as product wiz Fadi Mourad explains, this is a quick way to dry out your skin. “Soap is designed to remove dirt from your body and does not provide any lubrication or moisturizing properties,” he says. “The result is that your skin will feel dry after shaving, possibly causing irritation.”

Hair guru and stylist of over 30 years, Cleve McMillan, agrees: “The issue with most soaps is that they have sulfates in them, and sulfates don’t discriminate between the natural oils of your skin and the oil and debris they’re supposed to remove — they take it all off, stripping the skin and making you look older.”

So what’s the better option? According to Mourad, your best bet is actually hair conditioner. “You want a product that has skin and hair softening properties, so you get a comfortable shave in place of your shaving product,” he explains. “Conditioner has the slip and conditioning ingredients for an emergency shave. The next best option would be a conditioning body wash — the white, creamier types work best because they’re more conditioning.”

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McMillan, meanwhile, has some more unusual suggestions for replacing your vanished shave cream. While he, too, recommends searching your bathroom for conditioner, body lotion and possibly even shampoo or cream-style sunscreen, he also claims you can widen your search outside of the bathroom. “You should always go for a product that is a cream, and if you have none of those, you can venture into products that foam. Failing that, if you’ve truly run out of everything, you could start to look in the kitchen,” he says. “Butter or (preferably organic) cooking oil could work, as it won’t clog the skin too badly. You could even try a mushed up avocado — it’d make a great skin lubricant and treatment.” Who knew you could do so much with guacamole?