How to Ditch the Chemicals in Your Shaving Cream

For many of you, the first of December marks the exchange of beard oil for shaving cream and a razor. While that’s common for those of you who only grow facial hair during prostate cancer awareness month, No-Shave November, you may not be aware of the plethora of chemicals your shaving cream may contain, and how they could negatively impact your skin. Ditch these ingredients, bag these products, and may the remainder of your shaves be healthy.

Ditch These Ingredients

Triethanolamine (TEA) is a combination of toxins ethylene oxide and ammonia, and is typically used in shaving creams and gels as a foaming agent. Approved for “discontinuous use” by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR), TEA is meant to be used in small dosages and washed off after brief contact with skin. Although short-term, repetitive exposure can leave skin and hair dry and brittle, and may lead to blisters, hives and flakiness after long-term use.

Sulfates can be characterized by the lather in your shaving cream, soap, or shampoo and are often used as cleansing agents. Like they disintegrate residue, they also break down proteins, which can lead to immediate skin irritation and contribute to dry scalp, faded hair color and hair loss. Sulfates may be listed as “sodium lauryl sulfate,” “sodium laureth sulfate,” or “ammonium lauryl.”

Mineral Oil is a petroleum byproduct used as a moisturizing agent in shaving creams by acting as a sealant between skins cells. In “sealing-in” or “locking-in” moisture, mineral oil traps already existing bacteria on your skin into your pores, and blocks your body’s natural release of toxins through sweat glands, both of which can lead to acne outbreaks. Although refined, mineral oil can still carry traces of carcinogens, known to cause cancer.

Isopentane and Isobutane are hydrocarbons often present as compressed gases in aerosol propellants. Prolonged exposure can cause skin to become dry and cracked. Avoid listings “Ethyldimethylmethane,” “Isoamyl Hydride,” or “2-Methylbutane.”

Fragrance or “flavor” sounds harmless, but under U.S. regulations this one ingredient can be comprised of a number of chemicals, both natural and synthetic that aren’t required to be revealed. As result, this unknown combination can lead to skin irritation such as allergic reaction. 

Bag These Goodies

Provide a thin, transparent layer of the Avalon Organics Aloe Unscented Moisturizing Cream Shave for a smooth shave, ideal for sensitive skin. Enriched with soothing aloe, and formulated without soap, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, GMOs, and synthetic colors and fragrances, this formula will be sure to leave you free of irritation. It’s also animal-friendly; ingredients are vegan and cruelty-free.

Slather on The Body Shop For Men Maca Root Shave Cream for a shave that’s both hydrating and healthy. A combination of aloe vera, maca root, sesame and vitamin E nourish and protect skin in this phthalate, triclosan and GMO-free formula.

Massage a generous amount of the John Masters Organics Eucalyptus and Agave 2 In 1 Moisturizer and Aftershave into skin after shaving to hydrate, soothe and tone. Agave moisturizes and stimulates collagen production, while guarana acts as an astringent to combat free-radical damage, known to cause signs of aging. Even better; eucalyptus oil reduces redness, irritation and inflammation in this sting-free formula.

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How to Ditch the Chemicals in Your Shaving Cream: Photographed by Jessica Toscano