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The Best Pre-Shave Oils for an Effortless Shave

Best Pre Shave Oils 00 Hero

There’s been a resurgence of the popular wet shaving style that uses a brush, a standard shaving soap, and a straight or safety razor, but there’s actually a better way. Going through the rigors of whipping up your cream, lathering properly, and shaving on a daily basis is tiresome and reduces the amount of time you have for sweet, sweet sleep. The answer to a simpler shave without the pomp is to use a pre-shave oil to soften your hair and lift it up from the skin for easier cutting. The result is a clean, close shave without razor burn or time wasted. If you’re ready to try the oil-based lifestyle, you’re ready for the best pre-shave oils guide.

The Best Pre-Shave Oils

What is pre-shave oil?

This oil is made to provide a hydrating and protective layer between your razor and your skin. You apply it before using your lather of choice, and like other facial hair products, it makes shaving more comfortable and injury (like nicks and cuts) less likely.

Why should you use pre-shave oil?

While not everyone needs to use a pre-shave oil, if you have sensitive skin or coarse facial hair, then you should definitely consider it. It’s a good idea to use this oil as it not only protects and hydrates your skin and facial hair, but also makes shaving easier and safer, allowing your razor to glide more easily across your face.

What to look for

Choosing a good pre-shave oil is the same as finding a quality shaving brush. You want something that lifts hair properly, reduces razor drag on the skin, penetrates through the hair, and moisturizes it all at once. That is the role played by shaving brushes, but with oil, the process isn’t as lengthy. It’s all about finding natural ingredients that don’t clog pores and won’t leave an oily residue on your face.

Skin Type: If you have dry skin, opt for something with hydrating and conditioning ingredients (more on this below). If you have sensitive skin, then look for an oil with soothing and mild ingredients/oils.

Scent: This is a personal preference, but if you have any scents you feel strongly about (one way or the other), then make sure you double-check before grabbing a pre-shave oil.

Size: If you shave every day, then go for something bigger. But if you shave more sparingly (or use a cream/gel as well), then less oil will likely be fine.

Ingredients to look out for

Like other cosmetics, prioritize natural ingredients and avoid harmful ingredients like parabens, mineral oils, and silicone.

Fatty/Botanical Oils: These should be naturally derived (like avocado, sunflower, olive oil, and tea tree oil) and provide soothing hydration. Olive oil is an especially popular choice (some even use it on its own) as it’s naturally antimicrobial, hydrating, and allows your razor to glide easily.

Shea Butter: Shea butter is another natural ingredient commonly found in cosmetics as it’s a great moisturizer.

Aloe Vera: This ingredient hydrates and soothes your skin/hair, similar to shea butter.

Glycerin: Glycerin is good for those with sensitive skin, and it’s usually derived from animal fats or vegetable oils.

How to use pre-shave oil

Make sure your face is cleaned and washed, then put a handful of drops in your palm and rub your hands together. Work the oil into all of your facial hair and let it sit for a couple of minutes before applying your lather of choice (if you do apply one).

Proraso Pre-Shave Conditioning Cream

Proraso Pre Shave Conditioning Cream
  • Made in Italy
  • 95% natural ingredients
  • Contains alcohol

The Budget Pick: Since 1948, Proraso’s products have been trusted by barbers and customers alike. While this pick isn’t an oil, it still does all the same things you expect from one, but provides an extra thick layer of hydration and protection. This rich cream is made with oatmeal and green tea, which provide natural antioxidants and moisture, and softens your beard to prevent razor bumps and ingrown hairs. Additionally, this cream is cruelty-free and made without parabens, silicone, or mineral oils.

Size: 3.6 oz
Notable Ingredients: Oatmeal, green tea, Cetearyl alcohol, and glycerin
Skin Type: Dry and all

Bevel Pre Shave Oil

Bevel Pre Shave Oil
  • Works for head shaving as well
  • Tea tree oil scent may not be for you

The Best Oil for Thick Beards: Bevel has earned itself a reputation as the go-to brand for sensitive skin and tricky facial hair. So if you’re out there with a coarse beard and looking for the perfect option, then consider this pre-shave oil from them. Made with a mix of olive oil and tea tree oil, this oil provides the hydration and protective layer that you need, but is also specially designed to make coarse hair softer. This allows your razor to glide effortlessly across your face, providing a proper shave without the risk of injury.

Size: 2oz
Notable Ingredients: Castor oil, olive oil, and tea tree oil
Skin Type: All

American Crew Ultra Gliding Shave Oil

American Crew Ultra Gliding Shave Oil
  • Clear and non-greasy
  • Works for sensitive skin
  • Cap can be finicky

The Best Oil for Safety Razors: American Crew has a deep product line that is priced more for the average buyer. Part of its allure is the fact it can be found almost anywhere. This oil is good for reducing bumps and nicks for a cleaner, smoother shave. The primary ingredients are a mixture of natural oils, including peppermint, clove, and eucalyptus. What you’ll find is this creates a nice way to push your hair up and protect you during shaving, all while adding a pleasant fragrance and healing the dryness of winter or days in the summer sun.

Size: 1.7 oz
Notable Ingredients: Peppermint, clove, and eucalyptus oils
Skin Type: All and sensitive

Lather & Wood Shaving Co. Sandalwood Pre-Shave Oil

Lather Wood Shaving Co Sandalwood Pre Shave Oil
  • Works well on body and face
  • Scent isn’t for everyone, but it dissipates quickly

The All-Arounder: When glide is your goal so as to reduce friction and allow you to cut away even stubborn hairs that insist on lying flat, Lather & Wood are on the job. They use a mixture of 7 natural oils, with grape seed, meadowfoam, and virgin olive oil all making an appearance. The mix manages to push up recalcitrant stubble while still providing a moisture layer on your skin to protect it from dull razors, cold shaves, and fast movement. Only a few drops are necessary, so you can stretch the bottle for ages. It works best with shaving cream or soap, rather than by itself, but you can use it alone if time is of the essence.

Size: 2 oz
Notable Ingredients: Grape seed oil, meadowfoam, and virgin olive oil
Skin Type: All and sensitive

Anthony Pre-Shave and Conditioning Beard Oil

Anthony Pre Shave and Conditioning Beard Oil
  • Soothing aftershave effect
  • Trouble penetrating thick beards or stubble

The Best Oil for Sensitive Skin: Anthony prides itself on catering to shavers who have extremely sensitive skin and suffer from razor burn and nicks, not to mention standard dryness, chafing, and chapping. Completely hypoallergenic and made to soothe skin throughout the shaving process by using calendula and Vitamin E, what they lack in flash, they more than makeup for by helping those cursed with delicate flesh. The key is that they aren’t as natural or organic as some, which reduces allergens. While it might not be completely devoid of synthetics, the ones that are here are only meant to reduce breakouts and inflammation.

Size: 2 oz
Notable Ingredients: Calendula and vitamin E
Skin Type: Sensitive and all

The Art of Shaving Pre-Shave Oil

The Art of Shaving Pre Shave Oil
  • Increases longevity of razor blades
  • Sticky thanks to excess castor oil

The Best Oil Overall: You’re going to know the second you put this on that it’s a heavier oil and, therefore, great for protecting skin from razor burn and damage, as well as capable of sliding a razor along, smooth as buttermilk. On the other hand, it needs to be fully rinsed away after use, and those with oily skin may find that it’s a little much for them, and they need something with a few drying agents to combat it. If you do find it too oily, a little alcohol-based aftershave will help. The smells they offer are glorious, with Sandalwood being our natural, woodsy favorite.

Size: 2 oz
Notable Ingredients: Olive oil, castor oil,
Skin Type: All and sensitive

Aesop Moroccan Neroli Shaving Serum

Aesop Moroccan Neroli Shaving Serum
  • Great smell
  • Pricey for a pre-shave oil

The Premium Pick: Aesop has been dominating the high-end cosmetic space for some time now, especially in recent years. You’ll struggle to find a thoughtful bathroom countertop without at least one product from the label. That’s why you can bet that this shaving serum from them will provide a close and protected shave, while also smelling great, thanks to the addition of sandalwood and neroli blossom. So if you want to see what all the fuss is about, or just want another Aesop product to impress guests, then this serum is for you.

Size: 2 oz
Notable Ingredients: Sandalwood and neroli blossom
Skin Type: All

The Best Shaving Creams for Your Face

Best Shaving Creams 00 Hero

To get the most out of your pre-shave oil, you’ll want to use some shaving cream after applying. So take a look at our best shaving creams guide to complete your grooming arsenal.