How to Shave Without Shaving Cream.

How to shave without shaving cream because you forgot to buy it, don’t like it, can’t find it, are boycotting anything that automatically foams, hate the rusting cans, think it’s bad for the environment, think it’s good for the environment or just plain old ran out of it?  No problem. There’s a better alternative than regular soap.

Blue and white metal can of Skintimate shaving cream.

Emergency situation! Bear Grylls style.  Imagine it, you’re in the shower and as a modern human you need to shave your legs or private-love-area immediately for one of two reasons. Either … you’re about to go on a 3rd date or you’ve avoided shaving for the past few showers and your legs/between your legs are itching.

They’re itching a lot. It’s as though the hairs growing out of your legs are made of fibreglass insulation dipped in mosquito juice.

So … regardless of the reason, you need to shave your legs.  Unfortunately due to any number of reasons (mentioned above) you’re out of shaving cream.

Your very best alternative if you run out of shaving cream is to use hair conditioner.

Shaving With Conditioner

It’s a real thing, and it works. 

Side by side view of a blue can of shaving cream and a white pump bottle of Smooth as Silk conditioner.

As proof for you,  I conducted a little experiment.


Shaving Cream VS Hair Conditioner

Leg with stubble growing out of it.

The first thing I had to do in the name of science was allow the hair on my legs to grow a little bit for visual purposes.  

Men's stainless steel razor with a double blade razor head in it.

Then I got my 157 year old razor that is almost impossible to find razor cartridges for.

Lathering up lower portion of a woman's leg with shaving cream.

I lathered up my left leg with regular, old shaving cream.

Razor running up a shin lathered with shaving cream.

And then shaved it as per usual.  Done. Good job, the hairs on that leg were cut away.  Next up was the other leg and some hair conditioner.

Hand with hair conditioner on it held out over leg ready for shaving.

I squeezed out a dollop of regular hair conditioner …

Hand rubbing hair conditioner into leg as a shaving cream alternative.

… and slathered that on and shaved with the conditioner.

Using hair conditioner on leg to shave instead of shaving cream.

The Results

I can tell you that both legs felt good after shaving them.  There was no irritation or razor burn on either leg. 

Conclusion? Hair conditioner is not only a perfectly acceptable replacement for shaving cream it works just as well. Maybe better because shaving cream dries out your skin while conditioner moisturizes it.

I have to say, MANY years after running this experiment I still use hair conditioner to shave my legs at least as often as I use shaving cream.

Don’t use conditioner because maybe you have very special self conditioning hair? Or you’re bald?

Shaving Cream Alternatives

Listed in order of effectiveness

  1. Hair Conditioner
  2. Coconut Oil
  3. Body Lotion
  4. Aloe vera gel
  5. Soap

Hair conditioner is going to be more economical than using shaving cream, does at least as good a job, if not better and a bottle of conditioner will last you way longer than a can of shaving cream. PLUS it won’t rust on the bottom.

Coconut oil works great too and like conditioner actually moisturizes your skin a bit. The only caveat to using coconut oil is that you’re sending all that oil down your drain. What with my plumbing problems that led to spending thousands of dollars and installing a new toilet (totally easy, here’s how you can do that) I avoid putting anything down my pipes that could clog them. 

So I choose to use hair conditioner as my shaving cream alternative. You’re welcome for this experiment about whether you can use hair conditioner as a replacement for shaving cream.

The experiment testing whether you can use shaving cream as hair conditioner did not go nearly as well.

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How to Shave Without Shaving Cream.


  1. Jennifer says:

    Coconut Oil, Aloe very gel is fantastic. I always use these. thank you for the post.

  2. Barbara says:

    I have never understood why people buy those wasteful cans of shaving cream. I just use good old bar soap. But now I will try conditioner, a bottle always lasts way longer than shampoo anyway.

  3. Nicole says:

    I just started using shampoo and conditioner bars (no plastic packaging) from The Earthling Co. and they work great for my hair so I think that the condioner bar will probably work well for shaving my legs, too. Thanks for the idea!

  4. Gary Boutin says:

    Hi Karen, being French I told my wife when I met her she didn’t have to shave her legs. But this was a good post and I sure enjoyed it. I have had this problem and been forced to use regular soap but it dried up my face. This is a good alternative. Thanks Karen. Gary

  5. Beverly says:

    Okay – confession time. This is what I use….the lather from my shampoo. I wash my hair and for whatever reason, leave the lather on my hair until I am done washing the rest of me (I have this idea that it makes my hair softer – don’t know why). One day, I decided to scoop some of the lather off my hair, smear it on my legs and shave. Worked a charm. Have never used soap or conditioner (because I am not a conditioner sort of person) or any of the shave creams. Almost a recycle sort of thing, using my shampoo lather. Good enough for this girl.

  6. Barb Rhodes says:

    Now I know what to do with the ginormous bottle of conditioner that comes paired with the ginormous bottle of shampoo from Costco! I don’t need to condition my hair at every shampoo( or my head turns into a total grease ball!) so I always end up with an imbalance in supply and demand.No longer will I have to juggle soap, razor and me. Thanks!

  7. Erin S says:

    I have been using the same bottle of inexpensive conditioner to shave my legs for the last 4 years! The conditioner was a poor retail purchase, but it has redeemed itself because it works perfectly for shaving.

  8. George McCarter says:

    I feel a little uncomfortable writing about women shaving their legs but I do have another product that works well for shaving. My 100 year old mother in law developed a skin problem because of sensitivity to soap. Her doctor suggested using aqueous cream. My wife and I started using it also and I use it to shave my face. It is a little difficult to find but works great. Ask for it at Shoppers or London Drugs pharmacy’s.

  9. Tarra says:

    On one episode of his show, Bear Gryllis actually demontrated eating some kind of animal shit as survival food. I don’t remember if it was later in that same episode or a different one that he demonstrated crapping his pants due to intestinal upset while rope climbing up a rock face. The guy is literally full of crap.

  10. Nancy Hunter says:

    Sandpaper! I use the black or water grit. It exfoliates as well. No, I’m not kidding. It used to be available in the drug stores at a fancy price. I only ever used it on my legs. It worked great!

  11. Emily R says:

    Or, just shave under running water, you’re already in the shower. Shave cream or conditioner seems like a hassle.

  12. Bruce Cisco says:

    As an avid cyclist for over 30 years (ouch i’m old), I’ve been shaving my legs for almost that long. Once a week usually and I’ve always used my wife’s fancy conditioner. It works great, feels great and moisturizes. hehe

    Don’t tell my wife please…it’s our little secret.

    Oops, I forgot I turned her on to your thread!

  13. Kea says:

    I have always found that shaving cream gives me razor burn but bar soap does not!

  14. Rosie says:

    I have used an epilator on my legs for years. Initially it did hurt a little, but now completely pain free, quick, easy and less hair regrowth. Highly recommend. Still use a razor for underarms.

  15. Quatorze says:

    Karen, your blogs were introduced to me at about the same time I learned my life would be upended by the Coronavirus ( the Peeps as gift wrap, of course!). You have saved me, literally and I thank you. I wish I had come up with hair conditioner as shaving gel but I read about it in a beauty magazine years ago. Thank you for sharing this idea with the world.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Quatorze! Welcome to my site! I hope your pandemic life isn’t too burdensome. Mine has changed little, but I know it’s been a HUGE adjustment for most people in so many ways. ~ karen!

  16. Dizzy says:

    This made me giggle, I haven’t shaved for years (I go through the pain of pulling the little blighters out by the roots as it lasts longer and there’s no regrowth itch), but years ago when I did I wouldn’t have dreamt of buying shaving foam/gel etc. I always used plain old well lathered soap, or if my skin was dry in winter, olive or sunflower oil. I suppose back then shaving foam wasn’t really a thing (U.K.), love this post, if nothing else it shows a) those who are a tad younger there was life pre shaving foam and b) those who’ve never had the pleasure of watching our lovely Bear in action something to drool over 😉

  17. Katherine says:

    I have being this for several years, much better and less expensive than shaving cream!! And a frugal choice!

  18. Margot says:

    Hey Karen, nice one but wait, there’s more. Hair conditioner also makes for terrific facial cleanser, including gently dissolving mascara. Then it helps to moisturise. I love it.

    • Karen says:

      I have a certain eye liner that I can never get off. I’ll try it! ~ karen

      • Irene says:

        Baby shampoo (I use Johnsons) for removing make-up!
        It even dissolves water proof mascara!
        And of course, being specifically designed not to sting babies’ eyes, it doesn’t sting adult eyes either; who woulda thunk? :-D
        A bottle also lasts for ages, and works out much cheaper than fancy shmancy removers.

  19. BlueBillieJean says:

    I LOve you Karen ! Please marry me!

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