How to Shave Without Shaving Cream

Out of shaving cream? There are lots of alternatives for shaving cream and gel when you run out. Chances are you have a good substitute for a clean shave in your house right now.

Blue and white metal can of Skintimate shaving cream.

Emergency situation!  Imagine it, you’re in the shower and as a modern human you need to shave your legs or private-love-area but you’re out of shaving cream. Not to worry, you can get shaving immediately with these around the house shaving cream alternatives.

You’ll be 3rd date ready in no time. Ahem.

Shaving cream softens and lubricates your hair, making it easier to get a clean shave. It also moisturizes your skin and provides a slippy barrier between it and the razor. This cuts down on razor burn, razor bumps, ingrown hairs and nicks.

So that’s why you don’t shave without shaving cream. You’d be a mess otherwise. BUT there are alternatives if you happen to run out.

For more fun skin products you can take a look at this mess of skin products from Singapore that my friend sent me – the video of me doing a cloud mask alone is worth the effort of the click.

Shaving Cream Alternatives


Soap is the most convenient because chances are you have it in your shower right this minute.

LOTION (hand or body)

Don’t use your face lotion because you probably spent too much money on that, but hand and body lotions work great to add slip and glide for shaving.


Baby oil (which is a synthetic mineral oil) also adds slip but in a bathtub or shower excessive slip could get dangerous. And hairy legs are a lot less uncomfortable than a broken leg.


Hair conditioner is the best alternative to shaving cream if you have it in your bathroom. It provides a shave that as good or even better than shaving gels.

I conducted an experiment & was surprised when hair conditioner shaved BETTER than shaving cream.

It’s a real thing, and it works. 

I lathered up one leg with shaving cream and the other with hair conditioner and got to shaving.

Shaving Cream vs Conditioner

Can of shaving cream beside bottle of hair conditioner.

My left leg got regular shaving cream and my right leg got hair conditioner.

Shaving a leg with 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.  This is also fantastic for using on your bits. And by bits I mean pubic area.

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 hair conditioner moisturizes it.

TIP: Check your blade. No matter what lubricant you’re using for shaving if your razor blade is rough or nicked it isn’t going to end well.

Natural Shaving Cream Substitutes

If you like to keep things au natural (except your legs or face which you apparently want to shave) you can opt for natural products that you probably have around the house for shaving.


Slip and slide your way to smooth legs with a tablespoon of olive oil. Pour it in the palm of your hands, emulsify a bit and then smooth it over your legs (or bits) before shaving.


Coconut oil is a perfect choice for shaving your legs because of the great hydrating properties it has but if you don’t want to constantly be smelling coconut (weirdo) then don’t use it for your face which just happens to be very close to your nose. Also, coconut oil can clog your pores.


You can’t get much more natural than squeezing out some aloe vera goop onto your skin. The plant, which is used for medicinal purposes all over the world, shines when it comes to soothing skin. This makes it a perfect choice for shaving.

The Best of the Bunch

Listed in order of effectiveness

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

Hair conditioner is the best substitute for shaving cream. It does just as good a job, is already sitting in the shower with you and is more cost effective.

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.

My 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. Alicia Herron says:

    Karen, I’ve become obsessed with reading your blog posts! I know this one is older but I loved it! I am glad that you conducted this experiment. I have done this as well however, I forgot which leg was which because I suffer from squirrel syndrome. Watch the movie up if you aren’t sure of what that is. Anywho, thanks for another fun post.

  2. Natalie says:

    I’m telling you the best shaving gel is in an orange tube at trader joes. very inexpensive and silky. even some guy friends from sweden swoon over this everytime they visit and buy tubes and tubes. and you know those sweeds the guys only buy the best products.

    • Paige P. says:

      I also love that stuff! Lasts way longer than the Eos brand I used to buy. Smells nice too! But I’ve gone through 2 bottles of shampoo to my one conditioner so…

  3. Heather says:

    I started using conditioner in my teens (because I was too cheap to buy shaving cream). But now I use olive oil. After I get out the shower I slather on olive oil and shave away. My legs feel amazing! Plus my shower is the size of a peanut and contorting my body into odd positions lost it’s novelty.

    • Heather says:

      Oh holy crap, I do know how to write with correct grammar… and in complete sentences.

      • Karen says:

        LOL. I didn’t even notice until I went back and rereaded your comment. :) Don’t worry about it. Nobody’ll notice. ~ karen

      • Doctor Freeworld says:

        Yes but I have had my attention drawn to it now. Which is good because I was getting itchy about the itchiness mentioned in your initial comments.

  4. kasia says:

    Wow, all these years, and I just use plain old water! Never even used soap before! Huh. That explains a lot…

    Going to try this tomorrow morning! :)

  5. sky says:

    Okay Karen, have one for you. A while ago I saw on the internet where this man proved that it was possible to sharpen a razor blade and that we would never have to buy another razor ever again. He showed that if you rub the blade backwards (one direction only here) on the skin of your dry forearm about 10 – 20 times that would keep the blade sharp. He proclaimed that this was akin to how the barbers would sharpen their blades – those single long blades – when they rubbed it against the leather straps. What cha think?

  6. erin says:

    I only shave with conditioner! I haven’t bought shaving cream in at least five years.

  7. Shauna says:

    I once saw the girls on ‘the view’ use cheeze whiz….I still have nightmares!! (just from the thought!!) But the conditioner I will use… Next month, if I have time to shave ;D

  8. Pam'a says:

    I, too, have been doing this one for years, using the turbo conditioner that comes with the stuff I dye my hair with (since they give you enough to condition your own hair and that of everyone else you know).

    My burning question is: Where HAVE you found the Trac II blades, dangit!! I can’t find them either.

  9. maria says:

    First off thanks for the tip — always have conditioner on hand!

    Secondly, WOW!!! I had no idea what “Bear Grylls” was so I googled — it’s not an it — it’s a HIM!

    OMG!! Will have to read up on this adventurer.


  10. Theresa says:

    have tried this too when cream wasn’t available – however this scientific confirmation is greatly appreciated.
    I also find that if its been a really long time say most of the winter cause its cold and you’re wearing pants all the time and well you were always a bit of a hippie – the conditioner is the best way to go.

  11. Robyn L. Lupone says:

    I too have been doing this for years and the money you save is amazing! Love your writing of this blog enjoy every post, Thanks;0)

  12. Cait says:

    LOVE IT! Probably because I have done the same thing in a moment of panic. Its great to see that there are others out there, and its nice to be reminded that there are so many other things out there that do the same job (if not a better job) than the items being marketed for a specific purpose! Thanks for posting!

  13. DzynByJules says:

    I too have been using this method for several years now, but I will be using the “I’m growing my leg hair for science” excuse next time my hubby asks why I have the Clydesdale look going!!! Great post!

    • Langela says:

      “clydesdale look” Love it! My husband and I usually discuss whether I need a mower or a weed-eater to get my leg hair under control.

      • Zina says:

        Moved in with my partner J. Here’s the conversation that took place one morning after I moved in:

        “Where’d my razor go?”

        “in that drawer there. You know, you don’t have to shave for me.”


        “You don’t have to shave for my sake.”


        “I’m saying you don’t have to shave to make me happy.”

        “Well, that’s nice of you to say, honey, but I don’t shave for you, I shave for ME.”

        “Oh. Well, I was just saying. You can do whatever.”

        “Thanks, honey.” (pause) “Hey, waitasecond. Would you rather I *didn’t* shave?”

        “You can do whatever you want.”

        “Yeah, but do you prefer it if I don’t shave?”

        “I was just trying to say if you didn’t want to shave, it doesn’t bother me.”

        “Um. Okay.”

        I have Not Pursued It Further, in case I’m living with the reincarnation of Napolean or something.

  14. StyckyWycket says:

    I had switched from shaving cream to lotion for shaving in high school when my parents had redone the bathroom and the shaving cream can was leaving rust stains on the granite (lotion came in plastic, hence no stains). I then found that I liked lotion so much better for shaving (sensitive skin). Right now, I have a huge bottle of Suave Cocoa Butter lotion in my shower. The best part, it will last me at least 9 months, and cost me $3.88.

  15. magali says:

    I’ve also been doing this for years!!

  16. ModFruGal says:

    I do that too since I hate extra items in the shower..I like multitaskers…oh, and I LOVE Bear Grylls..Like serious crush love.

  17. marilyn says:

    karen this has nothing at all to do with shaving just wanted to say that was the BEST punkin pie EVERand i love you….p.s tell chris i have a nice bottle of maple syrup coming for him…and thanks

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Marilyn! For those of you wondering … I have a pumpkin pie post coming up very soon and Marilyn was a recipient of a piece of pumpkin pie. Apparently Marilyn liked it. :) I’ll let Chris know!

  18. Jamieson says:

    Nice one! I do this (on my FACE, as I am a MAN) when I’m traveling with only carry-on baggage, as I can’t pack shaving cream. Every hotel offers conditioner samples, so I tried it once and now I count on it. First I tried lotion, but it gums up the razor too much and slows down the process. Also, conditioner has more “slide” to it.
    My fear is that some canny terrorist will next invent a dastardly use for the Mach 5 razor cartridge as a deadly weapon, and I’ll be further reduced to shaving with a hotel sewing kit.

  19. Emily says:

    I’ve been doing this for awhile, too. It’s great because it moisturizes your legs while being great for shaving. I especially like using on the often-dry ankle area as the temp has been dropping.

  20. Shea says:

    Been doing this for years. I’m glad you gave me scientific validation.

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