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.

→Follow me on Instagram where I often make a fool of myself←

How to Shave Without Shaving Cream


  1. Randy P says:

    You know that a lot of us HAD to immediately divert from this column to first watch the bubble mask vid as you recommended. Pure hilarity says I. Easily a 6.5 on the scale of Hah!s, which is mighty high by my reckoning and use. Great tips for shaving substitutes too. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Jennifer says:

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

    • Nancy Ann says:

      My goodness, I never knew men were ever uncomfortable about anything…..except my dad, he was a gentleman.

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. Emily R says:

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

  13. 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!

  14. Kea says:

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

  17. 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 😉

  18. Katherine says:

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

  19. 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.

  20. BlueBillieJean says:

    I LOve you Karen ! Please marry me!

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