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What Is Pre-Shave Oil and How To Use It?

We've all been there - razor burn, nicks, and irritation after a shave, leaving us frustrated and uncomfortable. What if we told you there's a secret weapon that can make your shaving experience much smoother and more enjoyable?

Enter pre-shave oil, your new best friend in the quest for the perfect shave. But what is pre-shave oil? It's a specially formulated product designed to soften your hair and provide a protective barrier between your skin and the razor, reducing the chances of irritation and nicks.

Short Summary

  • Pre-shave oil is essential for a smooth, irritation-free shave.

  • Natural oils provide skin protection and lubrication before shaving.

  • Look for natural ingredients when selecting pre-shaving oil to get the best results!

What Is Pre-Shave Oil?

Applying Pre Shave Oil

Pre-shave oil is a lubricant specifically designed to hydrate your skin and prepare it for the shaving process. It's the perfect companion to your favorite shaving cream, foam, or gel, working in tandem to provide a smoother and more comfortable shave. One of the essential shaving oils, pre-shave oil helps protect your skin from the razor, making it easier to cut the hair by softening it up.

So, how does it work, and what should you look for in a pre-shave oil? Let's dive deeper.

Natural Oils

The best pre-shave oils contain natural oils which come from plants and have been used for skin and hair care for ages. These oils are glyceride-based and don't come from petroleum. Some examples of natural oils used in pre-shave oils include olive oil, coconut oil, and sunflower oil.

With such a wide array of natural oils available, there's likely a pre-shave oil out there that's perfect for your skin type and preferences.

Their Role in Your Shaving Routine

Pre-shave oil plays an essential role in your shaving routine by lubricating your skin, guarding against razor burn, and making shaving more comfortable overall. It helps soften and lift up your facial hairs, creating a barrier between the razor and your skin, making it easier for the blade to glide across.

Pre-shave oil helps prevent any inflammation or irritation on sensitive skin, making it a welcome addition to your shaving routine if you're prone to razor burn or other skin irritations. By incorporating pre-shave oil into your routine, you can achieve a smoother and more comfortable shave every time.

Selecting the Right Pre-Shave Oil

Pre Shave Oil Selection

With so many pre-shave oils on the market, it can be tough to find the perfect one for your skin type and preferences. The key to selecting the right pre-shaving oil is to look for minimal ingredients, mostly natural oils, and consider fragrance-free options if you have sensitive skin.

Look for oils that are natural and organic, and that are free of synthetic fragrances, dyes, and preservatives. Consider the type of shaver you use, as some pre-shave oils are designed for specific use.

Ingredients to Look For

When selecting a pre-shave oil, look for key ingredients that provide the best results. Natural carrier oils such as jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, and grapeseed oil are known to soften hairs and reduce irritation. These oils also help protect your skin, making your shave smoother and more comfortable.

In addition to carrier oils, essential oils like tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, and cinnamon oil can provide additional benefits. Vitamin E and aloe vera are also common ingredients, offering hydration and soothing properties to help protect and nourish your skin.

Pre-Shave Oil for Sensitive Skin

If you have sensitive skin, finding the right pre-shave oil is essential to avoid irritation and razor burn. Look for oils with few ingredients, mostly oils, and consider fragrance-free options to minimize the risk of irritation.

Some examples of pre-shave oils suitable for sensitive skin include olive oil, castor oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, and avocado oil. By choosing an oil specifically designed for sensitive skin, you can enjoy a smoother and more comfortable shave without the worry of irritation or razor burn.

Avoiding Razor Burn

To avoid razor burn, make sure to apply pre-shave oil before your shaving cream, foam, or gel, and allow it to sit on your skin for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before shaving.

Best Pre-Shave Oils in 2024

Best Pre-Shave Oils

According to grooming experts, the best pre-shave oils in 2024 include Freebird Lubricating Pre-Shave Oil, The Art of Shaving Pre-Shave Beard Oil, Lather & Wood Pre-Shaving Oil, and Bevel Pre-Shave Oil.

Best All-Around: Freebird Lubricating Pre-Shave Oil

Freebird's Lubricating Pre-Shave Oil

The best all-around pre-shave oil in 2024 is Freebird's Lubricating Pre-Shave Oil. This oil uses a 100% natural blend of grapeseed, sweet almond, olive, and avocado oils to protect your skin, whether you're shaving your head, face, or anywhere else.

Plus, it's packed with antioxidants and vitamins that help to nourish and condition the skin, all while keeping your skin healthy and looking great.

They also offer a convenient subscription plan to save you 15% on their already affordable prices, free shipping, and a 60-day guarantee.

Freebird Shave care kit

Best for Coarse Beards: Lather & Wood Pre-Shaving Oil

Lather & Wood Sandalwood

For those with coarse beards, a slightly heavier pre-shave oil is recommended to provide a solid protective layer on the skin. Look for pre-shave oils containing castor, olive, sweet almond, argan, jojoba, and grapeseed oils.

Lather & Wood Pre-Shaving Oil is made with a blend of natural oils like jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, and grapeseed oil, which help protect your skin from the razor and make your beard softer for a smoother shave.

It's suitable for most skin types and offers excellent value for money, making it a top choice for those in search of the perfect pre-shave oil.

Best Budget-Friendly: Shave Secret Pre-Shave Oil

Shave Secret Pre-Shave Oil

If you're looking for a budget-friendly pre-shave oil that doesn't compromise on quality, Shave Secret Pre-Shave Oil is an excellent option. It's made with natural ingredients like jojoba oil, almond oil, and grapeseed oil, and is free of synthetic fragrances and dyes.

This affordable pre-shave oil will help you achieve a smoother, more comfortable shave without breaking the bank.

Buy from Shave Secret

Best for Sensitive Skin: The Art of Shaving Unscented

The Art of Shaving Unscented

If you have sensitive skin, you might want to avoid scented pre-shave oils, as the oil (even if it's natural), might irritate your skin.

The Art of Shaving's unscented pre-shave oil is formulated with olive and castor oil with this in mind, as well as the clove bud essential oil to help soothe sensitive skin.

The only caveat is that it's expensive, but if you're looking for the highest quality, this one will serve you well.

How to Apply Pre-Shave Oil Like a Pro

A man massaging pre shave oil into his face before shaving

You should apply pre-shave oil before you put on shaving cream, but don't forget to wet your skin with warm water first. Wetting your skin with warm water helps open up your pores and soften the hair, making it easier to shave.

1. Wet Your Skin with Warm Water

Wet your skin with warm water before you start shaving. You can use a washcloth or a soft towel.

This step will help open up your pores and soften your facial hair, creating a smoother and more comfortable shave.

2. Apply Pre-Shave Oil

Start by massaging a small amount of pre-shave oil into your face or head for around 20 to 30 seconds. Then wait for another 30 seconds before applying your shaving cream, foam, or gel.

This process allows the pre-shave oil to work its magic, softening your whiskers, prepping your skin for a close shave, and reducing friction, irritation, and nicks.

3. Apply Shaving Cream or Gel

After applying pre-shave oil, follow up with your favorite shaving cream, foam, or gel to ensure a smooth and comfortable shave.

4. Shave Away!

By wetting your face or head with warm water first, applying the pre-shave oil, and finally the shaving cream, you're prepping your skin, hair, and hair follicles for a comfortable shave that will leave your face or head feeling soft and irritation-free.

Amount Needed

When it comes to applying pre-shave oil, a little goes a long way. You don't need to drown your face or head in oil - just massage a small amount into your skin for about 20-30 seconds. The exact amount needed will depend on the area you're shaving, but generally, a few drops will suffice.

Massaging Technique

To ensure even distribution of pre-shave oil across your skin, use circular motions when massaging it in. This technique helps the oil penetrate your skin and hair and makes sure it's evenly distributed across your skin, providing optimal protection and softening for a comfortable shave.

Waiting Time

Once you've massaged the pre-shave oil into your skin, it's important to let it sit for a short period before applying your shaving cream. A waiting time of around 30 seconds to 2 minutes, depending on the product and your skin type, will allow the oil to work its magic and provide the best results.


Pre-shave oil is an essential addition to your shaving routine, helping to protect your skin from irritation, soften your hair, and provide a smoother, more comfortable shave.

By selecting the right oil for your skin type and preferences, and following our techniques for applying and using pre-shave oil, you'll be well on your way to achieving the perfect shave.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a good substitute for pre-shave oil?

You don't necessarily have to shell out for pre-shave oil if you don't want to; a simple olive oil can do just as good a job! It's still an effective lubricant, and it provides a barrier to protect the skin from razor blades.

Just be prepared - instead of smelling like sandalwood, you might smell like Italian food! Additionally, since olive oil is heavy, it can also clog pores, leading to acne. Be sure to thoroughly rinse your skin afterward.

What's the difference between shaving cream and pre-shave oil?

Shaving cream and pre-shave oil are two different products meant to do different things - pre-shave oil is used before applying shaving cream to condition the skin for a smoother shave, while shaving cream conditions the skin to prepare it for the razor.

Both products help ensure a better, closer shave, but pre-shave oil should be applied first to get the most out of your shave.

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