CLEAN SWAP: Shaving Cream

Welcome to my weekly featured CLEAN SWAP! This week is for the gentlemen as we are taking a closer look at Shaving Cream!

I’m always fielding questions from clients and friends about how they can swap out some of their favorite products for safer, toxin-free options without a loss in quality, taste, or performance (depending on the product). Every week, I cover food, cosmetics, personal care, cleaning and laundry products, and even behavior, so if you enjoy these Clean Swaps, please follow me on Instagram and sign up for my 360° OF WELLNESS Newsletter (⬅️by clicking on this link to the left) so that you never miss a new one.

Let's talk SHAVING GEL/CREAM🧔🏻🦵🏼

Your skin is most vulnerable when you shave. Warm water opens your pores, allowing more of whatever is on the surface of your skin to penetrate deeper inside. Once you shave, the outer layer of your skin has been exfoliated and the new, fresh skin underneath is more tender and vulnerable to the outside elements, including your shaving cream or gel.


Unfortunately, most over-the-counter products contain harmful chemicals that can compromise your health. Here’s more on the ingredients to avoid:

🚫 TRIETHANOLAMINE (TEA) is an emulsifying agent, meaning it helps keep the oil and water from separating. TEA along with cousins DEA (diethanolamine) and MEA (monoethanolamine), are often found in products that foam, including shave creams and gels. They have been linked with hormone disruption, and can form cancer-causing nitrates and nitrosamines. They can also be readily absorbed in the skin.

🚫 FRAGRANCE, which should just be listed as “hidden toxins,” can hide hundreds of ingredients bc they are considered “trade secrets.” However, they are packed with dangerous, synthetic chemicals, such as phthalates, which are powerful hormone disruptors linked to pre-term births, birth defects, decreased sperm counts, reduced female fertility, and a worsening of allergy and asthma symptoms.

🚫 PALMITIC ACID is an emulsifier, which keeps formulas evenly mixed. It has been linked with contact dermatitis, an allergic reaction in the skin.

🚫 ISOPENTANE is a solvent that helps some ingredients dissolve into others. It can cause dry skin, contact dermatitis, dizziness, headaches, and nose and throat irritation.

🚫 GLYCOLS, like propylene glycol (frequently found in antifreeze and brake fluid), butylene glycol, and ethylene glycol help the skin retain and absorb moisture, and allow liquids to spread more evenly. They’ve been linked with dry skin, rashes, and dermatitis, and high levels may contribute to blood and kidney disorders. 

🚫 SULFATES (aka sulphates, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, ammonium lauryl sulfate, SLS or SLES) are harsh, corrosive products in many personal care products. These are cleansing and foaming ingredients have been linked with dry skin, rashes, dermatitis, and impaired hair growth. Additionally, lauryl mimics estrogen, which is especially problematic for women, and laureth often hosts a known carcinogen called dioxane.

🚫 POLYTETRAFLUOROETHYLENE (PTFE) is the same chemical used to make Teflon, the non-stick surface in cookware and has been linked with osteoarthritis, heart disease, early-onset menopause, and breast cancer. 

🚫 BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) is a toluene-based ingredient (toluene was rated 37th most toxic chemical by the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry in 1992) used as a preservative in personal care products like shaving gels. It can mimic estrogen and is a known endocrine disruptor. It is a possible carcinogen and is linked to developmental and reproductive toxicity.

🚫 MINERAL OIL is a byproduct of petroleum (Yes, that's right, gasoline!). Mineral oils clog pores, increase skin irritation, and can be carcinogenic. Unlike other oils such as jojoba which have nutrients that benefit the skin, mineral oils actually encourage skin to close up, making it difficult for the skin to release naturally occurring toxins This can lead to increased infections and acne breakouts. It’s used because it's a cheap carrier, which means that it creates “slip” thereby assisting with “spreadability.”


Counterman Safer Men's Skincare products

COUNTERMAN Men’s Safer Skincare Products


If if you are ready to Clean Swap your shaving cream , I recommend Counterman Smoothing Shave Cream. This soothing and conditioning shaving cream softens facial hair and delivers a super close and comfortable shave. It’s fragrance-free (and free of many other harmful chemicals that most shaving creams and gels contain) and works to soothe, hydrate, and protect skin from everyday environmental stress.

My husband (who LOVES the Counterman products) says that it gives him the closest shave he’s had in years and describes it as providing a protective barrier over the skin that allows the razor to glide smoothly without burn, and rinses cleanly and easily without any oily or sticky residue. He also says it’s the absolute best shaving cream for travel.

His second favorite is the Cooling Aftershave Tonic , which he describes as having a clean, manly scent without being overly “perfumey.” His other two favorite counterman products are the Daily Exfoliating Cleanser, which he says is gentler than the gritty scrubs he has used before, yet helps get rid of bumps and acne, and the Charcoal Body Bar, which he says is his favorite bar of soap of all time.

Do you have a favorite clean brand? 

Send me a message to tell me Leave a comment below and share what it is. If I like it, I may feature it (and give you props) in a future Clean Swap.

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