The Best Non-Toxic Shaving Creams (Rated on Ingredients)

4 min reading time

Over the past 2 weeks we researched the ingredients in the most popular shaving gels from brands who represent their products as being natural.

Today we’ll be looking at:

  • The problem with traditional shaving gels.
  • The ingredients to be concerned about.
  • The importance of preservatives in shaving gels.
  • The harmful ingredients you should avoid.
  • Ratings for 12+ popular non-toxic shaving creams.

Shaving gels go straight down the drain after using them. What’s the point in being concerned about the ingredients in them?

There are actually two very good reasons why you should be concerned, both of which have to do with the fact that shaving makes the skin more vulnerable.

First of all, the warm water opens up the pores, potentially letting more of what’s on your skin absorb into it. Secondly, the act of shaving you exfoliate the top layer of skin, exposing the fresh and more delicate layer of skin underneath. This further makes the skin vulnerable to what’s lurking inside the product.

Since most men and many women shave every day, this can add up to a lot of exposure over a long period of time. For this reason, many conscious shoppers choose more natural and clean shaving gels.

The Problem With Traditional Shaving Gels

Like most other personal care products, shaving gels are made as cheaply as possible. Not only are many of these ingredients possibly irritating to the skin, or even worse, potentially causing serious health effects, but they also have an impact on our environment.

All of these ingredients go straight down the drain, ending up in our water supply, having an unknown effect on our environment.

Thankfully, we’ve seen a big push for cleaner and more conscious products in recent years, and this also applies to shaving products.

There are several natural and even organic shaving gels available that skip the nasty ingredients and replace them with natural, nourishing ingredients that leave the skin feeling better than before.

The Ingredients To Avoid In Shaving Gels

Standard shaving creams and gels all have a similar set of ingredients. You’ll find about 80% water in most products, with the remaining 20% consisting of ingredients that lather, propellants to get the product out of the can, and binding the lathering ingredients to the water.

If you shop for a traditional shaving gel, it’s almost a guarantee that it’s going to be full of ingredients that could potentially be harmful. These ingredients include things like:

  • Fragrance – If you see fragrance on a label, you have no idea what’s in it. Fragrance is protected as a trade secret, and can include any number of chemicals from a list of over 200. Not only are fragrances common allergens, but they’ve also been linked to other health issues.
  • Mineral Oil – Often used in shaving gels and creams as a moisturizer. Mineral oil is derived from petroleum, and sits on top of the skin, blocking the skin pores. Better shaving gels will use natural, plant-based oils.
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • Triethanolamine (TEA)
  • Palmitic acid
  • Ispoentate
  • Glycols (propylene glycol, ethylene glycol, and butylene glycol)
  • Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)


Whenever water or aloe is in a product, it always needs a preservative. There’s no way around this, because without one, mold and bacteria grows. Not only does it spoil the product, but mold and bacteria can often be invisible.

While many people would like to avoid preservatives, it’s simply not safe to have a product like a shaving gel without them. You won’t be able to find one that doesn’t have preservatives.

Preservatives To Avoid In Shaving Gel

  • Parabens – Anything ending in -paraben. This includes: methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, and benzylparaben.
  • Methylisothiazolinone
  • Methylchloroisothiazolinone
  • Quaternium-15
  • DMDM hydantoin
  • Imidazolidinyl urea
  • Diazolidinyl urea
  • Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate
  • 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol

Better Preservatives in Shaving Gel

Because it’s necessary to have some kind of preservative in a shaving cream, look for ones like these, which are safer to use.

  • Sodium Benzoate
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • Potassium Sorbate
  • Dehydroacetic acid
  • Vitamin C / ascorbic acid

Our Ratings

We audited the ingredients of the top-selling shaving gels that advertise themselves as being “clean”. They’re rated on this scale:

Best ???? – These products are the best of the best. They contain great ingredients, are non-toxic and are often the best choice for our environment.

Good – These products are typically quite good, but don’t go above and beyond like our best choices.

Iffy – These products are typically okay, but have some issues that make us unable to give them a “Good” rating. Often times they contain ingredients or materials that are questionable.

Bad – These products typically have toxic ingredients or issues that make them dangerous or unsuitable to use. These products should typically be avoided.

Shaving Gels Rated: Best

Well Kept

Shave Oil
Price: $34 ($8.5 per oz)

This shaving oil from Well Kept contains a very simple list of natural ingredients. If an oil works for you, this might be a great option.


  • Almond Oil (Prunus Dulcis Oil)*,
  • Argan Oil (Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil),
  • Vitamin E,
  • Essential Oil Blend (Rosemary)

Potential irritants: 1*

Dr. Bronner

Unscented Organic Shaving Soap
Price: $9.99 ($1.43 per oz)

This shaving soap contains a list of organic ingredients and has no potential irritants whatsoever. For this reasons, we give this product our best rating.


  • Organic Sucrose,
  • Organic White Grape Juice (Vitis Vinifera Juice),
  • Organic Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera),
  • Organic Palm Kernel Oil (Elaeis Guineensis Kernel Oil),
  • Potassium Hydroxide,
  • Organic Olive Oil (Olea Europaea Fruit Oil),
  • Organic Shikakai Powder (Acacia Concinna Powder),
  • Organic Hemp Oil (Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil),
  • Organic Jojoba Seed Oil (Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil),
  • Xanthan Gum,
  • Citric Acid,
  • Tocopherol

Now Solutions

Nutri-Shave Shave Cream
Price: $7.49 ($0.94 per oz)

With a clean list of ingredients, only one potential irritant, and a great price, this shaving cream tops our list of natural shaving gels.


  • Deionized Water,
  • Organic Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice),
  • Zinc Oxide,
  • Vegetable Glycerin,
  • Sodium Coco-Sulfate,
  • Lauryl Glucoside,
  • Hydroxyethylcellulose,
  • Citric Acid,
  • Organic Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera),
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil,
  • Allantoin,
  • D-Panthenol,
  • Sodium Hyaluronate,
  • Calendula (Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract),
  • Chamomile Extract (Chrysanthellum Indicum Extract),
  • Algae Extract,
  • Ginseng Root Extract (Panax Ginseng Root Extract),
  • Horsetail Extract (Equisetum Hyemale Extract),
  • Arnica Extract (Arnica Montana Flower Extract)*,
  • D-alpha-Tocopherol,
  • Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate,
  • Satsuma Orange Aroma,
  • Potassium Sorbate,
  • Cedar Oil (Cedrus Atlantica Wood Oil)

Potential irritants: 1*

Shaving Gels Rated: Good


Gentle Care & Protection Shaving Cream
Price: $18 ($7.2 per oz)

This shaving cream from Weleda contains a safe list of ingredients. It does contain fragrance, but it’s an essential oil blend, which generally only carries the risk of potential skin irritation.


  • Water,
  • Potassium Stearate,
  • Glycerin,
  • Potassium Olivate,
  • Potassium Cocoate,
  • Sodium Stearate,
  • Fragrance (Essential Oil Blend)*,
  • Wild Pansy Extract (Viola Tricolor Extract),
  • Sweet Almond Extract (Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Fruit Extract),
  • Goat's Milk (Caprae Lac),
  • Sodium Olivate,
  • Sodium Cocoate,
  • Sodium Silicate,
  • Magnesium Sulfate,
  • Alcohol,
  • Limonene*,
  • Linalool*,
  • Citronellol*,
  • Geraniol*

Potential irritants: 4*

Kiss My Face

4 in 1 Fragrance-Free Moisture Shave
Price: $7.95 ($0.72 per oz)

This fragrance-free shaving lotion from Kiss My Face contains a relatively clean list of ingredients. It’s a safe choice for anyone looking for a shaving gel with natural ingredients.


  • Water,
  • Myristic Acid,
  • Glycerin,
  • Stearic Acid,
  • Potassium Hydroxide,
  • Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera Oil),
  • Olive Oil (Olea Europaea Fruit Oil),
  • Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice),
  • Tocopheryl Acetate*,
  • Allantoin,
  • Sage Leaf Extract (Salvia Officinalis Leaf Extract),
  • Arnica Extract (Arnica Montana Flower Extract)*,
  • Goldenseal Extract (Hydrastis Canadensis Extract),
  • Horsetail Extract (Equisetum Hyemale Extract),
  • Lady's Mantle Leaf Extract (Alchemilla Vulgaris Leaf Extract),
  • Lemongrass Leaf Extract (Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Leaf Extract),
  • Lime Fruit Extract (Citrus Aurantifolia Fruit Extract),
  • Orange Flower Extract (Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Flower Extract),
  • Soapwort Extract (Saponaria Officinalis Leaf/Root Extract),
  • Watercress Flower/Leaf Extract (Nasturtium Officinale Extract),
  • Hydroxyethylcellulose

Potential irritants: 2*

Pacific Shaving Company

Natural Shaving Cream
Price: $7.99 ($2.35 per oz)

This shaving cream has a long but natural list of ingredients. Rather than water, the main ingredient is organic aloe.


  • Organic Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice),
  • Myristic Acid,
  • Stearic Acid,
  • Potassium Hydroxide,
  • Glycerin,
  • Organic Sunflower Seed Oil (Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil),
  • Organic Shea Butter (Butyrospermum Parkii Butter),
  • Bergamot Fruit Oil (Citrus Aurantium Bergamia Fruit Oil),
  • Grapefruit Fruit Extract (Citrus Grandis Fruit Extract),
  • Orange Peel Oil (Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Peel Oil)*,
  • Tangerine Peel Oil (Citrus Tangerina Peel Oil)*,
  • Organic Green or White Tea Extract (Camellia Sinensis Tea Leaf Extract),
  • Camellia Leaf Extract (Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract),
  • Organic Calendula Flower Extract (Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract),
  • Matricaria Extract (Chamomilla Recutita Extract),
  • Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia Oil),
  • Comfrey Extract (Symphytum Officinale Extract),
  • Clover Flower Extract (Trifolium Pratense Flower Extract),
  • Sweet Almond Extract (Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Fruit Extract),
  • Marshmallow Root Extract (Althaea Officinalis Root Extract),
  • Oat Kernel Extract (Avena Sativa Extract),
  • Sorbic Acid,
  • Tocopheryl Acetate*,
  • Hydroxyethylcellulose

Potential irritants: 3*

Ursa Major

Stellar Shave Cream
Price: $26 ($4.91 per oz)

Benzyl alcohol is the only ingredient of concern for those with sensitive skin or a tendency for allergic reactions. There are a few other potential irritants as well, but other than those, this is a clean shaving cream with organic ingredients.


  • Organic Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice),
  • Water,
  • Organic Sunflower Seed Oil (Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil),
  • Zinc Oxide,
  • Cetearyl Alcohol,
  • Cetearyl Glucoside*,
  • Glycerin,
  • Black Willow Bark Extract (Salix Nigra Bark Extract),
  • Oat Protein (Avena Sativa Protein),
  • Galactoarabinan,
  • Shea Butter (Butyrospermum Parkii Butter),
  • Birch Sap (Betula Alba Sap),
  • Arachidyl Alcohol,
  • Behenyl Alcohol,
  • Arachidyl Glucoside,
  • Samphire Extract (Crithmum Maritimum Extract),
  • Grapefruit Peel Oil (Citrus Paradisi Peel Oil),
  • Organic Ginger Root Oil (Zingiber Officinale Root Oil),
  • Vetiver Root Oil (Vetiveria Zizanoides Root Oil),
  • Balsam Oregon Fir Branch/Leaf Oil (Pseudotsuga Menziesii Branch/Leaf Oil),
  • Organic Balsam Canada Extract (Abies Balsamea Extract),
  • Bergamot Orange Peel Oil (Citrus Bergamia Peel Oil Expressed)*,
  • Sandalwood Oil (Santalum Spicatum Wood Oil),
  • Ylang Ylang Flower Oil (Cananga Odorata Flower Oil)*,
  • Tansy Flower Oil (Tanacetum Annuum Flower Oil),
  • Organic Black Spruce Leaf Oil (Picea Mariana Leaf Oil),
  • Violet Leaf Oil (Viola Odorata Leaf Oil),
  • Spikenard Root Oil (Nardostachys Chinensis Root Oil),
  • Organic Grand Fir Needle Oil (Abies Grandis Needle Oil),
  • Organic Rosemary Extract (Rosmarinus Officinalis Extract),
  • Potassium Sorbate,
  • Xanthan Gum,
  • Dehydroacetic Acid,
  • Benzyl Alcohol*,
  • Citric Acid

Potential irritants: 3*

Alba Botanica

Mango Vanilla Very Emollient Cream Shave
Price: $8 ($1 per oz)

This shaving cream has a clean list of ingredients, with the only downside being for those with sensitive skin. This product contains a substantial list of potential irritants, but this shouldn’t be an issue for most people.


  • Water,
  • Glycerin,
  • Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride,
  • Carbomer,
  • Orange Peel Oil (Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Peel Oil)*,
  • Grapefruit Peel OIl (Citrus Grandis Peel Oil),
  • Tangerine Peel Oil (Citrus Reticulata Peel Oil)*,
  • Organic Jojoba Seed Oil (Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil),
  • Organic Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice),
  • Organic Calendula Flower Extract (Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract),
  • Organic Lavender Extract (Lavandula Angustifolia Extract),
  • Organic Mango Fruit Extract (Mangifera Indica Fruit Extract),
  • Vanilla Extract (Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract),
  • Tocopheryl Acetate*,
  • Allyl Caproate,
  • Caprylyl Glycol*,
  • Citric Acid,
  • Gamma Nonalactone,
  • Gamma Undecalactone,
  • Isoamyl Acetate,
  • Potassium Hydroxide,
  • Triethyl Citrate,
  • Vanillin,
  • Organic Alcohol,
  • Benzyl Alcohol*,
  • Ethylhexylglycerin*,
  • Phenoxyethanol*,
  • Potassium Sorbate,
  • Sodium Benzoate*,
  • Limonene*

Potential irritants: 9*

Shaving Gels Rated: Iffy

Tree Hut

Tahitian Bean Bare Moisturizing Shave Oil
Price: $11.99 ($1.56 per oz)

Polysorbate 20 has a risk of being contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, both of which are linked to carcinogenicity. For this reason, we can’t recommend it over other products.


Potential irritants: 4*


Original Shave Gel
Price: $6.99 ($1.18 per oz)

This shaving gel is formulated with a few ingredients that give us pause. First of all, cocamidopropyl betaine is a well-recognized contact allergen. Secondly, the gel contains fragrance, and although the brand claims it’s “natural” fragrance, this doesn’t exclude it from possibly containing phthalates. This ingredient is often added to fragrance to make the scent last longer, and it’s a possible carcinogen.

For this reasons, we can’t recommend this shaving gel over others we rated.


Potential irritants: 4*


Moisturizing Sensitive Shave Cream
Price: $6.99 ($1 per oz)

This shaving cream is fragrance-free. However, it contains polysorbate 60, which carries a risk of being contaminated with 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide. For this reason, we can’t recommend it over other shaving creams.


Potential irritants: 5*

Shaving Gels Rated: Bad


Pomegranate Raspberry Shave Cream
Price: $3.99 ($0.57 per oz)

This shaving cream is far from natural, containing a long list of potential irritants as well as mystery fragrance. We cannot recommend this product.


  • Water,
  • Cetyl Alcohol,
  • Propylene Glycol*,
  • Glycerin,
  • Cocoglycerides,
  • Stearyl Alcohol,
  • Laureth-23,
  • Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891),
  • Colloidal Oatmeal,
  • Petroleum Jelly (Petrolatum),
  • Glyceryl Stearate SE,
  • Shea Oil (Butyrospermum Parkii Oil),
  • Shea Butter (Butyrospermum Parkii Butter),
  • Sunflower Seed Oil (Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil),
  • Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice),
  • Pomegranate Extract (Punica Granatum Extract),
  • Raspberry Leaf Extract (Rubus Idaeus Leaf Extract),
  • Dimethicone,
  • Ascorbyl Palmitate,
  • Caprylyl Glycol*,
  • Fragrance,
  • Phenoxyethanol*,
  • Magnesium Aluminum Silicate,
  • Potassium Sorbate,
  • Carbomer,
  • Hexylene Glycol,
  • Disodium EDTA,
  • Tocopheryl Acetate*,
  • Sodium Hydroxide*,
  • Citric Acid,
  • Sodium Benzoate*,
  • Hexyl Cinnamal,
  • Linalool*,
  • Butylphenyl Methylpropional (Lilial)*,
  • Limonene*,
  • Citronellol*,
  • Hydroxycitronellal*

Potential irritants: 11*

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