Shaving Gel & Foam

In this guide we investigate, score and rank the ethical and environmental record of 32 brands of shaving foam and gel

We also look at animal testing, toxic chemicals, shine a spotlight on the ethics of Procter & Gamble and give our recommended buys.

About Ethical Consumer

This is a product guide from Ethical Consumer, the UK's leading alternative consumer organisation. Since 1989 we've been researching and recording the social and environmental records of companies, and making the results available to you in a simple format.

What to buy

What to look for when buying shaving gel and foam:

  • Is it organic? This is a fail-safe way to avoid most of the nasty, artificial chemicals that are in so many products. And thereby also help to protect the environment.

  • Is it cruelty-free? 80% of the world still permits animal testing for cosmetics, although it is banned in the UK. The Cruelty-Free logo guarantees that the company is not animal testing anywhere in the world.

  • Is it vegan? Many shaving gels and foams contain animal products, such as honey. Look for a vegan brand.

Best Buys

Our best buys are organic (O) and/or cruelty free (V)

What not to buy

What to avoid when buying shaving gel or foam:

  • Does it contain palm oil? At its most unsustainable, palm oil is linked to mass deforestation and serious violations of human rights. Look for brands that commit to sourcing palm oil sustainably.

  • Does it contain toxics? The long and complex ingredients lists for shaving gels and foams often include toxic chemicals. These are bad for the environment as well as health.

  • Does the manufacturer use microbeads? Although these tiny pieces of plastics are now banned in the UK, lots of cosmetics companies use them in products elsewhere in the world. They are disastrous for marine-life, so avoid those companies.

Companies to avoid

We recommend the following companies who received a worst rating for animal testing:

  • Botanics
  • Boots
  • Superdrug
  • Vichy Homme
  • Palmolive
  • Lancome
  • L'Oreal

Score table

Updated live from our research database

← Swipe left / right to view table contents →
Brand Score(out of 20)

Friendly Soap [A]

Company Profile: Friendly Soap Ltd
16

Badger Shaving Soap [O]

Company Profile: W S Badger
15.5

Green People shaving gel [O, A]

Company Profile: Green People Company Ltd
15.5

Neal's Yard shaving cream [O,A]

Company Profile: Neal's Yard Remedies
15.5

Pure Nuff Stuff shaving soap

Company Profile: Pure Nuff Stuff Ltd
14.5

Lush Shaving Cream [A]

Company Profile: Lush Cosmetics Ltd
13

Lush Five O'Clock Whistle [A]

Company Profile: Lush Cosmetics Ltd
12.5

Weleda shaving cream [A]

Company Profile: Weleda AG
12.5

Lavera Shaving Foam [A, O]

Company Profile: Laverana GmbH & Co KG
12

Body Shop shaving cream

Company Profile: Body Shop International plc
10.5

King of Shaves Shaving gel/oil/serum

Company Profile: The King of Shaves Company Limited
10

Aesop Moroccan Neroli Shaving Serum

Company Profile: Aesop
9.5

L'Occitane shaving gel

Company Profile: L'Occitane International SA
8.5

ClarinsMen shave foam

Company Profile: Clarins
8

Avalon Organics shaving cream [O, A]

Company Profile: Avalon Organics
7.5

Molton Brown shaving cream/gel

Company Profile: Molton Brown Limited
7.5

Aveda shaving cream

Company Profile: Aveda
7

Avon shaving cream

Company Profile: Avon Products Inc
7

Bulldog shaving gel / cream [A]

Company Profile: Bulldog Skincare Limited
7

Clinique shaving cream

Company Profile: Clinique
7

JASÖN shaving lotion [A]

Company Profile: JASÖN Natural Products
7

Origins shave cream

Company Profile: Origins Natural Resources Inc
7

Wahl 5-star Foaming Gel

Company Profile: Wahl Clipper Corporation
7

Nivea shaving gel

Company Profile: Beiersdorf AG
6.5

Logona shaving cream [O, A]

Company Profile: Logocos Naturkosmetik AG
6

Sante shaving foam

Company Profile: Sante Naturkosmetik
5.5

Gillette shaving gel/foam

Company Profile: Procter & Gamble Company
5

Kiehl's Shave Cream

Company Profile: L'Oréal
4.5

L'Oréal Men Expert shaving foam

Company Profile: L'Oréal
4.5

Lancome Shaving Foam

Company Profile: Lancôme
4.5

Vichy Homme Shaving Gel

Company Profile: Vichy Laboratories
4.5

Palmolive shaving gel

Company Profile: Colgate-Palmolive Co
3.5

Plamolive shaving soap stick

Company Profile: Colgate-Palmolive Co
3.5

Superdrug shaving foam & gel

Company Profile: Superdrug Stores Plc
3

Boots shaving gel

Company Profile: Boots UK Ltd
2

Botanics Men's Shave Gel

Company Profile: Boots UK Ltd
2

What is most important to you?

Animals
Environment
People
Politics
Product sustainability

Our Analysis

Toxic chemicals

At Ethical Consumer, we have rated all the men’s shaving product brands for their toxic chemicals policies.

Those companies which received a best rating had a policy which has banned the use of parabens, phthalates and triclosan.

Image: shaving foam

As you can see from the table below, almost half of the brands in our list have not committed to banning any of these ingredients.

 
Best Middle (which chemicals banned)  Worst
Avalon 

Aesop (parabens)

Aveda
Badger

Body Shop (parabens and phthalates)

Avon
Green People

Boots (phthalates / triclosan)

Clarins Men
JASON

Botanics (phthalates / triclosan)

Clinique
Lavera

Bulldog (parabens)

Gillette
L'Occitane

Logona (parabens)

Kiehl's
Neal's Yard

Lush (phthalates, triclosan)

King of Shaves
Pure Nuff

Palmolive (parabens)

Lancome
Weleda

Sante (parabens)

L'Oreal
    Molton Brown
    Nivea
    Origins
    Superdrug
    Vichy
    Wahl

Friendly Soap received a middle rating for not using parabens

Vegan and organic shaving products

Companies which are suitable for vegetarians or vegans have been marked on the table using the symbol [A] while those made with organic products have been marked with an [O].

Brands that are certified by the Vegan Society and the Vegetarian Society get an extra whole plus point, while those that just market themselves as vegan or vegetarian only get and extra half point.

The following brands were certified by the Vegan Society: Friendly Soap, Green People, Lavera.

The following brands were certified by the Vegetarian Society: Bulldog,  Lush.

The following brands carried organic certifications: Avalon Organics, Badger, Green People, Lavera, Logona, Sante.

Animal testing

Although the testing of cosmetics on animals has been banned in the EU, this is not the case everywhere else in the world.  The EU’s REACH legislation has also complicated the issue. 

Ethical Consumer rates all companies selling cosmetics on their animal testing policy. Companies will score a best rating if they have a policy not to test on animals, have a fixed cut-off date (a date after which none of their products or ingredients will have been tested on animals), and are not selling to markets, such as China, where animal testing of products is required by law.

The following brands were certified by the Leaping Bunny certification for not using animal tested ingredients: Avalon Organics, Badger, Body Shop, Bulldog Skincare, Friendly Soap, JASON Natural Cosmetics, Molton Brown, Neal’s Yard Remedies, Superdrug.

Additionally, although not Leaping Bunny certified, Green People, Pure Nuff Stuff, Logona, Sante, Lush, Weleda, King of Shaves, Aesop, Wahl got our best rating for animal testing policies.

Palm oil

Palm oil and palm oil derivatives have become an important component in many personal care products. In particular, it is used for its viscosity and as a skin conditioning agent.

The new column on our table shows how all the companies rank on their palm oil policy and practice.

The following brands scored best in our palm oil category: Friendly Soap, Pure Nuff Stuff, Lush.

Packaging

Shaving products come in a variety of packaging with varying environmental impacts. Worst will be large packages with complex materials like aerosols, and best will be smaller packages like the shaving oil from King of Shaves. 

Best of all are the solid, shaving soaps made by Friendly Soap, Neal’s Yard and Pure Nuff but these need a shaving brush to apply them. Watch out for badger or boar hair bristle brushes.

Which brand of razor should you buy?

Please see our guides to razors to find out which is the best brand to buy to complete your wet shave.

Company profile

Procter & Gamble (P&G) is the focus of several consumer campaigns including one over its sourcing of palm oil from Felda Global Ventures, a Malaysian company that was said to be the world’s largest palm oil plantation operator.

Campaign organisation SumOfUs stated in March 2017: "Felda deals in the human trafficking of its plantation workers, confiscating close to 30,000 passports, and still works with labour contractors and recruiters who charge enormous fees to trafficked foreign workers. Plantation workers are trapped in modern-day slavery, all to produce palm oil that ends up in P&G products. The multinational consumer goods company is well aware of the problem, and yet still buys conflict palm oil from its joint venture partner Felda.”

P&G’s products have also been named and shamed in campaigns against the use of microbeads. The International Campaign Against Microbeads in Cosmetics lists Gillette on the orange list for containing polyethylene (PE).

P&G has stated, perhaps as a result of consumer pressure, that it will remove polyethylene microbeads from all toothpaste and cleansing products by 2017. However, in 2016, when Greenpeace East Asia (GEA) ranked companies on their commitment to tackling the issue of microbeads in their products, P&G’s commitment was found inadequate as it only applied to one type of plastic (polyethylene) in certain products (personal cleansing and oral care) rather than to all forms and in all products. It also only applied to microbeads used for specific purposes (scrubbing agents, colour, chewing gum base), rather than for all functions.

Want to know more?

If you want to find out detailed information about a company and more about its ethical rating, then click on a brand name in the Score table. 

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