Best Pre-Shave Oils : Your Ultimate Guide this 2020

If you have sensitive skin, or if your skin is prone to irritation after you are done shaving, then you may need to use some pre-shave oil. The reason for this is that pre-shave oil helps to soften your beard and lift the hairs so that your razor can cut through them more easily, and moistens the skin deeply enough to make it give way to the blade. This means that instead of dragging on your skin, your razor will smoothly glide over it instead.

The active ingredient of pre-shave oils is one of many essential oils. For example, Lavender oil soothes the skin and helps reduce irritation. Sunflower seed oil gently moisturizes the skin and prevents the oil from being too heavy, but does not clog the pores and does not leave the skin feeling greasy. Castor oil also helps moisturize the skin, keeping it soft and reducing irritation. Olive oil helps the pre-shave oil cling to your skin, providing lubrication for your razor blade.

However, it is important to note that not all essential oils are good for the skin. In fact, some oils are considered to be dermal irritants and as such, should never be used on skin. The most common ones to avoid are Cinnamon, Citronella, Ginger, Lemon Balm (Balm Mint), Tolu Balsam (Peru Balsam), Peppermint, Pine, and Thyme. If you enjoy using a pre-shave oil in your shaving routine, then continue reading for a selection of our favorites.

After reviewing all the top pre-shave oils available, we’ve selected our top 6 picks in the comparison table below. We’re confident you’ll find the perfect model for your needs.


Comparison Table

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Benefits of Using Pre-Shave Oil

While there are a few factors to consider when thinking about pulling off a great shave, well pre-shave oils remain an underrated one. Excellent pre-shave oil helps to hydrate and protect the skin. Generally, it also helps in softening the beard, thus producing a smoother gliding effect on the blades to achieve that smooth shaving factor and not causing razor burns on your skin. This reduces irritation caused by the blade tugging or pulling at the hairs instead of cutting through them. Pre-shave oils also form a preventive coating on your skin, which directly protects it from your razors or blades. Moisture and lubrication have different effects in terms of shaving. Moisture affects the skin cells below the surface, making the skin supple. This causes the skin to give way before the blade reaches any given point on the surface. Lubrication stays on the surface, making it slippery. This merely makes it easier for the blade to slide across the surface of the skin, but it does not help the skin give way for the blade.

Things to Consider When Buying Pre-Shave Oil

Since pre-shave oil serves more of a functional purpose rather than fashion, you may want to think about a few things before buying one.

Skin type

Skin typeAs we already mentioned above, moisture and lubrication mean different things when it comes to shaving. If you have sensitive skin, it may be due to dryness or roughness. If your skin is dry, then a moisturizing pre-shave oil will work best for you. However, if it is rough, then a lubricating pre-shave oil may be your best bet.

Wet shave or dry shave

You have to take into account the type of shave you are accustomed to. If you usually shave immediately after showering, then applying a pre-shave oil in the shower should work well enough. If not, then you will have to apply a hot towel to face for a few minutes before applying the pre-shave oil. This is because the pre-shave oil needs some moisture to lock into the skin cells and make the skin supple. If you apply the oil to dry skin, it will not work. If you are really old school and shave with a straight razor, then pre-shave oil may be a necessity for you to avoid any unnecessary bloodshed.


It is also good to be realistic. Adding a new product to your daily routine means adding a new expense. If your skin is not too sensitive, it may be better to invest in a shaving cream designed for your sensitive skin. You already use shaving cream, so switching to one that is designed your skin type will not add to your expenses.

The merits of pre-shave oil have been debated for years, with proponents claiming that they are an integral part of the shaving routine, and detractors saying that the qualities of pre-shave oils are mostly found in any decent shaving cream or soap. In the end, it is up to you to decide what is best for you.

Read on to have a look at some of our favorite pre-shave oils.

Our Top 7 – Best Pre-shave Oils

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American Crew

American Crew is a non-greasy solution that cushions the skin for a close, effortless shave. It contains a blend of essential natural oils, which soften the beard and nourish the skin. It is a must-have for anyone who is prone to razor bumps, ingrown hairs, and other irritation. It is excellent for detail work on sideburns, goatees, and mustaches. This pre-shave oil allows people with very thick, coarse facial hair to shave against the grain for an ultra-close shave, with no irritation whatsoever. It is good at preventing razor bumps and burns, itching, ingrown hairs, and nicks and cuts. When applied on the face, it gives a warm, tingling sensation, immediately followed by a cooling sensation. It smells like musky wood with mint and flowers.

One detractor of this product claims that it made his face break out in some kind of rash and that he got cuts and nicks all over. As far as the rash is concerned, this is a possibility with any skin product. You must always remember to find out the ingredients of the product you are buying and make sure that you are not allergic to any of them. And as far as the cuts and nicks are concerned, it just sounds like poor technique. Even with a cartridge razor, you have to pay a little attention to what you are doing. You are running a blade along the skin of your face after all!

Taylor of Old Bond Street

Made in England, this pre-shave oil protects the skin and provides an in-depth, smoother shave. It is ideal for men with sensitive skin and prepares your skin for a closer and more comfortable shave.

This oil lubricates the skin very well, but at the same time, it is not too slick or oily. It provides a close and easy shave without any nicks and cuts, or other kind of irritation, and is especially helpful in tackling any extra stubble. It eliminates razor burn and has people wishing they could get more for their money. The aroma is also very popular.

The only real complaint seems to be about the glass bottle that it is packed in. This is not an unreasonable complaint, as the bottle will most likely reside in the bathroom, where moisture is bound to collect on the sides of the bottle. The obvious solution is to be careful, but it couldn’t hurt to decant it into a plastic bottle after acquiring it. Besides this, many people do not like the smell, but this is subjective. And it is also possible that these people are simply using way more of this oil than they need to.

Art of Shaving

This classic shave oil helps soften the beard and protects against razor burn and irritation while enhancing razor glide over the skin. It is suitable for all skin and beard types, but especially so for those with sensitive skin and a coarse beard.

The Art of Shaving Pre-Shave Oil works well against ingrown hairs and razor bumps. One reviewer even claims that he can use this oil in place of a shaving cream! If you can use this instead of shaving cream, then you gain the added bonus of being able to watch your whiskers getting cut by the blade. This could be a huge advantage over shaving cream, which tends to obscure the contours of your face.

Some detractors feel that it is somewhat expensive, but it is a high-quality product, and for the benefits that it provides, we believe it is worth the price. Some critics also complained of it having a gluey or sticky feeling. This could be due to improper use. A pre-shave oil is meant to be applied with warm water, preferably in the shower.

Shave Secret

Three to five drops of Shave Secret provides the smoothest and most comfortable shave. This product is made from a mixture of essential natural oils and a hint of menthol. Its proven formula works extremely well to reduce dryness of your skin, prevent rashes, as well as nicks, minor cuts, hair ingrown and shaving bumps.

Many reviewers were taken aback by the closeness of the shave after using this pre-shave oil. It drastically speeds up the shaving process without causing any nicks, cuts, burns or rashes. While other oils are either too oily or not oily enough, Shave Secret solves both the problems and provides an even, close shave with little or no irritation. It can also be used with an electric shaver as long as it’s waterproof.

Critics of this pre-shaving oil claim that it actually caused more irritation, and in some cases, heavy bleeding, than before they tried Shave Secret. This could be because they did not use it as directed – They may have used too much or too little, they may have forgotten to add water or added too much water, or this is just not the right oil for their skin type. Don’t forget that everyone has different skin, and you need to experiment until you find the oil that works best for you.

Pacific Shaving Company

This oil offers a consistently smooth shave and eliminates nicks and cuts and razor burn. It also conditions and moisturizes the face without leaving behind an oily residue. This oil can be used in place of shaving cream instead of before. It gives you the advantage of being able to see where you are shaving. With three or four drops, it absorbs very easily into the skin and rinses off just as easily. The blade is able to glide very smoothly over the face and doesn’t get clogged with oil and hair. It prevents nicks and cuts very effectively, even when using a double-edged razor. One reviewer even tried it with a straight razor (no shaving cream) and said that it felt like he was rubbing the back of the razor against his face. Detractors of this oil claim that it did not prevent irritation at all. Again, this is likely due to improper use or lack of technique when using the razor. It is not enough to find the right oil for your skin; you have to also use the right razor.


This oil is for men who have sensitive or dry skin but want to enjoy shaving everyday. It prevents razor burn in most cases and completely eradicates it in some. It is a combination of five essential natural oils – sweet almond oil, argan oil, jojoba oil, grapeseed oil and a touch of castor oil, infused with a custom blend of five powerful anti-irritation herbs. Scentless and easy to apply, Bodyality pre-shave oil is very good against irritation, burns and ingrown hairs. It worked like magic in reducing the number of nicks and cuts for one reviewer. It doesn’t leave any kind of residue on the face or in the razor, making it a no-mess solution to your shaving woes. Friction is a forgotten problem since the razor glides smoothly over the face, even over difficult areas like the jaw line. Some reviewers complain that it is too oily and doesn’t work as it is supposed to. This seems to be a communication problem. They are either using too much oil or not enough hot water. This is a very common problem that people face because they don’t read the instructions. Remember to read all the literature carefully before and after buying your pre-shave oil.

Blades Grim Smolder

From one of the most trusted brands for grooming, The Blades Grim Smolder Pre-Shave Oil lifts and softens harsh, coarse and rogue hairs for a smooth shave, without the itch and irritation. The essential oils in this pre-shave moisturize and condition your skin, leaving it soft and glowing. The unforgettable scent of this product is its warm and toasty mix scent of Venezuelan tonka, orange rind, mandarin, leaves of coriander and the distinct scent of star anise. It spreads evenly over the face, covers all the problem areas well and can also help in softening the facial hair before shaving. It shields the skin because it can provide another layer of protection while you shave. The oil has a nice consistency and helps the razor glide smoothly over the face, no matter how coarse your facial hair is. Reviewers are also thrilled with the sweet, smoky scent of this oil. The only thing that critics of this oil seem to have a problem with is the scent. It is too overpowering and smells like cigarette smoke to one reviewer. This is obviously a subjective issue, so if the scent is an important factor in your decision, then you might be better off going to the store and trying them out for yourself.


As we have already mentioned, pre-shave oils are meant for men with sensitive or rough skin. It works by either moisturizing or lubricating the skin, depending on the product you choose, making it easier for the razor blade to glide over your skin and neatly cut through the hairs. If you have sensitive skin, then you’re better off using a pre-shave oil that moisturizes, and if you have rough skin, then you should go for a pre-shave oil that moisturizes. Depending on all the factors we have mentioned in this article, you may also be able to replace your shaving cream with a pre-shaving oil.

You should also keep in mind all the considerations you need to take into account while shopping for the best pre-shave oil. If you prefer a wet shave, then a lubricating oil will work well for you. If you are a dry shaver, you will need an oil that moisturizes.

If you cannot make up your mind and need help starting out, you can try The Art of Shaving Pre-Shave Oil. It is excellent against ingrown hairs and razor bumps, and if you decide to replace your shaving cream with this oil, then you will be able to see exactly where you are shaving.

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