It's a GREAT question. Octobod's Concentrated Shave Cream was created with this question in mind: what is the most nourishing and effective formula for your face? After a lot of testing, we concluded that cream beats foam, hands down. With regards to the difference between foam and cream, Will Morley at Bespoke Post lays it all out here. It's an excellent read!
Here are a few key takeaways from his article:
Shave Foam or gel was first introduced in 1949, the aerosol cream has been a market leader ever since. But it's also the worst of the bunch if you're interested in a smooth, comfortable shave. And if you experience any sort of bumps or shaving rash while using one of these, it may well be caused by the chemicals in the formula. Foam or gel usually contains dubious ingredients that can cause irritation and is much harsher on skin than the other more moisturizing options.
Shave creams gained real popularity in the early 1940s, abandoning the use of the brush and mug method for a quicker application directly to the skin. Typically non-lathering, a tiny amount of cream can go a long way, hydrating and desensitizing the skin and prepping the hairs on your face with lubrication ready for the razor blade.
The ubiquity of pressurized aerosol foams later in the decade pushed creams to the wayside of men’s grooming products, but modern renditions containing natural ingredients such as coconut oil and manuka honey are now back and gaining traction in the market.
If you’ve got a cast iron set of balls and wanted to experiment with a straight razor, cream would be the preparation of choice. The cream would allow for a deeply hydrating shave with an easier view of where the razor is going, as apposed to the super thick lather of soap, or the foam from a gel.
We think concentrated shave cream is the clear winner because:
No extra equipment is required.
It's quick and easy to apply.
It's made of natural ingredients that hydrate and nourish the skin.
A little goes a long way.