Buying guide for Shaving Cream products
What to look for
Choose products made with ingredients that carry no or low health concerns, as assigned by the GoodGuide Science Team. Look for products that are certified sustainable by Cradle-to-Cradle or as compliant with the standards set by EcoLogo or the Natural Products Association for personal care products. Avoid purchasing products that include ingredients with medium or high health concerns, and regulatory bans.
The average US consumer shaves about three times a week, equal to 4,000 times in their lifetime accounting for more than 400 cans of shaving cream. In most formulations, 80% of shaving cream is water. The remaining 20% of the ingredients work to create the lather, bind the ingredients, soften the skin, preserve the product, and propel the ingredients out of the can.
Some issues associated with shaving cream products include:
Health concerns — Shaving cream ingredients can carry human health concerns. Products with a lower GoodGuide Rating include known allergens, irritants, and hormone disruptors like Methylisothiazolinone and Triethanolamine.
Ingredient disclosure — Complete ingredient lists for shaving cream products are often unavailable, creating a significant barrier to assessing the safety of personal care products. Although companies are required to disclose the ingredients in personal care products, these lists rarely contain information about percent composition (needed to assess potential exposures) and often rely on generic terms like “fragrance”, which make it impossible to assess whether there are any problematic ingredients present.
Contamination concerns — The Food and Drug Administration only requires cosmetic firms to list “intended” ingredients in products, which allows manufacturers to hide the presence of other ingredients from consumers.
Inadequate regulation — Personal care products are not subject to safety reviews by the FDA before they are put on the market, and the agency is frequently criticized for its lax approach to regulation. The European Union, for example, has banned the use of more than 1,000 substances in cosmetics; in contrast, the FDA has only prohibited the use of eight substances in cosmetics. There is widespread skepticism that the current regulatory system is sufficiently protective of human health.
Rating Shaving Cream products
To rate a personal care product, GoodGuide considers the following attributes:
- A health hazard rating based on the number of product ingredients categorized as low, medium or high health concern;
- Indicators that the product exhibits other negative aspects (e.g., does the product contain ingredients that have been banned or subjected to regulatory restrictions);
- Indicators that the product is among the best on the market in its category (e.g., has the product been certified as safe or healthy by a credible third-party);
- Indicators of data gaps that preclude evaluation of the product (e.g., no or inadequate disclosure of product ingredients).
Categorizing ingredients by levels of health concern
Defining Levels of Health: In order to identify ingredients of health concern, we utilize the science of health hazard assessment and rely on lists of chemicals labeled hazardous by various authoritative organizations. GoodGuide tracks whether chemicals are recognized or suspected of causing any of twelve major types of human health problems, ranging from cancer to endocrine toxicity to skin or eye toxicity. We combine this hazard data with chemical potency, human detection frequency and toxicity testing information, in order to assign ingredients to four levels of health concern: none, low, medium and high.