Why I shave with olive oil

Shaving is a fact of life for most. Both men and women have felt the need to chop off hair as close as possible to their skin for thousands of years. I am no exception. Seeing as I shave my face almost every day and realizing that there’s millions of other things I would rather be doing at 7:00AM, I have made it my mission to find the best, most comfortable, fastest and generally most enjoyable method of shaving available. I have tried disposable razors, fancy razors with up to 6 blades, straight razors, shaving cream, shaving gel, shaving soap and for a period of time I even just gave up and let my beard grow. This has all changed now though, because I found olive oil.

The beginning

It all started when I read an article called The Shaving Cream Racket that explains that shaving cream does more harm for your skin than good. In the article, it says that you should shave with baby oil or mineral oil instead of the foamy cream most people use. At the time, I wasn’t ready to make the switch. I only had this one article and no real proof that shaving with oil was actually good for you.

A few months later, I was walking through the shaving section at the drug store, and I noticed that they were selling shaving oil in tiny little bottles. It was at this time that I realized that people must actually shave with oil and decided to give it a try. The instructions were pretty simple: “Wet face and hands. Put 4 or 5 drops of oil in your hands and rub into skin. Shave and admire.” The ingredients were even simpler: A few natural oils, including sunflower oil and grapeseed oil, vitamin E and aloe vera. No olive oil though.

It was pretty weird at first, because I was used to lathering up my face and then shaving nice lines through the foam. Now, however, my face looked bare, and I was shaving through nothing. The feel of the shave is a bit more sticky although I’m sure there’s a better way to describe that feeling. It has less glide than using shaving cream, but it is still smooth. I didn’t find that it was any harder to shave with oil. Cleanup, however, was much easier. There were no globs of shaving cream on the counter or hidden behind my earlobe. I didn’t have to wash my face all over again. I only wiped off a few hairs and I was good to go.

The little bottle of shaving oil lasted surprisingly long. A few months at least. During this time, I read another article which listed several interesting uses for olive oil. Number 21 in the list states “Soften your skin. Rub olive oil daily on notoriously dry areas, such as your feet or elbows, especially after a shower, shaving, or waxing.”

I realize this doesn’t directly state that you should shave with olive oil, but once my little bottle of shaving oil was done, I thought that I’d give it a try anyway. I poured a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil into a dish and used the little bottle to suck it up. I then had a small bottle of olive-shaving-oil ready for use. The shave is the same as if I was using the store-bought oil mixture, however, there are several advantages to using straight up EVOO.

Advantages

  1. Cost. You’re paying far less for a huge bottle of olive oil than if you were to buy the little shaving oil bottles which can cost between $5 and $10 each.
  2. Health benefits. Olive oil is well known to have many health benefits. Even Jeanne Calment who lived to 122 years of age claimed she rubbed olive oil into her skin which contributed to her longevity.
  3. Less oily than mineral oils. This goes against what the first article suggested. I have never tried shaving with baby oil or mineral oil, but probably never will.

In addition to the above, you’re getting all the other benefits of shaving with an oil. It’s faster, cleaner and leaves your skin feeling smoother. I don’t use aftershave and I often purposefully leave the oil on my skin without rinsing when I’m done shaving.

I urge you to give it a shot. Have a hot shower, then while your face and hands are still wet, rub in 4 or 5 drops of extra virgin olive oil into your skin. Or, for women, try rubbing it on your legs. Then just shave it off using your favourite razor. Stick with it for a month or two and see how you feel. I think you’ll agree that olive oil is better than what you’re using now.

71 Thoughts on “Why I shave with olive oil

  1. michael nilsen on December 3, 2007 at 3:44 am said:

    Olive oil is a good idea, but it should be used as a pre-shave. straight up olive oil probably doesn’t do the job 100% for someone with sensitive skin. I would recommend using the olive oil as a primer, then putting a small bit of shave cream on top of it (good shaving cream: art of shaving, anthony, zhur, lab) never use the store bought crap, that stuff is chemical garbage and is terrable for your skin. you get what you pay for.

    i myself use Art Of Shaving. You only need to use a dab, and it covers the whole face great. this company also sells a shave oil…ingredients are a joke: olive oil, castor oil, and essential oils (for smell i assume) and that is 22.00 a bottle. good call on the EVOO though.

  2. michael nilsen on August 9, 2009 at 5:24 pm said:

    3 years later, and i still agree.

  3. Great tip on the olive oil. Thanks.
    Pre-shave? Naw. It’s fine by itself. Free yourself from your metrosexual silliness.

  4. Andre Lemieux on July 12, 2010 at 10:26 am said:

    I have been using shaving oil for the last fifteen year and cannot understand why it has not been adopted as the only way to shave. The benefits are so overwhelming.

  5. I just tried this a few weeks ago and I was amazed by how smooth my skin was from just plain olive oil. Couple of issues I found were that it makes the bath tub extremely slippery-watch out! Also, my razor blades got really clogged up from the oil, so perhaps I was using too much. I think next time I do it, I’ll shave outside the shower and then shower off when I’m done. Great article, glad I’m not the only one using EVOO for shaving! :-)

  6. Just bought a straight razor, I haven’t used anything to shave for years, but with the straight razor I’m going to try almond oil.

  7. Erik, what type of straight razor did you buy? Let me know how it goes with almond oil.

  8. I’ve been shaving with olive oil for about two years or so, and will never use shaving cream again. I’ve got very sensitive skin and since I started using olive oil, I haven’t had one ingrown hair, pimple, cut or any irritation. I love it! It’s amazing how smooth my face is after shaving.

  9. I agree that shaving oil is great. I tried King of Shaves then Baby Oil, olive oil, grape seed oil and so on. Eventually I found the perfect oil that out performs all of those and I just started marketing it this week.

    I’ve just got the site up and fingers crossed for my first sale!

  10. IronHammer on October 25, 2010 at 1:44 pm said:

    Chris DeArmitt,

    I am interested in your product. I am trying the few shaving oils that are on the market. What is your website?

  11. Mr. Lee on January 15, 2011 at 6:26 pm said:

    I just started using Aura Cacia sweet almond oil for my skin right out the shower for my body. On a whim, I used it to shave my head instead of my usual shave stuff. Never going back. For the hair clogging up in a multi-blade razor, have a little cup of water and soap with you to dip into to remove the hair stuck to the oil stuck to the blade. I use Dr. Bonners castille soap. Works like a charm.

  12. ScottyW on January 29, 2011 at 3:11 pm said:

    Olive oil shave is the best I have had. I used to use it to shave the edges of my beard and especially goatee. Now even better for clean shave.. the downside is the hair clumping on the razor. I run a small sink of hot soApy water and rinse frequently -

  13. eymen kolus on February 3, 2011 at 11:39 pm said:

    I ll give it a try :)

  14. Daniel Warner on May 23, 2011 at 12:53 pm said:

    I tried this, on your advice, and OMG its amazing, I am never using shaving foam EVER again, and olive oil is so much cheaper than the stores available shaving products, I cant believe that this isn’t more widely known about! I have a friend who is a dermatologist, I asked him what he thought about me using olive oil as a shaving product, he said that olive oil is full of good stuff for the skin and he can’t see any reason it would be bad, he said he was going to try it, and now it’s all he uses himself! …..thanks for this article, you set me free.

  15. cstcb on May 24, 2011 at 4:28 am said:

    I’ve been shaving with olive oil for over two years now. I will never, ever go back to shaving cream. My skin looks younger than it did before I started using it, it’s much smoother and I’d rather have olive oil seeping into my skin that the crap that’s in shaving cream. The lady who lived to be 122 was on to something.

  16. WOW this article was very intriguing, I will start shaving my legs with EVOO soon and see how it goes. I also read somewhere that you can just leave your razor in a cup of EVOO, and it’ll help preserve it for a while longer. But this definitely sounds good. Can’t wait to try it out!

  17. Michael Murray on September 23, 2011 at 9:39 pm said:

    This answers all of my questions. Tomorrow I will try it.

  18. Michael Murray on September 24, 2011 at 9:46 am said:

    Just finished shaving. My head was raw with razorburn from yesterday when I shaved with shaving soap. I applied olive oil to my head and face and magic happened. Gliding the razor over my skin was smooth and clean. No new razor burn. Even the burn from yesterday has subsided drastically. Skin is soft and smooth.
    This is amazing. Thanks to all of you!

  19. Great Article,

    Do we have to apply olive oil and wait to soak the hairs for some time to shave, as it is very rough to work directly.

  20. Love this stuff, I’ve been using EVOO for 2 years now and it’s working very good and i’m saving lots of money….
    I’ve also design a Pocket Razor for traveling,,,,you can check it out on my web site http://www.cormia.ca and I will give you 25% off from the retail price if you email me,,,

    Thanks

    Mario

  21. I started using the EVOO to shave my head and face about a month ago, and I absolutely LOVE the results. No razor burn or minor cuts, it’s quick, and cost effective. But, by far, the best aspect of using the EVOO is the lack of shine on the surface of my head and face. Everyone’s skin is different, so I can’t speak for everyone. My skin used to be very shiny and oily and I could never find a product to “dull” it down. Voila, EVOO!! Shiny upon application, but once it absorbs, I have a smooth, healthy, and dull finish. Never would have though to add oil to lessen my shean. Inch, you are da’man!! Thanks boss!

  22. Great article; I already started using Dr. Bronner’s soap as a shave cream, but now I will give EVOO a try (& grapeseed). But I really just wanted to let you know that I also loved the comments here; most of them are bots and super funny, so I wrote a blog article about it: http://zakhansonfan.wordpress.com/2012/01/05/tickle-my-chicken-dick/ Take care!

  23. Read this a while ago and have been shaving with evoo for the past 6 months. now a dedicated convert. Great stuff!

  24. Rayner on April 13, 2012 at 12:15 pm said:

    What a great posting! I long ago quit the useless shaving creams and gels and started using olive oil. It does work great, but is a bit thick in consistency. I recently tried http://www.kindshaving.com and have to say that it is the best I have ever used. Anyone else using this stuff?

  25. Just tried the olive oil shave. WOW!!! What a close-smooth shave with absolutely no burn. Took a shower and skin is as soft as a baby’s butt. Hell, I am Italian and never even gave EVOO a thought for shaving. Thanks for putting me on to this little known secret !!!

  26. 1ST TIME I JUST TRYED IT,PREETY GOOD I GT A OILY FACE DAT GETS DRYED OUT FROM TOO MUCH FACE WASH. THIS IS PRETTY SMOOTH N YOU GET TO SEE WHAT UR SHAVEING WAS ABLE TO DETAIL PRETTY GOOD HOPE IT DOESNT MAKE MY SKIN TOO OILY.

  27. UBNORYOUBEOUTBRROKLYNBLOODZENY on April 28, 2012 at 9:54 pm said:

    PRETTY GOOD CLEAN DOWN TOO DA SKIN!!!!!!!!!!! WOULD LIKE TO TRY COCONUT OIL..BUT BOTH GT STERILE ANISEPTIC QUALITYS TAHT KILL BACTERIA ON FACE ILL SEE WHICH 1C IS BETTER

  28. Lonewolf on May 22, 2012 at 8:26 am said:

    I’m a black guy and it’s not easy for our kind to shave but I thank God for this remarkable discovery,it truly is the greatest breakthrough in human shaving history,the result is just incredible.Perfection is the word for it……cheap,fast and easy! All you need is olive oil,a razor and a beard!The rest….like they say is history!

  29. Conor on June 8, 2012 at 5:58 am said:

    Using shaving cream is probaly a corporate conspiracy to keep us under control and with chapped skin, free yourself and oil up!

  30. I have been using evoo to shave with for about a year. I also add a couple of drops of lavender or grapefruit oil to my little bottle. The grapefruit oil is a great smell. If you save the little eye drop bottles these are excellent to mix and dispense the shaving oil mixture.

  31. 9toesleft on September 6, 2012 at 11:53 pm said:

    hello all, i have been shaving my head for many years and for a long period of time i had been noticing that my skin looked like it was dry and flaky (like dandruff) and one day i was walking through the shaving section of my supermarket and saw the small squeeze bottle of shaving oil and bought it to try. It cost a little over $4.00 and last quite a long time. an my “dandruff” went away with the 1st try.
    It was somewhat of a strange feeling as Chris stated and i was skeptical but was bought over immediately. I cant wait to try evoo now. i cant imagine how much money will be saved this way.
    I also rea somewhere that if you put some evoo in a jar an put your razor in in the blades either wont rust or it slows the rust process and with the cost of razors on the market these days you now ill be giving this a try as well.
    thanks for the article, well done.

  32. 9toesleft on September 6, 2012 at 11:56 pm said:

    I forgot to mention that it was the shaving cream that made my bald head look like it had dandruff. After a little research I found that the store bought shaving “crap” ha alcohol in it which fries out the skin.

  33. I have been using oil for many years now and have experimented with many diferant oils,i currently use grape seed with x 10 drops of peppermint oil,for that cool feel,plus x 10 drops of nutmeg oil for its antiseptic qualities.No cuts, no burn, no problems EVER. Ps use the best blade you can afford and oil makes the last much longer.

  34. Shaving with oil is awesome, soapy water.to rinse the razor is the way to go. Those of you who have issues with breaking out after using the EVOO try the OCM oil cleansing method. Basically castor oilis mixed with EVOO or any other preferred oil. Castor oil cleans out the pores while the secondary oil moisturizes. The trick to this is the ratio of oils. Castor can be drying if the right amount of 2nd oil isn’t present. So naturally use less castor if you have naturally dry skin. Also steaming is vital. If I were a man ready to shave whether in or out of the shower this would be my method (I already do this on my face besides the shave part lol) run face under warm/hot water to open the pores or lay a hot washrag over the face alternatively. Then EVOO up and shave. After I’d rinse face and rub in the castor evoo mix for abouut two minutes massaging in circles all over face and neck. Then hot rag rung out rag back over face until it feels like it’s cooling. Wipe off face gently (microfiber isnt as rough as terry cloth) then rise rag, wring it out and over the face again. Steam with rag at least 3 times then wipe.for last time and then rib any excess oil into the skin. The standard ratio for the oils is 80% 2ndary oil like evoo : 20% castor. Remember to only use unrefined cold pressed oils to get the maximum benefits. Refined oils have had all the good stuff.taken out or rendered useless. If you’ve got the time and are just cleaning the face a very effective method of steaming is to bring a pot of water almost to a boil and hang head draped with a towel over the bowl trapping in the steam. Close eyes and sit for a couple minutes. Then rub in oil, back over steam, wipe.face, steam etc. It is amazing how the extra blood flow to the face makes it tingly and the hot steam will pull all the impurities out of the face better than using just a hot to hand rag. The bowl of water will.also stay hot enough for the whole process. I love steaming. When the pores are open the castor oil can get even deeper than it’s molecular composition already allows. Be patient with this…..be aware of the face…if it still feels a little dry after the cleansing then rub a few drops of 2nd oil into dry areas. Pay attn. If it continually feels dry then lower the castor %. If it’s too oily still then up the castor %. Essential oils can be added as mentioned by a few for their respective properties such as tea tree, clove, peppermint, etc.Also Coconut oil has a different chemical composition than most other oils that allow it to penetrate further into the skin to truly improve moisture content rather than lying on the skin only preventing further drying out. Coconut oil rubbed on the body is amazing stuff and it only takes the tiniest bit to feel soft and have great skin without an oily sticky feeling left over.

    I hope this helps.

  35. Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account
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  36. Olive oil is fine, but it is still an “oil” (it goes rancid).

    If you want to ratchet your own shaving up a notch then do what I do:

    Mix 50/50 pure jojoba oil and pure aloe vera juice or gel together (either shake a tube of them up, or squirt both in your hand and rub together enough to mix), rub that on your face, (or area to be shaved), then lather up a small amount of soap from a pure organic bar of soap, and “press” the foamy soap on your face, (or area to be shaved), and shave. Rinse gently with warm water, (sink or shower).

    (Note: Irritation is murder to skin, ie, “rubbing”, either by your hands, a towel or a washcloth. “press”, stuff on your skin, never “rub” it on, let stuff rinse off, never “rub” it off. Likewise, “press” a towel all over to dry off – don’t rub the towel on your skin!)

    Jojoba is NOT an oil. It’s the closest substance that resembles your own skin’s natural oil. It does NOT go rancid. It’s somewhat expensive for good reason.

    Aloe Vera is a natural lubricant and antiseptic and antioxidant.

    The organic, natural soap will help to cleanse as you shave and keep your razor clean.

    Dry skin?: re-apply the jojoba/aloe mixture after you shave. If you have extra on your hands – rub it through your hair and all over your body. Press a towel on your skin to dry off. Air dry.

    Be amazed by how great your skin feels and looks!

    The best razor: a clean, sharp one.

    The best clean, sharp razor: Gillette ProGlide VIBRATING razor. (or any brand).

    The vibrating razors are especially great for easily irritated skin, and non-face areas that you are shaving and that break-out: men’s chest; women’s underarms, etc.

    I researched all the ultra-expensive brands (mentioned above in a few posts). The best one’s repeat these ingredients: jojoba, aloe vera, shea butter.

    I just went out and got these and use them directly avoiding the massive market up from the pre-mixed brands.

    You can too: order online.

    For advanced users: drop in an essential oil or two of your creative choice, and other concoctions – all of which are extras, and create the “proprietary” nature of the mega-expensive products.

    Goodby massively overpriced personal care products (ALL of which are caustic chemicals).

    • Kostas on January 1, 2014 at 10:04 am said:

      ‘still an “oil” (it goes rancid)’
      This is a very common misconception in areas without easy (or cheap) access to EVOO.
      Olive oil can vary wildly in quality. I live in Athens, Greece and I have olive trees that produce olive oil. I collect my own olives and have them pressed in time to get extra virgin olive oil. In general, access to EVOO of top quality is very easy here and for dirt cheap.
      It makes all the difference in the world. You wouldn’t eat rotten apples or bad seafood. Same goes for olive oil. I have smelled (never dared taste) very bad olive oil in Spain or France and anyone could tell the difference. That is if you have experienced the good stuff to compare.

  37. Am using EVOO now and also wet shaving for the very first time. Have always used clippers and come up with bumps. Shaving with Evoo is so great because it give me a smooth face far better than clippers. However, the challenge i have now is that my face is full with bumps as though its HEAT RASHES. Am using Damatol as after shave and no much result. I need help.

  38. Hey Chris,

    Your blog helped me too. At first, I had some issues as my hair are a bit coarse and my skin is on the dry side.

    However, the oil became much better to shave with, when I added about 8-10 drops of glycerin to 1 Oz. of olive oil.This makes it more humidifying.I use only this mixture now.

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  40. I have been experimenting with DE shaving for about 3 years now and the winning concept that works best for me right now is to first wash my face with a pre-shave cream called proraso after that my whiskers become soft and I apply some jojaba oil on my face and shave with a really sharp blade called feather DE, and after that I just rince my face with water. It gets a little greasy bc of the oil but i clean my hands with soap and rinse my face with water( i never use soap on my face bc it will dry out the skin).

  41. Berjamin on October 13, 2013 at 6:59 pm said:

    Grapeseed oil works quite well also. It has a different feel than olive oil – less thick, I would say. It leaves your skin feeling great.

  42. Hi, I have been making my own shave oil for a little while now. I would recommend grapeseed oil as it is a lot more absorbent and thinner than olive oil so should feel nicer on the skin. Has great therapeutic properties too (as do all most oils). I usually add 3 or 4 different essential oils to the base oil also to get a nice smell and extra benefits. I’ve written a blog post about making a home made shave oil here: http://wp.me/p1J3eC-4r

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  44. Joseph macchirella on December 15, 2013 at 9:31 am said:

    gave olive oil my first try after reading some of your posts.AMAZING. try it you will like it. thanks all.

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  52. Chris – shaved using olive oil for the first time this morning, per your advice. Brilliant! No rash, no bumps and no cuts. I’ve tried everything in the past and, for me, this is the best (and cheapest). Thanks and much appreciated.

  53. Pingback: Shave With Olive Oil To Save Money And Get Smoother Skin | Lifehacker Australia

  54. Trader Joes’ “Kiss-my-face” pure saponified Olive Oil soap is amazing to shave with also…

  55. I’ll give it a try. You can make the razor blades last much, much longer too: http://www.wordloosed.com/the-best-a-man-can-get

  56. Scott fernando on January 1, 2014 at 12:41 pm said:

    I use aloe vera gel instead. Much more sanitary which is crucial.

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  58. Jack Spat on April 3, 2014 at 6:26 pm said:

    In my tour of Italy during WWII I received shaves from Italian Lady barbers and they used olive oil under warm wet clothes and gave me the best shaves ever.

  59. I tried olive oil, jojoba, coconut, grape seed, and spent a ton of money on different essential oils and other oils to find the best combo. I finally found something that I loved shaving my head with that I decided to startup a company for bald guys head care. We will be launching within the next month. Check out http://www.sirhare.com, facebook.com/sirhare, or twitter.com/sirhare

  60. Great post! Shaving with oil is definitely the way to go! You get a better shave, healthier skin, and you also avoid the nasty ingredients that are in most shaving creams. I use skin solution, personally, which is a blend of several plant based oils. I’ll link to it when I comment in case anyone wants to check it out!

  61. babyfacenelson on November 2, 2014 at 3:29 pm said:

    I love the amazingly protective, soothing quality of shave oils and soap-free, oil-based creams. The only drawback seems to be that it’s harder to shave close that way, requiring sharper blades or more passes, presumably because there’s no lather to retain the water needed to keep the stubble soft. A new DE blade will happily slice away just the same, but moderately used blades and even freshly honed and stropped straight razors aren’t up to it without extra effort. Maybe I can come up with a different angle.

  62. Lynnie on November 2, 2014 at 7:44 pm said:

    My husband purchased a store bought shaving oil and once i looked at the price and read the ingredients I decided to make our own. Now we just use the olive oil or grapeseed oil and have never looked back. He loves it and it is wonderful for the skin. I use olive oil mixed with castor oil to take my makeup off and it is FANTASTIC. Girls, you need to try olive oil as a cleanser, sounds gross but your skin will love you for it.

  63. I tried using 4-5 drops of EVOO and was hooked. MUCH better than can shaving cream. Just so tired of paying so much for shaving commercials. Also am using Dorco 6 blade razors. I am a 58 yr old that has been shaving since I was 12, and i get a month longevity per 6 blade razor from a blade that costs me less than $2

    Enjoy

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