When you begin thinking about wet shaving you come to realize just how much room for customization there is. If you are just starting out or if you are getting a lot of nicks and irritation you are probably wondering if a pre-shave oil might be the solution. Browsing through the options you quickly realize how expensive these oils can be. The inner skinflint is probably shouting at you about how exorbitant the prices are, and, he asks, “How do you know it will even work?”

Some people swear by pre-shave oils and some are apathetic. Many claim they make all the difference in the world, others swear they make no beneficial difference. This presents the following problem: Which camp are you in? If you’re like me you don’t want to drop $20 to find out. If that’s you, then you’re in luck!Lets look at a couple of options that are inexpensive that you can try without breaking the bank trying the more expensive products.

Cremo Shaving Cream

Though this product is marketed as a shaving cream it turns out it makes a better pre-shave. Apply it to your beard area with your fingers, working it into your beard before lathering up your soap. The Cremo will provide some additional slickness which may be just what you need to dispel those razor bumps.

I tried it with my Razorock XXX shaving soap and it added the much needed glide for an effortless shave. In this case the orange soda-esque scent of the Cremo original mixed with the soap to produce an even more pleasing scent. The shave was definitely enhanced by the added slickness. Cleanup was terrible, though. The Cremo is “water activated” but not particularly water soluble, making cleanup a laborious chore. I eventually gave up trying to get all the Cremo off and just finished up with my post shave routine.

Cremo is a better pre-shave than a shaving cream, but I don’t find it excellent for either application.

Olive Oil

Olive oil has been known since ancient times to be good for your skin. There are still people who rub olive oil into their skin daily for health reasons. Olive oil as a pre-shave may be just the thing you need to help clear up that pesky acne!

Of the diferent grades of olive oil, the lowest (and cheapest) grade works best and is the least pungent. Apply just a few drops to your wet beard area a minute or two before you lather up. Once the lather is applied, the oil on your skin will provide plenty of slickness which is at its best when the head of your razor is wet. Olive oil made an appreciable difference in the glide and I could always tell when I moved on to shaving an area that didn’t have any oil applied. My skin absorbed most of the oil and the excess washed off surprisingly easily.

Olive oil smells like. . . olive oil. It’s not the best odor, but it is faint. As an added bonus you can customize the scent by adding your favorite essential oils.

There you have it, two low cost alternatives to buying expensive pre-shave oils. Once you give it a test run, maybe you’ll want to give the more expensive options a try, or maybe you’ll want to try a low cost recipe like this one.