Burt’s Bees Natural Shave Cream Review

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Written by Leigh Matthews, BA Hons, H.Dip. NT


Leigh Matthews, BA Hons, H.Dip. NT

Sustainability Expert

Leigh Matthews is a sustainability expert and long time vegan. Her work on solar policy has been published in Canada's National Observer.


Burt’s Bees Natural Shave Cream is 99.9% natural and features calendula, chamomile, and linden extract to help hydrate and soothe skin when shaving. It offers good cushion and glide when applied to wet skin, doesn’t need to be applied with a brush (it doesn’t lather), and comes in a convenient tube that is ideal for traveling. When the tube is close to empty, however, you’ll want to cut off the end (secure with a clip between shaves). One 6-ounce tube will last a couple of months or more.

Our Rating: 4 / 5 (See: How Leaf Score is calculated)

Leaf Score
Table of Contents
  1. Product Highlights
  2. Overview
  3. Burt’s Bees vs. Lavera

Product Highlights

  • Formulated without parabens, phthalates, petrolatum or sodium lauryl sulfate
  • Offers good cushion and glide when applied to wet skin, and doesn’t need to be applied with a brush
  • Company has a rich, and long-standing history of selling natural products
Country of Origin:USA
Ingredients:Water, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, stearic acid, glycerin, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, silica, sodium borate, glucose, cetyl alcohol, fragrance (natural fragrance), theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract, calendula officinalis (calendula) flower extract, centaurea cyanus flower extract, tilia cordata flower extract, anthemis nobilis flower extract, hypericum perforatum extract, sucrose stearate, xanthan gum, glucose, tocopherol, potassium iodide, sodium chloride, potassium thiocyanate, lactoperoxidase, glucose oxidase, phenoxyethanol, limonene, linalool
Certifications:Carbon Neutral Certification from Natural Capital Partners


While the majority of the ingredients in Burt’s Bees Natural Shave Cream are, indeed, natural, and it is formulated without parabens, phthalates, petrolatum and sodium lauryl sulfate, there are some questionable ingredients we’d rather not see in a product applied to the skin every day. Phenoxyethanol, for example, has been linked to cases of eczema and life-threatening allergic reactions and exposure in infants can cause acute nervous system dysfunction (R, R, R).

Burt’s Bees include the synthetic preservative phenoxyethanol at 1% or below in some of their products that contain water. Phenoxyethanol is a non-paraben, non-formaldehyde-releasing preservative and is used broadly in natural personal care products.

As for the other complex-sounding ingredients, lactoperoxidase is a natural peroxidase enzyme secreted from mucosal glands and has natural antibacterial activity; cetyl alcohol is a fatty alcohol often derived from coconut (but possibly from animal sources) and is unlikely to pose health risks when this product is used as directed (R); potassium thiocyanate is an inorganic salt that may cause some localized skin irritation but is generally considered safe (R); sucrose stearate is simply a combination of sugar and a fatty acid, is found naturally in foods, and is not considered harmful to health or the environment; similarly, sodium chloride, glucose oxidase, limonene, and linalool are all natural ingredients that pose little to no health risks when applied to the skin.

This product also contains hypericum perforatum extract, albeit in a small amount. This extract, which is more commonly known as St. John’s Wort, can cause photosensitivity in skin. This is unlikely to be a problem given that shave cream is rinsed away, but it may cause issues for those already sensitive to sun exposure.

While most folks who try Burt’s Bees Natural Shave Cream report liking the product, there are some who vehemently dislike the smell and find that it isn’t suitable for more oily skin types. As it is more of a gel than a cream, some report that it tends to clog multiblade razors but works fine with a safety razor or straight edge razor.

The origins of the Burt’s Bees company can be traced back to 1984 when excess wax from Burt’s beehives was used by artist Roxane Quimby to make candles for sale at a local market. From there, the company grew to offer a huge range of natural skincare, haircare, and makeup products. Burt’s Bees say they have a triple bottom-line – people, profit, planet – and that they look after their employees, customers, families, and the environment. They use simple, natural, responsibly sourced ingredients, do not test on animals, and strive to minimize packaging and use recycled and recyclable materials where possible. The company is a member of several global responsible sourcing organizations, including Sedex, AIM-Progress, Global Shea Alliance, and the Natural Resources Stewardship Circle.

Burt’s Bees offer an example of where the acquisition of a smaller, socially and environmentally responsible company by a larger company (in this case, Clorox) may have benefits for everyone. According to Burt’s Bees, since Clorox acquired the smaller company, they have begun educating their own employees about waste reduction, have established pollinator habitat at office locations, and all while Burt’s Bees themselves maintain their carbon neutral operations that don’t send any waste to landfill from their manufacturing facility and office. They even offer pre-paid mailing labels so you can send back empty product tubes for recycling.

Burt’s Bees also carry Carbon Neutral certification from the Natural Capital Partners and have purchased Water Restoration Certificates from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, returning millions of gallons of water to watersheds like the Colorado River and the Middle Deschutes Watershed region in Oregon. And, finally, the company established the Burt’s Bees Greater Good Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, in 2007, dedicated to sustaining charitable, grassroots initiatives that support human and honeybee health.

Burt’s Bees vs. Lavera

Burt’s Bees Natural Shave Cream has little to differentiate it from Lavera Men Sensitive Shaving Foam in terms of the product itself, with both containing potentially problematic ingredients. Lavera is cruelty-free and vegan, however, while Burt’s Bees makes no such claims.

Burt’s Bees are, arguably, the more eco-friendly company, with carbon neutral operations and a recycling program, as well as a waste reduction strategy and their own non-profit organization supporting human and bee health.

If you’re looking for the most eco-friendly and healthy shaving creams, though, any one of the following are better options than Burt’s Bees: Soap for Goodness Sake, Be Green, Pacific Shaving Company, Kiss My Face, Nurture My Body, Badger Shave Soap, and Dr. Bronner’s Shaving Soap. These all carry a 5 Leaf Rating from us for their eco-friendly ingredients, many of which are organic and nourishing to the skin.

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