Shaving Cream for Kids :: I Think They Got Their Target Customer Wrong

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Shaving Cream for Kids 1

Little did the shaving cream manufacturers know when they first developed their product, that it would become the epitome of sensory art and sensory play for children all over.

They couldn't have known that their most ardent supporters would be young children wanting to swoosh and slide their hands through it, draw and paint in it, smooth it over their forearms (or more), and squirt it out of the canister. They wouldn't have imagined that it would be the under 6 crowd who would beg for the shaving cream to be brought down from the shelf for an art project or that it would be the most requested art material in the house.

Shaving Cream for Kids 2

If they had known that a family with young children would go through a canister of shaving cream in one or two art sessions, would they have clapped their hands in glee and changed their marketing tactics? Preschool teachers squirt whole containers of shaving cream into sensory tubs. Several bottles of the stuff can be used in the course of a backyard birthday party.

I think their marketing folks got their target customer wrong when they pegged the middle aged male as their ideal.

He puts, what? A dollop of shaving cream the size of a golf ball on this face and rubs it around? And does he go raving about the shaving cream to his office buddies? Or jumping up and down in the shaving cream aisle in excitement begging for more?

Of course not.

Perhaps his three year old, who does all of the above, should have been their target market. Shaving cream as exciting and cool? Plus the opportunity to go viral through word of mouth? Ah, yes… It's the three year old with no facial hair whatsoever who may be the ideal shaving cream spokesperson.

Don't you think?

Come back tomorrow, my friends, for a round up of many ways to use shaving cream for art, sensory play, and even learning. Your kids will thank you.

Update: Here's the post of 67 ideas for art, play, and learning with shaving cream.

What? No shaving cream in the art cabinet? You have the rest of the day to remedy this oversight. When you see all the fun ideas I share tomorrow, you and your kids will want to dive into some shaving cream play right away. (And if you don't want this scenario, make sure your kids don't look at the computer over your shoulder tomorrow!)

So, are your kids as fanatic about shaving cream as mine?

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  1. Elizabeth says

    I have a practical shaving cream question- what is the least smelly brand? (Do they have unscented?) I asked my husband to buy some for the girls to play with once and he came home with a highly scented version, whoa boy! :P

  2. Deborah says

    Oh you bet! We started using it as bath paint over black foam sheets (that stick to the tiles with water) and it’s been requested many, many times since then. But I have the same concerns as Elizabeth. Perfume is, most of the time, toxic especially for children. We are still looking for a unscented brand. (Well, we found some, but it does make foam, just a smooth lotion.) And then there’s the whole environmental question about the canisters…

  3. says

    Haha, you should go into marketing Jean. :) My kids love it too. We haven’t had any for a while now though, I’ll have to pick some up next time I am out – like you said, it doesn’t last long. Agree with the others about the scent though, totally gives me a headache. Maybe all of us moms should write to the company and ask for unscented!

  4. says

    Sadly most preschools and daycares no longer allow it, as they believe children may be allergic. I’ve had to come up with other tactics and it boils down to whipping up plain unscented soap with water to make a thick fluff. But there’s nothing better than the canister and the beauty of its foam.
    read this great article about shaving cream if you are someone who says you can’t use it for “whatever reason”:

  5. Dena says

    Jean, I must be psychic! I was picking out some items on Discount School Supply for Naomi’s birthday last night, and one of the things I was looking up was foam paint instead of shaving cream. The time I used it with Naomi to do marble paper, which was soooo fun, we got headaches and felt terrible. Here is the link to what I found:
    I am not sure if it would be as foamy, but it’s worth a try. I also bought cheap dollar store shaving cream, so I think I will look in supermarket for an unscented version.
    Can’t wait to see all the projects we can do with it!

  6. Mary says

    MaryAnn, thanks so much for that link! I’m not an educator but found it very interesting.
    I let my daughter play with messy stuff but we have yet to try shaving cream. I’m also looking for one without so much perfume.
    Can’t wait for tomorrow’s post, Jean!

  7. says

    My 3 year old loves playing with his toy cars in shaving cream, but the more I learn about the toxicity of shaving cream ingredients the more I cringe and the less likely I am to buy it in the future. Like other parents here in the comments, I am especially aware of fragrance, which is particularly problematic.

  8. says

    We’ve tried several different brands — sometimes I go for the least scented and sometimes I go for the cheapest. I’m not remembering right now which are the least scented, though. Maybe someone else can chime in, here? Or, maybe I’ll remember next time I go to the store.

  9. says

    The foam sheets in the bath idea sounds great! I’ll have to give that a try. (and yeah, I’ve made the mistake of buying the shaving gel rather than shaving cream, too)

  10. says

    Do you mean soap flakes? I’ve seen those listed in art books (including yours, maybe) but haven’t seen them in the store. Maybe I’m looking in the wrong place?

  11. says

    I’ve been wanting to try that foam paint!! Trying to justify buying it, anyway — but I find that it’s not too hard for me to justify art supplies. :) I think I’ll have to spring for some and give it a try. Maybe it’s scentless!

  12. Anonymous says

    We love shaving cream at our house, too! That said, I second those who find the environmental effects (aerosol) and ingredients problematic (endocrine disrupters, neurotoxins, etc.) Those interested in finding out the concerns regarding the ingredients in your brand of shaving cream can go to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database to type in the shaving cream brand you buy:
    And yes, Ms. Kohl, of course Colgate-Palmolive says that their shaving cream is non-toxic (via Ms. Murphy’s link in your post). However, the cosmetics and skin care industries in North America are highly unregulated. Did you know, for example, that many lipsticks sold in the U.S. contain lead, not to mention endocrine disrupters such as phthalates? The EWG’s safe cosmetics database is a great place to start regarding information on the chemicals to which we often unwittingly expose our young children.

  13. says

    Target uses these market analysis techniques for putting things in adjacent aisles and stuff… Like diapers and beer bottles – things like that. Should they put shaving cream next to the water colors?

  14. says

    Just checking how to make your pony bead sun catchers, have you tried shaving cream marbled paper? Super cool, great gift, a good start off project which blooms into book covers, wrapping paper, greeting cards…. google it and have fun!

  15. Lisa says

    For folks looking for an inexpensive fragrance free option, check out CVS Moisturizing Shave Cream (sensitive skin & fragrance free).
    I have a hard time finding it in the store. I buy ALL on the shelf when I do see it). A teacher in a local baby class recommended it to me because I noticed it didn’t give me a headache!
    I almost wasn’t going to comment because I was afraid local folks would read this post and then I would NEVER find it in the stores! ;) BUT I would feel guilty for sharing and now I see it is available online! So exciting!!
    Here is the link:
    Note: It’s not on the EWG website. I refer to the database very often… but one could look up the ingredients for more info. Some ingredients have potential concerns and it would be very worthwhile for folks to understand some of the potential issues of chemicals in cosmetic products as the another commenter mentions below. Especially for really young children!

  16. Dena says

    It definitely will be a splurge item for me too! I will just splurge for white of course. I think it is unscented. I am going to go to CVS this weekend as a poster replied up top.

  17. Heather says

    My kids LOVE shaving cream! For my youngest daughters 3rd birthday I filled a large blow-up kids pool with shaving cream (36 canisters worth!) and let the kids get covered head-to-toe in the stuff. It was a messy art party, so lots of other messy fun things to do, but the shaving cream pool was the favorite activity for most of the kids at the party! Two little boys loved this so much that they never got out of the pool until cake was served! The only downside to shaving cream is the fact that you have to buy it in such small canisters. If their target market were young kids, they could easily sell this stuff in bulk sizes. I haven’t found an unscented shaving cream, but the sensitive skin varieties don’t seem to bother any of us.

  18. teresa says

    Doesn’t it sting their eyes? I’m afraid of that, but would try it if its safe
    We usually buy Mr bubble canned soap

  19. hippie4ever says

    I just hopped on the shaving cream wagon and QUICKLY hopped back off!!! Butane appears to be in every can. Not exactly the best thing for tots to be sticking their hands in or breathing…
    there is also a NIH posting for shaving cream toxicity:
    I found this site, and many others, because foolishly I neglected to check the back of the can until after we had experimented with a whole can in an unventilated bathroom. Turned on the fan as soon as I read the can…but I so wish I had thought to read it before!

  20. Rach says

    You can add a few drops of food coloring (which may stain) or even some watered down tempera paint.