Most of the men in my life love to shave the old fashioned way, with actual shave soap and a brush. To them it provides a cleaner, smoother, more satisfying shave. This is why it is imperative that when formulating shaving soap from scratch that it allows the razor to glide seamlessly over the face and provide a nice close shave. We call this factor the slip of the soap. Shaving soap also requires a workable lather without huge bubbles. So when we formulate it, we do it a bit different than typical cold process soap. Shave soap does not need to function as soap in the fact that it really does not need to cleanse, but it does need to moisturize and be gentle. When we pick our oils and fats to make it, we need to ensure we are using moisturizing ones that provide lather. With Father’s Day fast approaching and we have little time to make shave soap for Dad because of the cure time.
**This recipe assumes you know basic cold-process soap making procedures. We do offer classes at Creations from Eden from September to June, where I personally teach you how to do this and the chemistry behind it so that you can formulate your own recipes. Click this link to find out more!**
Recipe (I have used SoapCalc to make this recipe):
For a typed out version the recipe is as follows:
- Shea Butter 30%- I used Natural, Organic
- Olive oil 30%- I buy the Pure Olive oil at Costco
- Castor Oil 20%
- Coconut Oil, 76 Degree 15%
- Cocoa Butter 5%- Being we currently do not have any in stock, Planet organic does carry it here in Edmonton.
- Kaolin Clay 1 tbsp- I use around 1.5 tsp per 2 lbs
- Sodium Lactate Powder– I use around 1 tsp per 4 lb batch
- Spearmint Essential oil 40 g
- Patchouli Essential oil 15 g
- Sodium Hydroxide
- Distilled Water – I buy mine at Superstore or Shopper’s Drug Mart
Why are we using these ingredients?
- Shea Butter- provides hardness, conditioning (moisturizing), and a creamy lather.
- Olive oil- provides a lot of conditioning.
- Coconut Oil- provides hardness, cleansing and bubbles. Being that we aren’t looking for the cleansing or the bubbles, we are using this oil mainly for it’s synergistic effect combined with castor oil to provide a nice lather.
- Castor oil- we are using a much higher percentage of castor than you typically see in soap recipes. The reason for this is its synergy with coconut oil to produce a real nice lather. We want this lather in shave soap as it provides the slip for the razor.
- Cocoa butter- we add this in low quantity as it adds a bit more hardness, and a bit more lather to the finished product.
- Kaolin clay- Kaolin adds more slip in shaving soap as it provides surface tension allowing the brush to kick up more lather for a smoother shave.
- Sodium Lactate- allows us to speed up unmolding time as well as producing a harder, longer-lasting bar of soap.
- Essential oils- for scent. Patchouli does have skin loving properties, but being this is a wash off product, a person isn’t exposed to it long enough for a real affect. Spearmint & Patchouli is a very manly and refreshing scent.
- Sodium Hydroxide- we need this to make soap… no NaOH, no soap!
- Distilled Water- we use distilled to make sure that there are no metals or other minerals, etc in the water to react with the lye. It just provides a control as all distilled water is the same no matter where you go.
How do we make this?
**Again, I’m assuming you understand how to make soap in this post and I may leave out pieces of information here and there that are standard procedures and definitions because of it.**
When measuring out your lye water, add your sodium lactate to it. Give it a good stir.
Sodium lactate can overheat soap, so make sure you do not insulate your soap when leaving it overnight or it may volcano on you.
Because we are not adding colourant to this soap, I am using a 30% water discount (opposed to the default 38% normally found in SoapCalc) and we really do not need to worry about what trace we are going to pour at as long as it’s still fluid. I poured it at a thicker trace than normal as I accidentally forgot to wet the kaolin clay first and I just added it to the soap base at trace (see photo to the right). I highly recommend wetting it first as it’s much easier to work with.
I used greased Pringle’s-type containers for the molds. The reason is that they make the perfect diameter soap for refilling most coffee cups, or it gives dad a reason to use that “World’s Best Dad” cup he received three Father’s Day’s ago that has been collecting dust as you already have your favorite daily-use coffee mugs. The downside to using these as molds is that if you are like me, you don’t eat chips, including Pringles. This means you’ll have to enlist a friend who loves them to take a nutrition-based hit for the better good of dad’s smooth face. Perhaps that friend can be dad? The girls at CfE were not impressed when I brought in three jars of actual Pringles one day and said “eat, I need the containers by 2 pm”. Needless to say, the chips ended up in a bag and I had the containers. If you’d rather, you can use PVC pipe, or any other mold, really.
Keep in mind you need to be able to work up a lather with a brush for the best results. You can also pour it directly into porcelain coffee mugs, I’ve done this before as well, but you’ll want to discount your water to 15% and work REALLY fast as it turns to mashed potatoes quickly.
You can see what consistency the soap was when I poured it into the molds. These molds are not reusable as you have to cut them to get the soap out. Do not put the lid back on the containers as you will have a volcanic problem if there is any heat trying to escape. Instead, just let the soap sit out to saponify overnight in a cool place.
I was lucky enough not to have this soap overheat. I find when I do a woman’s version (in bars) with bergamot, lavender and frankincense essential oils it begins to erupt in the Pringle’s containers, but it stops before it fully volcanoes.
To unmold the soap from the Pringle’s containers approximately two days later, cut the container’s top edge and then just peel away (it kind of reminds me of those Pillsbury Crescent Roll containers that you peel off the dough before shaping and cooking). You’ll be left with soap logs resembling columns. Cut these columns into slices at your desired width. I do 1 inch, but I also cheat and use my Harp Soap Cutter because I have it (and it rocks!) Let the soap cure for four to six weeks and voila! You have a present for Dad (or anyone else)!
Happy Creating, everyone! ~ Randi