Discussion in 'Shave Soaps' started by RobertTaylor, Feb 8, 2020.
How do I make my own shave soap
There are many different ways. But keep in mind that the best soap recipes out there have been brought about by decades of trial and error.
I would start here: https://soapcommander.com/collections/misc-body-products/products/book-how-to-make-shaving-soap
I see that Google must be broken again today.
Edit: There's two basic types of shaving soap. Melt and Pour, and Hot Process. Of the two, melt and pour will be the easiest to make, but the resulting soaps are not as good as hot process.
If you make hot process soap, you can mill it to remove water. This will give you a longer lasting puck, but it's time intensive. The fragrance goes in after the last milling.
I have not done hot process but have done Melt & pour (MP) with pretty good result. I blend a shea butter base with a “shaving base” (which is really just a high-latheir soap) in an 8:1 ratio. I also add some honey and a little powdered clay, to reduce friction.
ETA- you can also mix in a goat milk base. It’s very moisturizing and lathers well.
What kind of clay...Kaeolin? Bentonite?
Ahh..I've been experimenting with both in some of my recent shavesoaps. They do help.
I should clarify-these are PURCHASED soaps.
Can someone here list out some examples of well known - and/or highly regarded soaps in each category? Melt & Pour vs. Hot Process?
Good info regarding soap making (including some shaving soap recipes) can be found HERE.
Van der Hagen Deluxe is a good example of a melt and pour soap, as are the Col. Conk soaps.
Hot process...Saponifico Verisino, Barrister & Mann, Mitchell's Wool Fat, etc.
A well known, if not highly regarded soap, is Trumper's. Packaging and scent is on point. The soap itself is horrible. Mixed with an unscented shaving cream to make a super lather will give a decent shave. What's especially sad is that it used to be a good soap. Reformulation has ruined it.
A good shaving soap is made with a high amount of stearic acid. Fats that are high in stearic acid include tallo and palm oil. This is why you see these two ingredients in so many shave soaps. There are two types of alkali that might be used. Sodium hydroxide will produce a hard soap. If it is the only alkali used, cold processing of the soap is possible (no external heat in the process). The chemical reaction will generate heat on its own.
Potassium hydroxide is used to make soft soap.
Many shaving soaps combine both alkali types, as well as stearic acid in a purified form. This requires hot processing. The added external heat source is necessary because of the chemical mix. The batch will tend to seize without it, and the result will be too caustic.
Clear soaps, often called melt and pour, are identical to other soaps, but have a solvent added near the end of processing.
There is no reason a melt and pour soap will inherently be any better or worse than a cold or hot processes soap for shaving.
I have been making my own for about 6 months (for personal use). LOTS of reading required:
This site has a recipe and a process that works very well.
You will need some ingredients that may require a bit of shopping around for but all can be purchased online.
Personal opinion: clay does NOT belong in a shave soap. Whatever benefit it may provide should come from the the oils used. Also, there is a some discussion about the clay potentially dulling edges - but I think that it overblown. Of course YMMV
Good luck and post questions if you have any.
Clay can make a noticeable difference to the performance of a soap that is not quite up to par. That said, it is not needed if the mix of other ingredients is already producing a good soap. In my experience, a good shaving soap has a large number of added ingredients which provide the characteristics the maker seeks.
Some oils improve slip, others the Post shave feel. This is complicated by the outside variables, such as water hardness, sensitivity of skin and so on.
i put some local kaolin in my soap.
Planofman what is your milling process?
This looks like a potentially very fun rabbit hole. My life won’t accommodate anything more right now, but I’m adding this to my someday list.
Sara's recipe works great! I have made several batches as gifts and gotten good reviews and I use it myself as a regular part of my rotation. Thanks, Sara!
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I’m glad to know that you are enjoying it as much as I do!
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