|Melt-and-pour shaving soap that I made for Valentine's Day, 2010.|
Valentine's Day was approaching and I wanted to give my hubby, Ken, something special. With Christmas over, I was fresh out of gift ideas. I decided to make something for him. In the past, I had baked him something sweet or made homemade pralines. In 2010, I realized that I could make something else:
Yippee, right? I mean, we were drowning in soap. Why would anyone in my household get excited about, well, more soap?
Because this soap was just for him. See, I made him a shaving soap. I went out and bought a shaving kit, tossed the soap that came with it, and filled the bowl with my own. I used Bramble Berry's melt-and-pour shaving soap base, added one teaspoon of bentonite clay per pound of soap, and scented it with a Eucalyptus and Cedar fragrance oil. I even made some red soap hearts (created with a candy mold) to stick on the top.
Ken liked the shaving soap very much and asked that I keep making it for him. So I bought another shaving kit - so I'd have another bowl - and replenished his supply as needed.
Flash forward to the summer of 2012 when I made shaving soap from scratch for the first time. While the melt-and-pour shaving base is very nice, I wanted to create my own since I now knew how to make cold process soap.
|Cold process shaving soap, July 2012|
~ Olive oil (45% of total oils )
~ Coconut oil (20% of oils)
~ Castor oil (20% of oils)
~ Palm oil (8% of oils)
~ Sweet almond oil (7% of oils)
Steve's recipe makes five pounds of soap, but I needed only one pound to fill three of my shaving bowls. (I now have four bowls so I can make three more shaving soaps when Ken starts on his last one.) So I plugged the percentages of oils into SoapCalc to customize the recipe to my needs. (It's a good idea to run a recipe through a lye calculator to double-check it. And always run a recipe through a lye calculator if you make any changes to it.)
Steve also includes some additives in his recipe. I adjusted the amounts of the additives so they would fit into my parameters. I ended up using:
~ Bentonite clay (one Tablespoon per pound of oils)
~ Colloidal oats (one Tablespoon per pound of oils)
Bentonite clay adds a layer of protection to the skin and gives the blade some slip, and the colloidal oats (I used finely ground regular oats) make the soap extra soothing. I added the bentonite clay at trace and stickblended briefly to fully incorporate it into the batter. Then I stirred in the oats. Once the clay and oats are added, the batter gets pretty thick.
One thing worth noting is that bentonite clay has a tendency to clump. To get around this issue, I used a mini whisk to mix the clay with some liquid glycerin before adding it to my soap batter. I would think that mixing the clay with some oil would also work, although I have not tried that myself.
|Grinding oats, mixing clay with glycerin, and pouring soap into shaving bowls|
For the scent, I chose Bramble Berry's Blue Man fragrance oil, which behaves beautifully and smells great. The fragrance oil does discolor to a medium brown due to the vanilla notes, which make this scent a bit sweet but masculine.
Probably one of the first things you'll notice about this recipe is that it has a high percentage of castor oil. This is to help create a rich lather for shaving. It does make a soft soap initially - I had some batter left over that I poured into individual molds and the soap bars were quite soft when I unmolded them a few days later. After a few weeks of curing time, though, the water evaporates out and the soap hardens nicely.
Are you a fan of shaving soaps? Do you make or buy them for yourself or someone else? Got a favorite recipe?