Wednesday, February 13, 2008

DIY: Shaving Soap

Sometime ago, we switched from shaving cream/gel in a can to shaving soap. Part of the reason was frugality. Shaving soap lasts longer and costs less. Part of it was from environmental concerns. Every time I threw away an empty can of shaving cream, I cringed. First, I simply switched to the readily available shaving soap and lather brush from Wal-Mart. The family didn't mind. It was fun to use and initially we liked the results.

However, as the soap diminished, so did it's results. Soon, I was feeling dissatisfied with it and considering switching back. But my green-side just couldn't handle the guilt of that can of $2 gel compared to that cheap bar of soap in the small recyclable cardboard package.

Finally the lightbulb went off and I searched for a shaving soap recipe on the internet. After all, there are plenty of homemade soap recipes, so surely there were some for shaving soap. I was very pleased to find several. I started with this recipe from the internet:

Materials you will need:
Metal spoon
1-cup glass measuring cup
1/2 tablespoon witch hazel
3 Vitamin E capsules
1/2 tablespoon glycerin
2 standard round bar soap molds
Peppermint fragrance oil (10 drops)
Cinnamon fragrance oil (10 drops)
Orange coloring liquid (2-3 drops)
5 ounces coconut soap base

First slice the soap into small chunks or strips for fast melting. Then put the bits of soap into the measuring cup and place in microwave for about 45 seconds on high heat. Melting time will vary depending on the microwave you use and amount of soap. Remove and stir, then continue melting at 10-15 second intervals until completely melted. Cut the Vitamin E capsules open and squeeze out the liquid into a separate small bowl. While the soap is melting, mix the glycerin, witch hazel, fragrance oils, colorant and Vitamin E together. Mix very well until blended. Pour your soap into the round molds.

Let the soap cool and harden, then wrap in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for a few minutes. This will help the soap come out of the molds easier.

I couldn't find just glycerin in the local stores and buying a whole bottle of vitamin E caplets were extravgant for me since I don't already take them, ssoooooo....

I found a small bottle of vitamin E skin oil at Wal-Mart. That seems to make sense for soap, right? Then I remembered that I had some soap-making supplies purchased from Michael's craft store years ago when I took a class from the local county extension agency. I decided to experiment a little. Ingredients I used: coconut oil soap block, glycerin soap, vitamin E oil, witch hazel (not shown), soap fragrance, and soap coloring.

So here is the patchwork recipe that I used to make my very first shaving soap:

A block of coconut oil soap about the size of a bar of Ivory bath soap
1-inch square of glycerin soap
1 tablespoon of vitamin E skin oil
1/2 tablespoon of witch hazel
3 drops of chosen soap fragrance (I wouldn't suggest pearberry in the future)
? drops of chosen soap coloring (I used about 5 drops of blue)
Metal spoon
Microwavable coffee mug

In clean coffee mug, place chopped coconut oil soap and glycerin soap. Microwave for about 30 seconds, stir, then microwave in 10 second intrevals until completely melted. Stir well.

Add witch hazel, vitamin E skin oil, fragrance, and coloring. Stir well.

Here are my results after having used it several times to ensure that it is a good product:
Hubby and daughter swear by it. I can tell a difference in the softness of Hubby's skin. I don't think it stays lathered up quite as long as the commercial soap but that's typical of homemade products. I simply lather up one section of my leg at a time.

Possible questions answered:

You can purchase a bottle of witch hazel at any drug store or store that has a beauty/drug department. I know Wal-Mart and Rite-Aid carries it. Look for it near first-aid as it is an antiseptic and often used as a skin toner too. It comes in a plastic bottle about like hydrogen peroxide but is clear like alcohol.

You don't have to add fragrances or coloring. I would imagine that sensitive skin would prefer not to have them anyway. I don't know why I picked "pearberry" at the time, but I wish I had picked something else. Remember to consider the preferences of your other family members if you share the shower!

You can buy a shaving brush nearly anywhere that shaving products are sold.

If you try my recipe or experiment with your own version, leave me a comment about how it turned out. We only learn from our mistakes and successes if we share!


Louise said...

I don't know how it would work for your husband, but I find using just regular bar soap works when shaving. I've also used a bit of body lotion to shave my legs before I get out of the shower.

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