There are so many good shaving creams and shaving soaps out there for men that are all natural and perform great. So, why make a homemade shaving cream or soap?
Let me put it this way.
The more things we can make ourselves, even ordinary everyday items, the more our brain flexes and stays sharp.
Making a DIY shaving cream, or even better a homemade shaving soap, is a great way to exercise your brain and have something to show for it that you can be proud of.
Besides, everybody loves getting homemade things, so a homemade shaving cream for the special man in your life is always a great gift.
In this article I will go over the ins and outs of how to make your own shaving products like DIY shaving cream and a great shaving soap recipe. With all the little details you need to know to be successful.
Read on and get inspired to make your own homemade shaving cream! Of course, if you end up reading and decide to not make your own, you can check out this list of the best shaving soaps.
Shaving Cream vs Soap
There is going to be a lot of information in this article that can get quite technical so I don’t want to get too bogged down in some details.
That said, there are many ways to shave so there are also different shaving products that can be used.
For instance, there is wet shaving and dry shaving.
Dry shaving doesn’t mean that you don’t use any shaving cream or lotion and you just run a blade over your face. It means the shaving cream does the work and you really don’t need to prep your face ahead of time. You can apply the cream with your hand even.
It’s called a dry shave since you don’t need to soak your face and stubble with lots of water first.
Wet shaving is more of a process in which you use a special shaving cream for use on a shaving brush or you use a hard puck style shaving soap. Again, with the help of a shaving brush.
It’s called a wet shave because the idea is to make a very comfortable shave with a straight edge razor by using a lot of water. The more water your skin has absorbed then the more cushion for your lather which reduces razor burn. This is essential if you’re using a straight edge blade or safety razor. The more water your stubble absorbs, then the easier it is to shave cleanly and less chance of developing an ingrown hair, and it also makes for a smooth and comfortable shave.
So, homemade shaving cream is going to be the kind you just rub on your face and shave. You don’t need to, nor should you try, do a wet shave with this one.
A homemade shaving soap, on the other hand, is going to be of varying hardness and only used to do a wet shave in conjunction with a shaving brush.
Is DIY shaving cream worth it to make?
I wouldn’t take the time to research and write this article on homemade shaving cream if I did not think it was worth it to make your own shaving cream and soap.
For starters, there are so many ingredients in the aerosol can style gel or cream that you really don’t want on your face. Think about how they can make a product so cheaply that it costs pennies per shave. When you make your own you are in control of everything that goes on your skin.
Not only that, but so many creams can end up drying out your skin, or claim to be good for sensitive skin but leave you with an irritated face.
Make your own and add moisturizing ingredients and you will see such a difference with how your skin feels after.
It’s really not hard to make a DIY shaving cream and can end up saving you tons of money in the long run, too.
The best part is you can experiment and try different shaving soap recipes to zero in on the right formula specifically catered to your preferences.
One thing to keep in mind when you make your own is that the lather will not be as rich and dense as the canned stuff. Again, they add a ton of chemicals that make the lather that way.
You don’t need a dense lather for a comfortable shave, so don’t worry if it seems to be too flat.
If you do want a thick lather and are ready to take on wet shaving then do a shaving soap recipe as that will produce a thick lather that is very slick and satisfyingly dense.
DIY Shaving Cream Basic Recipes
There are so many countless recipes for homemade shaving cream, but I am only going to give you two. The first one is for guys with sensitive skin or just like having a gentle shaving cream.
The other is a more dense lather recipe but contains castile soap which can be harsh for some skin types.
Either recipe is highly customizable. Once you get the concept, you can tailor the recipe to however you like. Whether you switch up the essential oils for fragrance, or you add more moisturizing oils to keep your face feeling smooth post shave. It’s all up to you, but these two basic DIY shaving cream recipes will get you on your way.
All Natural Homemade Shaving Cream Recipe for Sensitive Skin
Before you get started on this homemade shaving cream, have a two pot system ready. You’ll need to melt some of the ingredients and the best way to do this is what a double boiler.
You should also have a spatula ready and a big enough jar to store it in after. Lastly, have a mixer like a hand mixer or stand mixer to blend it and whip it into a cream.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
- ¼ cup of raw, organic shea butter
- ⅔ cup of olive oil
- ⅔ cup of coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon of baking soda
- 10 drops of essential oil (My favorite is a combination of sandalwood and bergamot but this is up to you)
- 3 drops of Vitamin E oil
Place a large glass or metal mixing bowl over a pot that is about half filled with water and bring to a boil.
In the bowl mix the shea butter, which should be grated if you bought it in bar form, otherwise, measure out some chips and pour it into the bowl to melt.
Add the olive oil and coconut oil and heat until everything is melted.
Once it is melted, either use a hand mixer in the bowl it’s already in or add it to the stand mixer bowl with the whisk attachment.
Then blend it until it is starting to come together and thicken. As it is mixing, add the essential oils, baking soda and Vitamin E oil.
Once it is thick like a cream cheese frosting, it is done and ready to sit. You can put it in the fridge to speed up the thickening process or let it come to room temperature if you don’t mind it taking longer.
Once it is thickened, then scoop it into a jar and it is done.
So, what is it all these ingredients are doing?
The shea butter is going to moisturize your face and keep the consistency spreadable. The olive oil will also lubricate the skin to help the blade glide and prevent razor burn.
Coconut oil also provides a good amount of glide and will also moisturize the skin.
Baking soda is essential to keeping the oils from getting to readily absorbed into the skin so they stay at the surface. This makes sure that your razor glides well and doesn’t end up skipping and causes cuts or razor burn.
Essential oils are there for a fragrance for your homemade shaving cream so if you want an unscented version you can definitely leave them out.
And, Vitamin E oil is there as a preservative so the oils don’t go rancid as they sit. Vitamin E is also really good for your skin and helps keep the moisture locked in your skin that you added by way of the shea butter.
Once your DIY shaving cream is hardened it should be pretty uniform, but if it starts to separate it means it wasn’t mixed enough. If that happens just heat it up in the microwave and try to mix it again with a hand mixer.
Thick Lather Homemade Shaving Cream Recipe
This recipe contains castile soap which is a clarifying agent. This means it can be harsh on some skin types. If you have sensitive skin you may want to steer clear of this shaving cream. For those with oily skin, you will love the lather and the fact that it leaves your skin very dry and oil free.
- ⅛ cup of liquid castile soap
- ⅛ cup of warm distilled water
- ⅛ cup of aloe vera gel
- 10 drops of essential oil for fragrance
- 3 drops of Vitamin E oil
Warm your distilled water slightly and pour into an empty bottle like a used shampoo bottle. Then add the castile soap and the rest of the ingredients. Shake it well until everything is incorporated.
You can make more of this if you like, as long as you keep equal portions of the castile soap, aloe vera gel and water it will come out the same.
Every time you need to use this, just pour around a quarter size portion into your hand and rub it onto your face into a lather. You can even use this with a shaving brush and work it into a lather in a shaving cream bowl or mug. A scuttle mug like this one from Amazon.com is ideal for using with your DIY shaving cream as you can warm some water to put in and keep the lather warm while you use it.
How to apply homemade shaving cream
This type of shaving cream works best when it is dry. You can wet your face, but keep your hands dry when you apply it.
It is very slick so you don’t really need that much of it to get a good slick razor glide across your face.
Start out with a small dollop about two fingers worth and rub it into your face. If you have any spots that seem kind of dry or not properly covered, then add a little bit more.
Once it is applied evenly, then use your favorite razor and shave as you normally would. One thing to note about DIY shaving cream is that it is very thick and can clog your multiple blade cartridge razors.
Only do a few strokes before rinsing the razor out to avoid it getting too clogged that it becomes hard to clear the blades. I like using a safety razor in general as it gives an incredible shave. Since it is a single blade I think it works best with homemade shaving cream.
Homemade Shaving Soap Recipe
If you came here looking for an easy shave soap recipe then turn back now. Just go to the last section about DIY shaving cream since that is as easy as it gets.
Soap making is not difficult, but there is a learning curve and is a bit more involved than just mixing up some ingredients and using it right away.
Shave soap recipes are more like chemistry experiments than they are a baking recipe. There are chemical reactions that can actually be dangerous while you are making the soap. In fact, you’ll need to wear rubber gloves and protective eyewear when you make your own shave soap recipe!
Any soap is a reaction between oil or fat and lye, which is an alkali.
Doing your own shave soap recipe may seem complicated and I certainly don’t mean to scare you off. The reward when you do master how to make shaving soap is an exceptional shave that the store-bought stuff can’t compete with.
How to make shaving soap
If you’re still with me then let’s dive into some concepts before we get to the shave soap recipe. There are different kinds of processes that result in different types of homemade shaving soap.
Before you get started make sure you have the proper safety equipment. Gloves and eyewear are definitely mandatory. You should also have some vinegar to douse any lye spills since it will neutralize it.
Other equipment you’ll need:
- Soap pot
- Food scale
- Plastic pitcher with lid
- Measuring cups
- Glass jar
- Silicone spatula
- Stick blender
- Cut PVC pipe to shape the soap (optional)
- Bar soap molds
Cold process is sort of like curing a soap. There will be some water left when you make it that shouldn’t be there when you use it. To get rid of the water, you need to let the soap sit for some time.
It can take up to four weeks to properly cure and for the lye to transform so it is safe to use.
Since hot process is a bit more of a complicated and is more like cooking the ingredients rather than just melting them and letting them cure. The resulting shave soap recipe results in a softer soap, even softer than croap in some cases and if you’re not sure what you are doing.
I am only going to focus on the cold process for this tutorial.
This is the process in soap making that adds more fat or oil to the recipe at the trace stage to have more fat than lye. Having more lye than fat can be caustic so to hedge your bets you can do superfatting. With this process, the soap tends to be softer and gives less of a lather. With normal soap this is fine, but with a shaving soap recipe, I think it’s important to go with a regular ratio so you will have a nice thick and rich lather that provides plenty of cushion.
On with the Shave Soap Recipe!
As I mentioned, this is a cold process shaving soap recipe. It is easier than doing a hot process but the downside is you have to wait a few weeks to use it.
Here are the ingredients for a 3 pound batch that will last you a couple of years:
- 9.6 ounces of coconut oil
- 9.6 ounces of palm oil (I will include alternatives to palm oil at the end of the recipe if you don’t to use it)
- 3.2 ounces castor oil
- 4.8 ounces sunflower oil
- 3.2 ounces olive oil
- 1.6 ounces cocoa butter
- 4.6 ounces lye (about a 5 percent discount so basically a superfat ratio to be on the safe side)
- 9.2 ounces distilled water
- 2 teaspoons bentonite clay
- I ounce of essential oil for fragrance (At the end I will go over some scents that I think are classic for a shaving soap recipe)
If you are concerned about using palm oil that is not ethically sourced then you can either buy some from a reputable brand, or use an alternative. Changing soap recipes can mess with the lye ratio, but here are a few alternatives that can be changed out 1:1. Tallow (animal fat, usually beef), olive oil (just add more olive oil to come to 9.6 ounces total), sunflower oil (same as above about the olive oil), soybean oil, grapeseed oil or cottonseed oil.
For fragrance, there are tons of variations. Use woodsy or earthy essential oils like sandalwood, cedarwood, tonka bean, clary sage, patchouli, etc. For brighter aromas, either add some citrus to the woodsy ones or use on their own like, sweet orange peel, lime, bergamot or grapefruit. And lastly some vibrant ones like eucalyptus, or peppermint. Have fun with it as there are so many ways to add a personal fragrance to your shave soap recipe!
How to mix it
Before you even weigh out your ingredients I hope you are wearing gloves and google or safety glasses in case you have a mishap. Lye is very toxic so you need to be careful.
Place your plastic pitcher on your scale and zero it out. Then add the dosage of water. Remove the pitcher from the scale and place a mason jar on instead and zero that out. Then add the lye until you get to the 9.6 ounces. Once you have the right amount, start slowly pouring the lye into the water. Don’t pour the water into the lye as it can splash or worse.
Mix with your spatula until all the lye is dissolved. Don’t worry if it seems like the mixture is reacting and getting hot. This is normal. Wash your spatula right away after you use it to stir.
Put a lid on the lye water mix or add it to a vessel that does have a lid and set is aside in a safe place where no kids or animals can knock it over. This is why you need to have vinegar nearby in case of a spill. It will neutralize the lye if it does spill.
Place a glass pitcher on your scale and weigh out all of your oils. Make sure you zero out after you add each of the oils.
Separately weigh the solid oils like coconut, palm, tallow, or cocoa butter.
Place your soap pot on the stove over medium low heat. Then add your solid oils and melt. Once the oils are melted, then add the other oils and stir well.
Measure the temperature and either let it cool down to 100°F or heat it until it reaches that temperature.
Start adding the lye mixture slowly to the pot while you have your stick blender handy. You will notice the oils become cloudy as you mix in the lye. Once all the mixture is in and incorporated, you can start pulse blending the mixture. Use 3 second bursts until everything is mixed. It will start getting thick at this point which is called the trace stage of the shave soap recipe. Within a few minutes of blending you should reach the trace stage. When you put a spoon in and let the mixture drip into the pot it leaves some trace of it on the spoon then it is ready for the other ingredients.
Start adding the essential oils while you pulse blend before it gets too thick and then the clay once the oils are incorporated.
Now you can pour the soap into molds like a cut piece of PVC to make pucks or directly into your mugs. Which will end up being a lot of mugs so I recommend either doing the cut PVC rings or even a larger mold that can be cut into bars later.
Tap whatever mold or vessels you poured the mix into to remove any air bubbles. Lay a towel over it to keep it warm so it cures well.
Leave this for 24 hours to saponify and to harden enough to cut it if you used a mold.
If you need to cut these into bars, then they should be hard enough to slice at this point.
Now, you wait. It takes about a month to properly cure the soap. The longer it sits the harder it gets and the longer it will last when you use it. This curing process is very important as it allows the lye to neutralize so it isn’t caustic to use.
Benefits of knowing how to make shaving soap
If you have tried to make your own shaving soap recipe and waited four weeks only to find out it was a dud, well, don’t despair. It will still be usable, just maybe not up to your standards. The nice thing is that you can keep trying. You are in total control of the process, what goes into it and how it performs.
And even if you get it wrong the first time, you have learned a ton more than the average guy when it comes to making something with your own hands.
That alone is a huge benefit.
The other benefits are the cost. You can spend upwards of $20 for a good puck of shaving soap. For a few dollars more you can make a supply that will last you years. Or you can give them away as gifts.
Another huge benefit is once you’ve gotten really good at making your own shaving soap, you can even start selling them!
The homemade shaving soap recipe that I provided will not only give you a great lather, but it is very good for the skin. You’ll love how your skin feels after shaving with this. And the addition of the bentonite clay is great at preventing razor burn that other cheap soaps don’t have.
There you have it. The shave soap recipe blueprint for shave soap mastery.
Master this process and then sit back with your closely shaved face and revel in the fact that you made it happen. You did it yourself, have a ton of it to last you for years and know that it contains only the very best ingredients.
That is something to be really proud of.
This is not as complicated as it may seem. Really anybody can do it if you are patient and detail oriented.
I am here to help, so if you have any questions at all about how to make a homemade shaving cream or shave soap recipe then let me know by adding a comment to the box below and I will get back to you as soon as I can!