DIY Shaving Soap for Men: Hit or Miss?
Ever since I wrote about Javaun and his classic shaving brush and lather routine, I’ve been curious about making handmade shaving soap. Plus, I’d like to make homemade gifts for the men in my life this holiday season. So, I tried out a batch, based on various recipes online and asked Javaun if he would try it out and report back. He said he’d love to.
In addition to a small glass jar and a hand mixer, I used:
- Pure cocoa butter
- Almond oil
- Coconut oil
- Cedarwood essential oil
I’ve seen some recipes that use shea butter instead of cocoa butter, and other essential oils like lemongrass, sandalwood, or orange/clove. It’s the kind of project where you can experiment and see what works and what you like. Also, this is not true soap made from lye. Officially, the FDA would make us call our shaving soap a “bar” as in “moisture bar” or “body bar.”
Without the lye, the shaving bar may not have superb cleansing qualities, but that’s okay when it comes to a shaving soap. Plus, it’s much simpler to make. First, I put the cocoa butter container in a pan of hot water to soften it a bit.
Then, I scooped out 2/3 a cup of the cocoa butter.
And 2/3 of a cup of the coconut oil.
I combined them in a sauce pan and put them over a low flame so they could melt together.
It took about a minute for them to melt, after which time, I stirred in 2 tablespoons of almond oil.
Next, I added about 5 or so drops of cedarwood oil to the mixture and turned off the heat.
I put the entire saucepan into the frig to let the oils harden again. It took almost 3 hours. When they were solid, I used a hand mixer to create a creamy texture.
This step took a good 5-10 minutes to transform the hardened oils into chunks and eventually into a smooth, almost whipped consistency.
Finally, I scooped the soap into the jar…
And tried without much luck to make a professional-looking swirl on the top.
I took the finished shaving soap over to Javaun. He liked the presentation, he said, and the smell. The cocoa butter does give it a nice chocolaty scent.
So, what did Javaun think? He says it “would make a great moisturizer.” Sounds like a “miss” to me. But, he also says some men like to use a moisturizer before lathering on the shaving soap, so this would be perfect for that. The thing is, it doesn’t lather. Why is it so important to have lather when using a brush and old fashioned razor? “The lather provides a barrier of bubbles,” he says. This mixture is too oily and greasy, although he suggested that some women, like his sister, who shaves with baby oil, might like this recipe.
Javaun now plans to do some research on his own to see if lye-based soap is the best bet, or maybe some other ingredients to make a nice lather. In the meantime, the whole family will enjoy the “lotion” as a luscious moisturizer, cuticle cream, and lip balm.