Shaving soap recipes and instructions

A basic recipe and some simple instructions for making shaving soap through cold process soap making.

Soap making methods have been around for centuries, but today's techniques produce soap products that are far different than your grandma's generation. Cold process soap or CP is the type of soap grandma used to make. You make this type of soap by combining fatty acids and sodium hydroxide (lye). The fatty acid can be anything from animal fat to olive oil or hemp oil. Combine your own ingredients to create a unique recipe that suits your needs.

Cold process soap making consists of a certain proportion of lye (sodium hydroxide) and water to fatty acids, which creates a chemical reaction called saponifaction. During saponification, the lye and oils mix and become soap - the process takes approximately six weeks to fully complete.

When making soap with lye you need to wear the proper safety gear such as goggles and gloves. Cold press soap is known for its hard and long lasting qualities. You can create lather rich formulas by using certain types of oils in your recipe. Coconut oil is known for its lathering formula, olive oil is gentle and great for sensitive skin and shea, cocoa butter and hemp oil offer great moisturizing properties.

Some men like to use soap for shaving. It offers a nice "slip" property for a close shave and is gentle on your razor. If you use the proper ingredients you can create a wonderful shaving aid that is gentle and nourishing to the sensitive skin on your face.

Here is a sample of a basic shaving soap recipe:

12 oz. Coconut oil

12 oz. Palm oil

12 oz. Olive or Canola oil

1 overflowing tablespoon of clay (bentonite clay works well, but any will do - it's used to provide slip for the razor)

5.25 to 5.4 oz. lye (depending on your fat preference)

1. Heat the Palm, Coconut and Olive or Canola oil up in the microwave or in a double boiler until they reach a temperature of 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Put on your safety gear and pour the lye pre-measured into 14-ouces of distilled water.

4. Mix ingredients in an unbreakable, heat-friendly bowl (like Pyrex) with a stainless steel mixing spoon. Remember do NOT breathe the lye fumes. The mixture will heat all the way up to approximately 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

5. Cool this mixture to about 115 degrees.

6. When both the oils and the lye water are within 10 degrees of 115 degrees, pour the lye/water mixture into the melted oils.

7. Use a stick blender if you have it and if you do not have a stick blender, hand stir with a whisk or stainless steel tool. If you're using a stick blender, you should see trace within 5 minutes (this is the point where you can see faint soap trailing). If you're using a hand mixer (a spoon), this process could take up to 3 hours.

8. Once you've hit trace add your clay, and mix in well. Wait for a minute to make sure that the soap is fully traced (formed together) and is not going to separate in the bowl or in your molds.

9. Now you can pour the thick, white, creamy soap mixture into your molds. The soap will need to sit out for a full 6 weeks before using.

This recipe is for a cold process formula of shaving soap. There are many other kinds of soaps including melt and pour soaps (more commonly known as glycerin soap and is safer for children because it doesn't contain lye), hot process soaps and rebatching soaps. When making soap using any of the processes mentioned above it is important to follow the directions carefully and use common sense to ensure a safe environment for you and your family.

© High Speed Ventures 2011