Thursday, December 6, 2012

Shaving Soap Recipe

My husband and I gave my dad a shaving set for Christmas last year.  When I started making soaps, I really wanted to learn how to make shaving soaps for him to use with his brush and razor.  These are great holiday gifts for the men (and women!) in your life - using the shaving soap with a brush not only gives a really creamy, stable lather, which is useful for shaving, but the brush makes the hairs stand up (on face, or even on legs) to get a closer shave.  I've made the soap in mugs I found at Goodwill and attached a shaving brush I found at Walgreens for a cute holiday gift for friends and family.

I make my soap in the crockpot, with a mix of sodium and potassium hydroxide.  Here's the recipe I use, found here:

165g Beef Tallow
165g Stearic Acid
100g Coconut Oil
70g Castor Oil

180g Distilled Water
65.6g Potassium Hydroxide
25.2g Sodium Hydroxide

1 Tbsp bentonite clay
1 fl oz FO - My last batch was BB Earl Grey Lemon FO, both men and women like the scent (and even one of my dogs :) )

When the oils are combined and the lye water solution is added, the soap batter gets thick quickly.  I usually use a spatula to mix, rather than my trusty stick blender.  I add the bentonite clay after the batter is thoroughly mixed, because the bentonite clay LOVES water and will thicken the batter up considerably.  Then I dump in a crock pot on low and wait for 1-3 hours until it's fully cooked. Even though these are hot-process, I like to let them cure for at least a week before using.

I have made the soap in BB's column mold, but it's extremely hard to unmold, because the soap is more of a very soft soap, almost a cream soap.  It's firm enough to keep its shape, but the users of the soap may find it easier to use if it's poured directly into a mug or saucer to make using the brush easier.

Since the bentonite clay loves water, you'll have to work a little bit and keep wetting the brush, but the lather is amazing.  Check it out :)  It will stay for a really long time on your face / legs, too!

Even my dad loves the soap:

I've been keeping myself busy the past couple days with the new Soapmaker 3 software I got for an early birthday present.  The CPA in me is really enjoying getting my inventory and recipes documented and figuring out exactly how much each of my soaps is costing me (and my wasted batches, like the lye-heavy batch from the last post).



  1. Great post :-)

    I was searching for shaving soap recipes and came across this post. I love the shaving cup in these photos! Where in the world did you find it? Were you pleased with the results of this recipe? Could it be used for ladies to shave their legs with (without the shaving brush)?


  2. Hi there! I really liked the mugs, too - I just found them at a local Goodwill when I was thinking about making these soaps. Can't beat the price :)

    I currently use the soap in a mug with a brush for my legs about half the time (and then just canned shaving cream half the time, because it's quicker when I'm in a hurry). I also made this shaving soap in round discs. It lathers nicely, and the lather stays for a long time, but I haven't tried to shave without a brush yet.

    I do like the recipe now, but I was planning to play around with it to add some more creamy butters for additional skin benefits, like maybe shea or jojoba oil.

    If you try this recipe out, let me know what you think!

  3. Okay, Chrissy, will do! Is your company on Facebook?

    Did you feel you needed more creamy butters in this recipe?

    Also, I just ordered some food-quality, UNbleached, UNdeodorized tallow. Does this leave any kind of smell in the finished soap?


    1. Hi there - thanks for so many great questions! I currently do not sell my soaps through a business - I have been making them mainly for friends and family, but I hope to start a business soon! I do not have a facebook page set up yet, but when I get it done, I'll definitely post it on this blog!

      Regarding the fats - I think a butter might be nice, since this soap sits on the skin for longer than normal body soap would be on the skin, but my legs do not feel dry after I use this recipe. I do notice the effects of the bentonite clay after I use it, though.

      Since I scent this soap at the end, I definitely notice the smell of the soap as it is cooking, but to me it smells not of tallow, but a straight "soapy" smell and I can also smell the bentonite. The tallow doesn't smell to me, and I used a food-grade unbleached, undeoderized tallow.

      I'm interested to see what you think of it! Make sure to let me know!!

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  5. Thanks for the great information. I'm still a little concerned that the bar won't be quite hard enough for ladies to use it as a handheld bar. I'm wondering if I should try to make it a tad harder. Hmmmm . . .

    Also, I've never made soap that had two kinds of lye in it, so I have to order the Potassium Hydroxide. Bramble Berry has some, but Wholesale Supplies Plus doesn't seem to carry it.

    1. I agree - the bar in this recipe is not a hard bar - it's more of a cream bar. I wonder whether removing the potassium hydroxide and just using sodium hydroxide would help? Definitely don't add any butters :)

      If you do make it harder, let me know what you did - I get a lot of questions on whether it could be used as a shaving soap without a brush, and as of now, I've only recommended using brushes with this soap.

      I also get my potassium hydroxide from BB, as it was the easiest place for me to find it.

    2. I am not sure how to edit my comments on this blog format, but of course I should have added for anyone who might be reading these comments that if you are changing the proportions or ingredients (such as removing one of the lye forms), make sure to run through a lye calculator before you start making the recipe!

  6. PS - I don't quite know why I keep showing up as Anonymous or showing up under a Blogger account when I post comments here. I'm going to try one more time to comment under my correct profile.

    If it doesn't work this time, I'm on Facebook here:

    and this is my web site:

    and this is my email address: TheEnchantedBath(at)


  7. Thanks for leaving your information, Linda! I am excited to check out your pages when I return from my trip next week, and I look forward to hearing more from you!

  8. Humm, very thin lather unfortunately. I was hoping to find something thick that could compete with Al's Shaving Cream. Al's may not be as inexpensive as DIY products but the quality is amazing and the scents are delicious

  9. Hi Anonymous - the nice thing about making these kind of things yourself is that you can change what you don't like! If you want a certain scent, you can find it and add it. Or lather not thick enough? Look at the recipe to see what oils / fats you can change out to create a more fluffy lather (while still keeping it long-lasting). I use this recipe on my legs, and my husband loves it for his face, but everyone has their own preferences.

    If you find a way to improve this recipe, I'd love to hear what you have changed!


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