A couple of months ago, a man on instagram called Tony seen my soaps and said “You know what Siennalily Soaps, you should make a shave soap”

I had been thinking of formulating a shaving soap for quite a while but as in the beginning of my soap making journey, I was scared! Of what though? failure? using KOH Potassium hydroxide? I,m not sure, but I was. My head was boggled with talk like Bloom Room, Post Shave, brush loading etc…

I have been doing research on said soap for months and there is conflicting advice on wether to add clay or not, usage of NAOH to KOH amounts, all kinds of stories but today I thought “I am biting the bullet and formulating and making my own recipe for a shave soap!” so that is what I,ve done and this is my findings.

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I used:

Sweet Almond oil, Castor oil, cocoa butter, coconut oil, tallow, mango butter and stearic acid. 40% NAOH and 60% KOH. Added glycerin after the crockpot cook and tussah silk in my lye water. I also added a tablespoon of kaolin clay because I put that in all my soaps and love it.

I used the HP method because when using stearic acid it brings on trace immediately and if using CP method, that could be very tricky to work with. To calculate the percentage of each lye you need, calculate 100% for each one, NAOH & KOH and then use the percentage of each. For me 60% of total for KOH and 40% of total for NAOH.

So I melted my oils in the slow cooker, I used a 1.5 liter one as this was just my practice batch, it took the 21 ozs of oil no problem. I mixed my sodium hydroxide into the water first then added the potassium hydroxide second along with the silk. I didn’t wait for the lye solution to cool, just added it to the warmed, melted oils and butters. Stick blended, which was quite daunting because it got thick immediately. I left it 10 minutes then stick blended again because it was separating slightly. I checked and stirred every 15 minutes for just over an hour. It was done. It looked really fluffy and creamy but I didn’t know what it was meant to look like. I left to cool for 15 minutes and added my fragrance, Tabac Vanille by Gracefruit UK which is a fresh clean scent that I thought was perfect for a shave soap.

I have put it into some 200ml pots and left the lids off until it cools and I will leave for a week to harden but because it is HP I could use it immediately. The overage I put into a bowl for personal use.

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Now for the lather test. A good shaving soap is meant to lather easily with a good brush and stay suspended for 10 minutes at least, which gives enough time for a man to have a decent face shave, be conditioning for the skin, not drying. Doesn’t have to be super bubbly like a body bar soap, more of a creamy dense lather.

I got out my rubbish shaving brush and used some soap that was in the crockpot before I washed it. So far so good, it was creaming up nicely into the perfect shave lather.

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“BY JOVE! I THINK I’VE DONE IT!”

This lather had been on the brush for 30 minutes and still going strong. It is like thick cream. I tried it on my legs to test performance and it worked great. stayed where I put it and the razor glided over my leg without drag. I am so pleased with my first shaving soap and who knows, this might be my winning formula and I might not change it. I will still try different recipes but this one is a winner in my eyes but then again, “I’m no expert” but Tony is and he has agreed to review for me and he has tried A LOT of shave soaps.

Stay tuned for the outcome my lovely friends x

As Always, Love from Spain x

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