Making Your First Shaving Soap: Base Recipe

Looking for a shaving soap recipe? I’m going to show you how to make your own, even if you’ve never made soap before.

If you’re new to soap making, it’s still a good idea to start with a base recipe to work from. That way, you can make small adjustments and observe their results.

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I told you, making shaving soap is both an art and a science. And the best way to go about science is to build on the results of others and manipulate one thing at a time.

For that reason we’ll start with a very basic (but tested) shaving soap recipe from the Badger & Blade forums courtesy of JBLA, then look at some modifications you might wish to try.

The Basic Recipe

Keep in mind all ingredients are measured by weight in soap making, even water.

For 1lb shave soap:

(Included in the above are Amazon links for each ingredient. You might be able to find them locally, but Amazon is usually cheaper and more convenient. Most of them aren’t on the Canadian site, and I’m a bit jealous…)

This recipe works well enough for a starting point. If you want to try something else, though, we’ll discuss a few possible modifications later.

Method

Go read up on the method for making hot process soap if you’re not sure what it involves.

Briefly, you are going to:

  1. Melt the oils in your crockpot (stearic acid and coconut oil are solid at room temperature).
  2. Don your stylin’ safety gear (safety glasses, long sleeves and gloves).
  3. Add the lye to the water (NOT the water to the lye) in a high-temperature plastic vessel like a measuring jug.
  4. Stir the lye with a plastic or silicone spatula (don’t use any metal utensils – they may react with the lye).
  5. Add the lye solution to your oils.
  6. Stir the soap. Try not to panic as it reaches instantaneous trace – it’s a side effect of using isolated stearic acid. Don’t worry, you haven’t done anything wrong!
  7. Cook the soap on low for about 60 minutes.
  8. Test the soap using your tongue (the ‘zap test’) or, if you’re not into minor chemical burns, use a pH indicator strip (but be aware that these indicators may not be 100% accurate).
  9. If the soap passes your pH test, use your spatula to transfer it to your mold of choice. Popular molds for shaving soap are pringles cans, mugs/bowls, and scrap pieces of lined PVC pipe with one end sealed.
  10. In a few days (or whenever your soap has cooled and set), slice your first homemade shaving soap and go shave!

Modifications

Join me in upcoming posts for some examples of modifications we can make to this recipe: a simple fragrance, a minor tweak to the oils, and choosing a superfat. I’ll also introduce you to an invaluable online resource for soap making!

Sorry about the cliffhanger, but I want to give you a range of modifications sure to give you a unique and enjoyable soap and ignite your passion for making soap! Hopefully, this post already has your mind working out different twists you could put on this basic shaving soap recipe to make it your own.

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Check out this post at ShaverSoaper’s new site! I want to hear your questions and comments on making shaving soap, so please leave them below! What do you think of the new site? Don’t forget to sign up for the email newsletter to get updated on new posts, and please share this post if you know someone who’d enjoy it.

See you next time!

Lewis

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2 thoughts on “Making Your First Shaving Soap: Base Recipe”

  1. I would disagree with wearing long sleeves as of in case of a lye spill the long sleeves will hold the lye water close to the skin…. i prefer to wear short sleeves myself…. also i normally use a glass container to mix my lye and water, not sure if this is better or worse, but you have to watch out cause the glass gets hot….

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    1. Bryon – good point about long sleeves. I would recommend them to protect against small splashes, but a big spill might be worse. You can also counteract any accidents with lye by pouring vinegar on the affected areas. It’s generally a good idea to use heat-resistant plastic for mixing lye – glass can get a lot hotter, and shatter as well, which can just make a bad situation worse!

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