What Is Triple Milled Shaving Soap? Is It Better?

Have you ever seen a fancy looking soap that boasts ‘triple-milled!’ and wondered if it’s actually better, or just a buzzword?

Maybe you make your own soap, and you’ve wondered about the process of triple milling soap and whether it’s worth your time?

Continue reading What Is Triple Milled Shaving Soap? Is It Better?

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Cold Process or Hot Process Shaving Soap?

Hello, shavers & soapers! In this post we’re going to discuss the two predominant methods of small-scale soap making: cold process and hot process. As you’d guess, the difference between the two is the temperature the fat and lye react at.

We’re going to cover the differences between hot process and cold process, the benefits of each, and which one is better for shaving soap, as well as a bit about stearic acid.

Continue reading Cold Process or Hot Process Shaving Soap?

NaOH vs KOH: Ratios & Discounts (Superfatting)

Last time, we discussed the basic process of making soap, and talked about how a lye solution and fat react during the saponification process.

This time, we’re going to go beyond the basics (ha!) of lye. Remember, there are two types of lye used in soap making: sodium (NaOH) and potassium (KOH) hydroxide.

These two alkali salts, when mixed with water and added to the same fats, can produce considerably different end products. In this post, we’ll figure out the differences between NaOH and KOH, talk about ratios when mixing both, and cover superfatting/lye discounting.

Continue reading NaOH vs KOH: Ratios & Discounts (Superfatting)

Soap Making: A Beginner’s 10-Step Guide

Hey, shavers & soapers! Today I want to talk about the process of soap making itself. It’s a bit of basic information we’ll need to know in order to progress to more in-depth topics like the role of different fats, alkalis, and other finer points of shaving soap. This is a great place to start for soap making beginners.

You open your eyes. You’re a Sumerian, sometime around 2200 BC. Before you, you see a pot of cassia oil. Huh, that’s weird. You decide to pour the wood ashes in your hand into the pot. You’re not sure why you do this.

Some weird stuff happens in the pot. Later, you decide this stuff would probably wash your skivvies up a treat.

Continue reading Soap Making: A Beginner’s 10-Step Guide

Types of Shaving Soap: Hard, Soft, and Cream

Last time, we looked at the most important criteria for a great shaving soap. Of course, there’s more than one way to shave a cat! (It’s more politically correct than skinning them, OK?)

Today, we’re going to examine a few different types of shaving soap out there, and take a look at the differences between the ingredients and processes used.

Continue reading Types of Shaving Soap: Hard, Soft, and Cream

Anatomy of a Shaving Soap: What Makes a Shaving Soap Recipe Good?

If we’re going to figure out how to make a good soap, we’d better define what that means first. There are two fundamental aspects of a good shaving soap recipe that we can all agree on:

1) They produce a good shave.

2) They’re enjoyable to use.

Continue reading Anatomy of a Shaving Soap: What Makes a Shaving Soap Recipe Good?

Welcome to Shaver&Soaper!

I started this blog because I’m cheap and stubborn.

Let me explain.

Like many other guys, I’ve joined the shaving revolution – or, perhaps I should say devolution. I shave using a brush, simple replaceable blades, a metal razor, and old-school shaving soap or cream.

It’s the new (old) way to shave; ditch the $20 quintiple-blade rotating-head cartridge and get back to the fundamentals that were so common decades ago. Stick it to the man!

Except… this didn’t really turn out to be the case.

Yeah, the shave is a lot better. The razor is a one time purchase, and replacement blades vastly undercut the cartridges price-wise.

But rather than lining the pockets of Gilette and co., I was constantly tempted by new soaps and creams. Now that shaving had become more of a hobby than an obligation, I wanted to explore shiny new products, exotic fragrances, etc., that I couldn’t really afford.

I saw the most entrenched enthusiasts spending a distressing amount of money on soaps, creams, blades, brushes, and all manner of accessories.

Unfortunately, once you come to the smooth side, there’s no going back.

And so we come to my problem. How could I reconcile my nagging frugality with my new favourite grooming ritual?

Easy. Make your own.

Well, it turned out not to be so easy.

‘Soaping’ – the process of making your own soap – is a pretty widespread practice. Unfortunately, it’s mostly confined to regular old bar soap. Soap for shaving differs in several important ways (which we’ll get into another time), and there was little crossover between the shavers and the soapers.

Shaving soap recipes online were either notoriously unreliable, or the closely-guarded secret of manufacturers – from artisans on Etsy to heavy hitters on Amazon. In some cases, they were both – with the half-baked attempts of some soapers being rigorously demeaned by shavers who demand high quality over kitschy homemade appeal.

And it’s not their fault. Good information isn’t easily accessible; it’s mostly distributed across a smattering of backwater soaping forums.

If I was going to learn to make my own soaps, I’d have to do a lot of research.

What a pain. Someone should really get all this information together and make it easier for me.

Wait a minute… I’m someone!

I am someone. And so I’ve taken on the task of helping others make their wildest shaving & soaping fantasies come true. (I know you have them too!)

Whether you’re a curious shaver looking to understand the seemingly arcane world of soaping, or vice versa – I’m hoping to bring a little something for both sides. We’re going to figure this thing out together!

Whoever you are – I’d love to start meeting new people and figuring out what I can do for you! Whether you’re just saying hello, or if you’ve got suggestions – about blogging itself, topics, or otherwise – I can’t wait to read it!

Catch you next time,

Lewis