making shave soap for the first time

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SoapDaddy70

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Happy New Year to everyone. I am about to make my first shave soap recipe and I will be using a recipe from Jan Berry's book - Simple and Natural Soapmaking. It is the Classic Cedarwood and Coconut Milk Shave Soap. Not really looking for a lengthy debate on what makes a great shave soap or what doesn't. When I try something new I like to follow step by step directions for my first time and then I can start playing around after I understand the process better. My question involves the amount of liquid used. I know shave soap uses a high water amount but this recipe, if you count the coconut milk as part of your liquid - ends up being about a 5.3 to 1 liquid to lye ratio. All of her other recipes for cold process can be plugged into a lye calculator and the numbers always add up. This recipe I have not been able to figure out how to enter in these numbers to end up with the lye amounts in the recipe. I am not sure if she is accounting for the fat content of the coconut milk like @DeeAnna suggests in one of her Classic Bells posts. See below for the recipe. I do not think I am out of line for posting the recipe because it is easily found on the internet anyway. I think I am just going to follow it step for step anyway just to get my first shave soap under my belt but just wanted a little feedback on the liquid content...It is using a hot process slow cooker method

ETA - Distilled water and Coconut milk are combined right away and then NaOH and KOH are added to water and milk mixture.

  • 10 oz (283 g) distilled water
  • 6 oz (170 g) coconut milk
  • 1.2 oz (34 g) sodium hydroxide
  • 1.8 oz (51 g) potassium hydroxide
  • 10.6 oz (300 g) kokum butter (60 percent)
  • 3.5 oz (100 g) coconut oil (20 percent)
  • 2.6 oz (75 g) castor oil (15 percent)
  • 0.88 oz (25 g) shea butter (5 percent)
  • 0.5 oz (14 g) vegetable glycerin
  • 0.18 oz (5 g) cedarwood Atlas essential oil (about 1-1/2 tsp)
  • 0.07 oz (2 g) clove essential oil (about 5/8 tsp) (optional)
  • 0.07 oz (2 g) vetiver essential oil (about 3/4 tsp) (optional)
 
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Not going to debate you, but if you want to get your first shave soap under your belt then there are recipes here on this forum which don't have questionable water amounts and are proven to make excellent shaving soaps - with step by step instructions and even video tutorials.

My suggestion is to try out a few of those as a starting point instead of the recipe above
 

Zany_in_CO

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This recipe I have not been able to figure out how to enter in these numbers to end up with the lye amounts in the recipe.
Since Jan Berry's recipe most likely pre-dates Soap Maker Friend, you might want to try entering it on
Summer Bee Meadows Advanced Calculator For Solid, Liquid, or Cream Soaps. Back in the day, that was the most popular calc for liquid and cream soap. ;):thumbs:
 
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I know shave soap uses a high water amount but this recipe, if you count the coconut milk as part of your liquid - ends up being about a 5.3 to 1 liquid to lye ratio.
All of my paste shave soap formulas use a 5.67 / 1, liquid to lye ratio. Yes it is high, but for what I want to achieve it works for me. I no longer make hard cake pucks as they were not doing as well as in the beginning.

The paste shave soaps with the tallow, lanolin and argan oil are doing quite well and they start building a creamy lather much quicker than the hard pucks did. The shave brush loads quicker with the soap and lots of dense creamy lather is produced in a short time.

Also I use a KOH to NaOH ratio of: 85:15.

Since the above formula is a hot process method, I am assuming a lot of the water will steam off during that process. So the net result winds up being much less water than the start of it.

I would be nice to see the entire process involved to get a better idea.
 
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According to Carrie Seibert, a good shave soap should have a fatty acid % of at least 50% stearic acid in the profile. The above recipe is at 36%.
In addition; this will make a very bubbly creamy lather, whereas a shave soap should have a dense slick lather. Too many bubbles are bad. You want the lather to look similar to Cool Whip. The coconut oil percentage is high, makes lots of bubbles but too much in a shave soap is drying to the skin and overly cleansing too.

The creaminess of the lather is fine on the above recipe, it's just that the bubbliness is really high which means the end user will have to really whip the lather a long time to achieve a dense lather that won't collapse during shaving.

The castor oil percentage is high... I mean REALLY HIGH! Carrie Siebert recommends no more than 5% castor oil. Too much castor oil will cause the lather to collapse rather quickly.

I am sure the above formula have worked fine for many people, however the vast majority of wet shavers want a dense creamy lather, cushion, smooth glide and stable lather.

Just my thoughts and humble opinion. If you want a really good book on making shave soaps the get HOW TO MAKE SHAVE SOAP by Carrie Siebert. It's on Amazon and has lots of good hints, suggestions and formulas of soaps.
 

SoapDaddy70

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According to Carrie Seibert, a good shave soap should have a fatty acid % of at least 50% stearic acid in the profile. The above recipe is at 36%.
In addition; this will make a very bubbly creamy lather, whereas a shave soap should have a dense slick lather. Too many bubbles are bad. You want the lather to look similar to Cool Whip. The coconut oil percentage is high, makes lots of bubbles but too much in a shave soap is drying to the skin and overly cleansing too.

The creaminess of the lather is fine on the above recipe, it's just that the bubbliness is really high which means the end user will have to really whip the lather a long time to achieve a dense lather that won't collapse during shaving.

The castor oil percentage is high... I mean REALLY HIGH! Carrie Siebert recommends no more than 5% castor oil. Too much castor oil will cause the lather to collapse rather quickly.

I am sure the above formula have worked fine for many people, however the vast majority of wet shavers want a dense creamy lather, cushion, smooth glide and stable lather.

Just my thoughts and humble opinion. If you want a really good book on making shave soaps the get HOW TO MAKE SHAVE SOAP by Carrie Siebert. It's on Amazon and has lots of good hints, suggestions and formulas of soaps.
Appreciate the feedback. This was my first stab at both shave soap and hot process so I wanted to follow step by step instructions first and then start analyzing and learning more. In a weird way I am happy that you were able to find the faults in this recipe. It will also be good to start out with a less than top quality recipe so I have something to compare to when I start making the tweaks based on your advice and more research.
 
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If you want a really good book on making shave soaps the get HOW TO MAKE SHAVE SOAP by Carrie Siebert. It's on Amazon and has lots of good hints, suggestions and formulas of soaps.

I bought this to make Vday soaps for my man, as the ones I made from the super long shave soap thread elsewhere here are long gone and I wanted to do something different. Do you have a favorite recipe from this book or will I be making all of them and having him compare? I was hoping the lard one would be good as I've been saving bacon grease to make him his very own bacon soap. (8 years ago I gave him 3 lbs of gourmet bacon for Vday. Men are sooooooooooooooooo easy to shop for! :D)

Hope
 
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The lard one is good. Since tallow and lard are very similar in saponification values and fatty acid profiles, you could sub the lard for the tallow in a recipe. Recipe #8 is an excellent one for dense creamy lather with lots of razor cushion and glide.

Perfect. Thanks so much! Off to make soap today....

Hope
 

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