Making Shaving Powder Soap

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Sideshow

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I'm looking to make shaving powder soap, like they made in the early 1900's. It was powdered shaving soap that was sprinkled on the wet brush and brushed on the clients face and it would later up. Nobody makes this, I tried grinding up a shaving soap puck, it wasn't dry enough and would not become powder. I found some shaving powder made in Japan, but with shipping it was 40.00 for a small container. I'm looking for a high quality shaving soap that's good for the skin, has great lather, and can be ground up to fine powder. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Again I'm looking to make shaving powder soap that was made in the early 1900's for single use shaving soap, not the shaving powder sold today like magic shave that dissolves hair.
 

IrishLass

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Unfortunately, I'm not hopeful that the kind of shave soap powder of old that you are looking for can be made at home in one's kitchen....at least not according to the directions in this excerpt from the book entitled, "The Soapmaker's Handbook of Materials, Processes and Reciepts For Every Description" (printed in 1912): https://books.google.com/books?id=UQuAAAAAMAAJ&dq=shaving%20soap%20powder&pg=PA430#v=onepage&q&f=false It all actually looks quite doable until the part about drying and grinding the soap in a mill into a fine powder (a mill is a commercial piece of soap manufacturing equipment that consists of pressurized steel rollers and extruders, etc..).

From what I was able to glean on the net, William's and also Colgate used to make such shave powders back in the day. But like you said, though- the "Magic Shave' stuff is something totally different. I'd stay away from that. It's pretty much Nair in powdered form from what I read.


IrishLass :)


PS: Welcome to the forum!
 

shunt2011

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Unfortunately, I'm not hopeful that the kind of shave soap powder of old that you are looking for can be made at home in one's kitchen....at least not according to the directions in this excerpt from the book entitled, "The Soapmaker's Handbook of Materials, Processes and Reciepts For Every Description" (printed in 1912): https://books.google.com/books?id=UQuAAAAAMAAJ&dq=shaving soap powder&pg=PA430#v=onepage&q&f=false It all actually looks quite doable until the part about drying and grinding the soap in a mill into a fine powder (a mill is a commercial piece of soap manufacturing equipment that consists of pressurized steel rollers and extruders, etc..).

From what I was able to glean on the net, William's and also Colgate used to make such shave powders back in the day. But like you said, though- the "Magic Shave' stuff is something totally different. I'd stay away from that. It's pretty much Nair in powdered form from what I read.


IrishLass :)


PS: Welcome to the forum!

Just wondering, it says it is mixed with starch. Would it be possible to shred the shave soap we make, shred it and let it dry for a bit then mix with some cornstarch or arrowroot and run it through the food processer?

Like we do with laundry soap/washing soda etc.?

I'm thinking the starch would really cut the lather.
 

IrishLass

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Just wondering, it says it is mixed with starch. Would it be possible to shred the shave soap we make, shred it and let it dry for a bit then mix with some cornstarch or arrowroot and run it through the food processer?

Like we do with laundry soap/washing soda etc.?

I'm thinking the starch would really cut the lather.
You might be able to do so with your shave formula, but if I tried to do something like that my shave croap formula, I'm thinking it would take an eternity for it to be dry enough for me to even be able to shred it up so that it can further dry enough to take to being pulverized in my processor. LOL :lol:



Sideshow said:
I seen a post where someone ground up Williams shaving soap cakes in a food processor mixed with a powder.

http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthr...Shaving-Powder
Cool beans! A Williams puck sure is pretty hard and dry, dry, dry, though. It'll take a fair bit of reformulating if I were to try something like that with my own. I wonder if any of the soap-makers mentioned on the Badger and Blade link ever attempted it. Would you happen to know?


IrishLass :)
 

shunt2011

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That's what I was wondering. Mine is on the softer side as well. Would likely end up with a paste.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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Enough people dislike the Williams puck to make it a nonstarter! But I wonder if a decent triple milled soap could be used as the base?
 

Obsidian

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I'd think you would need to make your shave soap with NaOH so it would be a nice hard bar like Williams is. I actually like Williams but its so hard to lather, its a really pain in the backside.
 

DeeAnna

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***

Powdered Soaps.
In this form very convenient kinds of cosmetics are made and used for a variety of purposes, as a dentifrice, for shaving, etc. They are made from any pure soap, which is cut into shavings and thoroughly dried, when they are ground and sieved into the finest possible powder, perfumed and colored in any way desired. They should be put up in well-stopped bottles, or they will absorb moisture and form into lumps again. --TECHNICAL TREATISE ON SOAP AND CANDLES, Richard S Cristiani, 1888.

***

Shaving soap powders are made as follows: First prepare a good shaving soap in the warm way from, for instance, 500 lbs. of tallow and 100 lbs. of cocoanut oil. Boil the fats with equal parts of caustic soda lye of 25 degrees B. and caustic potash lye of 25 degrees B. to a clear paste and separate the soap with brine. The settled grain is brought into frames and when cold, is cut into bars which are converted into shavings. The latter are thoroughly dried and ground to a fine powder in a mill.

This powder is mixed with starch in the proportion of 15 to 20 lbs. of the latter to 100 lbs. of the former. By the addition of starch to the soap powder, a shaving powder is obtained which gives a fine permanent lather.

Before mixing the starch with the soap powder it is perfumed, as a rule, with a mixture of lavender oil, thyme oil, caraway oil and fennel oil, an agreeable perfume being composed as follows: Starch 30 lbs., lavender oil 2^ ozs., lemon oil and thyme oil each 1\ ozs. The starch and perfume are intimately mixed and the whole is passed through a sieve which, however, should not be too fine. If the perfume is added to the powdered soap it forms small balls which in spite of all trouble cannot be entirely got rid of and finally remain behind upon the sieve.

A very fine shaving powder with a very durable and pleasant odor is obtained by a mixture of powdered soap 50 lbs., powdered orris root 8 lbs., and almond paste 4 lbs. The whole is intimately mixed and then passed through a sieve. --Soap Maker's Handbook, C Diete, 1912

***

SHAVING SOAPS.
The requirements of a shaving soap are somewhat different than those of other soaps. To be a good shaving soap the lather produced therefrom must be heavy, creamy, but not gummy, and remain moist when formed on the face. The soap itself should be of a soft consistency so as to readily adhere to the face when used in stick form. It should furthermore be neutral or nearly so to prevent the alkali from smarting during shaving.

Shaving soap is made in the form of a stick, and a tablet for use in the shaving mug. Some shavers prefer to have the soap as a powder or cream, which are claimed to be more convenient methods of shaving. While a liquid shaving soap is not as well known because it has not yet become popular, some soap for shaving is made in this form.

Formerly shaving soap was extensively made from a charge of about 80 parts tallow and 20 parts cocoanut oil as a boiled settled soap, but either making the strengthening change with potash lye or using potash lye in saponifying the stock and graining with salt. [In other words, the soap was made with NaOH and KOH or the soap was a KOH soap that was partly converted to sodium soap by using salt.] Soaps for shaving made in this manner are very unsatisfactory, as they do not produce a sufficiently thick or lasting lather and discolor very materially upon ageing. Potassium stearate forms an ideal lather for shaving, but readily hardens and hence needs some of the softer oils, or glycerine incorporated with it to form a satisfactory soap for shaving.

The selection of materials for making a shaving soap is important. The tallow used should be white and of high titer. Cochin cocoanut oil is to be preferred to the other kinds, and the alkalis should be the best for technical use that can be purchased.... By the use of stearic acid it is a simple matter to reach the neutral point which can be carefully approximated....

SHAVING POWDER.
Shaving powder differs from the soaps just described in being pulverized, usually adding up to 5 per cent. starch to prevent caking. Any of the above soaps, dried bone dry, with or without the addition of tallow base make a satisfactory powder for shaving. --Soap Making Manual, E G Thomssen, 1922.
 
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Susie

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OK, so, extrapolating a recipe from the first entry above, this is what I got from running it through a lye calculator:

Tallow 25 oz
Coconut Oil 5 oz (to maintain the 5:1 ratio of fats)

KOH 2.6 oz
NaOH 2.6 oz (to maintain the "equal parts of caustic soda lye and caustic potash lye")

Batch water 31.14 oz, according to SBM Advanced Lye Calculator. (Which seems like way too much, so I would probably start with somewhere between 13.0 oz and 15.6 oz water.)

If I understand salting out correctly, (which I probably do not, so DeeAnna needs to step in here), salting out will remove the glycerin and superfats, so you would not need a superfat.

The resulting 4 lb, 10.87 oz (74.87 oz) soap would have to be dried completely, then ground into a fine powder, and added to 11.23 oz of corn starch for the 15% amount or 14.9 oz for the 20% amount.

I used this calculator to come up with the above:

http://www.summerbeemeadow.com/content/advanced-calculator-solid-cream-or-liquid-soaps
 
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galaxyMLP

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The superfat would actually float on top along with the soap curdles when your boil/salt out so you would retain some (not all) of the superfat. But you're totally right about the glycerin.

I would lay out the soap curdles after you pull them out of the bubbling mass onto a lined cookie sheet. Then you could bake them at like 170 F for a few hours to drive off the moisture. If they're really dry, they'll be easier to grind into a powder with a food processor. Then maybe you could sift it and fragrance, then add starch.

Btw, I have one of the books DeeAnna quoted! I need to get my hands on the others though... So much information!!
 

DeeAnna

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If you make the soap by modern methods, I don't think you would want or need to salt out the soap. That really is useful only with a "boiled" soap making method where an excess of lye is being used or for cleaning up scrap soap. The "boiling" part is what allows the soap maker to reduce or eliminate the superfat. The salting-out part removes the water soluble stuff (excess lye and glycerin mainly).

Instead, I would just make this particular soap with the usual HP method (the "half boiled" method according to the old makers, for a bit of history trivia). In other words, make it just like you'd do any other shave soap. It's the high % of NaOH that will make the soap brittle enough to powder along with an additive like the starch to keep the soap from clumping. I agree with Shari -- this will be a lot like making laundry soap mix.

For those interested in what salting-out is all about, I wrote up a tutorial and did a video on "boiling" and salting-out soap scraps. See: http://classicbells.com/soap/saltOutTut.html for the tut and links to the video.
 

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