My first shaving soap is a success!

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E Birbal

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I was thinking exactly the same about the longivity. At the going rate, my first batch which was only 100 gm oils, is going to last me a lifetime.

I'm thinking in future I should probably divide bigger batches into 100 gm containers with different scents or other minor variations such as menthol so I can keep those in rotation and not get bored.

Any recommendations for scents that have worked for you and where can I possibly buy them ?

Many thanks and my gratitude to everyone who made it possible! I'm so happy :)
 

LBussy

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That's the issue with experimenting with shaving soap batches - you end up with a lifetime supply in a real hurry! I started making mine in those small plastic lidded containers split up in 100g each to try different things. Float them in a pot of boiling water to cook. The water loss is a lot less, but you can make up for that by using less and/or letting them "cure" lidless for a while.

Scents ... I'm sort of a grumpy old man when it comes to that. I love my almont scents since those typefy the Italian soaps I had hoped to emulate. DeeAnna had a lavender mint EO (I think it was) mix that she posted that was very nice. She also shared a sample that had Nature's Garden "Cracklin' Birch" FO which was likewise masculine but not an assault on the senses. I'm not sure on the mix of the lavender one, I can't seem to find the post at the moment.
 

TimMcG

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Finally made a batch following Lee’s recipe with slightly more glycerin and I did add the Sodium Lactate. It seems to take a lot of water to get a nice lather, but it doesn’t stay on the face very long before it dissipates. Compared to the Stirling soaps I use, it doesn’t have the residual slickness after the first pass with the SR. I felt like I had to relather constantly.
Looking at Stirling’s ingredients he has tallow first (not 3rd):
Beef Tallow, Stearic Acid, Distilled Water, Castor Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Vegetable Glycerin, Fragrance Oil, Almond Oil, Shea Butter, Coconut Milk, Lanolin, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Lactate

Is there a benefit to using Castor Oil and Almond Oil instead of the Coconut Oil?
 

E Birbal

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Are you sure you got the KOH quantity right? I had a similar issue with my first batch as well where I hadn't used enough KOH and the saponification didn't occur at all.

Do a palm lather. If your hand feels oily after you wash it off, the oils may not have saponified to produce a rich lather.

So what I did was, I melted the soap again (I had assumed the batch was ruined and had nothing to loose at that point) and kept adding the lye a spoon-ful at a time until the pH paper showed 9ish. Once that was done, I got the proper Vaseline stage and finally the precious "uber lather". You can see my lather pic from a few posts above.
 
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TimMcG

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Are you sure you got the KOH quantity right? I had a similar issue with my first batch as well where I hadn't used enough KOH and the saponification didn't occur at all.

Do a palm lather. If your hand feels oily after you wash it off, the oils may not have saponified to produce a rich lather.

So what I did was, I melted the soap again (I had assumed the batch was ruined and had nothing to loose at that point) and kept adding the lye a spoon-ful at a time until the pH paper showed 9ish. Once that was done, I got the proper Vaseline stage and finally the precious "uber lather".
Both soaps used 99.4g of KOH. The only difference I can think of is the extra glycerin. Palm lather was not oily.
 

E Birbal

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Both soaps used 99.4g of KOH. The only difference I can think of is the extra glycerin. Palm lather was not oily.
If you happen to have some pH paper, check if the pH is 9-10. Can't think of anything else. I'm sure the experts here can sort it out for you. Whatever it is, I'm certain its not Lee's formula that is the issue. And it's probably not the glycerin either. Oils on saponification will produce one-third its weight as glycerin in the soap anyways, so a bit more isn't going to break it.
 
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LBussy

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Well, that's certainly not my experience with this recipe. :)

It's difficult to diagnose unless you post the actual numbers for what you did and where you sourced your ingredients. Additional glycerin would not kill the lather. It absolutely does require more water than you may be used to - any KOH-only soap seems to be more thirsty. The good news is, that moisture is an added benefit.

Did you let the soap cure any? I find it needs at least a week to mellow.
 

psfred

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You should get great lather with that recipe, so something is wrong. Not the glycerin unless you used a huge amount, in which case you will get mush and not semi-hard soap.

Castor will act very much like coconut oil in shaving soap. I don't think it improves the soap much, but am still in need of verifying that by using the two I made some more.

Unless you goofed up the weight on the lye or the fats and ended up with a very high superfat, I don't know why you are not getting good lather. I've not make this particular soap, but have made tallow/SA/coconut soaps or lard/SA/coconut soaps, and they all lather up very nicely.
 

E Birbal

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So I made another batch of the soap but ended up with waaaaaaay to much fragrance which has become an assault on the senses. So much that the soap feels oily to the touch and I don't even like the scent.

Short of throwing it away or leaving it to dry in open for several months, is there a way I can get rid of that scent in a reasonable time?
 

psfred

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You can make another identical batch with no scent and mix the old one in and melt them together, but that will just get you twice as much soap with a scent you don't care for.

The scent will definitely mellow in a couple months with the soap unwrapped, but it may still be too strong.

Otherwise you are pretty much stuck with it, there is no way that I know of to remove fragrance from soap once you stir it in.
 

E Birbal

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Yeah, I definitely don't want more of the same scent soap. I guess I'll just let it dry in the open in the hopes its mellows significantly or the scent grows on me. Either that or I'll just dump it and make a new batch.
 

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*bump*
I love this thread.

Even though I've made several batches of shave soap for friends and family, using Songwind's awesome recipe, I've decided it's time to "play". I've re-read, for at least the third time, possibly the fourth time, this entire thread and this time, I've made notes, notes, and more notes.

I've tried a batch with menthol (all test batches are 250 grams of oil). I've tried adding a touch of bentonite clay to another batch (still not sure of that one). Today's batch is made with dual lye and soy wax instead of stearic acid and the addition of silk powder (Wow, the dregs left in the crockpot exploded into foam when the brush touched it!).

Now, I need to find willing testers who will give me honest feedback.

This is the one with a bit of bentonite clay in it (1/2 tsp. in 250 grams of oil).

20181124_141700_HDR.jpg
 

steffamarie

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Well, I finally finished reading this beast of a thread - I just want to shout out all those who contributed and say thank you for all your experimenting and critiquing!! I've ordered some KOH and some SA and I think I feel prepared to make my first shave soap! BF is a wet shaver (though not anywhere near hardcore/dedicated - he just enjoys the ritual of it more than anything) and I'm hoping to make something that blows him away.

I think the recipe I decided on is the vegan not-tallow recipe posted around page 45 or so. 40% SA, 18% CO, 15% PKO, 17% shea, and 7% castor. I'll do 100% KOH and 15% glycerin, with 4% shea and 1% lanolin as a superfat. I'd like to be able to gift this to some of the men in my family. Currently BF is the only wet shaver I know, but my grandpa loves my body soap and praised the lather that was "so nice I could almost shave with it". Well, Grandpa, hopefully I've got something good in store for you!! I'll post back here with results (and hopefully some wonderful lather porn) probably next week.
 

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Okay... I read, read some more, and re-read these and other posts, and mashed all my info together to create what I think I will love.. Here is my recipe::

Avocado oil 5%
Babassu oil 5%
Castor oil 10%
Cocoa butter 5%
Coconut oil 76 deg 20%
Shea butter 15%
Stearic acid 40%

40% sodium hydroxide and 60% potassium hydroxide ; 3:1 water:lye

SF 7%

I used the technique that @DeeAnna described, mostly... melted my oils and SA separately; I'm not as patient as DeeAnna, so I hand stirred and stick blended to emulsion, then started adding SA (couldn't wait for trace, lol!) Cooked in my slow cooker for 20 mins, no zap.. I added 15g of Mahogany FO to 75g of glycerin, and added to my soap when the temp was almost 120 degrees.. initially, I put the soap in glass ramikins, but after asking the hubby, I kneaded them into pucks - not the smoothest, but they will have to do (photo attached). I think that I will invest in a silicone mold for future batches.

We don't have a brush here (just found out that hubby's brush wore out.. *stocking stuffer, whee!!*) - I did try the soap out though, and the lather was thick, creamy, and long lasting! And my hands are now as smooth as silk, haha!! I think that I may have a new idea for body soap!
 

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Relle

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Avocado oil 5%
Babassu oil 5%
Castor oil 10%
Cocoa butter 10%
Coconut oil 76 deg 20%
Shea butter 15%
Stearic acid 40%
Loralei, your recipe has 105% of oils in it.
 

Misschief

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We don't have a brush here (just found out that hubby's brush wore out.. *stocking stuffer, whee!!*) - I did try the soap out though, and the lather was thick, creamy, and long lasting! And my hands are now as smooth as silk, haha!! I think that I may have a new idea for body soap!
Looks good! FWIW London Drugs has some half decent brushes at a decent price (about $9.00).... unless you want to spend $$ on a special brush.
 

Loralei

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Looks good! FWIW London Drugs has some half decent brushes at a decent price (about $9.00).... unless you want to spend $$ on a special brush.
Thank you!! I'm in 108 Mile Ranch, and have to drive to Williams Lake, where they still don't have a London Drugs, lol!! So, it'll be Shoppers Drug, or Walmart for me... fingers crossed that I can find something decent!
 

Misschief

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Thank you!! I'm in 108 Mile Ranch, and have to drive to Williams Lake, where they still don't have a London Drugs, lol!! So, it'll be Shoppers Drug, or Walmart for me... fingers crossed that I can find something decent!
I was in Shoppers here last week and they also had a pretty decent shave soap section, including brushes. I don't frequent Walmart so I can't speak for them. (I try to avoid Wmart if at all possible.)
 

Loralei

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I was in Shoppers here last week and they also had a pretty decent shave soap section, including brushes. I don't frequent Walmart so I can't speak for them. (I try to avoid Wmart if at all possible.)
I'll look there first, thank you! And yeah, I avoid Wmart like the plague, but sometimes it's my only choice...
 
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