My first shaving soap is a success!

Discussion in 'Lye-Based Soap Forum' started by songwind, Apr 22, 2013.

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  1. Mar 7, 2019 #1,261




    Active Member

    Feb 19, 2019
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    OK, I know this is an older post, but @Misschief is sill active here, so... Let's talk briefly about clay. Before we do, I know how polarizing this subject is, and hope I don't start a "clay wars." Some guys love it, others hate it, and yes, it is certainly possible to make fantastic shave soap without it. But you can also make fantastic shave soap with it, as well.

    I've only made around 15 micro batches of shaving soap, so I'm not the most experienced. Each batch less than 200 grams, and each recipe slightly different. I'm trying to make MY soap... soap that is custom made for exactly what I want. Last week, I started playing with clay. ;) I decided to start with kaolin, but today's batches will be made with bentonite.... but I digress...

    Here's a little something to try: Put a half a teaspoon of clay in the palm of your hand. Add just enough water to it to make a thick mud. Now take your index finger, and smash that mud around your palm. Feel how amazingly slippery that is? Continue to slowly dilute the mud with water, checking the slipperyness after each water addition. Eventually, not only will it stop being slippery, it actually starts to get less slippery than just plain water. Now apply what you've learned toward shaving soap. If you're thinking along the same lines as I am, it's something like wow, there needs to be quite a lot of clay in the soap, and the lather would have to be on the drier side for clay to really work. And that's what my clay soap is like in actual performance. It does make drier lathers more slippery, yes, but when the lather is watered down to the level that most straight shavers use, it becomes less slippery.

    So, IMO, if you're going to use clay, then use at least 3% PPO. The resultant soap will be good for shavers that use their lathers at "lather porn" levels of hydration, but not necessarily good for shavers that use lathers so wet they'd never want to photograph them. I love my clay soap for DE shaving, but it stays on the shelf if I'm going to be shaving with a straight that day.

    ETA: Clay also does have deleterious effects on lather. My clay soaps don't lather quite as well as my non clay soaps. I mean, they still make lather that is completely acceptable, just not quite as good.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019

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