My first shaving soap is a success!

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StoneCottageSoapworks

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Hello, first post for me. I am a wetshaver, with 0 experience in soapmaking. Since I saw how good, where the local artisan shaving soaps, in compare with some very well known soaps, it came to my mind to make my own soap, for my relatives and me. I don't intend, and I think I can't anyway sell what I will make, by any means. Every source led me here, where really exists a treasure of information. I finished reading all of this huge thread, plus some other threads, plus silver fox soap (which I understand belongs to a member here). These are my primary sources, while I understood that most other that exist on the net, does not take account of crucial factors.

After all this reading, I think I am ready to make my first batch, with dual lye, NAOH and KOH 90%, probably 30/70, or 20/80, I will choose at the end which. I will post my recipe, in oil percentages, and explain to you my problems. If you can help me, I am open to any suggestions, because I may think I am ready, but still I am a novice, and I must not forget that. Let's start. The soap I am calculating, right now is this:

45% stearic (it is actually a combo of palmitic, stearic, and myristic, from where i will buy it, i am aware of it, and i know how to calculate it)
Coconut Oil: 25%
Shea Butter: 20%
Cocoa Butter: 10%

Superfat will be 5%, and I intend to keep 5% of the shea butter, and add it after the cook, and water will stand at 38% of the oils.
If i make this recipe, the percentage of palmitic and stearic combined stands at 63 percent. So my questions are these:

1) Is the recipe ok? I am concerned about the CO, i wonder if it should be higher, since right now, the soap wont be bubbly. Of course, i need good lather, not bubbles, but still, there are a lot of hard fats. Also the other fats, are ok? I also can have access to avocado oil, and jojoba oil as the low percentage oils, to substitute the cocoa. Is there a valid reason to do it?

2) I wanted to make a tallow/lanoline soap, but here in greece, tallow is not available, I have to make it on my own from beef fat, and it is quite a procedure, also lanoline, is kinda expensive to use only as superfat. I won't make so much soap. I started to make a recipe with Stearic 40/ CO 25/ Shea B 15/ and Palm oil as substitute to tallow at 20% . I do not know if it stands. If u have advice for this recipe also, i would be grateful.

3) And last. As you see, one of my goals is to make a cheap soap, with the only goal to shave good, for me and the people close to me. At first, i thought the difficult procedure and oils would be the problem, but at the moment, my biggest problem is the fragrance. Being in Greece, creates another issue. We have not valid corporations here, who sell good mixes of fragrance oils for soap. We have some who sell for perfumes. But not soaps. I understand that these fragrances, are something i should not try. So the only solution is EOs. But again, I understand that to mix them on my own into something that is not a complete failure, needs hours of trial and error, and a lot of money, which i can not give, cause I am a student.

So, I am thinking of using either a solo EO soap, like lemon (maybe with menthol?), or something like DeAnna's recipe who posted in the thread a fougere, with lavender/rosemary, and a bit of wild mint. If you can tell me about similar herb/fougere combinations, with two or three EOs, that you have tried (like cedarwood etc), or a simple citrus combination, you would help me a lot. Or standalone EOs, that are not repelling. As I have already told, i do not need a complex aroma to sell the soap, I just want my brother, or father to not let the soap aside, only because it does not smell good.

Sorry for the many things that I asked, and if I made you tired from reading all this, a very big thanks to all the amateur soapmakers, who contributed to this thread, you already have been a great help for me!
tzavardin, In my experience, a dual lye is the best route to take. You want a soap to have the right consistency and the ratios you mentioned are right in the ballpark at 80/20 to 70/30 with the KOH being in the highest percentage with the NaOH being in the lowest. The most important ingredients in your base are the Stearic Acid and Coconut Oil which work well in a 4/1 ratio. You really only need those two to start! If you want to do some more research my best recommendation would be to look at old cosmetic chemistry and soap books from the early to mid 1900's. Books by Bennett and Thomssen can be very helpful and so are some of the Patent's and the US Patent sites as well as patents from all over the word again from the early to mid 1900's! I don't eat cows and I won't kill one just to shave but that is your choice to make. There are also quite a few books out there that will give you old, traditional scent formulas from the 17-18 and 19 hundreds that are good choices for a products like this. Just be careful what you read and believe as there are lots of different choices out there and information from that span of time I have suggested has proven that it is still quite valuable and can offer you lots to think about! Best of luck to you!

David
 
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So, I've been playing around a lot with shaving soap the last few weeks, and it actually motivated me to make an account and not just lurk.

After making some 100% K and 60 40 dual lye mini batches I tried something different. 20% k 80% Na. 10% shea, 40% coconut , 50% stearic with some silk and clay as additives.

I honestly wasnt sure if it would work but lo and behold it just made a really hard bar of soap that I could unmold within an hour.
Testing it out it Lathered way faster, but it was less dense and shiny, but still not at all like regular soap lather. Is the draw of using 60% + just the sheen and lightly denser lather ? I'm wondering if it'll get crumbly the longer it cures.

I'm thinking of eventually adding shave soap to my etsy (it's a while off so i can see how they are long term) and firmer is for sure a little more appealing for shipping purposes.
 

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StoneCottageSoapworks

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So, I've been playing around a lot with shaving soap the last few weeks, and it actually motivated me to make an account and not just lurk.

After making some 100% K and 60 40 dual lye mini batches I tried something different. 20% k 80% Na. 10% shea, 40% coconut , 50% stearic with some silk and clay as additives.

I honestly wasnt sure if it would work but lo and behold it just made a really hard bar of soap that I could unmold within an hour.
Testing it out it Lathered way faster, but it was less dense and shiny, but still not at all like regular soap lather. Is the draw of using 60% + just the sheen and lightly denser lather ? I'm wondering if it'll get crumbly the longer it cures.

I'm thinking of eventually adding shave soap to my etsy (it's a while off so i can see how they are long term) and firmer is for sure a little more appealing for shipping purposes.
My research has shown me that typically, shaving soaps made mainly of Stearic Acid and Coconut Oil are made with a 80% KOH and 20% NaOH ratio. If you write it as a formula based on 100% then it would be easier to make comparison's. My research has shown that the use of clay in a shaving soap dulls the razor blade. Also, looking at your pics I can see that you have little bubbles within your lather which should be a dense foam. How large is your water phase? How large is your oil phase? All of these things make a difference. The lather looks OK and it headed in the right direction with the use of Stearic Acid and Coconut oil but the typical ratio of SA/Coco. is about 4/1 and sometimes 3/1 so that is also something you might wish to examine! Good luck to you!
 

cjmalagon

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Hi all
First post for me, been reading this treat for the past weeks, and it actually motivated me to make an account and not just lurk.

I am a wetshaver, with null experience in soapmaking but some making candles (diy skills on point haha). Since I started my wetshaving journey,it has been in my mind to make my own soap, mostly for me and maybe some friends and I think I can't anyway sell what I will make, by any means.
I finished reading all of this huge thread, plus some other thread. After all this reading, I think I am ready to make my first batch with 100% KOH.

I will post my recipe, If you can help me, I am open to any suggestions, because I may think I am ready, but still I am a novice.

The soap I am calculating, right now is this:
alpharecipe_pages-to-jpg-0001.jpg
Recipe Oils, Fats and Waxes
Oil%Grams
Stearic Acid4060
Palm Oil3045
Coconut Oil, 76 deg1015
Mango Seed Butter1015
Almond Oil, sweet57.5
Aloe Butter57.5
Total100150

Sodium Lactate 3.9 % oils
Glycerine 11 11% oils
Titanium Dioxide 0.5% oils
EDTA 0.5% of batch

Superfat will be 5%,of the Mango butter, and add it after the cook.


Do you think the recipe is ok?

I am concerned about the the soap wont be bubbly enought. Of course, i need good lather, not bubbles. Or maybe it could be to hard (aiming for a crop like texture). I wanted to make a tallow soap but for me, it is easier and cheaper to make a palm oil - stearic acid soap (local production), same with the Mango and Aloe butter.

A very big thanks to all the pro/amateur soapmakers who contributed to this thread, you already have been a great help for me and the community!.
 

JackofallShaves

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Hey there,

Yes, this thread has served as the seed for many soap making ventures I think! Certainly was the case for me, I read this thread 5 times before making my first batch of shaving soap, tried all possible variations, tested everything throughly, did my research before deciding to launch my shaving soap company.

I am assuming you have researched the environmental effects associated with harvesting palm. Not going to preach one way or the other, but if you have not, I would recommend that you at least do some basic Googling and decide for yourself.

Your recipe looks very good to me, at least based on the fatty acid profile needed for a shaving soap. Stearic/Palmitic is up there at around 60 which is good, not sure if you need the Oleic % to be around 21 for a shaving soap.

The one thing that I learned in my journey is that you don't really need to complicate your recipe with too many ingredients. See if you can get to a similar fatty acid profile with only 4 ingredients. The other thing you might want to consider is upping your Lauric acid % slightly to boost lather, you don't want too much of it as shaving soap are not really for cleansing, but somewhere between the 10-13% mark has worked for me in the past.

Glycerin looks good, you could even go up to 15 %. I use 1 tsp PPO Sodium Lactate in my recipe. Can't comment on Titanium Dioxide as I don't really use in my soaps.

There are a lot of experienced soap makers here and I am sure they will have some feedback for you as well. Welcome to the world of soap making and all the best in your journey!

Hey there,

Yes, this thread has served as the seed for many soap making ventures I think! Certainly was the case for me, I read this thread 5 times before making my first batch of shaving soap, tried all possible variations, tested everything throughly, did my research before deciding to launch my shaving soap company.

I am assuming you have researched the environmental effects associated with harvesting palm. Not going to preach one way or the other, but if you have not, I would recommend that you at least do some basic Googling and decide for yourself.

Your recipe looks very good to me, at least based on the fatty acid profile needed for a shaving soap. Stearic/Palmitic is up there at around 60 which is good, not sure if you need the Oleic % to be around 21 for a shaving soap.

The one thing that I learned in my journey is that you don't really need to complicate your recipe with too many ingredients. See if you can get to a similar fatty acid profile with only 4 ingredients. The other thing you might want to consider is upping your Lauric acid % slightly to boost lather, you don't want too much of it as shaving soap are not really for cleansing, but somewhere between the 10-13% mark has worked for me in the past.

Glycerin looks good, you could even go up to 15 %. I use 1 tsp PPO Sodium Lactate in my recipe. Can't comment on Titanium Dioxide as I don't really use in my soaps.

There are a lot of experienced soap makers here and I am sure they will have some feedback for you as well. Welcome to the world of soap making and all the best in your journey!
Also, when I tried 100% KOH, the soap turned out to be way softer than what I wanted. I use a 75/25 KOH and NaOH split and that works best based for the perfect croap like "texture" for me.
 

cjmalagon

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@JackofallShaves

Hi there, thanks a lot for your recommendations.
Regarding the palm oil, be sure that I have done my homework regarding the environmental effects. In my case, I have the possibility to buy Palm oil ( low quantities ) very very cheap, my hometown Manzanillo/Colima have a local "sustainable" production of palm oil and other ingredients like CO, Mango Butter, Mango seed oil, Lemon oil etc, the small cooperative that produce palm oil is part of RSPO | Olepalma , and so far they are the only ones with RSPO certification. But I'm open to use other ingredients like Lard, well in fact those are my only 2 options haha.

Following what you said I have done some changes to my recipe.

From 6 to 5 ingredients.
Removed Almond Oil
- 5 % Mango Butter
+ 5 % Aloe Butter
+ 5 % CO
Lauritic > 12 %
Oleic > 16 %
Stearic/Palmitic Still at 60 %

Recipe Oils, Fats and Waxes

Oil%Grams
Stearic Acid4080
Palm Oil3060
Coconut Oil, 76 deg1530
Aloe Butter1020
Mango Seed Butter510
Total100200
ww-1.jpg

Also, when I tried 100% KOH, the soap turned out to be way softer than what I wanted. I use a 75/25 KOH and NaOH split and that works best based for the perfect croap like "texture" for me.
In fact, I prefer a softer texture in my soaps, almost like creams. Ultimately at some point i m going try a dual lye recipe hehe, but for the first batch I think I'm good with 100% KOH. Basically my recipe was based on @LBusy website recipe and guide

On the first recipe that i share i calculated the lye at 25 %, based in many comments that I read but... that's fine? Rereading the guide i notice that lbusy calculated the liquid based in the % oils and i notice a huge change in the lye concentration so i also made that change.

Thanks a lot for help!.

Regards
 

redhead1226

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OK - What can I say. I am perplexed! I need a vegan AND palm free vegan recipe! I have tweaked all of my shave soap recipes and I like tallow or Palm. Anyone have a suggestion? HELP!
 

Johnez

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OK - What can I say. I am perplexed! I need a vegan AND palm free vegan recipe! I have tweaked all of my shave soap recipes and I like tallow or Palm. Anyone have a suggestion? HELP!
I know this post is old, but this thread is a classic. In fact the original recipe that this was based on was what drew me into making soaps, I also have an account at badger and blade and searching for that thread after I lost the link actually brought me to this forum.

However onto your question-this is quite the challenge. Stearic acid is mostly derived from palm, and it is one of THE perennial ingredients in shaving soaps. Nearly every shaving soap has one of the ingredients that you (and I) wish to avoid (palm or animal). There are work around however-soy wax. Extremely high in stearic acid. I've seen posts here use soy wax to completely do away with all palm and animal ingredients, unfortunately I have not saved any. I actually wish to avoid soy as well, but maybe you are willing to give it a go. The search function on this forum is surprisingly robust so I recommend tooling around there for a bit. I'm just starting with soaping so I can't be much further help, but you are not alone in your quest as that is the exact thing I came here looking for to begin with. Good luck!
 

Johnez

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I use soy wax in my shave soap :)
Ya might have a soy convert in me. I've found soy derived stearic acid so I'll give this recipe a shot, but when I'm done with that I'll head over to your thread for some good soy info and see if I can source 415 for some experiments.
 

earlene

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Ya might have a soy convert in me. I've found soy derived stearic acid so I'll give this recipe a shot, but when I'm done with that I'll head over to your thread for some good soy info and see if I can source 415 for some experiments.
If you use Amazon Prime, it's a good source. If not, shop around for the best price from candle maker suppliers. The bottom line for me is total cost, which is cost + tax + shipping, so make sure to factor that in when you shop.


Some of the candlemaking & soapmaker suppliers also sell on Amazon.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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IMG_20210501_184912_360.jpg

Good to see this thread is still alive and well - I made up a batch of shaving soap yesterday! This is from a soap only a few hours old at most. Classic KoH only

Regarding palm/no palm, do bear in mind that sustainable palm Vs alternatives which are not sustainably farmed brings a whole other dimension. Palm can be a good or a bad thing, it isn't always a bad thing - you just have to look in to the details. Buying a palm alternative can also be a bad thing, but people rarely (if ever!) look in to how it is sourced 🤷🏻‍♂️
 

Professor Bernardo

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I am considering changing my shaving soap recipe base. I found a recipe on the web from: How to Make The Best Wet Shaving Soap (Recipe Included)

These are the oils / wax suggested:
Shaving Soap Formula Used
  • 325g Soy Wax (11.46 oz)
  • 195g Coconut Oil (6.97 oz)
  • 65g Cocoa Butter (2.3 oz)
  • 65g Castor Oil (2.3 oz)
  • 796g Water (28 oz)
  • 44g Sodium Hydroxide (1.55 oz)
  • 73g Potassium Hydroxide (2.61 oz)
Extra Additives for Shaving Soap
  • .2g of tussah silk (small pinch) (optional)
  • 10g Sodium Lactate
  • 20g Bentonite Clay
They used SoapMaker Lye Calculator, which I checked also and using the suggested water amount to lye, which is a 12.5% lye to water concentration, the lye amounts are basically spot-on.

The claim to have used a 40/60 NaOH to KOH ratio.

However, when I use the Lye Calculator associated with this forum / website here at Soap Making Forum, the lye amounts are somewhat drastically different. Using the same amounts and types of oils / wax, lye / water concentration, etc.

For Example this is the Soap Making Friend Calculator's Suggested Lye percentages :
NaOH Weight36.67 g
KOH Weight85.74 g at 90% Purity

The NaOH variance is a 16.70% variance higher, while the NOH variance is a 15.85% variance higher
Normally, the ratio of the two lye used is quite close in amounts, but their recipe is a wider variance than I've ever seen.

Which calculator is more accurate? This sort of threw me a low sliding curve ball I didn't expect.

I like the Soap Making Friend Calculator because I am able to store my recipes in the cloud and it's GUI is much more user-friendly. The SoapMaker Calculator reminds me of Software produced in the late 90's and early 2000's.

They use a very high amount of water to make it easier to handle after trace and to pour into individual molds, although I will be using a cylindrical mold.

Any comments? Suggestions?

I know there are some well-seasoned soap makers here who might be willing to contribute some valuable feedback or such.
 

Becky1024

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I am considering changing my shaving soap recipe base. I found a recipe on the web from: How to Make The Best Wet Shaving Soap (Recipe Included)

These are the oils / wax suggested:
Shaving Soap Formula Used
  • 325g Soy Wax (11.46 oz)
  • 195g Coconut Oil (6.97 oz)
  • 65g Cocoa Butter (2.3 oz)
  • 65g Castor Oil (2.3 oz)
  • 796g Water (28 oz)
  • 44g Sodium Hydroxide (1.55 oz)
  • 73g Potassium Hydroxide (2.61 oz)
Extra Additives for Shaving Soap
  • .2g of tussah silk (small pinch) (optional)
  • 10g Sodium Lactate
  • 20g Bentonite Clay
They used SoapMaker Lye Calculator, which I checked also and using the suggested water amount to lye, which is a 12.5% lye to water concentration, the lye amounts are basically spot-on.

The claim to have used a 40/60 NaOH to KOH ratio.

However, when I use the Lye Calculator associated with this forum / website here at Soap Making Forum, the lye amounts are somewhat drastically different. Using the same amounts and types of oils / wax, lye / water concentration, etc.

For Example this is the Soap Making Friend Calculator's Suggested Lye percentages :
NaOH Weight36.67 g
KOH Weight85.74 g at 90% Purity

The NaOH variance is a 16.70% variance higher, while the NOH variance is a 15.85% variance higher
Normally, the ratio of the two lye used is quite close in amounts, but their recipe is a wider variance than I've ever seen.

Which calculator is more accurate? This sort of threw me a low sliding curve ball I didn't expect.

I like the Soap Making Friend Calculator because I am able to store my recipes in the cloud and it's GUI is much more user-friendly. The SoapMaker Calculator reminds me of Software produced in the late 90's and early 2000's.

They use a very high amount of water to make it easier to handle after trace and to pour into individual molds, although I will be using a cylindrical mold.

Any comments? Suggestions?

I know there are some well-seasoned soap makers here who might be willing to contribute some valuable feedback or such.
I think the ratio of NaOH to KOH is wrong in the formula. I ran your recipe through the Soapee calculator which is the one I like best when using dual lye. If I used a 40% NaOH / 60% KOH ratio It came up with 37.1 grams NaOH and 86.7 grams KOH which is very close to what you got with Soap Making Friend. If I changed the ratio to to 50% NaOH to 50% KOH it came up with 46.3 grams NaOH and 72.2 grams KOH which is close to your recipe.

I agree you will need a high water amount to get it in the mold. The high stearic content makes it difficult to handle. You may want to add some sodium lactate or yogurt to help make it more fluid. Your cleansing number is on the high side (20) and conditioning very low (17), so you might want to reduce the amount of coconut oil in there and add a more conditioning oil or butter. Stearic + palmitic is 59 which will be good for stable lather.
 

Dr-Piper

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Just jumping in to say that I've used soy wax as well as stearic acid and have had success both ways. I was nervous because I didn't find a lot of information on use of soy wax in shave soap. But if it works, it works!
 

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