How to Make Your Own Shaving Soap: Homemade Natural Coconut Shaving Soap Recipe

Homemade Shaving SoapMy husband is very picky about his shaving soap. Which is totally cool. He’s one of those guys who has to shave every day – and so I can absolutely understand being particular about ensuring whatever he’s using works well, feels good, and doesn’t create a huge mess.

Shaving soap also happened to be the final item he needed in his personal care arsenal in order to be ENTIRELY natural, homemade, and chemical-free. Yup… he’s rid of all personal care store-bought products at this point. The shaving soap was the last hurdle to conquer!

Shaving soap ingredientsWhile I still have to figure out how to switch all my makeup over to natural and homemade products, I am thrilled this recipe worked so well. It’s a bit of a beast to make – so I would highly recommend starting with the olive oil castile soap if this is your first foray into soap-making.

While the steps are the same, the ingredients are a little more high maintenance, the trace happens more quickly, and you’ve got to move fast to get everything molded! It’s totally do-able. But use the castile soap as your training wheels before you hop on the shaving soap Harley. 😉

*    *    *

This recipe makes a lot of soap – which is awesome – but it also means you’re working with a full blender. So be extra careful. If you’re not sure what safety precautions you should take, I highly recommend reading this post first – and even grabbing a book or watching some YouTubes before you start.

Soap-making is not super hard… but is does call for precision, focus, and alertness. I like to read the instructions for any soap through several times before I start – and then I keep the info handy as I go in case I want to double-check something along the way! This recipe is adapted from one I found online, which you can locate here.

Equipment

  • counter-top blender (make sure the mixing jar is glass, not plastic)
  • digital scale
  • glass container (a clean jar works very well – just be sure to use something heatproof)
  • spoon or chopsticks for mixing the lye (make sure you don’t use anything aluminum) and for testing trace
  • gloves (I use a pair of old leather driving gloves)
  • eye protection
  • kitchen towel or cloth
  • soap mold(s) (see the note in the Process section below)
  • rubber spatula

Ingredients

  • 4.5 oz lye
  • 12 oz distilled water
  • 11 oz palm oil
  • 10 oz coconut oil
  • 7 oz castor oil
  • 1 (very heaping) Tbsp bentonite clay powder (I got mine via Amazon)

Process

Teacups turned soap molds!

Teacups turned soap molds!

You’ll need something to mold the soap once it’s reached trace. I used an old set of teacups because I had one that was cracked and figured it would make a good reusable container. I had so much soap, however, that I ended up molding some in a cleaned out milk carton – and then simply cut it into pieces small enough to fit into the cup. Ironically, the soap circles also ended up fitting perfectly into my husband’s empty store-bought container. And since it is plastic, he felt safer storing that up in the medicine cabinet.

Prepare your molds before you start making the soap! If you are using something that cannot be torn off, be sure to use plastic wrap to line each container so that the soap can be removed before you let it cure.

  1. Measure the lye and water using your digital kitchen scale. (Remember to zero the scale for whatever container you are using to hold the lye before you move to step 2.) The scale should read exactly 4.5 oz for the lye. To measure your water, you can either measure using the scale (after zeroing with your container) or you can use a liquid measuring cup. Either way, you want as close to 12 oz on the nose as you can get.
  2. Mix the lye and water. The best way to do this is to either use a funnel to ensure you don’t spill, or carefully spoon the lye bit by bit into the water. NEVER PUT THE WATER OVER THE LYE. You’ll create a very unfortunate volcano. This process will create some fumes and a lot of heat – so it’s best to be near an open window or even move outside as you transfer the lye. This is the time to wear your gloves! The glass container will get hot, so touch it sparingly – and stir the water carefully (once all your lye is in). Then set aside for at least 5 minutes. (You want the water to change from cloudy to clear before you add it in step 4.)
  3. Check your blender one more time to make sure it’s ready to go. Double check the bottom to ensure it’s threaded properly, and do a test run of the motor to ensure everything is set. Have your towel handy for covering the lid – and your spoon ready for testing trace.
  4. Coconut and castor oilsGet your oils ready. This will take some time, since you’re working with three and they all have slightly different consistencies. The castor oil will be in liquid form already… but palm oil and coconut oil have different melting points and in cold weather are more likely to be solid. (A little trick: A day or two before making the soap, place your containers of oil in front of a vent or in a place you know stays warmer than 72° F. That way, it will already be liquid when you need to measure it and you won’t have to fuss with the microwave!) Measure out each on your scale carefully, and add it to the blender.
  5. Add to the lye/water to the blender (make sure it’s clear). You should definitely wear your gloves and goggles when you do this – just to be safe. This recipe is quite big, so your blender will be super full already. Pour the lye/water slowly and carefully, then put the lid on the blender. Cover the lid with a towel or cloth to give you extra protection from splashing.
  6. Trace!

    Trace!

    Mix until you reach trace. (Trace is the stage you want your soap in where it’s thick enough to mold but not yet thick enough to set up.) This is the trickiest part because there is no set time for mixing – and this soap reaches trace pretty darn fast. The easiest way to make sure you go long enough without overdoing it is: Mix for 30 seconds and check your mixture for trace. (You can do this by dipping in your mixing spoon or chopstick from step 2 and then letting the soap dribble off the spoon back into the blender. As soon as the surface of the soap holds memory of the dribbles (you can see the spoon’s path or the lines/swirls don’t sink back into the soap and disappear), it’s time to mold. Until then, just mix in 10 second increments – checking each time for trace. This way you are sure not to miss it!

  7. Molded shaving soap (teacups)Mold your soap – quickly! I know it’s a bit stressful, but for this soap, you’ve got to move quickly once trace has been reached to get it into the molds. The most important part: DON’T PANIC. Even if you end up with little hills or lumps… so what?! Just keep a steady pace and fill each container you’ve prepped until you’ve got nearly everything out of the blender.
  8. Clean up all of your equipment and soap-making ingredients carefully. (Keep your gloves on for this. The raw soap is caustic until it has cured.) Use a paper towel to remove any leftover soap from your blender and dispose of it in the trash. Wash everything with warm, soapy water (and then I usually run it in the dishwasher on the sanitize cycle just to be safe).
  9. Empty teacupsYour soap should be ready to remove from the molds after 24-48 hours. It hardens up very quickly, but you can check its readiness by pressing gently with your finger. (If it is still wet enough to show a fingerprint, allow it to sit another day and then recheck.) Remove each bar from the plastic wrap if you used containers for molding a shape… or peel and cut your milk carton away and cut into small bars/shapes in the size you require.
  10. Shaving soap - unmolded!Set the bars on a drying rack (like a cookie cooling rack) and cover with a clean towel (this will ensure they stay dust-free). This soap has to cure (i.e., sit untouched) for 6 weeks before it is cured. Using it prior to that time can cause you harm… so even though it’s maddening to wait so long to test your results, please be sure to give it the full 6 weeks!
  11. Once it’s cured, you can store it however you please (I stuck our extras in an old cookie tin) and use at will. Hope you enjoy it!
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11 responses to “How to Make Your Own Shaving Soap: Homemade Natural Coconut Shaving Soap Recipe

  1. Pingback: Still Loving Our Safety Razors | The Journey of Two

  2. Wow, the recipe looks simple. I have never made diy soaps before. Awesome idea!

    • Yes! Once you get the hang of the usual soap-making steps, it’s actually surprisingly easy. The only nerve-wracking thing (for me) is working with the lye. The rest if a piece of cake!

  3. Anja Prüfert

    This looks like a nice recipe, however, I would like to substitute the palm oil (because of the devastating impact of palm oil production on the environment). Could I use more coconut oil instead? If not, do you have any other suggestions? Thank you.

    • Hello Anja! I just realized I never replied to your comment – so sorry! You can certainly use more of one oil over another. Just keep in mind that different oils have different properties. Coconut oil makes a harder soap and sometimes means you need to let the soap cure longer as well. You’ll reach trace sooner too – so just keep a close watch as you mix. Other oil options that you can consider include olive or almond oil, which would balance out the coconut already in the recipe nicely. Best of luck to you! Let me know how it goes. 😉

    • I would recommend using animal fat, lard is cheap it’s universally available in every baking section of every supermarket.

  4. Really nice article (it gave me the confidence to try it myself) made several alterations to the original recipe I halved the size of all ingredients, substituted palm oil with much cheaper lard and left out bentonite clay because I wanted to make everything with products that could be found at my local grocery store. My results are as good as anything store bought and it resolves my biggest environmental faux pas: Pressurized shave foam cans!

    castor oil 3.38 oz
    coconut oil 5.00 oz
    lard 5.50 oz
    lye 2.11 oz
    water 4.58 oz

    • Hi Alex! Thanks so much for your comment and for sharing your alterations. So glad it turned out well. I’ve got shaving soap stocked up that will last my husband a year at this point. 😉 Next I may try a two-color swirl, for which the bentonite clay will come in very handy. Thanks again and best wishes to you!

  5. Hi,

    I am about to make your recipe, and was curious, now that some time has passed, how was the shave soap?

    How long did the pucks last?
    How was the lather? Light, but good coverage? How was the slip?

    I would love a review of this, before I make some.

    Thanks!

    • So sorry to take so long to respond! The shave soap has been AMAZING. It lasts like crazy. We still have a whole tin-full left. We’re really happy with it.

      I asked my husband for insight on the questions you sent and here’s what he said:

      –Our rough estimate is that each puck is lasting 3-4 months. I’m sure that would be influenced by usage though… so it might not be the same for everyone. But they’re longer-lasting than the store-bought product he had been using.
      –The lather is light with one pass. He likes it heavier, so he said he really swirls the brush around so that he can get thicker coverage. He likes that he can control it.
      –He wasn’t sure about the slip, but he’s never had any issues with catching or nicks. Clean shave every time!

      Hope this helps. And if you decide to make the recipe – let me know how your findings compare to ours.

      Thanks and good luck!!

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