Homemade Shaving Cream? Yeah…that’s right!
In an attempt to reduce chemicals and the containers they come in, N and I recently went the way of homemade shaving cream. Now, I know what you may be thinking…ew and/or ouch! Not quite.N has basically digested an entire book about better home basics, called (fittingly) Better Basics for the Home: Simple Solutions for Less Toxic Living. Our local library has it (by “it” I mean one copy which we had to return yesterday). If you find the following at all useful or interesting, we recommend picking up a copy. You’ll probably find something you can use in your own greener life. But I digress…Having recently switched to shaving with stainless steal (N with a Safety Razor, and I with a straight razor – see earlier post), we discovered that they work best with a different kind of shaving cream called emulsified shaving cream. It’s not really any great secret, but it has become a bit of a lost commodity in the last few decades. Here is the recipe as prescribed by Better Basics for the Home:
- Emollient Cocoa Butter Mug Soap: 8 ounces grated castile soap (just use your cheese grater, unless concerned with getting it too clean:)
- 8 ounces rose water (add boiling water a few dozen rose petals and let steep for a while)
- 2 ounces cocoa butter
- 4 ounces of vegetable glycerin equal parts essential oils of peppermint and eucalyptus (about 25 drops)
- Soak the soap in the rose water overnight.
- Heat the cocoa butter and glycerin in a double boiler over low heat. Remove from the heat once the cocoa butter is melted, and add the soap mixture.
- Blend with an electric handheld mixer until creamy. Blend in the essential oils, and pour into a cereal-sized bowl or larger mug.
Observations, recommendations and variations:
- Our raw ingredients: We used solid glycerin soap that had been infused eucalyptus (365 Organics from Whole Foods), and Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Castile Soap, and Queen Helene Cocoa Butter.
- When in the double boiler, the cocoa butter will melt very quickly. If you add the glycerin soap to the cocoa butter, and wait for it melt at the same temperature you will be waiting a long, long time. I would use a liquid glycerin soap next time, or blend (as in use a blender) the cocoa butter/ glycerin soap mixture to incorporate. We didn’t do either, and ended up with a few chunks or glycerin soap. I did have moderate success with mixing these chunks into mixture with the hand mixer, but that method will never completely incorporate the mixture.
- When added to the cocoa butter mixture, the castile soap and rose water blended quite well. Aside from the chunks of glycerin soap, the mixture does turn into a nice cream.
- We didn’t really do the conversions correctly (some might say that we straight-up didn’t pay attention) when we added the rose water to the grated castile soap. You’re supposed to add 8 ounces. We added 2 full cups. Oops.
None the less, we decided to shave with it today. N observed that it didn’t stay as creamy as normal shaving cream might but it did work as well if not better. I found that it came back with a little water and also that has a very persistent consistency with a nice refreshing feeling. As opposed to the shaving gel I had been using with my straight razor, it has a tendency to stick around longer while shaving rather than dissipate around the exposed shaving surface which…well, hurts. So, if you’re looking for an alternative to the shaving creams you find in the store, you might consider giving this a shot. Let us know how it turns out!
You can also check out how we made our own soap here.