Monday, June 2, 2014

Brush, Bowl, and a Good, Private-Formula Shaving Soap

One of my favorite things about wet shaving is using a brush, bowl, and good shaving soap or cream. For me, making and applying lather is the foundation of the shaving ritual. A significant part of that foundation is making lather that is thick, slick, and creamy.
Thick, slick and creamy: my custom shaving soap is part of the foundation of my
morning shaving ritual. Also shown is a badger brush and stainless bowl.
Of the shaving soaps and creams that I have tried, most are acceptable -- with the sole exception of my foray into evaluating the Farmington Soap Works shaving puck. As I mentioned in that review article (read by clicking here), I have been studying soap making for some time now, with the idea of crafting a shaving soap that is thick, slick, creamy, and also moisturizing, with no harsh additives to irritate sensitive skin.

Because the various on-line soap calculators can't be trusted to accurately analyze shaving soap formulas for their shaving characteristics, I researched and evaluated different fats, oils, and their component fatty acids as well as the alkaline components of the acid-base reaction that creates soap. I also evaluated the ingredients of many popular soaps and creams. I went further and created, and then evaluated, single-lipid soaps that might be components of a great shaving-soap recipe. The accumulated knowledge of these inquiries allowed me, I thought, to create several recipes for shaving soap that would likely be in the ballpark with my first swings of the bat. And I was not wrong.
This is my "left-overs" bowl, where I save unused lather. The top mound
is the lather from the private-formula shaving soap discussed in today's article.
My as-yet-unnamed shaving-soap formula, number one, has been quite a success. By eliminating much of the common shot-in-the-dark and trial-and-error approach of many soapers, I created a base-shaving-soap blend that turned out to be very good. By then tweaking that base shaving soap, it was possible to make it even a bit better.

The net result is the desired combination of characteristics: thick, slick, creamy, and with no unnecessary ingredients often found in commercial formulas including fragrance additives, which sometimes devil the dermis or offend the olfactory. Currently, therefore, this formulation has essentially no scent, so it won't compete with the fragrance of other shaving products such as one's favorite after-shave balm.

You can see the approximately one-ounce "drop-bisciut" sample of
my yet-unnamed, private-formula shave soap. For the lather pics, above, I loaded
the wet brush in this bowl, then lathered in the stainless bowl as shown.
The test sample of my shaving-soap, number one, is approximately a one-ounce biscuit, similar to a small drop biscuit that might be served with dinner. (For you non cooks, a drop biscuit is a spoonful of dough simply dropped in a small mound onto a cookie sheet and baked, resulting in a roughly-half-spherical shape.)

The soap lathers well and easily as shown above. I have also stopped using shaving oil -- even when I use my slant razor.

I'll keep you updated as things progress. Feel free to let me know your thoughts on the subject: what are your favorite shaving soaps/creams and WHY?

Happy shaving!

No comments:

Post a Comment