Sunday, April 14, 2013

Five Minute Shaving Cream

This post starts with a confession: we don't like to shave.  It seems like a superfluous ritual dedicated more to outward appearance than hygiene, and in fact, having a beard can itself have many health benefits.  We also don't like the idea of disposable razors and cans of shaving cream that ultimately end up in a landfill and are full of strange ingredients.  But, for all the negatives, shaving does have some things going for it.  It can prevent endangered species from taking up residence in your beard, results in an increased occurrence of smooches from Katie, and may even yield successful job interviews (if you're into that kind of thing).  For the times that shaving is actually necessary, some sort of shaving cream is usually needed.  There are plenty of good recipes for shaving cream out there on the Internets (see also here, here, and here), but many call for slightly uncommon or expensive ingredients or preservatives, natural as they might be.  So, we've been trying to figure out for a while how to make a shaving cream using only raw ingredients we already had on hand.  Crunchy Betty's recipe came closest to what we were looking for (both in terms of ingredients and preparation time), but we didn't have vegetable glycerin, which helps keep the skin moisturized.  We did, however, have glycerin soap (i.e., soap we made and didn't wash to remove the glycerin), which in addition to providing the glycerin, also makes a cream that lathers nicely.  We also saw that several other recipes included baking soda as an ingredient (e.g., here), which, it turns out, is also common in DIY skin care concoctions.  So we added a little to help offset the harshness of the non-glycerin portion of the soap.  So here's our four-ingredient, five-minute shaving cream recipe.

Here's the four ingredients: sunflower oil, aloe vera gel, a small bar of soap, and baking soda.  The bar of soap is only about two inches square by 0.75 inch thick because it's homemade and we cut it that size to keep it from breaking apart in the shower.
Grate the soap into either a double boiler or microwave-safe bowl because you're going to melt it soon.
If you have a grater with small holes you can make the fancy French-looking schnibbles that will melt more quickly and uniformly.
Mix all the ingredients together (amounts below) and heat in your double boiler or for short bouts (10-15 seconds) in the microwave, stirring in between.  Caveat: if you use a double-boiler instead of the microwave, it'll probably take more than five minutes.  When the soap is melted and everything can mix easily, whip it.  Whip it good.  Use a mixer, food processor, blender, stick blender, or whisk.  Or, put it in a frosting-covered jar and give it to a hyperactive child.  Once it's smooth and creamy-looking, transfer to something like a canning jar for storage.  Use like store-bought shaving cream, except you can shave while wearing a smirk because you made it yourself.

Do you have a favorite shaving cream recipe?  Tell us about it in the comments section below!


  1. I know this is a really old post, I stumbled on your blog a few days ago and I'm going through reading all of your posts. You have some very awesome ideas in here!
    I just thought I would let you know, you haven't entered what amounts of the ingredients we would need to use

    1. By golly, you're right!

      It's been a while now, but I think we used Crunchy Betty's recipe as a starting point and improvised from there. If memory serves, we used 0.25 cup sunflower oil like she did, then replaced the vegetable glycerin with another tablespoon of aloe vera gel, added the grated soap, and then threw in a teaspoon of baking soda.

      Hope that helps, and thanks for reading!