How to Make Melt-and-Pour Shaving Soap for Men
A finished bar fresh out of the mold
Easy Recipe for Men's Shaving Soap (MP)
What follows are both the techniques and ingredients as well as information on what they do and how they work to make this wonderful soap. You'll never want to use commercial shaving creams or other products again once you've tried this. I am sharing the melt and pour recipe and techniques here because it makes it safe to make even with kids - and what a great gift right?
I began experimenting with shaving soap as a way to help my partner. He was always cutting himself while shaving regardless of the blades or products he used. One day he ran out of shaving cream and used a bar of soap I had made instead and noticed he had much less irritation and no cuts from it. That began my quest and eventually I created a very nice shaving soap that was moisturizing and soothing for his skin – and “manly” enough that I could market it to other guys as well.
For this recipe we will be using the super simple melt and pour method. I do create soaps using hot and cold process, however this technique is less complicated and so easy even kids can do it - making it a great project for the whole family for Father's Day or a birthday.
Melt and Pour is very easy, quite versatile and creates lovely, highly moisturizing soaps in and of itself. Melt and pour soap base is very pricey in craft stores and for that reason I recommend buying in bulk if you try making soap this way and enjoy it.
Soap Making Ingredients for This Recipe
Shaving Soap Recipe:
One pound white melt & pour soap base
1 Tablespoon (or less) unrefined Shea Butter
3-4 liquid capsules of vitamin E
1 teaspoon (approx) pure Hemp Seed Oil
1 teaspoon Olive Oil (the heavier “cheaper” oil the better for soaps!)
Lemongrass Essential Oil
Clary Sage Essential Oil
1/4 cup fresh finely ground whole oats
Large sterile glass jar or Pyrex measuring cup
Plastic Spoon for stirring (NO metal)
mold (you can use a well cleaned Pringles chip can for a great disposable circular mold. Cut your soap into rounds when it's hardened and place those in a shaving mug with a brush – great gift!)
Making the Soap
- Cut your one pound of soap base into small chunks and place them in your large sterile jar. Place a saucepan with several inches of water on the stove with low heat – you don't want the water to boil, simply to get hot enough to melt the soap base when you place the jar into the hot water.
- Place the jar into the water and allow the soap base to melt slowly and evenly, stirring occasionally. You can technically use a microwave but I do not recommend it. The heating is uneven and can cause you to overheat and even scorch your soap. You never want your soap to be hot enough to boil.
- While your soap base melts grind your oatmeal into a very fine powder and prepare your other supplies. Measure out your Shea Butter (a tablespoon or less)
- Measure out your hemp seed and olive oil (a couple of teaspoons are all that is needed) and break open the vitamin E capsules and stir these 3 ingredients together.
- Periodically stir your soap base as it melts until it is fully melted and no chunks remain. Turn down the heat as necessary to keep your soap from boiling or getting too hot. Soap that is too hot will burn off the essential oils when we add them – and it will lower the quality of your soap in general, so do be careful not to overheat.
- Once your soap base is melted, remove it from the water and stir in the quarter cup oatmeal powder (to clarify you should have a ¼ cup of the powder, so you'll need to grind up about a ½ cup or so to get this) Stir this mixture well so that the powder disperses through your soap mixture and doesn't clump together in a big chunk.
- This soap mixture will start to thicken up quickly so you need to move fast. Next add your Shea butter and it will melt in with the mixture as you stir.
- Next you will add your oil and vitamin e mixture while continuing to stir gently. You don't need to wait for the Shea Butter to melt before doing this.
- Once everything is melted and smooth your final step before pouring will be to add the essential oils. You ALWAYS add these last – if they are added before the soap starts to cool they can burn off and lose their scent and potency. If your soap is already starting to thicken just a bit you know it's safe to add your essential oils.
- Right before you are ready to pour into your mold, add several drops of each oil in equal parts. Start with five drops of each, stir and then smell it. If you want it a little stronger add a couple of more drops of each. This is highly customizable according to your and your partner's tastes.
- This blend of oils (lemongrass and sage) makes a light, clean scent that is basically gender neutral. It doesn't linger for very long but is very soothing to smell while you are shaving. Regular after shave or cologne can be used afterwords if desired, and the soap scent won't interfere.
Pour soap in a mold
Pouring the soap
Pour your soap into your prepared mold(s) quickly and be sure that your mold is on a flat, even surface.
If your soap has become too thick to pour because you've taken too long to stir in all the ingredients, don't worry. Place your jar back in the water and stir gently until it's pourable.
If you pour your soap and notice a lot of air bubbles at the top – wait a few minutes and as it starts to set you can scrape that thin layer off with a knife. You can also spray the bubbles with a light mist of rubbing alcohol, but I don't like this technique because I don't like the idea of any amount of alcohol in products that touch the skin. This is personal preference however, and a super light spritz of alcohol will disperse the bubbles.
Walk away and allow your soap to set. The length of time needed for hardening will vary based on what you use as a mold. Smaller, shallow molds will harden in roughly 30 minutes. If you use my technique of the Pringles can you will want to let it sit for several hours or overnight to allow it to harden all the way through before removing and cutting.
The Pringles Can & Other Molds
I love this method for a few reasons. First of all it's disposable and very simple. Once the soap is hardened fully I simply peel the can away and I have a nice long cylinder of soap I then cut into slices. I get roughly a dozen bars out of a full can. (This recipe will not likely be enough to fill an entire can with only one pound of soap I normally cook my soap batches in a crock-pot and not just a pound at a time)
Once you cut your soaps into rounds, these can be placed at the bottom of a large coffee mug and you can enclose a razor and shaving brush for a great gift.
This soap can be used the “old fashioned way” with a brush or you can simply lather it in your hands and make a great lather that way.
If you choose to use a different mold – your mold should be flexible made out of plastic or silicone ideally. Those flexible molds that are used for specialty cupcakes make very cute soaps (just don't use them for food if you buy one as a soap mold!) We make pumpkin soaps in these every year – very nice. You can also buy soap molds in most craft stores from simple to very intricate designs.
Removal and Curing
Soap molds are flexible and once hardened your soap should be able to pop right out of the mold. If it is stubborn or resistant place your molded soap in the freezer for a few minutes to let it shrink just a bit and it will typically pop right off the mold with ease.
Melt and Pour soaps can technically be used right away. Unlike “old fashioned” soaps that have a required curing time, these soaps do not. However, you will have a longer lasting bar if you allow them to sit for a day or two before use. This allows any excess moisture to air out and hardens the bar a bit adding to its longevity.
These soaps will not spoil or go rancid for a very long time. I have soaps I made two years ago that are still usable. The best way to get the longest life from your bars are to keep them out of wet places when you are not using them. Place them on a vented soap dish or put them away so that they are not sitting in water. This will also preserve the quality and longevity of your soaps.
When you remove this soap from the mold you will see it is very lovely with bits of oatmeal scattered throughout. If you find most of your oatmeal went to the bottom of the mold (top of the bar) that's ok :) it just means you poured the soap a little too quickly while it was still to warm. As it cools, the soap mixture thickens, allowing the oatmeal powder to be suspended in the soap. Either way it will still look lovely and the oatmeal is very soothing to the skin.
Why This Shaving Soap is the Best
The Ingredients – period. There are no alcohols, irritants, chemicals, or fillers that are found in commercial products. Below are the ingredients and the benefits they provide to your skin.
- Vitamin E: A vital antioxidant that promotes cell and tissue repair and is excellent for healing the skin and protecting it while providing moisture and nutrients.
- Hemp Seed Oil: Loaded with antioxidants this oil is one of the most powerful natural healers you can add to your soaps and lotions. It has the perfect blend of Essential Fatty Acids your skin and body require and it also has anti-inflammatory properties which make it a natural in a shaving soap.
- Shea Butter: Moisturizes and protects the skin without clogging pores. It is deeply penetrating and a rich source of vitamins A & E – nutrients your skin needs to repair itself and maintain elasticity.
- Olive Oil: Olive oil provides a barrier on the skin that keeps moisture locked in. It also allows your razor to have a smooth glide, helping to protect the skin from cuts and scrapes.
- Sage Essential Oil: In addition to it's fresh, uplifting scent, sage oil is also anti-inflammatory and soothing to the skin. It is also a natural astringent and has anti-bacterial properties.
- Lemongrass Essential Oil: (avoid in persons with Glaucoma) This is a nice oil with a light pleasing fragrance. It has a natural antiseptic property and is considered healing to the skin.
- Oatmeal: very gently exfoliating and extremely soothing for skin irritations. If you've ever heard of a product called “Aveeno” - it's the oatmeal in it that works on poison ivy, chicken pox etc. It soothes itch and irritation.
- Glycerin: Naturally made soap and even soap base has glycerin it it – which is the natural by-product produced during the soap making process. Glycerin is a natural emollient that is very healthy to the skin and has a variety of other applications. This is why commercial products don't have glycerin in them in sufficient amounts. The manufacturers “strip” the bulk of the glycerin and sell it for use in other products, leaving little, if any, in their soap and replacing it instead with alcohols, fillers, and other “junk” like petroleum products that are harmful to the skin.
Hopefully you have enjoyed this tutorial! You can find other soap making hubs I've written, including a detailed tutorial with pictures and step-by-step instructions for doing Hot Process soap in a crockpot! Soap making is a great hobby and allows you to make wonderful gifts that family and friends will use and appreciate!
*Hint* Soap base is always less expensive online. It is outrageously priced in craft stores and the craft store varieties tend to be lower quality. For small amounts you can purchase it inexpensively on Amazon and even eBay.
I prefer to make handmade soaps from scratch, but soap base is super safe and easy and a great way for kids to make gifts for loved ones! If you have younger kids that would like to make soap for Dad for a birthday or Father's day - melt and pour is the safest option.
Have You Ever Made Soap?
© 2011 Christin Sander