This recipe is a “cold process”, which means it doesn’t take long to put together, but it must cure for five to six weeks before it’s ready to use. Lye is used for a chemical reaction to saponify the oils (turn them into soap) and must be handled with care to avoid burning. Gloves and eye protection are recommended.
Using a blend of oils (each serving its own purpose), lye and a healthy dollop of bentonite clay give the lather a razor-friendly texture. Homemade shaving soap is fairly easy to make and delivers a clean, close shave using ingredients that are actually good for your skin.
The oils used in this recipe provide a blend of properties that both moisturize and provide the thick lather that you want in a good shaving soap.
Combine the lye and distilled water in a Pyrex container. Stir carefully to completely dissolve lye. The temperature will quickly rise to nearly 200 degrees. Set aside to cool to 110-120 degrees as you prepare oils.
In a seperate pot, combine the palm oil, coconut oil, castor oil, shea butter and olive oil. Warm over low heat to a temperature of 120 degrees.
Once oil and lye are both at temperatures between 110 and 120 degrees, pour slowly together to combine in pot or Pyrex container.
Using a stick blender, blend together until soap becomes opaque and, when drizzled, leaves trails on the surface of the soap (this is known as “trace” state).
Add a heaping tablespoon of bentonite clay to the soap and blend to thoroughly combine. Color should be uniform and texture smooth.
Shaving soap is usually poured into round molds or cut into discs to fit into the bottom of a shaving mug. Here we take a shortcut by pouring the soap directly into the bottom of some ceramic mugs we picked up at the dollar store.
Use a wooden or stainless-steel spoon to fill ceramic mugs one quarter to one third full of soap. Wipe excess soap from the mug and smooth the surface of the soap. Soap may also be poured into soap molds or a plastic lined box and later cut to size, if preferred.
Place the mugs in a cool, dry place to cure for 5-6 weeks before using.