How to Make Your Own Shaving Cream at Home
Why Make your Own?
Making your own shaving cream can be very satisfying, not least because you dictate the ingredients and therefore know exactly what you are putting on your skin.
This is a big plus, particularly if you have very sensitive skin and finding suitable commercially produced products is difficult for you.
Best Recipe - Ingredients You Will Need
There are various options when it comes to ingredients. Here I have given the best recipe that I have found so far:
I have tried and tested various different ingredient combinations and this is the one that I have found to produce the smoothest, most robust, efficient and long-lasting cream - my favourite by a long way.
I would suggest you give it a go - then you can experiment for yourself, tweaking the ingredients until you find your favourite.
Tip: Don't forget to write down what you are using each time, so that you are able to replicate it once you find your perfect blend.
Step by Step Guide
Firstly, as well as the listed ingredients, these are the things you will need at hand to make your cream:
- Measuring cup or jug
- Measuring spoon or scales
- Mixing bowl
- Container - A pump dispenser is ideal
- Hand whisk
- Small saucepan and spoon for stirring
Measure out the Shea butter and Coconut oils into the saucepan and heat very gently until both are liquid, and then stir well to mix.
Do make sure not to heat it too fiercely so that it reaches the boil and bubbles. This will alter the composition of the oils and reduce some of their beneficial qualities.
I actually found that holding the pan slightly above the heat to dissipate it worked well.
What you are looking for is just a transparent, lightly coloured liquid as shown in the far right picture below.
Take the oils off the heat and pour into mixing bowl, allowing to cool for a few minutes.
Stir in the Aloe Vera, baking soda and liquid castile soap and then blend with the electric mixer for a good few minutes until the mixture is thick, white and creamy, resembling whisked meringue.
Tip: Make sure that you beat the mixture for long enough, so that it is very well combined, otherwise it will split when settled.
If you are using essential oil for fragrance, now add 10 - 20 drops, depending on how strong you like it, and mix in.
I used tee tree oil for its antiseptic qualities and freshness, but you can use whichever you prefer.
Allow the mixture to sit for a few hours, the volume will decrease as the air is released, so that it can be put into the dispenser.
I found that when I tried to fill a 300ml dispenser straight away, I could only fit a small amount of the cream into it and there was a lot left in the bowl.
However, after leaving it overnight, the dispenser was almost empty and the volume of the remaining cream had decreased quite significantly.
I then found that the 300ml size was just right to take the whole lot, and it has been working well since then.
Your product will keep best if it is stored in a cool, dark place.
You could add a few drops of vitamin E oil to the recipe, which will help the cream to last longer as well as having beneficial effects on the skin.
If it should separate slightly, a good shake prior to use should sort it out.
Ingredients in Detail (with options)
Coconut oil in its pure form is solid at room temperature.
It has a high composition of saturated fats which are moisturizing and hydrating for the skin, as well as Capric, Caprylic and Lauric acids which have disinfectant and antimicrobial properties.
In addition, coconut oil contains vitamin E and proteins which help prevent wrinkling and premature ageing of the skin.
Rubbed into the skin on its own it is a great moisturizer and keeps the skin soft and smooth.
Do make sure that you purchase coconut oil that is 100% pure and raw, such as Viva Naturals Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. At first I made this recipe using fractionated coconut oil, which is liquid at room temperature, but I found that the resultant cream was less robust in terms of consistency and melted too quickly on the skin in use.
Shea butter is produced from the fruit of the Shea-Karite trees native to the tropics of West Africa and is rich in Oleic and Stearic essential fatty acids, both of which are intensely moisturising for the skin.
It also contains vitamin E, well known for its beneficial effects on the skin, which include speeding cell regeneration to reduce wrinkles and the effects of ageing.
Shea butter or Shea nut oil is often used in commercial shaving creams as it softens the hair, moisturises the skin and helps the razor to glide across the skin, reducing the risk of razor burn or shaving bumps (ingrown hairs).
Shea butter is solid at room temperature and is in a more natural state than Shea nut oil, which is liquid at room temperature and is a derivative of Shea butter.
The major difference between the two is that the butter contains a higher concentration of stearic acid; averaging 41.5% compared to 27% in the oil. It is this which makes the butter more solid.
Shea butter has a longer shelf life than Shea nut oil, at about 2 years compared to one year for the oil.
Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe Vera plants are found growing in the wild in tropical climates and is used in many cosmetic and medicinal products for its moisturizing, soothing and healing properties, particularly for sunburn.
As a moisturizer, it is non-oily and quickly absorbed to give a lovely, smooth feel to the skin.
Used in your home made shaving cream, it adds to the body of the cream, helping the glide of the razor across the skin, to reduce the risk of razor burn and irritation.
There are numerous different Aloe Vera gels readily available to purchase online - I chose Fruit of the Earth 100% gel for its reasonable price, at around $8 for a 12oz bottle.
Liquid Castile Soap
Castile soap gets its name from Castile, a region in Spain well known for its olive oil, and bars of Castile soap were originally made from a mixture of olive oil and animal fat.
Liquid Castile soap is made from vegetable oils and has a number of cleaning uses, including personal and household, depending on the dilution of the product.
I chose to use Dr Bronners Pure Castile Soap from the many available. It is certified Fair Trade, Organic and Vegan.
It is also unscented, so ideal for sensitive skin, or for using with your own favourite essential oil.
It is the Castile soap that gives the finished cream the lovely, foamy, soapy texture that you expect from a commercial shaving cream.
Baking soda has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and helps to balance the pH of the skin.
It also acts as a mild exfoliant.
This recipe calls for 10 grams (2 tsp), which I found to be plenty, but you can experiment with the amount you use, depending on the consistency that you prefer.
A good substitute for baking soda is Bentonite clay, with its soothing and detoxifying effects.
It is the essential oils which will give your home made shaving cream its scent, and they are optional.
If you have very sensitive skin, you may wish to leave the essential oils out for a scent-free cream, as the essential oils are the part of this recipe that may possibly give irritation.
Alternatively, use very sparingly to start with and try out different essential oils to find the right one for you.
I purchased a set of trial sized essential oils, of which there are numerous sets available.
I opted for the Mystic Moments Woodland Starter pack, containing five 10ml bottles of different scented oils for less than $10. I particularly like the Tea Tree and Cedarwood:
The scents are so concentrated that they are quite overpowering in the bottle and so it is quite difficult to tell what the outcome will be until they are diluted.
However, I found that I could barely notice the scent when I used 10 drops of oil and 20 gave me the result I was looking for.
It is fair to say that the initial outlay for the ingredients is fairly steep, at around $42 without the essential oil and $51 with.
However, when I actually sat down and worked out the cost per recipe it came out at $7.96 for 300ml (10.5oz).
This compares pretty well with commercially produced shaving creams, and represents a significant saving on the top shaving creams with natural ingredients.
All of the ingredients I bought in sufficient quantity to make the recipe several times over, in the case of the Shea Butter there is enough for 15 and the baking soda, even more.
A Quick and Simple Make
There was one other recipe that I quite liked, which is quick, easy and cheap to make:
This is an incredibly easy cream to make - simply measure out your ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix well with an electric hand whisk, until you have a thick, creamy mixture.
Pour into a pump dispenser and off you go.
As you can see, the consistency for this recipe is thinner than the main one above, but it is much simpler and cheaper to make.
I used grapeseed oil, but olive oil would be just as good, or any other carrier oil of your choice.
Honey of your choice could be used, either any standard store bought honey, or if you have sensitive skin, you might opt for raw honey, although this will add to the cost.
The liquid Castile soap that I used is odourless, and I added my own choice of essential oil. You can purchase scented Castile soap if you prefer.
Store this cream in a cool, dark place and ideally use within a month - I noticed a slightly unpleasant, almost rancid smell after a few weeks, so best to make small amounts more often.
I have used basic 300ml plastic pump dispensers to store my shaving cream, which are available cheaply online.
There are lots of other options available - glass one's like the mDesign Foaming Glass Dispenser pictured on the right would make lovely, thoughtful presents filled with creamy home-made shaving cream.
It has a 12 oz capacity and is available in green tinted glass (as shown) or clear glass with brushed pump head, aqua blue glass with chrome pump head or clear glass with bronze pump head.
Alternatively, this lovely ceramic pump dispenser would be a really elegant addition to any bathroom.
This one is by InterDesign and is available in white with soft brass (shown), chrome or bronze pump head and base detail.
It has a 12 oz capacity and stands 8.5" tall, - there are other matching items such as soap dish and toothbrush holder available in the range.