The shaving stick lasts for MONTHS and the brush will last for years, so I wanted to make my own shaving soap using tallow. I make the soap in bars and in tins, but while the tin is handy to keep the soap tidy, and if you're making if for yourself, or gifts, you can skip the tin and just make some bars of soap. This is how I make bars of shaving soap.
For a decent lather, you really have to add coconut oil to the tallow. A 100% tallow soap does not lather enough for a nice shave. I used my recipe with 25% coconut oil, 25% olive oil and 50% tallow, as described back here, with a 6% superfat. I made this soap while my parents were visiting, and as my dad also uses a shaving stick and brush I asked his opinion on the essential oil for this recipe. He suggested peppermint because it feels nice a cool, and Pete agreed that it would be a good scent to use.
For the first time I tried a PVC pipe as the mould because I thought that a round soap would be more ergonomic. *Spoiler alert* the soap got stuck and Pete had to cut the mould open with an angle grinder. I did suggest that he could have kept it in in the PVC pipe and use it as a giant shaving stick. I have certainly not perfected using PVC pipe as a mould, but you could just make bars or use any mould you have already.
When Pete had managed to extract the soap, we sliced it into suitable chunks and Pete has been using it. He reports that it works and he likes the smell (Dad gave a similar review). Its going to take him a while to use the rest, so we are giving away samples to any clean shaven men we know! AND I just bought Pete a safety razor, so if he likes that too, its becoming a rather sustainable shave.
|I just poured these, so they will be available in my Etsy shop in a few weeks|
Since Pete started using my shaving soap and a brush, the main expense has been the single-use razors. Sometimes we will stand in front of the razor section of the supermarket for 10 minutes trying to pick the best value razor, but the reality is these single-use razors are expensive and wasteful. I didn't know there was an alternative until I saw Phil's post. I showed it to Pete and he was keen to give it a try so I ordered a razor and a pack of blades. He's been using it for a few months now and is very happy with it.
You can buy safety razors from a number of online sites, including Biome's range of Safety Razors (affiliate link), I really don't know why the price varies so widely from $30 to over $100 for a fancy handle! I got Pete a mid-priced safety razor and some blades. The blades work out to be able $1 each and last for a week or so (5-7 shaves). I think this is actually more expensive than the cheapest of the "disposable" razors, but around the same price as the nicer ones that we used to buy, and I feel better knowing there is less waste, just a metal blade which could probably be recycled if we were organised. Next step towards sustainability is the cut throat razor which just needs to be sharpened....
You can get all my tallow soap recipes in my eBook Make Your Own Natural Soap, more information here.
It also explains how to use tallow in soap. Tallow is cheap and locally available, and it makes long-lasting moisturising soaps, it is an under-utilised ingredient in home soapmaking in my opinion. This eBook includes 10 recipes specifically designed for tallow soap.
Basic Tallow Soap
Pink Clay Soap
Green Herb Soap
True Grit Soap
Black Magic Soap
Salt Spa Soap
Honey and Oatmeal Soap
Neem Oil Soap
Sustainable Shaving soap
Formulate your own
My other soap posts: