Ladies, this soap is for you! (Not that a guy couldn’t use it for his shaving needs as well, but we were thinking of women when we created this soap.) The scent is a pretty universal cedarwood and orange from essential oils.
So who needs to get their summer legs all ready? Raise your hand! When Andee told me we’d be making this soap, I giggled and told her it was good timing, as I am due for my spring leg shave. Haha!
Clay is a wonderful additive to your soap recipes, creating a divine lather with an incredible glide. With the use of a chamomile bud infusion as the liquid, this would be a gentle baby soap as well.
Come along as I mix up this soap that will be smooth, silky, deliciously scented, and so gentle on the skin.
Before you get started, get prepared to soap safely. Long sleeves, gloves, eye protection, and close-toed shoes are a must. If you have never made cold process soap before, we’re glad you’re here! Please check out this blog post, which is the first in a series on beginning soapmaking. This shaving soap recipe is a good choice for a beginner.
Recipe for Chamomile & Clay Shaving Soap:
6 oz Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
37.5% Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
The first thing to do is to make chamomile tea using distilled water and chamomile buds. (If you can plan ahead and do this in advance, pop the tea in the refrigerator so you don’t have to wait for it to cool.) I need 6 ounces of tea, so I began with 8 ounces of hot water and one-quarter ounce of chamomile buds. (Note: that’s a lot of buds, but it makes a nice, strong infusion for the soap.) Add the chamomile buds to the hot water, pressing them down into the water with a spoon so all of the buds are wet. Cover the cup with a plate and allow it to steep for 20 minutes. When the tea is finished, pour through a fine mesh strainer into another container. Use the back of a spoon or your gloved hand to squeeze all the liquid from the buds. Weigh the tea; if necessary, top off with additional water to get 6 ounces. Set that aside to cool.
Weigh all the oils into a microwave-safe container; set aside.
Weigh the essential oils into a small glass container; set aside.
Weigh the lye.
If your tea is freshly made, it should cool to room temperature before you add the lye. Once the tea is at room temperature, slowly add the lye to the liquid, stirring to dissolve. Do this in a well-ventilated area. It will smell almost as bad as a lye and beer mixture! Once the lye is completely dissolved, set the mixture aside to cool. (Mine was 195 degrees F at this point.)
Pop the oils into the microwave to melt, using 30-second increments. (My pound of oils was melted in 2 minutes, and the temperature was 157 degrees F.) Now add the tablespoon of Kaolin Clay, and blend it into the oils.
Here is your chance to clean up your workspace, set out the mold you will use, or visit the restroom. Once the oils and the lye mixture are within 10 degrees of each other and have cooled to about 110-130 degrees F, you’re ready to make soap. (My lye mixture was 115 degrees F and oil 113 F when I combined them.)
Carefully pour the lye mixture into the oils, taking care not to splash. (Lye burns hurt like the devil!) Stir with your flexible spatula, then pulse the stick blender several times to bring the soap batter to trace. I aimed for a light trace, as I was not positive how this mixture would behave. As soon as the emulsion was achieved, I hand-stirred the essential oils into the batter. It was thickening a bit but still quite liquid. I poured the soap into our oval molds; the bit left over after filling the tray was enough to fill three of our 100% Handmade molds. (Note: I’m using silicone molds, so they are not stable without something under them. I keep a wire baking rack in my soap lab for that purpose. Nothing more aggravating than filling a silicone mold only to realize now you can’t move it without disturbing the soap!)
When soap contains some sort of botanical, I like to use the same to decorate the top. It is a visual clue that there’s something special about this soap! So I sprinkled some chamomile buds across the ovals of soap, pressing gently so they won’t fall off the soap after it has cured.
Set the molds out of the way for 12-24 hours. I placed a taller rack over the baking rack holding the soap mold, and I draped a towel over it. This is purely to keep dust and bugs out of the soap while it’s still wet. We are having a lot of wind, and there’s a fine layer of silty dust on everything. And it’s spring, so flies are invading. The last thing I want is a fly in my soap!
This soap is intended to provide smooth and silky aid to shaving. Just lather up, spread the lather over your legs like you would a shaving cream, and shave them smooth. But don’t think this soap is ONLY for shaving! Clay soaps are great to use everywhere – the slip and glide of the lather is out of this world! If you make a batch, we’d love to hear your thoughts!