Making The Best Glycerin Shaving Soap | The Holy Black Trading Co

Making The Best Glycerin Shaving Soap

Posted on October 05, 2015 by Stefan Vincent | 9 comments

So, as of late I have been reformulating my soaps and taking direction from all of the reviews and emails we get about the products. Some people have trouble lathering soaps with very high glycerin content. My soaps being of the meltable variety, they have a VERY high glycerin content. I catch a lot of flak because people assume my soap is not "artisan" enough, or that melt and pour soaps are substandard, so I am trying to formulate a better glycerin(for lack of a better term) soap.

First, a few things to clear up. I do not buy my melt and pour soap base. I originally experimented with the type of M&P base that you could get at any craft store like Michaels and Hobby Lobby and it was.. ok but not great. The lather was more sudsy and dry. Then a I met a guy in Rhode Island who was a soap maker and he showed me how to make my own melt and pour base. I bought some from him at first which worked awesome , and eventually started making my own.

My current M&P base is made with mostly coconut oil as I find it adds hardness to high glycerin content soaps and also produces the densest lather compared to other oils I have tried. I also use palm oil as a secondary oil because of it's high palmitic acid content(which makes a great replacement for tallow as post saponification they act very much alike because of the high palmitic and stearic acid content). Originally I thought that keeping it vegetable based would help for vegetarian and vegans buying my soaps.

To make soap meltable, to put it simply, is pretty much making a batch of hot process soap, as almost any artisan maker here does, and then adding a specific amount(which can vary) of vegetable glycerin and heat it through again until it is incorporated. I do not add fragrance or essential oils at this point because I feel that they stay truer if I add them right before I pour the soaps instead of subjecting them to the prolonged heating process involved in hot-process soap. This is one of the main reasons I prefer meltable soaps. The other major reason is that I find that the extra moisturizing properties of having a high glycerin content outweighs the difficulties in lathering commonly associated with commercially available melt and pour soaps.

So.. to counteract the lathering issues, I created a new base which is still mostly coconut, but also includes (beef)tallow and palm oil. I may add lanolin to the next batch, but I have to see if the benefits are worth it. I am very happy with the new batch, although I don't usually have issues with lathering my current soap unless I am somewhere with very hard water, and even then I can usually get excellent lather with a little extra water. (or I use bottled water if I am not at home). Anyway, this is not an ad or anything as these soaps are not available yet, but I will be sending out some samples for tests before I release them. If you are interested in testing, leave a comment here and when I am ready I will consult this thread.

I am still experimenting, and I am going to try also adding a small amount of citric acid to the next batch(post saponification) to see if this helps with hard water users. The new batch will possibly be in a new scent, as I may be dropping some of the current lineup, or offering them in limited batches. Everything is going to be in small batches and only a couple or one scent will be available at all times.

If anyone has any other suggestions on making the best meltable high glycerin content soap, I am, as always, all ears. Thank you all for your continued support.

Posted in shave soap, wetshaving


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9 Responses

ALEX DELEON
ALEX DELEON

July 29, 2016

San Antonio draws it’s water from an underground aquifer. It’s naturally filtered, but the filtering is by natural limestone in the aquifer walls. So the water in mineraly hard. So I can only utilize certain soaps. If you believe to have solved normal saponification in hard water, then let me try a samle, or advise me which new batch to try.

Jeff Logan
Jeff Logan

December 14, 2015

Hello Stefan, I just came across your website. Very cool looking products. I’ve been wetshaving for a few years now and if you still need someone to test your new soaps I’d be happy to and also give you honest feedback.
Thanks and best of luck, Jeff

Gary
Gary

December 11, 2015

Your product sounds very promising! As soon as I saw the whiskey based tonic, I had to read more. Leather, whiskey, and gun powder seem to make a great combo when it comes to shave soaps and after shave. I would love to tst some out also! Let me know.

Mark Sykes
Mark Sykes

November 19, 2015

Hi Stefan, I would love to have the opportunity to try your samples and provide feedback.
Thanks,
Mark

Tim's Insanity
Tim's Insanity

November 01, 2015

Hello, I ordered a sample a few months ago of your soap & aftershaves. I must say I had no issues with lather. The scents on the soaps are awesome & the performance is too! Thanks for keeping us up to date on the process.

All the best, Tim
@TimsInsanity

JP Iaconianni
JP Iaconianni

October 23, 2015

I’d try some!

Hayden
Hayden

October 16, 2015

Glad to see you’re experimenting! I do not know the science of soap very well, but it’s exciting to watch and learn those trying to perfect their craft. I have tried samples of your hard soap before (hug fan of Bay Whiskey Lime), and while I was able to get a great lather when I was in a place where I had access to soft water, my home has very hard water, and I could not muster up a lather that would hold well. I would be really interested in trying the new formula of soaps or your shaving creams if you plan on having them back in stock and see how they work with harder water. Because I only have access to hard water, this is really the only reason I haven’t continued purchasing more of your products, I would love to see this compatibility and help give feedback if able to! Cheers!

Glen Anderson
Glen Anderson

October 16, 2015

I’d be interested in testing soap samples.

Matt
Matt

October 15, 2015

I’d love to try a sample!

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