Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Skin Shaving soap consisting of only two ingredients?

  • Shaving soap consisting of only two ingredients?

    Posted by luukheum on October 4, 2017 at 9:26 pm
    Proper shaving soap should really only do two things: 
    * lubricate skin so that the razor bumps less into skin thus creating less cuts 
    * soften hair so the razors cuts more smoothly through the hair thus creating less cuts (speed differences will create more razors cuts)

    I would like to leave cleansing and moisturizing and soothing irritation out of the equation, since I prefer to do this with separate products. Does somebody know which two ingredients would be most successful? Soap might be too harsh, so curious to know if there’s any alternative! Maybe Cetrimonium Chloride and grapeseed oil (not a single ingredient I know).

    David08848 replied 5 years, 11 months ago 6 Members · 6 Replies
  • 6 Replies
  • oldperry

    October 4, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    The problem with answering this question is that you can’t leave the concept of cleansing and moisturizing out of the equation.  For example, soap is a cleansing ingredient. 

    Anything that lubricates will have some moisturizing effect.  But silicones would probably be the best choice for lubricating. Maybe a low molecular weight dimethicone?  This would also probably “soften” the hair too but using some oil might do a better job. Coconut oil perhaps.  Of course, that might be comedogenic so may not be the best idea.

    It’s tough to beat the standard shaving cream.

    water, stearic acid, myristic acid, potassium hydroxide, coconut acid, glycerin,triethanolaminefragrance and sodium hydroxide

  • Bobzchemist

    October 5, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    To explain a little further - after processing, this shaving cream is made up of some mixture of up to nine soaps plus glycerin and fragrance.

    When this is made, the Potassium Hydroxide, Triethanolamine, and Sodium Hydroxide saponify the Stearic, Myristic, and Coconut Acids, making traditional soaps. (If you tried to put all of the potential reaction products on the label it would be too long and confusing - Potassium Stearate, Potassium Myristate, Potassium Cocoate, Sodium Stearate, Sodium Myristate, Sodium Cocoate, Triethanolamine Stearate, Triethanolamine Myristate, Triethanolamine Cocoate).

    One of the problems I see you having is your saying that soap is too “harsh”. That usually means that the soap cleans too well, drying out the skin. Adding glycerin usually fixes this.

  • Belassi

    October 5, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    If you know exactly what % of each fatty acid is required, it would not be difficult to plug various vegetable oils into soapcalc.net to get the same, plus generate the glycerin as a byproduct of decarboxylation. I would think.
    (edit) the problem is to avoid including oleic. If linoleic is OK then sunflower oil / coconut oil / stearic acid would be my first try using easily available oils.

  • David08848

    October 5, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    As I have found over the past few years, formulating a shaving cream is not an easy task!  Each oil/fatty acid has a particular function in this kind of formula.  Stearic Acid provides dense lather with minute bubbles, coconut fatty acid helps with the lathering but has to be used in a particular ratio with the stearic to get just the right kind of lather!  Myristic is often suggested to replace some of the stearic acid to improve the lather because of the characteristics it brings.  KOH, Tea and NaOH are used in particular amounts as well to create a cream that has just the right structure for it’s purpose which opposed to most soaps is the lather it creates and not its ability to clean.  Fatty Acids are most desirable over oil because of the control you have using each fatty acid in a particular amount to create just the result you desire.  As is always the case there are many different aspects of this kind of product that are important to the formulator and as such many different suggestions to ratios of the oils and the bases as well as the water phase too!  Going over every suggested formulation available will give you quite a range of ingredient percentages per each formulator which doesn’t make it easy to find something that is going to work for you.  Although using two ingredients seems to have an appeal it won’t give you all the characteristics you desire in a formula.  “Slip, glide and cushion” as well as “moisturization and skin afterfeel” and although you can try to formulate with just two ingredients, success might not be an easy goal!  The only thing that comes to mind is that some people use a shaving oil which you might wish to investigate… good luck!

  • chemicalmatt

    October 9, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    Nice little synapsis, David08848, regarding shaving soaps.  I’ll add that the order of addition of the alkali has much to do with the outcome as well.  Being a soap guy, you know that already.  I’ll also add that if the formulator can get past the idea of “soap” and use a “gel” for shaving, the attributes get more diverse and the ingredients and outcome more interesting. I’ll say no more except to hint that luukheum may be onto something with his/her(?) CETAC idea.

  • David08848

    October 9, 2017 at 11:12 pm

    matt, I know what you mean about the alkali!  Some formulas are done in stages, some adding alkali gradually and fatty acid like stearic at the end and some combine all alkali together all at one time!

    I can see the attraction to a gel but I’m not sure how that would work with my current product line… yes, the CETAC does have appeal… perhaps something to include in a preshave to assist in moisturizing the beard hair before shaving?  Whaddaya, think, matt?

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