Herbal Apothecary: Homemade Shaving Cream
Another shower staple I recently ran out of? Shaving gel. It took a little more searching to find a recipe for this that sounded doable (and that I already had most of the ingredients for). I found some crazy suggestions to mix shampoo and lotion and call it good. What I ended up with as a starting point was a page from wellnessmama.com, which had recipes for both a foaming shaving soap and a shaving cream. Since the soap is meant to be used in one of those foaming pump dispensers (and since I just happened to have a newly empty one lying around), that's what I went with. The cream looks awesome, but really thick, and seemed like it would be a pain to deal with digging it out of a jar in the shower.
I had to cut the recipe I found (see the link above) in half, since my foaming bottle only holds 6 ounces. Here's the measurements I used:
1/8 cup aloe vera gel
1/8 cup liquid castile soap (Dr. Bronner's lavender, so no additional essential oil required – it has a pretty strong aroma already!)
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil (I used my comfrey-infused oil)
1/8 cup distilled water (I used rose water)
2 vitamin E capsules (which I added for preservation of that comfrey oil)
This couldn't be easier to make – just add ingredients and stir. The soap foams up a little as you do it, but no big deal. (Oh, you puncture and squeeze the vitamin E out of the capsules.) This has a pretty strong smell: lots of lavender, which is almost medicinal rather than floral, to my nose. That works for me as a shaving thing. All that lavender and rose should be kind of astringent, which is good for cuts, and the comfrey oil is meant to promote healing and softer skin.
This is what it looks like after being foamed up in the dispenser. I've been giving it a shake before using to make sure the oil is mixed it. It works well, but it's definitely different than a shaving cream or gel, if that's what you're used to. A gel makes a nice, thick layer on your skin, and I would kind of use it to keep track of what was shaved and what wasn't done yet (I shower before coffee, after all). This foam is much thinner, so you have to pay attention without the roadmap so you don't miss spots. It's quite slick, though, so it does its job keeping the razor gliding over the skin. It also leaves my skin nice and soft (and not at all dry) afterward, which is an improvement over the old can of Skintimate. I'm not totally sure about the closeness of the shave – this isn't a huge requirement in the winter, so to be honest, I'm not keeping careful tabs on that. When summer rolls back around, that will be a better test. This is another homemade concoction that takes some getting used to, but it's certainly no worse than a store-bought version.