Shaving Soap (Cold Process)

This homemade cold process natural shave soap recipe features castor oil and rich butters to make a bubbly, creamy, moisturizing bar!

round bars of soap on bamboo cutting board with fresh sprigs of cedar

While I have recipes for making dual lye shave soap on my site, some have asked for a simpler shave soap recipe that uses just one type of lye, so I was excited to see this recipe in fellow soapmaker, Kelly Cable’s, newest book – Easy Soap Making, and even more excited that her publisher is letting me share it with you today.

The book is a user friendly guide to making a variety of creative Melt-and-Pour, Hand-Milled, and Cold-Process soaps. You can check it out on Amazon!

Some links on this site are affiliate links; I only recommend products I personally use and enjoy. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Shaving Soap Recipe

Excerpt from Easy Soap Making, by Kelly Cable, published by Rockridge Press. Copyright © 2021 by Callisto Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Images by Jan Berry.

No more using that rusty old can of store-bought shaving cream. The castor oil and rich butters in this recipe make this bubbly, creamy, moisturizing all-natural bar great for shaving.

Yield: 2 pounds of 8 (4-ounce) bars

Start-to-Finish Time: 30 minutes active time, with time between for ingredients to cool; 24 hours, plus 4 to 6 weeks curing

Lye Discount: 5% superfat

round bar of soap in rustic vine basket surrounded by fresh cedar sprigs

Ingredients for Shave Soap

Base Oils

  • 7 oz coconut oil
  • 5 oz castor oil
  • 5 oz shea butter
  • 5 oz sweet almond oil

Lye Water

  • 7.7 oz water
  • 3 oz lye


  • 0.35 oz cedarwood essential oil
  • 0.35 oz lavender essential oil

Directions to Make Shave Soap

  1. Line a soap mold with parchment or wax paper before beginning if you’re not using a silicone mold.
  2. In a glass bowl, weigh the coconut oil, castor oil, shea butter, and sweet almond oil and, using a spatula, transfer them to a large stainless steel pot. Melt over medium-low heat. Remove from the heat and let cool to 90°F.
  3. In a plastic container, weigh the water and set it outside. Put on gloves, goggles, and a carbon-filter mask and weigh the lye crystals in a small zip-top bag. Take the lye crystals outside, pour them into the water, and stir with a stainless steel spoon. Be sure to wear a carbon-filter mask because the lye water will give off a gas for 1 to 2 minutes and heat rapidly. Let cool to 90°F.
  4. When both the oils and the lye water have cooled to about 90°F, pour the lye water into the oils and blend with an immersion blender, pulsing it on and off, until the mixture begins to thicken to light trace.
  5. Add the essential oils and blend.
  6. Pour the soap into the prepared mold, cover, and allow it to cure for 24 hours. Remove the soap from the mold and cut it into bars with a knife or bench scraper. Allow them to cure for 4 to 6 weeks to harden. Store in a cool, dry location. Plastic shoeboxes, with the lids left slightly ajar so no moisture builds up, are a good storage option.


Remember to weigh each ingredient very carefully and check the temperatures regularly.

Other scents that pair well with cedarwood are lemon, rosemary, eucalyptus, and orange.

Replace the coconut oil with babassu oil and the sweet almond oil with olive oil if you have an allergy or sensitivity to either.

(An extra tip from Jan: I tried out this recipe using Crafter’s Elements 12-cavity round mold which sometimes tends to hold on to moisture in soap a bit longer. If you have a mold like that, try reducing the water amount to a 2:1 water:lye ratio – or 6 ounces of water, for a quicker release. Adding 1 tsp of sodium lactate to the cooled lye solution could be a good addition too.) 😊




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  1. Hi Jan,
    I wanted to make this for Christmas presents. I have tins to put round bars into. My worry is when the shaving brush is used with a little water will the bar become mushy and not harden back up in the tin. Is there any special instructions I should include in the gift?
    Thanks Denise

    1. Hi Denise! It depends on how the shaver uses the soap – if you lather right in the tin, you can leave the top off for a while to let it air dry. Or some just keep the tops off all the time.
      Others create lather in a bowl, in their palm, or right on their face. The Badger & Blade forum has some good threads you might enjoy reading through to get a feel of what shavers are looking for: 😊

      1. I it possible to substitute the shea butter for mango butter? And would it be the same amount if substituted? It’s all I have on hand atm.

        1. Hi Cassandra! Yes, you can swap out mango butter and shea butter in soap recipes, using the same amount. They have a similar requirement for lye, so I use them interchangeably. :)

    1. Hi Diana! I haven’t tried goat’s milk with this recipe, but since it’s a cold process recipe, I think it would probably work out just fine! 😊

  2. Please would you consider changing “flowers and weeds” to “garden and wildflowers” (technically, store-bought non-native flowers and wildflowers!)? The label “weeds” was created by weedkiller salespeople, a label (and industry) that drives habitat destruction. The only real weeds are invasive non-native plants (historically usually having arrived as “garden” plants!)

    1. Hi Zoe, Thank you so much for sharing your perspective! I love that you are passionate about plants! ❤
      As a different perspective, I purposely like using the word weeds because that’s the term most people are familiar with.
      I want to change the paradigm that ‘weeds’ is a bad word and that they’re bad plants, and I want to describe them using the language most of my readers are familiar with.
      Someone might see the word weeds used by me and think, ‘wait – I can take a common weed and make something useful from it?!’ whereas wildflowers may feel a little more removed from daily life.
      Most people will encounter a plant such as dandelion, chickweed, or plantain in their yards or park, etc, and will automatically think about (and possibly search for) them using the word weed, and I want to meet them there when they do. (And hopefully open their minds!)
      I do think we’re on the same page in our love for these under-valued plants and appreciate you sharing your viewpoint, and I will definitely consider it more! 😊

    1. Hi Kelsey! I found it took a bit longer time to unmold too, unless reducing the water amount and/or adding sodium lactate (from the making tips under the recipe direction.) Try popping it in the freezer for several hours or until it’s frozen solid, then unmold directly on a piece of parchment or wax paper. Let the soap sit undisturbed as it returns to room temperature (it will likely get condensation on the surface, but that’s okay). Then from there the soap can cure as normal. After some time in the open air, it should harden up. If it’s still really soft in a couple of weeks, then there could be another issue going on, possibly with the lye. Here’s an article on troubleshooting that goes into that more, and if you want to email pictures, more details, etc, to then we can help troubleshoot further too. :)

    1. Hi Krystal! It’s hard to find a direct substitute for castor oil, since it has unique properties compared to other oils.
      It helps support and boost lather – making soap nice and bubbly.
      The best tactic is probably to replace the castor oil with another liquid oil, like olive or rice bran, and add lather boosters such as honey, aloe, milk, sugar.
      (Using aloe liquid instead of water would probably give the soap a great feel, plus boost lather/bubbles.)
      It won’t be the same kind of soap, but it will still be a nice soap! :)

  3. If I wanted to add an exfoliant (like shredded coconut (coir) or oatmeal or seasalt, etc., which would you use? At what step would you add it?

    1. Hi Alisha! You could try finely ground oatmeal as a gentle exfoliant – blending it in with the oils, or at trace. I think coconut might be a little coarse for shave soap, and sea salt could possibly dissolve right into the batter, but you could always make a few small test batches with different additives and see what happens – you might create a new and awesome combination! :)

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