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Over a year ago I shared my recipe for the shaving cream that I accidentally made when I messed up the dish soap I was trying to make. I have since reworked this recipe to make it work even better for you and your soon to be silky smooth legs! With summertime in full swing, the one thing I can count on is the need to shave my hairy greek legs to feel that silky smooth feeling that you get when you stick your freshly shaven legs between fresh cool bed sheets on a warm summer night. I truly love that feeling, but it's hard to shave without a good shaving cream to help protect your skin from nicks, cuts, and even skin dryness. What's even worse is that most of the popular brands of shaving creams that are sold in YOUR local grocery stores are filled with toxic ingredients that are even banned in many other countries. We have talked about this before; your skin is your largest organ and up to 70% of what you put ON your skin can be absorbed into your blood stream.
How TOXIC is YOUR Shaving Cream?
If you take a second to look at the ingredients on the label of your most common brands of shaving cream, you will find a plethora of toxic ingredients that have been known to cause a whole host of problems including cancer, asthma, dermatitis, and more! Some of these ingredients that you should avoid in ALL of your cosmetic products, if you are buying them from the store rather than making them yourself, are:
- Parabens – One of the most widely used preservatives in bath and beauty care products, parabens prevent the growth of bacteria, mold, and yeast in all of your beauty products. Parabens have been known to be hormone and endocrine disruptors, mimicking estrogen, and causing cancer, especially breast cancer. Parabens have even been identified in biopsy samples taken from breast and ovarian tumors. The use of parabens also has been linked to reproductive toxicity, immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity, and skin irritation.
- Isobutane – Used as a replacement for Ozone-Repleting CFC's, Isobutane is a petroleum derived gas that is a known irritant to skin, the lungs, and the eyes. Isobutane has been classified by the EPA as harmful by inhalation and in contact with skin, dangerous for the environment, and very toxic to aquatic organisms.
- Fragrances – This category scares me the most because you really have no idea what you are getting when you see this listed on the label. A long time ago this term was created so that companies could protect their secret formulas for their specific scent creations. The problem with this is that you never know what kind of chemical concoction they've come up with to create this scent. The Environmental Working Group's 2004 analysis of potentially sensitizing ingredients in cosmetics shows that “Approximately half of all products examined list the word “fragrance” on the label. Fragrances are considered to be among the top five known allergens” They also noted that certain types of asthma attacks are “specifically triggered by, and only by, cosmetic fragrances.”
- Phthalates – This group of chemicals is used on many of our bath and beauty products to increase the flexibility and softness of plastics. Phthalates are known to be endocrine disruptors and have been linked to breast cancer, early breast development in girls, and reproductive defects in both girls and boys. Most of the time, phthalates aren't even listed on the ingredients label. They're usually added to fragrances and become part of the “secret ingredients”, therefore not having to be listed on the label at all.
- Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) / Sodium Laureth sulfate (SLES) – Many of the “soaps” on the market these days (i.e. your shampoo, body wash, etc.) are not soap at all, but synthetic detergents and surfactants that are created in a lab, to clean. About 90% of the cleaning products and toiletries on the market have surfactants in them. SLS has been known to be a skin, lung, and eye irritant and most of the concern surrounding it is because of its ability to interact with other chemicals, creating carcinogens.
- Formaldehyde – Used in many bath and beauty products in the form of preservatives called DMDM Hydantion & Urea (Imidazolidinyl). These can particularly be found in shampoos and baby soaps. These formaldehyde-releasing preservatives have been known to cause joint pain, cancer, skin allergies, rashes, depression, headaches, chest pains, ear infections, and even insomnia.
- Propylene Glycol – A synthetic glycerin type product that is most commonly found in anti-freeze, brake fluid, and cosmetic products sold in the US, Propylene Glycol is created during the petroleum refining process. Propylene Glycol not only dries out the skin, but it also is considered a STRONG skin irritant according to its MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet)
I have a SECRET to a GREAT shaving cream!
At the beginning of this summer, I thought I would try some new recipes for shaving cream. It seems like every recipe that I come across is strictly butters and oils, and whipped like a body butter. Though this made my legs uber soft and silky I did not have an easy time using these recipes! There were several things that made my shaving experience with shaving butters, more difficult. For one, the butters constantly clogged up my razor making it a much longer shaving process to clean the razor in between each and every stroke. These butters also made the tub a whole lot more slippery and dangerous, which is not good for me since I can not feel my feet. I also do not like shaving with body butter type recipes because they do not leave a nice foam trail to keep track of where I have and haven't shaven. My secret to a GREAT shaving cream is combining soap with the butter and oils so that when it is whipped it foams up and creates the kind of shaving cream I am looking for; one that protects and moisturizes my skin while also being easy to use and clean up after.
Herbal infusions for EXTRA healing power
It's no secret on this blog, that I think herbs are the bomb! (Do people still say this phrase?…does that statement date me?) I LOVE using herbs to boost the benefits of the products that I make for myself in my own home. Shaving cream is no different, there are many herbs we can use to boost the healing powers of our shaving cream to help with everything from dry skin, razor burn, and healing cuts and scrapes! All you need to do, to give this recipe an herbal healing boost, is add 1 Tablespoon of each herb that you are wanting to use, to your boiling soapy water in this recipe, and let it steep, during the cooling phase. Strain the herbs from the mixture before the blending process!
- Calendula flowers – The all-around skin healing herb is a must-have for something like shaving cream. Used in everything from owie creams to facial toners, calendula has long been known to help heal cuts, scrapes, wounds and more with its anti-inflammatory properties. I pretty much use calendula in everything that I make for healing skin care.
- Chamomile flowers – This anti-inflammatory herb is great for soothing irritation and softening the skin. Chamomile has long been used to help heal wounds and irritation. Chamomile is a great herb to use for sensitive skin types!
- Lavender buds – Famous for its soothing properties, lavender is naturally antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory, making it a great soothing herb to infuse into your shaving cream.
- Marshmallow Root – This herb is great for hair and skin because of it's mucilaginous (slipperyness) effects. Using this herb in your infusion will help keep razor burn at bay because of its natural anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Mullein flowers – I know you bought some of this to make your own ear oil to treat ear infections and earaches, so now you have one more use for this herb! Mullein has been known to help make skin silky soft and smooth! It also contains antiseptic properties, helping to keep any nicks and cuts clean so they can heal properly.
- Plantain leaf – Used in classic folk herbalism for basically any wound healing, plantain is great at healing all sorts of skin conditions including eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, and more! Naturally anti-inflammatory, plantain can quickly help heal nicks and cuts that happen during shaving.
- Red Clover – Red clover has long been used topically for relieving all sorts of skin conditions, including eczema psoriasis, burns and more! Containing analgesic properties along with anti-inflammatory properties, red clover makes for the perfect herbal addition to shaving cream.
- Rose petals – Known for its gentle properties, rose is a staple herb for use in skin care. Even the most sensitive of skins have no issues using rose! Roses naturally help moisturize and reduce inflammation, while still containing antiseptic properties to keep cuts and nicks clean.
- Yarrow – This herb is AMAZING when it comes to bleeding wounds. Used all over the world by native tribes, the Greeks, and even in Traditional Chinese Medicine for bleeding. This herb contains it all; anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, and even analgesic, yarrow is a herb that should not be left out when making your shaving cream!
Smooth-Hippy Shaving Cream
This recipe can be used for women and men alike. It's great for shaving legs, faces, bikini lines, armpits, and more! Though you can
- 1 1/2 cups boiling filtered water
- 1/4 cup aloe vera gel
- 1 bar of castile soap, grated (I like to use Dr. Bronner's bars soaps)
- 2 Tbsp. unrefined coconut oil
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (I love to use a calendula infused oil here to help with healing my skin further!)
- 2 Tbsp. unrefined shea butter
- squirt of vitamin e (optional – this not only helps to further moisturize your skin
- squirt of colloidal silver (optional – I like to add this for both it's amazing topical healing abilities as well as to help naturally preserve the finished product)
- In a double boiler, melt your coconut oil, shea butter, and olive oil together. Let sit on the heat for 20 minutes once melted, to help prevent the shea butter from turning gritty later.
- While your butter/oils are heating up in the double boiler, bring your water to a boil. Remove water from heat and add aloe vera gel and grated bar soap in a large bowl. Stir until soap is completely dissolved. Let soapy water mixture sit on the counter to cool.
- Once your 20 minutes is up on the butter/oils, remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Once both oil mixture and water mixture are both cooled a bit (around 100 degrees or warm enough for the butter to still be melted), we are going to mix them together the same way we would if we were making a lotion. That is to say, get out your food processor/blender/hand mixer. I am using my hand mixer for this but you can do this in your large food processor or blender if that is what you have on hand. No matter the method, you're going to blend while pouring the butter/oil mixture slowly into the soapy water mixture. Once combined, you can blend in the vitamin e and colloidal silver if you are using either.
- If you were impatient and happened to blend them into one another too soon (meaning they are still too liquidy and haven't cooled enough to be a thick whipped cream like texture), don't fret. I get impatient all the time and this is how I deal with it. Make an ice bath in a separate larger bowl and put your shaving cream mixture's bowl in the ice bath. Every 3-5 minutes or so blend it with your hand blender until you get the thickness and consistency you were looking for.
- Whether you were impatient or not, this shaving cream will be completely finished processing itself overnight. You can use it as soon as you are finished making it, but it will get a little bit thicker and foamier as it cools completely overnight.
- Store in a glass mason jar. This recipe fills (2) 1-Quart mason jars.
TO USE: Scoop out a hand full of shaving cream, lather up wet legs, shave, and rinse! If you're shaving your face, you can always follow with a really great homemade aftershave! If you are shaving your legs or bikini area then follow up with a REALLY AMAZING homemade body butter! I have found that consistently using my body butter on my legs right after shaving in the shower, has helped my hair to grow back thinner, softer, and less often.
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