Let’s say you’ve gone to the farmers market and you’ve found a fantastic shave soap but you’re unsure if it’ll fit in your cup or bowl you’ve got back at home for just such a purpose. You find out later that the new soap is too big. What do you do now? You might be asking, can I melt this shaving soap to make it fit?
It is possible to melt glycerine-based shaving soap. Start by cutting the block into smaller pieces, then melt (this method will vary depending on whether you’re using a stovetop or microwave) the soap. Allow to cool, and it will be solid and ready to use after two days. You cannot melt shaving soaps that have a tallow base or are triple-milled.
There are other methods in addition to melting to fit your shave soap bar in a specific container, so read on if you’d like to know more.
Is it possible to melt shaving soap?
Generally speaking, it is possible to melt shaving soap.
If you have scraps left over and you want to combine soaps, or you want to clean out the container you’re using and melting is simpler. Personally, I use a small mug and most handmade soaps are cut into rectangles or squares. Melting can help fit those odd cuts of soap if you have something similar.
Some agree that grating the soap is a safer option if you’re concerned about overheating your soap and destroying its lathering and lubrication properties. A few even use this method to combine soaps with different fragrances for a new scent entirely.
If you’re using a soap that cannot be melted, shaving experts suggest grating the soap and pressing it into the cup. After pressing it tightly the natural oils and waxes almost rebind the soap together, especially after a few uses.
What kind of shaving soaps can be melted
Most types of shaving soaps can be melted, but you should verify this against the ingredients list.
Shaving soaps that contain these base ingredients can be melted:
- Goat milk
- Shea butter
- Aloe vera
- Cocoa butter
- Olive oil
- White coconut
What kind of shaving soaps can’t be melted
Before attempting to melt your shaving soap, make sure that it is not composed of ingredients that should not be subjected to heat.
These soaps should not be melted:
- Tallow Base
- Triple Milled
How to melt shave soap with a microwave
Melting shave soap in a microwave is a fairly straightforward process, but you should be careful not to overheat the soap as it is possible to ruin the scent of your soap and the (hopefully) neutral aroma of your microwave.
To melt shave soap in a microwave:
- Cut or grate the soap into smaller pieces.
- Place the soap in a microwave-safe container, or if it fits, the container you intend to store it in.
- Microwave the soap for 15 seconds at a time. Watch the soap closely for hotspots (where it’s more liquid in one place than another).
- If the soap is still too solid, repeat the process for 15 seconds again, until it becomes a liquid.
- Stir and set aside to cool at room temperature. Best practice is to wait 2 days before using the soap again.
It is not recommended to melt shave soap with a microwave for two reasons, a) temperature control is extremely difficult and b) because of the difficulty of temperature control, it’s possible to burn the fragrance of the soap and get it stuck in your microwave, leading to Old Spice tasting ramen noodles.
How to melt shave soap on the stove
Melting shave soap on the stove provides a more consistent heating method, but it does require attention and patience.
To melt shave soap on the stove:
- Cut or grate the soap into smaller pieces.
- Place the soap in a heat-safe container. Make sure it’s small enough to fit in a saucepan.
- Fill the saucepan with enough water to cover half of the exterior of the soap container.
- Slowly bring water to a boil, paying attention to the state of the soap.
- Once the soap starts to melt on the sides, take off the heat.
- Set aside until cooled. Once again, wait 2 days before using the soap again.
How to make melt and pour shaving soap
Melt and pour shaving soaps are as their name suggests really easy to get in a new container.
Once you know what kind of soap you like, it’s possible to make your own and change containers as needed. Refer to the list above for good base ideas. You’ll also need a fragrance of your choice, glycerine if you’re not already using a good base, a colorant of your choice (if desired), and a mold (silicone or plastic). Since soap base melting points are typically around 120°F be sure you have heat-safe tools and have heat-safe gloves handy.
To make and pour shaving soap:
- Chop your base into smaller pieces.
- Melt your base in a heat-safe container using either method above, stirring occasionally. (If using the microwave, stir after each 15 second segment.)
- Mix your fragrance oils in with the base (these can be essential oils).
- Mix in your colorant as desired (if using a powder, wet it with a bit of 99% isopropyl alcohol).
- Pour the liquid into molds and let sit until fully cool and hardened. If storing for a length of time, cover in plastic wrap to prevent dew.