Bar soaps are fun with the swirls and the drama of never knowing what’s going to happen once you add that fragrance oil into the mix. It’s quite the adventure! But even more fun and rather dreamy to see is creating cream soap. Little to nothing is written about this slightly off the beaten path region of the soapy world we are immersed in and I’d be the last one to tell you something new about it. It’s mysterious, an enigma, yet due to its elusiveness, I can’t help but be intrigued and want to attack this mythical wonder with as much effort as possible.
I tried making a cream soap once before and didn’t not like how it turned out. The finished foamy concoction was too sticky yet very drying even though that combo seems strangely contradictory. Sticky should have some conditioning qualities, yet that batch oddly did not. It cleaned my sinks for a while until it was gone and I waited another 3 years to try again. In between, however, was not idly spent time. Recipes were worked, tossed, tweaked, and perhaps tossed out again, replaced and finally one seemed to be good enough to try, so the batch I’ve pictured below is the result of that herculean effort.
Sadly I took no photos during the process, so I can’t show you what it looked like earlier, but it was not nearly as tempting as this is! It never seemed to break or soften as many others have stated theirs did after a few months, weeks or even days. It stayed fairly firm right up until this afternoon when I took a mixer to it and whipped it to a frothy confection with a tad bit of hot water, then threw in some pink Himalayan salt though I’ve stolen a bit here and there and feel no salt whatsoever in this! It’s a gloriously foamy, soft, and yes conditioning foamy soap that I think I’m truly going to enjoy testing out with fragrances and shaving.
It’s getting close to summer now and of course, that means shaving is necessary once again. Though men have it far rougher with daily shaving being a necessity of life unless they prefer to go with today’s current trend and have a tidy beard and moustache. I hoped to find something that would make shaving less rough, less chafing, less tedious & even painful. I’m hoping this batch gets me there.
I used glycerin in the soap’s basic formulation for a rich dense glide, plus an addtional boost fromcoconut water for greater bubbling action and a helping of Kaolin white clay for ease during close shaves. I’ve heard mixed remarks about clay being beneficial for slip, some favor it while others state it simply makes slip harder to achieve due to the tendency of the clay to clog up between those multiple blades on many razor models. Of course, those who prefer the Old School single blade razors may differ in their opinions on the use of clays in shaving foams or whipped cream soaps.
With any soap that includes water or other liquid, in this case coconut water, I’ve also added preservative to prevent spoilage. The water is added after the soap paste is cooked, so the preservative is necessary. If you’ve already spent two months or more on creating a foaming soap, you don’t want to risk losing it to mold & bacteria buildup because you wanted to avoid using a preservative.
So, the main thing about a cream soap is this – it takes patience. Those who’ve done hot process & cold process should have no problem with creating a cream soap. Many of the online soap calculators will give you the correct proportions of KOH and NaOH to use to make a batch, so use them, play with various formulas, find a combination of oils you really like for their conditioning and bubbling (oleic and lauric acids offer these qualities, but they’re not alone!) Use glycerin – it really does make the difference in a soap that doesn’t dry versus one that does! If you want a stiffer soap, use more firm oils or butters, but remember that they will affect the end results in reduced bubbles. Your conditioning will be better but the bubbliness will be worse. Find that balance between both worlds. Also consider using confectioners sugar mixed into your hot water/liquid during the soap making phase to boost the bubbles further.
Don’t be afraid to experiement with this type of soap because it’s not so frequently spoken of, shown or done. Be bold and just do it! It’s really not hard, it just takes patience because it will need to rest for quite a while so it will finally loosen up and become the frothy creamy confection you see above. This batch was initially made in February! It’s now May 1st and just now to the point where it’s reaching what I’d like to see in a cream soap. Give it a try and see if it’s something you’d like to add to your repertoir. It’s worth it!