Calendula Shave Soap Recipe {dual lye, palm free}

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calendula shave soap and shave brush being lathered in a shave mug

This calendula shave soap recipe was requested by newsletter subscriber Lianne, which was perfect timing since my husband also requested some new shave soap. 🙂

It includes both sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide, plus has a high amount of stearic acid in order to produce a dense lather that’s perfect for shaving.

Most shave soap recipes rely on soy wax or stearic acid flakes to meet the criteria for stearic acid amount, but I prefer making shave soaps without either of those two ingredients, so instead rely on kokum butter, which contains 56% stearic acid.

It took a lot of experimenting and failed batches to get the basic shave soap to turn out to my satisfaction (and more importantly, meet my husband’s approval too), which is why I don’t recommend changing up any of the oils and butters in this recipe, without first reading the accompanying article on how to create your own shave soap recipe.

If you’ve purchased my print book, Simple & Natural Soapmaking, then you’ll recognize that this recipe is based on the Cedarwood & Coconut Milk Shave Soap recipe on pages 123 – 125. (Don’t have my book yet? You can learn more HERE!)

Before You Begin

  1. Purchase both sodium hydroxide, such as Red Crown High Test Lye or ComStar Pure Lye, AND (90% purity) potassium hydroxide, such as Essential Depot or Bramble Berry brand.
  2. Make calendula tea by pouring 16 oz (454 g) simmering hot distilled water over a cup or so of dried calendula flowers. Steep for at least 30 minutes to an hour, strain and then cool completely in your fridge. (Add more water to the tea until it weighs 16 oz again.)
  3. Infuse the coconut oil with calendula flowers, following the quick infusion directions in this post on 10 Things to Make with Calendula.
  4. Shave soaps aren’t as complicated as they look, but you should have some prior soapmaking experience before trying this recipe.

dense foamy lather of calendula shave soap recipe in a mug with shaving brush

Ingredients for Making Calendula Shave Soap Recipe {dual lye}

* For variety & enhanced lather, try replacing half of the calendula tea with coconut milk.

  • 16 oz (454 g) cooled calendula tea
  • 1.2 oz (34 g) sodium hydroxide
  • 1.8 oz (51 g) potassium hydroxide (90% purity)
  • 10.6 oz (300 g) kokum butter (60%)
  • 3.5 oz (100 g) calendula infused coconut oil (20%)
  • 2.6 oz (75 g) castor oil (15%)
  • 0.88 oz (25 g) shea butter (5%)
  • 0.5 oz (14 g) vegetable glycerin
  • essential oils of choice (see below)
  • shaving brush, required for proper lathering

(Etsy is a great source for handmade shaving bowls, mugs and brushes.)

How dual lye calendula shave soap recipe looks while it's cooking

Directions to Make Calendula Shave Soap Recipe

  1. Put on protective goggles and gloves.
  2. Sprinkle both types of lye into the cooled tea, one at a time; stirring until completely dissolved. Set aside.
  3. Melt the butters and coconut oil, then combine with the castor oil in a 2 quart slow cooker (crockpot).
  4. Turn the heat to low.
  5. Pour the lye solution into the warmed oils and start stirring, using a combination of hand stirring and an immersion blender, until light trace is reached. (About 10 minutes.)
  6. Cover the slow cooker and cook the soap, checking every 15 minutes, stirring if needed.
  7. Cook about 1 hour or until the soap is transparent and resembles glossy mashed potatoes when stirred.
  8. Turn off the slow cooker, remove the top and allow the soap to cool for a few minutes.
  9. Combine the vegetable glycerin and essential oils and stir into the cooked soap.
  10. Spoon and firmly press the soap into a column mold (I use THIS ONE) or individual round molds.
  11. Leave the soap uncovered for 24 hours or until cool.
  12. Remove from mold, slice into bars and cure for at least 3 weeks before using.

* My crockpot runs hot, so your cook time may vary. Allow for an extra 30 minutes to an hour cooking if needed.

round shave soaps and shave soap in a mug

Essential Oils

  • Those with sensitive skin or noses may wish to leave this recipe unscented, adding the glycerin after cook time, without the essential oils.
  • For a fresh touch of orange scent, try 18 grams of ten-fold (10x) orange essential oil + 12 grams grapefruit essential oil.
  • Or, you may enjoy my all-time favorite shave soap essential oil blend of 5 grams cedarwood atlas + 2 grams clove + 2 grams vetiver essential oils.
  • Feel free to experiment with other essential oil combinations, using my printable essential oils for soapmaking chart for reference if needed.

For more soapmaking tutorials and recipes, check out my natural soapmaking resource page.

Did you enjoy this tutorial on making Calendula Shave Soap? If so, let’s keep in touch!

Subscribe to my newsletter to receive my best natural soapmaking recipes, DIY body care tutorials and fun projects you can make with common flowers and herbs.

DIY Calendula Shave Soap Recipe - This dual lye homemade calendula shave soap recipe has a dense creamy lather and features skin soothing calendula flowers, kokum butter, coconut oil, castor oil, and shea butter. (Contains no palm oil or soy wax.)

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