If you’ve ever tried to shave your legs with just water and soap or—heavens to Betsy!—totally dry, you know that it’s like getting a sandpaper massage from Satan. That’s why we need shaving cream, humanity!
Unfortunately, shaving is kind of crapsauce for the environment, not only because of all the plastic disposable razors we go through, but because the shaving creams we buy/steal from our boyfriends are harsh on our skin and harsh on the planet to produce.
What bugs me most about standard shaving creams are the gross things that are in it, like:
- Stearic acid
- Lanolin, which is extracted from sheep’s wool and can be a concern for vegans
- Polyoxyethylene sorbitan monostearate (c’mon, you just know that’s going to be freaky and will probably like dissolve your soul)
- Controversial chemicals like triethanolamine, petroleum-based oils and lauryl sulfates
- Charlie Sheen
- Baby seal tears
Now, the most eco-friendly thing to do would be to not shave your legs at all. If that floats your boat, ladies, green props to you! I, however, prefer to shave, and so I want a way to get that smooth feeling they talk about in those ‘90s commercials for Silk Effects without making baby seals cry.
GET THIS: Some people on the Internet are saying that you can use PEANUT BUTTER as a shave gel. But I don’t think my roommates would be thrilled to see chunks of Jif gurgling up from the shower drain, even though this is Brooklyn, so I don’t think I’ll ever find out if crunchy PB could work as a gentle, protein-packed exfoliant.
Since I don’t want to turn my legs into a delicious sandwich, and since I also don’t want to keep going through bottle after bottle of icky corporate goo, I decided to try out a recipe for homemade shaving cream. Here we go!
What you’ll need (I found everything at Whole Foods):
— 4 tbsp. of a heavy natural oil (Jojoba would work. I used sweet almond oil, around $5)
— 2 tbsp. cocoa butter (cheap)
— 1 tsp. baking soda (you should already have this)
— 4 tbsp. castile soap (you can clean almost anything with this stuff! Awesome buy FTW!)
— 1 ½ cups water (see: baking soda)
— Essential oil for fragrance (optional)
1. Using a double boiler, or MacGyvering one from two saucepans like me, heat up the cocoa butter and almond oil on low.It will look vaguely disgusting, but the cocoa butter chunks will melt pretty much ASAP.
2. Pour mixture into bowl and allow to cool. It will look something like this and smell like chocolate. Yum! Don’t taste it, though.
3. In a different pot (or, uh, rinse out the one you just used because you don’t really cook and thus own only the one pot), add the water and set heat to low.
4. Add your castile soap to the water. Smells fresh and lavender-y!
5. I added a touch of honey, because, IDK, honey seems to work well in all this kind of stuff, right?
6. Add baking soda, and you’ll end up with something that looks like this. Stir until the baking soda is dissolved, and then remove from heat. Say hi to your roommate who just got home and who probably suspects you have started a meth lab.
7. Pour baking soda mixture into bowl with essential oil mixture. Oh hey, it looks like alien pee! Steel yourself to continue. I added a few drops of the lavender oil I already had, just for fragrance and serenity and stuff.
8. Pour mixture into roommate’s blender and blend for at least 2 minutes, or, if you’re a one-woman gun show, you can whisk it by hand. It will start to foam up like this.
It’s “learn from my mistakes” time! Be sure to only fill the blender halfway full, or else when the stuff starts to froth, it will overflow and vomit foam down the sides of the blender and all over your kitchen and send you down to the drugstore for a six-pack of Dos Equis, where you will gaze longingly at the bottles of Skintimate and wonder why you are doing this, anyway.
9. The finished product will look something like this: a thick, goopy white foam. Mmm, meringue! Consider going back to the drugstore for a pie. Do drugstores make pie?
Instead, decide you should clean roommate’s blender thoroughly so that she won’t have essential oil-tinged margaritas.
10. If you are artsy, you can put your shaving cream into a twee little canister. You’re done!
11. Later, decide to go shave your legs with your new Frankencream. Look at it and realize it looks all flat and stuff, like it took its shaving foam Wonderbra off. WTF!
12. Shake the canister like it’s 2003 and the canister is like a Polaroid picture, and it will get frothy again. If it’s still not foamy enough for you, and you like things that are a pain in the ass, you could always whip it up in your blender again, or put it in one of those foaming dispenser bottles like hand soap sometimes comes in.
13. Time to shave! Smear/dump/pour shave cream on your legs. It definitely has a nice feel to it; a rich texture of oils without seeming greasy. Afterwards, my legs felt amazingly soft, like a happy baby seal. I also tried washing my face with it because I’m weird, and even my face feels terrific. I love you, natural soap!
The shave foam is a little watery, so if you’re used to the Gillette cans of pressurized air and thick goo like me, it might take some getting used to. I think that if I make another batch, I would either add less water or replace some of it with aloe vera gel to make more of a paste-like texture.