shaving with bronner's

Discussion in 'Shaving Soaps' started by whodat, Apr 3, 2009.

  1. So I ran out of "real" shaving soap 2-3 weeks ago or so. I haven't had a day off in weeks, so I hadn't been able to go to my nearby (20 minutes away) shave & cigar shop to stock back up. I got online and ordered up a few pucks of Conk's Bay Rum and started considering my options.

    I realized that I had a big bottle of Dr. Bronner's lavendar castille soap in the downstairs bath that we used generally for adding scent and cleaning power to an otherwise relaxation-oriented bath. I had, at one time or another, read all the crap written on the bottle, including the "18 uses" for the soap -- one of which was "shaving"...

    I did a quick google (and B&B) search of shaving with Bronner's and I found more questions than answers. Lots of people were asking "what's it like to shave with castille /bronner's soap?" but nobody was really giving a straight-forward answer. So here I go.

    I know the stuff is concentrated, and I took that into account. Here's my method:

    1. Fill shallow (but thick-walled) 4" ceramic bowl with near-boiling water (to preheat the ceramic); let stand for a minute while I brush my teeth
    2. Rinse brush and put into bowl to soak while I either shower or make tea (2 minutes or so)
    3. Empty the bowl of water and give the brush a shake or two
    4. Add 3 drops of Bronner's liquid lavendar castille soap and whisk with brush until quite frothy (approx 30 seconds)... I say "froth" because there's no real "lather"
    5. Apply to face quickly and brush lightly to knock down excess "froth"
    6. Shave WTG. Re-apply and shave XTG.
    7. Rinse with cool water

    I had some irritation the first day, but have always known that any major change in shaving technique will cause the face to rebel at first. So I kept with it for around 2 weeks. Today was the last time I will likely shave with Bronner's soap -- unless forced to again or on camping trips or the like.

    The soap does not lend a very good consistency to the shave. The tiny bubbles tend to break into larger bubbles which slide down the face faster than a real lather. Bronner's also seems to strip all oils off the face -- not unlike some other shaving soaps, but it's something to be aware of. It leaves the face very very very dry! It also left my face prone to irritation -- though no more so than some other irritating shaving soaps. Exercising after shaving was never a good idea with this soap for some reason - it would always cause major redness to develop especially around the chin and upper lip areas.

    Despite the lack of a real lather, the soap allowed the razor to slide across my face quite easily. There was never a stutter in the shave nor weepers or anything like that.

    In summary, I would not use Bronner's as a daily shaving soap for extended periods. In a pinch, it works and might be "the soap" for someone out there. I'd suggest giving it a try and seeing if it agrees with your face.

    Good luck!
  2. I use Bronner's Liquid as a hand soap and it is very drying, I would not even think about using it to shave unless absolutely necessary. Thanks for the heads-up.
  3. I can't fathom trying this once much less for two weeks. Your face must be made of neoprene!
  4. When a company has a "(any number of) uses" blurb, they usually stretch the definition of uses quite a bit. "Use #1001 - good for washing porcupines!".

    I imagine that shaving was listed because somebody in marketing had heard that some people in the old days shaved with soap.
  5. You would have been better off to use a plain moisturizer as a shave cream.
  6. Maybe 3 drops of soap wasn't enough to create lather.
  7. dpm802

    dpm802 Contributor

    I love Dr. B's products, and I've been using them for years ... its always the soap I reach for first in the shower, because it makes me feel CLEAN.

    But I always follow it up with other products that perform other functions, like moisturizing, exfoliation, scent, etc.

    I agree that Bronner soap would make a good emergency shave... however, if I were facing a melt-down situation and this was my only choice to lather up prior to harvesting my whiskers, getting a close comfortable shave would probably be the last thing on my mind.

    Dr. B will always have a place in my bathroom, but I'll stick to the more traditional soaps that are designed from the get-go for shaving (Tabac, Musgo, T&H, etc.)
  8. Certainly not -- it doesn't seem to change consistency no matter how much you use. Three drops is plenty because it's so concentrated.

    I went back to my beloved Conk's today -- heaven.

    It really wasn't a horrible shaving soap alternative -- but not for daily use, EVER. :biggrin:
  9. The lone dissenter here! I've only been wet shaving for a bit over a year. I don't have a ton of experience, but I have tried about 40 of the more popular creams (just a handful of soaps so far) which I learned of from this site, mostly. I use Dr. Bronner's for my shampoo, as well as hand soap in the kitchen. I noticed how lubricated it is, so decided to try to shave with it. I started with the Peppermint, no less, and it's got a pretty stiff jab. The shave was awesome. And you think Proraso is tingly after a cold water rinse...
    My skin is pretty sensitive, but this was a great shave. I used it for a week with nothing but pleasure. I agree that it does not lather much, but it sure worked well for me. I've used the eucalyptus, lavender, and citrus, too, and enjoyed them all.
    Just so I don't sound too crazy, my favorite creams so far are Proraso, Nancy Boy, and CF Lime. For me, the Dr. Bronner's was actually a fringe contender.
    Go figure!
  10. I found that adding a drop to two of Bronner's to Williams Mug Soap made a decent superlather, better than Williams alone.
  11. has anyone used the Bronner's shave gel?
  12. I just tried this today. Except, I used a bar of Bronner's Almond that I kind of melted down in a mug. It sure felt good going on, and the razor glided over my skin like nothing. But yeah, it totally dried out my face. I am going to try it for the rest of this week, and we will see. I really want it to work better. Of course I am still somewhat new at the whole package deal. I don't do any prep really, and I just follow up with a mousturizer. I'll et you all know what transpires over the next 4 days.
  13. Rudy Vey

    Rudy Vey Vendor Contributor

    I like Dr Bronners liquid Castile soap and bar soaps a lot and use them daily in the shower and for washing my hair. I thought I order some of the shave gel to try it out. So I did and I will not try it again or recommend it. The consistency is more like a thicker liquid than a cream, I think a "thin gel" would describe it well.
    It makes very large bubbles and has absolutely no staying power. I used it as I use any other cream, put some in my scuttle and whippped it up with a brush, makes a lather quick, but as I said it is very thin, bubbly and runs down the face just after it was applied and the shave was nothing to write home about. I rinsed my face and gear and made a lather from a real shave cream and started again. Only some $7 down the drain, maybe can be used as hand soap.
  14. I love Bronner'sn Peppermint for basic showering. I was just debating this morning whether to attempt "Use # 8" and shave with it. However, I chickened out, and just slapped some on as an after shave before putting on a moisturizer. The crisp menthol on steroids feeling is awesome, great for waking me up on the train into work.

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