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Lye Soap Shave

Hi all.

Well, I tried it - shaving with lye soap that is. Let me explain.

My mother-n-law (who loves me as much as she does my wife :001_rolle) found some woman in a Wal-Mart parking lot the other day that was selling bars of lye soap out of the back of her van. Naturally, she bought a few bars. Knowing me like she does, my in-law gave me a bar and said the woman selling the bars said the soap was good for shaving, too.

And of course, I had to try it. I shaved off a few pieces with a pocket knife and dropped them into my shave mug and worked up some lather.

Interested in how my shave was?

Not very good. The lather was too thin so I nicked myself in several places about the neck, and the soap dried my face too much, forcing me to use three times as much aftershave balm as usual. This is NOT recommended unless you are desperate for shave soap.

Anyone else have experience shaving with lye soap?
 
Hi all.

Well, I tried it - shaving with lye soap that is. Let me explain.

My mother-n-law (who loves me as much as she does my wife :001_rolle) found some woman in a Wal-Mart parking lot the other day that was selling bars of lye soap out of the back of her van. Naturally, she bought a few bars. Knowing me like she does, my in-law gave me a bar and said the woman selling the bars said the soap was good for shaving, too.

And of course, I had to try it. I shaved off a few pieces with a pocket knife and dropped them into my shave mug and worked up some lather.

Interested in how my shave was?

Not very good. The lather was too thin so I nicked myself in several places about the neck, and the soap dried my face too much, forcing me to use three times as much aftershave balm as usual. This is NOT recommended unless you are desperate for shave soap.

Anyone else have experience shaving with lye soap?
Hey Prof,

All soap is lye soap (whether potassium or sodium lye) -- hers just wasn't made very well.

All soap works for laundry too, but let's be honest, just because you can use a soap for shaving doesn't make it a good idea. On the other hand, I use mom and dad's bath soap when shaving my head in the shower, and it's slick and performs well in hard water too, so it's not impossible that a bath soap would be good for shaving -- just not generally from vendors in a Wal-Mart parking lot.
 
Hey Prof,

All soap is lye soap (whether potassium or sodium lye) -- hers just wasn't made very well.

All soap works for laundry too, but let's be honest, just because you can use a soap for shaving doesn't make it a good idea. On the other hand, I use mom and dad's bath soap when shaving my head in the shower, and it's slick and performs well in hard water too, so it's not impossible that a bath soap would be good for shaving -- just not generally from vendors in a Wal-Mart parking lot.
But, what about the vendors in the K-mart parking lot? :tongue:
 
Hi all.

Well, I tried it - shaving with lye soap that is. Let me explain.

My mother-n-law (who loves me as much as she does my wife :001_rolle) found some woman in a Wal-Mart parking lot the other day that was selling bars of lye soap out of the back of her van. Naturally, she bought a few bars. Knowing me like she does, my in-law gave me a bar and said the woman selling the bars said the soap was good for shaving, too.

And of course, I had to try it. I shaved off a few pieces with a pocket knife and dropped them into my shave mug and worked up some lather.

Interested in how my shave was?

Not very good. The lather was too thin so I nicked myself in several places about the neck, and the soap dried my face too much, forcing me to use three times as much aftershave balm as usual. This is NOT recommended unless you are desperate for shave soap.

Anyone else have experience shaving with lye soap?
I've had experience with lye soap. I was taking a snooze on my favorite bed when Jerry woke me up while he was sneaking into the fridge to steal some cheese. That got me real mad so to get him, I figured I would use the fishing rod that was next me to hook him. But would you believe that annoying mouse tied the line to my tail so when I tried to cast the line, I just flipped myself over. That got me real mad! So I chased him around the house a few times. Then he snuck around the corner in the living room and threw a bar of lye soap on the floor. I stepped on that bar and TOTALLY lost control! One leg in the air, both arms flapping around, I couldn't stop! I slid all the way from the living room, under the dining room table, through the other living room, in and out of the bathroom and right into the kitchen and back out into the hallway slammed right into the hide away ironing board. The iron even slid down the board and conked me on the head giving me a real big lump. It went away though 'cuz Jerry came along with a little wooden mallet and tapped it down. That didn't feel good though.

That's my experience with lye soap. I stay away form that stuff man, it's bad news.
 
I make soap as a hobby and there are many ways to make different lather and moisturizing properties, that being said lye is the limiting reagent in the saponification reaction. If the oils and lye are not measured correctly you can have unused lye in the soap, bad news.

When lye (Sodium hydroxide) mixes with lipids (oils) it will form soap or detergents for lack of a better terms. But, if not enough lipids are used, the lye will not react with oil, and sodium hydroxide is caustic. So any organic, real, soap has been made with sodium hydroxide in it. Period. There is no other way to make it. That is why I am a little skeptical about when people use the word lye soap, because if it is measured correctly there is no lye in the soap. It is like saying cinnamon has hoarse urine in it. Yes, cinnamon has the chemical make up in it, but one step in the reaction makes it entirely different.
 
lye soap was made to be slightly caustic.it was a disinfectant and laundry soap .used to make it when i was growing up.i certainly would not try to shave with it.if it is too strong ,much redness will result.
 
I've had experience with lye soap. I was taking a snooze on my favorite bed when Jerry woke me up while he was sneaking into the fridge to steal some cheese. That got me real mad so to get him, I figured I would use the fishing rod that was next me to hook him. But would you believe that annoying mouse tied the line to my tail so when I tried to cast the line, I just flipped myself over. That got me real mad! So I chased him around the house a few times. Then he snuck around the corner in the living room and threw a bar of lye soap on the floor. I stepped on that bar and TOTALLY lost control! One leg in the air, both arms flapping around, I couldn't stop! I slid all the way from the living room, under the dining room table, through the other living room, in and out of the bathroom and right into the kitchen and back out into the hallway slammed right into the hide away ironing board. The iron even slid down the board and conked me on the head giving me a real big lump. It went away though 'cuz Jerry came along with a little wooden mallet and tapped it down. That didn't feel good though.

That's my experience with lye soap. I stay away form that stuff man, it's bad news.
:001_huh: :shocked:
 
lye soap was made to be slightly caustic.it was a disinfectant and laundry soap .used to make it when i was growing up.i certainly would not try to shave with it.if it is too strong ,much redness will result.
I would certainly hope you wouldn't try to shave with it after my report. That's the advantage of living in a huge society as we do - one idiot experiments (that's me :crazy:) and the rest of you smart ones learn from his mistakes. :biggrin:
 
I've had experience with lye soap. I was taking a snooze on my favorite bed when Jerry woke me up while he was sneaking into the fridge to steal some cheese. That got me real mad so to get him, I figured I would use the fishing rod that was next me to hook him. But would you believe that annoying mouse tied the line to my tail so when I tried to cast the line, I just flipped myself over. That got me real mad! So I chased him around the house a few times. Then he snuck around the corner in the living room and threw a bar of lye soap on the floor. I stepped on that bar and TOTALLY lost control! One leg in the air, both arms flapping around, I couldn't stop! I slid all the way from the living room, under the dining room table, through the other living room, in and out of the bathroom and right into the kitchen and back out into the hallway slammed right into the hide away ironing board. The iron even slid down the board and conked me on the head giving me a real big lump. It went away though 'cuz Jerry came along with a little wooden mallet and tapped it down. That didn't feel good though.

That's my experience with lye soap. I stay away form that stuff man, it's bad news.
When that iron conked you on the head, were you in the middle of screaming with your tongue flapping out, and the impact caused your jaws to slam together, causing your teeth to bite your tongue off, which you then slapped back into your mouth and it somehow reattached itself? 'Cause I've seen that happen, it's not pretty.
 
All soap is lye soap. If it dosn't have lye or some kind of saponifying agent, its technically not soap. Any type of shaving soap that isn't made from a melt and pour base (glycerin "soap") is going to be made with sodium or potassium hydroxide or both.
 
One of the things I know about lye soaps that is good for the laundry. Lye is caustic and as such it can clean tyour beard off
 
When that iron conked you on the head, were you in the middle of screaming with your tongue flapping out, and the impact caused your jaws to slam together, causing your teeth to bite your tongue off, which you then slapped back into your mouth and it somehow reattached itself? 'Cause I've seen that happen, it's not pretty.
Yes! the funny thing also was that my head turned into the shape of an iron, but I just shook my head and it went back to normal.
 
again only lye is dangerous, soap made from lye is not. Old time lye soap has left over lye crystals in it, that are caustic, natural soaps made with lye but have no lye in it are not. This is as simple as I can put that.

This is why the terminology is stupid, because lye is used to make all soap.
 
All the explanation is fine, but the simple fact is there is something that makes this handmade soap different than the over-the-counter product that we usually wash with. This is the lye soap of which I refer. It's more harsh and drying - reminds me of Lava brand. :rolleyes:
 
again only lye is dangerous, soap made from lye is not. Old time lye soap has left over lye crystals in it, that are caustic, natural soaps made with lye but have no lye in it are not. This is as simple as I can put that.

This is why the terminology is stupid, because lye is used to make all soap.
Sorry to drag up an old post, but I've been away for awhile.

This has been something that has been on my mind for a while (Lye, sodium hydroxide) TheEWG lists the ingredient as moderate hazard, now I'm not a chemist, but I understand that soap is a chemical reaction with oil. How is there not at least residual sodium hydroxide in the end product?

I have allot of allergies, and find even with several of the unscented soaps that I've purchased my face still itches. I'm trying to find a common ingredient that I could possible be allergic to as well. I guess that is another thread I should start. I know I have a nut allergy and several soaps I've tried have Shea butter, some have clay, I just can't really nail down what's causing the irritation.
 
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Most artisanal soap will be superfatted at least a few percent, meaning there will be more oils used than the lye will be able to saponify. This results in unsaponified oil or fat in the end product, which makes the soap less drying on your skin and guarantees that the lye is completely reacted.

A lot of soaps use coconut oil or palm kernel oil as one of their base oils. Any idea if they're included in your nut allergy?
 
You cannot make soap without lye (true soap that is) but as others have said, cured soap technically does not contain lye because all of the lye would have been "consumed" for lack of a better word, with the oils, resulting in the soap. In "cold process" soapmaking, this saponification process takes place for a couple weeks following the hardening stage, which is why if you use new soap right away it might seem especially stringent and harsh, because it is "lye heavy". Each fat has a different saponification value, i.e. it will take a different amount of lye to turn olive oil into soap than it will lard, or palm oil. Given the choice it is best to err on the side of having too little lye, which is where superfatting comes in. It provides a margin of error, usually 5%, where less lye is used than technically would be required to turn the recipe into soap. This is used to account for subtle variances in the quality of the oils and lye used (less of an issue with commercially produced lye), and the relative accuracy / inaccuracy of measuring devices.

That is why pioneer soap was always so harsh, they used potash instead of actual lye (potash derived from soaking hardwood ashes in water), and the strength of the lye solution couldn't be accurately determined, unlike today's lye. So they just winged it and did the best they could, and the soap was generally lye heavy.
 
Thank you one and all for this thread. It is interesting, informative, enlightening, and educational.

I helped my grandmother make soap and it was good stuff and worked well for washing about anything including one's anatomy. Red Devil was the brand of lye she used if my memory serves me well.

How long has the knowledge to make "good" soap been in existence?

Richard
 
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