Shaving Soap vs Normal Soap: What’s the Difference?

by Jay Kang | Updated on January 24th, 2023

If you’re looking for a smoother, closer shave, you should consider investing in shaving soap. Shaving soaps have been used for centuries and provide superior lather and lubrication, making the overall shaving experience much more enjoyable.

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the difference between shaving soap and regular body soap and explain why it might be worth investing in shaving soap.


normal soap

What Makes Shaving Soap Different from Regular Soap?

So, what makes shaving soap different from regular soap? The formulation of shaving soap is quite different from regular body soap. It contains added ingredients to help with lathering and improve razor glide.

Shaving soaps are also formulated to produce a thicker, creamier lather that is both lubricating and stable. Moreover, the lye used in shaving soaps is usually potassium hydroxide rather than sodium hydroxide, which is used to make traditional bar soaps.

Furthermore, shaving soaps are usually set firm and sold in puck-like forms that fit perfectly in a shaving bowl so you can create the desired lather. With regular soap, you will most likely need to use your hands to create enough foam and lather since no bowls fit into a rectangle-shaped soap.

Finally, like there are differences in body, face, and hand soaps, shaving soap is no different, and you’ll want to use dedicated, well-researched ingredients that are made to work well when shaving.

How Are Shaving Soaps Made Differently?

Unlike regular soaps, shaving requires an additional step in the production process. Glycerine is added to create a much thicker and creamier lather that provides a lubricating layer between the razor and the skin.

The added oils in shaving soaps also enhance the lathering process and provide extra protection for the skin. Furthermore, the formulation of shaving soaps is different from regular body soap and typically contains more fatty acids, which improve its stability and glide.

Ingredients used in Shaving Soaps

Shaving soaps are formulated differently from traditional soaps, using a high level of fat (vegetable or tallow) and glycerin, as well as additional ingredients to aid in lathering and increase razor glide.

To create a stable lather, many shaving soaps require 30 percent coconut oil and stearic acid, which provides slickness and softening qualities. Stearic acid is one of the most common ingredients in shaving soaps.

To further increase lather, sodium hydroxide (lye), potassium hydroxide (potash), and other surfactants are often added, allowing for a quick lather with little time in the morning.

These salts contribute to the soap’s slickness and softening qualities, making it an ideal choice for shaving.

In contrast, ordinary soaps are usually made by combining fatty acids with a strong alkali, such as sodium, resulting in a mixture of different salts. These salts’ presence helps create a free lather that remains consistent on the skin throughout the shaving process.

All of these elements come together to give shaving soaps their distinct qualities.

Glass Transition Temperature

The stability of a shaving soap is also largely determined by its glass transition temperature. A glass transition temperature refers to the temperature at which a material changes from a hard and brittle state to a soft and elastic state.

With a glass transition temperature of approximately 100°C, shaving soaps are designed to melt at lower temperatures than regular soaps, allowing for a smoother, closer shave. The lower melting point also makes them easier to clean up, as they can easily be washed away with warm water.

Conclusion

Shaving soap vs. normal soap is a personal preference, depending on the individual’s needs. Shaving soap provides a more abundant, richer lather and protective cushion than regular soap. This helps to give a smoother, closer shave. On the other hand, regular soap is more convenient, easier to find, and cheaper. Ultimately, the decision between shaving soap and regular soap is up to the individual.

Jay Kang

Just because i'm asian does not mean I don't need shaving. I always wanted to grow a beard when I was young, now I need to shave because hair growth for me is a problem. I'm going through what every man will and has gone through before.