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Thread: what does bentonite clay do for shave soaps?

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    Default what does bentonite clay do for shave soaps?

    I have noticed a lot of independant soapmakers put bentonite clay in their shave soaps. What is the purpose of this and does the clay really make a better shave soap? Thanks for any info.

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    In theory it makes the shaving lather slicker.
    Randall, member of BOTOC

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    It is supposed to contribute to "slip". By itself, it's not a magic ingredient that will turn a ho-hum soap into a shave soap. Some soapmakers use kaolin or other clays but bentonite is a very "plastic" clay that holds a lot of water.

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    I thought it had something to do with helping to make the teensie weensie bubbles also.

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    Here's a posting from Dave's site over at Benton Clay.
    Me likey soaps ~Sam ..... GRUSummer, 2014 Sabbatical .... 3017ing D.R. Harris Arlington

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blade Boy View Post
    I thought it had something to do with helping to make the teensie weensie bubbles also.
    No, that's a function of the oils you use. Tallow, stearic acid, palm oil all help with the small creamy bubbles.

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    I go with the Slicker crowd on this!
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    Another question for those with experience with the clay soaps, are they good performers?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperChris View Post
    Another question for those with experience with the clay soaps, are they good performers?
    It took me a while to figure out bentonite soaps (just needed more water than other soaps), but they are VERY nice. This is, of course, a YMMV thing like everything else here.
    Me likey soaps ~Sam ..... GRUSummer, 2014 Sabbatical .... 3017ing D.R. Harris Arlington

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    Bentonite is an extremely slippery substance. It is used in drilling mud, and anyone who has ever worked on a drilling rig will back me up on the slipperyness.
    "A noble heart embiggens the smallest man." (Jebediah Springfield)

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    Is there a such thing as a kaolin or bentonite clay "granule" that risks getting into and blocking pores as you are working the brush? Just curious.

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    Bentonite:
    1. Wicks away impurities (like a mud facial mask)
    2. Adds lubricity
    3. Allows for even dispersion of scent throughout the soap
    Another fun fact is that it has a very faint but appealing scent of its own, like the inside of an old, mysterious cave with an underground spring.
    It comes under fire here on B&B from time to time because a recipe for a widely available (but poor-performing) cold process shaving soap recipe features it as an ingredient and because some suppose it presents hygiene concerns. To counter those arguments, I would point out that many very good recipes contain bentonite clay - which is availabe in pharmaceutical, "washed" or "purified" formats. If it's approved for ingestion, it's probably okay on one's skin!
    ---Dave--- (on extended hiatus)
    http://bentonclay.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperChris View Post
    Another question for those with experience with the clay soaps, are they good performers?
    Usually no, because they tend to be regular soaps that someone added some clay to thinking that'll turn it into an instant shaving soap.

    As an ingredient a well designed and tested shaving soap, that's a different matter.
    Just call me Chris.

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    Alright, enough with the fancy technical talk. Show off.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blade Boy View Post
    I thought it had something to do with helping to make the teensie weensie bubbles also.
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    +1 On Bentonclay's comments. In my own experience, make a shaving soap with no clay it will work fine on it's own. Add clay to it and it will be a little bit slicker. I think what I liked the most about adding clays is that my face feels cleaner when I'm done. It's hard to explain, but I think the mud mask analogy is accurate. The bad rep probably comes from a LOT of ebay and etsy sellers who seem to think you can turn a plain old bath soap into a shaving soap just by adding clay. I've tried it and it's painful. FYI, I'm not bashing anyone selling soaps on ebay, but it can be difficult to find the good products on ebay unless you can look at the ingredient list and know what should or should not be there (olive oil comes to mind here).

    Learned of another use for betonite recently. It's often administered to horses for detox and to aid healing of wounds. I had contacted a local seller who sold it in 50 pound bags (not that I needed that much). It came to him as quite a surprise that it could be used in soaps.
    Last edited by charles_r; 12-20-2011 at 05:25 PM.

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