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Thread: shaving with bronner's

  1. #1

    Default shaving with bronner's

    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!
    "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." [B][COLOR="Sienna"]-Orwell[/COLOR][/B]
    "Treat people like a million bucks... but always have a plan on how to kill 'em." [B][COLOR="DarkOliveGreen"]-My Boss[/COLOR][/B]

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Newark, NJ


    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.
    [URL=""]My Shave Den[/URL]

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008


    I can't fathom trying this once much less for two weeks. Your face must be made of neoprene!
    The winter boys... drinking heavy water from a stone.

  4. #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. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006


    You would have been better off to use a plain moisturizer as a shave cream.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Kansas City


    Maybe 3 drops of soap wasn't enough to create lather.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Pine Barrens, NJ


    Quote Originally Posted by whodat View Post
    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.
    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. #8
    Thread Starter


    Quote Originally Posted by mmack66 View Post
    Maybe 3 drops of soap wasn't enough to create lather.
    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.
    "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." [B][COLOR="Sienna"]-Orwell[/COLOR][/B]
    "Treat people like a million bucks... but always have a plan on how to kill 'em." [B][COLOR="DarkOliveGreen"]-My Boss[/COLOR][/B]

  9. #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. Default

    I found that adding a drop to two of Bronner's to Williams Mug Soap made a decent superlather, better than Williams alone.

  11. #11


    has anyone used the Bronner's shave gel?

  12. Default

    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. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Central NJ


    Quote Originally Posted by carloverfast2 View Post
    has anyone used the Bronner's shave gel?
    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.
    Rudy, Central New Jersey
    'If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.'

  14. #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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