Last month I posted a few different DIY Shaving Cream recipes, so today I thought I’d talk about another important element of a good shaving regime… Pre-shave Oil!
Does Pre-shave Oil really Make a Difference?
Before we start on the “how-to” side of things, we have to address the big elephant in the room: is pre-shave oil even necessary?? I have asked this question myself, and at one point even believed that it was a messy and unnecessary step. I mean, let’s be honest, it is definitely possible to shave without it.
BUT… after being professionally trained in skincare as an esthetician, and then treating numerous male clients with ingrown hairs and shaving irritations, I realized that this “extra step” might actually offer a world of good!
In aesthetic school, I discovered that shaving is a form of exfoliation, easily compromising the surface of the skin. Considering that many people shave daily and use products that are filled with synthetic chemicals and undisclosed fragrances, it really is no wonder that I was seeing these issues so commonly. If the skin isn’t properly protected and soothed, irritation and rawness are natural consequences.
And that, my friends, is where pre-shave oil comes in. This product is not meant to replace shaving cream. It is intended to create a nourishing and protective barrier on top of the skin that is slick, causing razors to glide over smoothly and only grab the hair. Using pre-shave oil can also soften and prepare the whiskers or hair, causing less friction or resistance.
Using Pre-Shave Oil…
- Creates a protective barrier on the skin, preventing over-exfoliation
- Moisturizes the face, preventing nicks that can easily happen to dry/dehydrated skin
- Softens the whiskers, reducing friction and preventing ingrown hairs
- Can help to tame pre-existing skin irritations due to naturally soothing ingredients that can even fight bacteria
- Nourishes the skin, leaving it more moisturized and smooth after the shave
- Causes a smoother glide, especially beneficial when navigating a new razor
Let’s Talk Ingredients
Whether you choose to buy pre-shave oil at a store or to make your own from a DIY recipe you find online, you will probably notice a few key ingredients. Most recipes consist of Castor Oil and Olive Oil. Though it may seem like everybody is just copying everybody else, there is a very valid reason as to why they are used.
Castor Oil naturally contains undecylenic acid, a germ-fighting acid that can help prevent itchiness, sooth burning and irritations, and may even tame acne, ingrown hairs, or other sensitivities due to it’s cleansing properties. Practically, castor oil is very thick and slick, creating a strong protective barrier on top of the skin for shaving. Used on its own though, it would be very heavy and difficult to apply. This is why mixing it with another oil is helpful.
Olive Oil has been used in skin care for centuries with good reason. It contains squalene, which offers anti-oxidants, anti-aging properties, and hydrates the skin.
A couple other things us DIY’ers like to add in…
Essential Oils can create amazing scent in DIY products, as you probably already know! Many of them also possess skin-nourishing qualities and can even help to fight germs, balance oil production or promote skin regeneration and rebuild elasticity.
Vitamin E Oil provides nourishment and helps to fight free radicals and keep the skin looking youthful. It also can serve as a natural preservative, slightly extending the shelf life of diy products.
The Recipe: DIY Natural Pre-Shave Oil
Ingredients & Materials:
- 2.5–3 fl oz Castor Oil (find 100% pure Castor Oil here)
- 1 fl oz Olive Oil (find high quality, organic oil here)
- 15 drops Skin-safe Essential Oils (see notes on which essential oils to use below)
- Optional: 5 drops Vitamin E oil (find organic Vitamin E Oil here)
- Amber glass bottle (like these)
Funnel all ingredients into the amber bottle. Seal tightly, and swirl the bottle around to combine. That’s it!!
- Apply just a few drops to hands and spread into the area you will be shaving. Don’t use too much! Start with less and add more only if needed.
- Leave the oil to sit on your face/skin for about a minute to help soften the hair. (This is a great time to wash your hands, but do not wash it off of the area to be shaved!)
- Apply shaving cream or lather on top of the oil. (Check out our DIY Shaving Cream recipe here.)
- Shave as normal.
- Rinse skin, pat dry, and apply after shave if using.
Carrier Oils to Substitute:
I would strongly recommend keeping at least 1-2 oz of castor oil in this recipe. In addition to the amazing skin-care and shaving benefits listed above, it is extremely thick and slick, making it an essential part of the recipe for eliminating friction and facilitating that smooth glide of the razor.
There is, however, some room for experimentation based on carrier oils you might prefer using more of on your own skin. Some popular ones you can try that are natural, safe, and beneficial are: Sweet Almond, Apricot Kernel, Grapeseed and Jojoba. You can read more about the benefits of each of these oils in this post.
Essential Oils to Use:
Note: Be very careful not to use too much! Not diluting essential oils properly, or using more stimulating blends can irritate the skin, negating the whole purpose of this product.
Here are a few of our favorite blends that we make:
- Spiced Lavender (“Oud” Art of Shaving Copycat): 11 drops Lavender Essential Oil, 2 drops each of Clove Essential Oil & Black Pepper Essential Oil (Beware: both of these can irritate the skin if too much is used)
- Sandal-woodsy: 13 drops of Sandalwood Essential Oil, 2 drops Pine Essential Oil
- Sunny Days: 10 drops Lavender Essential Oil, 3 drops Geranium Essential Oil, 2 drops of either Sweet Orange or other Citrus Essential Oil
- Lumberjack: 8 drops Cypress Essential Oil, 4 drops Cedarwood Essential Oil, 3 drops Pine Essential Oil
You can also create your own scents using some of these “universal” essential oils that may benefit the skin & fight signs of aging: Sandalwood, Clary Sage, Lavender, Patchouli, Geranium, Roman Chamomile, Ylang Ylang, Cypress, Frankincense, Geranium, Myrrh, Rosemary
Do you have a different recipe for pre-shave oil that you use? Let us know about your variations in the comments below!
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