Instructables

Shaving with baking soda

this seems like an odd idea, i know, but it really is true that baking soda has a million and one uses!
this method of shaving (not my own creation, but i don't know who's) has worked better than any other way i've ever tried. i tend to get a closer shave with less irritation, and get to save money on razors, shaving cream and after shave!
i think the whole concept is based around the baking soda removing the oils from your skin and facial hair which allows the razor to cut better and last longer while doing the same job as your after shave by lessening irritation and preventing oily skin caused by most shaving creams.

what you need : baking soda, hot water, a razor and, of course, facial hair.
my razor is a disposable that has lasted over a month of daily usage thanks to this new
method. i used two a week with shaving cream.
what you don't need : shaving cream or after shave
 
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Step 1: Rinse

Picture of rinse
first, rinse your face with hot (or at least warm) water to get open up your pores and clean off dirt, sweat, oil, etc. i guess this probably also helps the baking soda go on easier, but who knows.

Step 2: Baking soda

pour some baking soda into the palm of your hand. you really don't need too much, so i think i went a little overboard in this picture.
just add a little hot water to the baking soda and mix it into a thick(ish) paste.

rub the paste onto your face (where there's hair!) very thoroughly. the grit of the baking soda is a great exfolliant and help prevent those gross little white heads that come up after shaving sometimes. don't rush to get it off because it is sucking the oils out of your hair that would otherwise make the hair harder to cut and dull your blade. it feels kind nice, too.
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richie_1142 years ago
I've been using some much more low tech shaving apparatus' for years (read: Antiques) If you apply your baking soda with a brush (badger hair's the best) you'll get an even smoother shave. Take it from me (single blade antique safety blade user) my wife bought me mach 3 refills because she though that's what I use.
fractalid3 years ago
Brilliant. In my mid-thirties I started shaving regularly again for the first time since I was a teenager and I've had a terrible time getting a smooth shave, and certainly never got one without irritation. Not until I tried this, anyway. It took a few tries to get the technique but since then I (and my girlfriend) have been very happy with the results.

One note: part of the learning curve was figuring out how to come up with the right consistency. The transition from powder through paste to liquid is very quick - just a couple of drops of water is enough to go too far. I'd suggest adding the water a drop or two at a time, and massaging the result in between, until you have a mass that sticks together, then add just one more drop to make it a bit more spreadable.

Thanks for a great idea!
blane23 years ago
Might just leave some baking soda and a link to this at my boyfriend's house...
It really works. I accidently discovered how good baking soda is as a shaving aid when I tried it as a dandruff shampoo. It's pretty good on dandruff also.
kirnex6 years ago
I've been using baking soda to shave for years. Actually, if you add it to your warm bath before shaving, ladies, you'll get the closest shave of your life. The baking soda not only softens the water, it helps to open your pores up, which allows you to get a closer shave. Just use about 1/4 to a 1/2 cup in your bath, and make sure you mix it well to help dissolve it.

Baking soda has so many other helpful uses around the house, it'd take forever to list them all.
Baking soda and water is a great antacid too. :D I had horrible upset stomachs from stress, and it worked better than Pepto, Mylanta, Alka-Seltzer, and so on. The taste isn't something that most people would be fond of, it is bitter and bland. And never ever take it when you have a full stomach.
I apologize in advance for the slight sidetrack here, but due to the mention of the antacid use of baking soda (which it does work well as.)

Ok, this is going to sound completely insane, but... check this... for really bad heartburn, don't use an antacid, it only exacerbates the refulx problem. The issue for many people is not actually an excess of acid, but that the LES (lower esophogeal sphincter [sp?]) is not fully clamping shut. Now, the LES is sensitive to PH and will close tighter if the PH gets lower, so try taking 4 or 5 capsules of crystallized apple cider vinegar. You can get it at any health food store, and most likely walgreen's CVS, and similar stores too. I know it sound ludicrous to ADD more acid to your stomach, but I swear it works, and FAST too! Usually within about five minutes or so for me. I use this method all the time, and I have turned some other people on to it who have chronic heartburn and they fare pretty darn well with it as well and have given up the prescription meds for it. Take it or leave it. Maybe I'm even misinformed about why it works, and falling victim to post hoc ergo propter on the explanation I was given; but regardless of that, it definitely does work. It surprised me more than anyone. I didn't expect it to work, in fact I was certain it was going to make it worse and I was going to have to chug a whole bottle of mylanta and give myself the runs! Shock of all shocks when five minutes later, no heartburn! Since I started using that as my primary method for heartburn control, the frequency of heartburn has greatly decreased as well, I used to practically live on pepcid, zantac, and tums.
I'm not too sure I buy this. Check out my shaving instructable at http://www.instructables.com/id/So-you-want-an-old-fashioned-double-edged-safety-r/
paise4 years ago
I posted this on a different shaving link (one for women) but the same concept applies for men if you want to give it a try. I've been able to get my hubby to try it once and the shave was close; however, he is an electric razor man so after that one time, he went back to using his electric razor, which isn't a bad thing because he is now on blood thinners after suffering 2 heart attacks & having to undergo a quadruple bypass. But, for men who do not have clotting issues, medication-induced or otherwise, try using either a shaving cream called Coochie (found online and at some adult product stores) or better still, save your money to buy a heavy-duty conditioner like one you would use after shampooing your hair. Make sure the conditioner is for dry, brittle, damaged, and/or chemically treated hair. The best I've found so far is Pantene's conditioner for dry, damaged, and chemically treated hair.

Soak your face in a hot clothe for several minutes to soften the facial hair. This is especially important if you have thick hair and if you manage to get 5 o'clock shadow well before 5 o'clock. After steaming your face with a hot washcloth, apply a thick layer of hair conditioner (or Coochie Cream).

Shave with the grain of growth to start with and once the majority of the facial hair is gone, heat the cloth in hot water, apply to face for another 5 to 10 minutes or so before adding another layer of conditioner (or Coochie) to face before shaving again only this time shave against the grain of growth for a closer shave than you have ever had.

Rinse off the conditioner well, rinse out razor (preferably drop razor into a cup filled with enough alcohol to cover the blades to prevent bacterial growth on the blades, which can cause infection after multiple uses.

After shaving, apply a cool cloth to the skin to close the pores then apply a thin layer of conditioner (male fragrance works well) and rub into skin well to prevent dryness and irritation. Plus, it keeps the skin supple making it easier to shave over time and prevent dry skin.

As for the baking soda, mix a small amount in a small bowl along with food-grade peppermint oil to use as a toothpaste. It cleans teeth and leaves your breath fresh.
ampaxx4 years ago
Not sure if anybody already said this (I didn't read all of the comments) but if you wanted to make your disposable razors last longer, there is a great instructable about it that was a runner up in the Forbes Teach Me fast Contest.
Wow, great advise, I can't wait to try it. Do you have any other advise that helps prevent wives from fending off kisses?
Yeah, only kiss your own.
H3xx 0.775volts4 years ago
WIN!!!
Very very good answer!!
LOL
Neurotiker5 years ago
Shaving is an individual thing, everyone needs to learn what damages his own skin and what doesn't. Anyway, thank you for this tutorial. I'm still testing if baking powder is the one and only thing to keep my skin smooth, but the first result was already much better than any products I used before. It's much more simple and faster than using shaving gel, aftershave and so on. I don't need to wash my razor blade every second stroke. Nice.
callmeshane6 years ago
Ummmmmmmmmmmm An OLD barber taught me this: IF you soak and wash your face with soap etc., for like say 5 minutes - I prefer to shave in the shower - at the ende of the scrub (body hair teeth etc..).. This allows the HAIR to soak up water, and instead of the protien being super hard, it goes fairly soft. And SOFT WET hair cuts far easier, with less force and less friction than hard dry hair. I use the cheap BIC disposable razors and they last about 6 to 8 weeks of almost daily shaving - before they become kind of blunt. I think the trip with the baking soda, is that being a MILDISH alkali - that it does indeed dissolve or emulsify the oils on the skin and hair.... And it will greatly assist in the speed and depth of water penetration into the hair shaft.... But I for one, don't like the chemically burnt skin smell that comes with the use of baking soda. The wash off HAS TO BE very thorough. For instance, in Straya where once in a blue moon I actually do take a bath, IF i really need to clean off all that hot sweaty and grimy dead skin cells, I add a level soup spoon of sodium bicarbonate to the bath.... A good soak and a good scrub, and it cleans one squeaky clean... But one has to drain the bath and rinse off the "bath" and to scrub the skin that has the chemically burnt smelling residue on it. One does truly sparkle then......
i dunno, i dont see it being too much of a deal, i mean, i use baking soda to brush my teeth sometimes(actually all the time if you count the stuff thats already in toothpaste) and i had canker sores but it didnt seem to do anything.
Matt D6556 years ago
nothing id try i use shaving cream
The Mollusk6 years ago
Why do you have 23 tattooed on your back in Roman numerals?
teethlikelions (author)  The Mollusk6 years ago
To match the xxiv (24!) on my front!
Oh... Is it like your age or symbolic or something?
mattface6 years ago
I wasnt thinking when I clicked on this and thought you'd be somehow removing beardage with out a razor and just some foamy white stuff. How I chuckled at my foolishness
Same here...
Frickin'sweet
qdogg6 years ago
Hey! Didn't you see the post by Tetranitrate on Fireshaving ? This is the perfect antithesis, after all, the box also says it's good for putting out grease & kitchen fires, so if you mug gets lit up with the fire method, you could revert to this! BTW, how about ice shaving??? Oh yeah, they do that already in Hawaii. LIQ (laugh in quietly)
shaunak6 years ago
I just tried it, and it worked great!!!
radiobath6 years ago
Shaving is an anti-exfoliant. While exfoliating before shaving is a great idea, I usually do it afterwards. The best way, in my opinion, to get smoothness is to exfoliate, aftershave (face toner on legs or wherever for women), cool water or a run-over with an ice cube, pat dry, and moisturize. No zits, no ingrown hairs. :D Also, as a note to anyone who performs any hair removal, never ever ever go swimming within one day of shaving. I made the mistake of jumping into the ocean after shaving my legs, and I got immediate razor burn and my legs felt like the skin was going to fall off. Not sure if this torture is the same with swimming pools, but I wouldn't be surprised.
SeaLion6 years ago
Sorry but...the other guy had no red spots after shaving...=/ But...maybe it's in fashion or something...I don't know, I'm not a guy.
hernanai6 years ago
another reason why shaving creams are a little harder on your razors is because the creams are slighty acidic and a razors' fine edge will dull faster... trust me, my brother doesn't rinse the razors when he's done, and it gums up...
You should not share razors with other people. It is actually an excellent vector for Hepatitis virus and HIV as well. Whenever there is a surge of military activity in the guerrilla armys in Africa you will also see an increase of HIV in the same soldiers. They've tracked it down to the soldiers sharing the same razor. Same goes for a toothbrush.
I'm not worried about MY brother having Hepatitis much less HIV... I can see your concern about sharing razors but in MY family household you don't have to worry about such thing...
pizz6 years ago
I'm interested in trying this method with my straight razor...
and is you do run out of baking soda try some hair conditioner, make the ahir fairly soft and don't use a sink full of water as this doesn't get the hair out of the balde or sink, instead use the navy shower approach, blasting the gunk and hair out with the force of the tap (people in older houses may have to use their thumb to make the tap spray the water out faster...) being 17 and dark skinned I have a enough embarassment over the permanent 5o'clock shadow but i really can't bring myself to shave against the grain because it causes hairs to become ingrown every now and again.... though yeah shaving needs to be made easier, why don't gilette etc not make a razor that could be used every day in a ranges of lengths, it would make them more money overall and we'd be happy for a small price of replaceing a razor blade a few days earlier than traditionally.
piper12346 years ago
; ) but of course it works, it's the cheapest exfoliant agent u can obtain before shave, besides neutralizes the acids created by sweat and oil in face and softens the queratine surface of beard ... of course now is time to see the biomolecular explanation with formulas from some guy over here xD haha
Rectifier6 years ago
Or you can shave like me with... nothing but the razor! Mach 3. It works fine. In fact, better than with shaving cream. However I remember slicing myself pretty bad the first few times I tried, as my skin was weak and soft from putting girly creams on it (shaving cream). Perhaps the baking soda could help avoid that. I now think shaving cream is one of those very well-marketed products: a thing people think they really need, but appears to be (secretly) completely useless with modern razors! If I do try a straight razor someday, though, I think I'll use the proper soap and brush. No sense slicing my face off by accident.
craftjunkie7 years ago
Thanks for the tip... i however i used this on my legs & rinsed it off, then i use shaving soap.. the kind you have to use a brush to lather up... it made my legs a whole lot easier to shave & shaving without any knicks was a plus plus it left my legs super smooth.. but i did add a little lotion afterwards...
23? And I wonder if it would work on legs?
teethlikelions (author)  Robyntheslug7 years ago
got it on my 23rd bday. i think my wife tried it and it dired her legs out to an extreme extent... maybe that was just her though?
meddler7 years ago
I tried your method, didn't work very well i'm afraid. Guess my beard comes in to fast and thick, so i waited and used the baking soda again and then used shave soap with a brush and had a much better shave than usual, so i think it will make shaving cream last longer by not needing as much, which is a plus. Thanks for the info
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