Shaving Cream Recipes – Victorian And Edwardian Beauty Routine And Recipes

Victorian And Edwardian Shaving Cream Recipes

In this part of my Victorian and Edwardian beauty series I’ve compiled recipes for DIY shaving cream from the 1840s till the 1910s.


1840s Shaving Paste (The Cyclopædia of Practical Receipts in All the Useful and Domestic Arts, 1841)
  • 2 parts almond oil
  • 2 parts white soap
  • 1 part common soda
  • 1 part rosewater

‘Melt and perfume with attar of roses.’


1850s Shaving Soap (The Corner Cupboard; Or, Facts For Everybody, 1859)
  • 3 pounds grated white soap
  • 1 pound palm soap
  • 3/4 pound soft water
  • 1 ounce soda
  • 60 drops oil of lavender
  • 50 drops bergamot
  • 40 drops oil of lemon

‘Melt carefully over a slow fire, in an earthen vessel’; then add the essential oils. ‘Mix well and make it into forms.’


1870s Shaving Paste (Encyclopedia Of Practical Receipts And Processes, 1872)
  • 4 ounces white soft-soap
  • 2 ounces grated honey-soap
  • 1 ounce olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp. water
  • 2 drachms carbonate of soda
  • a little proof spirit and scent
  • optional: 1 drachm spermaceti

‘Melt them together, and form a paste, […] adding a little proof spirit and scent, at will. Some persons melt with the soap about 1 drachm of spermaceti.’


Shaving Cream Recipes - Victorian And Edwardian Beauty Routine And Recipes


1870s Shaving Paste – Pate pour Faire la Barbe (Encyclopedia Of Practical Receipts And Processes, 1872)
  • 4 ounces Naples-soap
  • 2 ounces dried and powdered curd-soap
  • 1 ounce honey
  • 10 drops essence of ambergris
  • 10 drops oil of cassia
  • 10 drops oil of nutmeg

‘Beat them to a smooth paste with water or eau de rose; and put it into covered pots.’


1880s Shaving Paste (The Druggist’s General Receipt Book, 1886)
  • 1 dr spermaceti
  • 1 dr white wax
  • 1 dr almond oil
  • 2 oz white soap
  • a little lavender or Cologne water

Melt together spermaceti, wax and oil; ‘beat it up with […] soap’, and perfume with lavender or Cologne water.


1890s Shaving Cream (A Perpetual Calendar: With Notes and Explanations on Chronology, Chronological Cycles and Other Useful Information, 1896)
  • white wax
  • spermaceti
  • almond oil
  • two squares Windsor soap, ‘reduced to a paste with rose water’

Melt the fats, and while warm beat in the soap.

-> tried


Shaving Cream Recipes - Victorian And Edwardian Beauty Routine And Recipes


1910s Shaving Soap (Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes And Processes, 1916)
  • 5 parts white Castile soap
  • 15 parts alcohol
  • 15 parts rose water


1910s Shaving Paste (Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes And Processes, 1916)

‘An emulsion of paraffine wax, melting at 131° F., should be used. This is prepared with 25 per cent of wax and 2 per cent of tragacanth, the wax being melted and mixed with the tragacanth previously made into a mucilage with some of the water. The addition of a little stearine or lard renders the emulsification of the wax easier, while about 10 per cent of alcohol makes the preparation more agreeable to use. The fatty odor of the preparation may be covered by the addition of 0.5 to 1 per cent of lavender oil, and the finished product then appears as a thick white cream. In use a small quantity is rubbed over the area to be shaved and the razor immediately applied. As the water in the emulsion evaporates, the particles of wax previously distributed in the emulsion become coherent and fill up the depressions in the surface of the skin from which the hairs arise, thus forming a mechanical support during the passage of the razor. The quantity required is very small, 1 ounce being sufficient for shaving the face about 6 times.’

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