Vinay Kumar Singh
General Manager-Technical,
Mikasa Cosmetics Limited,
Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Gone are the days when most men considered shaving to be something of a burden as it was time consuming process, caused skin irritation and was generally not pleasant exercise but now the scenario has changed as Men have become extremely conscious about the way they look. Shaving Creams are perhaps the most important part of a man’s personal care kit. Gone are days of long grown beards, today men prefer a clean shaven face.

Their willingness to try methods offering greater speed and comfort has led to appearance of variety of shaving products. There are products that can be used before shaving, for shaving and after shaving.

Process of shaving even under optimum condition involves slight damage to the skin. The shaving preparations are designed to mitigate the consequences of shaving.

There are normally two types of preparation :
1. Wet type for razor blades
2. Dry type for electric shavers

The main functions of shaving preparation are:
1.  Soften the beard
2.  Lubricants passage of razor over the face and support hair
3.  Should be non-irritating to skin.

Hair absorbs nearly 31% of its dry weight of water.  This swelling of hair is essential for shaving.  Swollen hair is soft for cuting action.  Higher temperature also assists the hydration of hair.

Shaving soaps or Shaving sticks:
Shaving sticks or cakes are soaps containing mainly mixture of potassium and sodium soaps containing higher proportion of coconut oil.

The shaving sticks contain 8 to 10% glycerol, 8 to 16% water and other additives like titanium dioxide, super fatting agents like petroleum jelly etc.  The soap content may be around 80%.

The processing of shaving stick is similar to normal toilet soaps.

The wet shaving brush when it is rubbed against the stick should give thick creamy lather.  This lather should be fairly long lasting. It was being used earlier, and is replaced by Shaving Cream/Gel.

Shaving Creams
There are three types of shaving creams. One is lather shaving cream other one brushless shaving cream, third one is aerosol shaving cream.

Lather Shaving Cream
It is essentially soap in the form of a cream. That’s why the processing of Shaving Cream at times is combination of Science and art as soap slurry has to be converted into a form that appears to be a Cream.

The raw material used in shaving cream are :
1.  Oils and fats
2.  Alkalis
3.  Glycerin
4.  Electrolytes
5.  Perfume and additives

1.  Oils and fats
The fat charge consists of mainly stearic acid and coconut oil or coconut oil fatty acids.  Total fatty matter varies from 33 to 40%.

2.  Alkalis
It is a mixture of potassium and sodium hydroxide either in the form of flakes or solutions.

3.  Glycerin  or Sorbitol forms an essential part of shaving cream about 20 to 30% of these humactants are added to shaving cream.  The addition of this material aids in giving creamy consistency to shaving cream.

4.  Electrolytes
Normal electrolytes used are potassium chloride, Boric acid, Sodium Silicate etc., Judicious quantities of these electrolytes are necessary to give right consistency to the product.

5. Perfume and other additives
Most shaving cream consist of 0.5 to 1.5% perfumes.  Carboxy methyl cellulose and other gums are used for giving consistency.  Menthol is usually added to give cool feeling.  Super-fatting agents like Lanolin, fatty alcohols are included in some creams.  Antiseptic agents are also included.

Manufacture of shaving cream
The manufacture of shaving cream is normally done in a steam jacketed kettle with cooling arrangements.  Oil, fatty acid and water is taken together, alkali solution is slowly added.  The saponification reaction is allowed to complete.  The mixture is stirred under slow speed stirrer.  Alkali addition is so controlled that finally product has certain content of free fatty acids.  The rest of the items are added one by one.

Batch is cooled and perfumed.  The product is left for maturation at room temperature for several days.  This maturation changes the consistency and brings in sheen to the product.

The consistency of shaving cream depends on electrolyte concentration ratio of Sodium and Potassium hydroxides and content of soap and glycerin.

Aerosol shaving foams
It is an oil in water emulsion of propellants in aqueous soap solution.  The propellant under pressure is liquid and forms as oil phase.  As the emulsion is discharged the propellant gets converted in gaseous state and thick lather is generated instantly.

It usually consists of sodium, potassium & tri ethanolamine stearate to the extent of 15% ;water to extent of 70 to 75% and propellant at 12.5 to 15% level.  There are variety of other additives that are also added to the product.

Brushless shaving creams
These are non-lather shaving creams.  They are oil in water emulsions. The product is similar to vanishing cream.  Only difference is that it contains more of oils.

The brushless shaving creams are popular because of their convenience and thick film gives adequate lubrication and emolliency to skin.  It causes less irritation of skin.

The beard softening property of brushless shaving cream is less.  As such normally washing face with water and soap before application of brushless shaving cream is recommended.

Normal brushless shaving cream consists of:
Stearic Acid                               10  to  25%
Lubricants                                 4  to  10%
I. P. M.. Mineral Oil Soaps             1 to 5%
Thickening agents                       0  to   1%
Humactent                                2  to  10%
Preservatives & Perfumes             q. s.

Processing is carried out like any other cream.  Oil phase and water phase are separately weighed and emulsified at higher temperature and then cooled.

Pre shave lotions
The main purpose behind use of preshave (Pre-electric shave) lotion is to stiffen the beard.  It consists of high percentage of alcohol which dries quickly and evaporates all the moisture.  Some lubricants are incorporated in small proportion.  Normal lubricant used is Isopropyl Myristate which has good solubility in alcohol.

Some astringent salts like Aluminium Chlorhydrate and other zinc salts are included to stimulate hair follicle muscle. Suitable antiseptic at low concentration is added.

There are other products like pre electric shave Talc or stick or powder etc.

After shave lotion
After shave lotion consists of sample solution of ethyl alcohol and perfume. Alcohol strength may vary from 40 to 60%.

The main purpose is to act as soothing agent to skin which has been abraded by razor blade. Mild astringency and coolness is achieved by controlling ethyl alcohol concentration and addition of cooling agents like menthol etc.

Perfume addition in after shave lotion is very important as this brings in the feeling of frshness.  Since alcohol content is lower, the perfume dispersion in after shave lotion is done with the help of Solubilisers like Tween or ethoxylated castor oil etc.

Small quantity of humectants are also included like sorbitol, glycerol.

Astringents like Zinc Sulphate, Alum etc are also included in certain formulations.

Shaving Products being the most important part of Male Grooming, It will always be required and its demand will keep increasing.



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