A less expensive and natural shaving cream alternative

My previous post about shaving with a double edge safety razor and bar soap may have been a bit too big of a change for some of my readers.  Don’t despair, today I have a less expensive shaving cream alternative for you!Inexpensive & Natural Shaving Cream Alternative - castile soap and disposable cartridge razor

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A less expensive shaving cream alternative

The (no longer) secret to a great, smooth shave for a fraction of the cost of shaving cream is: liquid castile soap!  

This less expensive shaving cream alternative works great for women’s legs and underarms, using a traditional disposable or disposable cartridge razor.  I have no experience with this product for men shavings faces, so if you try that, please proceed with caution.  I used my homemade liquid castile soap, undiluted Note:  since I bottled this for travel I decided to keep the full concentration of the soap, and dilute in my hands when I use it.  Recall that my normal dilution ratio for hand, face, and body soap is 3 parts water to 1 part castile soap.  Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap should work the same as my homemade liquid castile soap, based on my experience with both Dr. Bronner’s and my castile soap.

liquid castile soap finished product
homemade liquid castile soap
My Discovery

Normally when I travel by car I bring my double edge safety razor and a small piece of bar soap (which I carry in an Altoids tin), and I shave my normal way.  When I travel by air and do not want to check a bag (which is any time I fly – I am tired of damaged suitcases!), my options are bringing bar soap and my double edge safety razor WITHOUT a blade, or using a traditional disposable cartridge razor and shaving cream.  I have never been in the mood to search drug stores at my destination for double edge safety razor blades, so I usually go with the disposable cartridge razor (I use Venus) and a travel size can of shaving cream.  

On my last plane trip, I had my Venus razor, but forgot to pack the can of shaving cream.  When I got to my hotel room, I looked at my options for a shaving cream alternative.  I had my liquid castile soap, my favorite Trader Joe’s shampoo, hotel bar soap, hotel shampoo, and hotel conditioner.  I knew the hotel/commercial bar soaps were too sticky (I had tried that years ago and it was not good).  I’ve heard that conditioner is a shaving cream alternative.  But I had 2 reasons not to try to the hotel shampoo or conditioner.  1: there is no ingredient list on those tiny bottles, so I couldn’t check for fragrances to which I am allergic.  2: Most shampoos include chemicals that I avoid, including sodium laurel sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate.  

Diluted castile soap with disposable cartridge razor
Castile soap with disposable cartridge razor

So, my shaving cream alternative options were castile soap or my shampoo.  My first try was the castile soap, because that bottle was more full, and I thought the shampoo might be too thick.  I was quite happy to discover that the castile soap worked well!

I am thrilled to have found this hack for a shaving cream alternative – I hated having to use chemical-laden shaving cream, but used to choose that convenience over having to search for razor blades at every travel destination.

How I use liquid castile soap as a shaving cream alternative

I poured 3-5 drops of my liquid castile soap into my hand, rubbed my hands together, and applied the soap to one leg at a time.  I then shaved using  my Venus razor, rinsing the razor after every few strokes.  The razor glided along my skin smoothly, without sticking or cutting.  My legs felt as smooth as they usually do after shaving with a disposable razor.  

Castile soap before dilution
Castile soap 

Note:  I still love my double edge safety razor and use that exclusively when there is no air travel involved.  I feel I get a longer lasting smooth shave, and prefer the cost and environmental benefits.


Shaving Cream: $2.50 (assuming I purchased on sale), lasts approximately 2 months.

Homemade Liquid Castile Soap: $12/gallon = $0.09375/oz

Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap: $16/32 oz = $0.50/oz

My travel bottle holds 3 ounces of liquid, which is about 1,800 drops (this estimate is based on 600 drops/ounce of essential oils, and the drops seen about the same size).  I used about 10 drops per shave.  Therefore I estimate this bottle will last about 180 shaves.  I estimate that, if used regularly (shaving every other day), the bottle of soap would last me 12 months.  Cost per month of shaving cream is $1.25 ($2.50/2=$1.25/month).   My soap is just over $0.02 per month (3oz x$0.09375/12 months=$0.023…).  The cost of using Dr. Bronner’s is just under $0.13 per month (3oz x $0.50/12months=$0.125).  

One year of shaving cream use is approximately $15, versus $1.50 using Dr. Bronner’s castile soap as a shaving cream alternative.  The savings might only be $13.50/year, but it’s 10 times less expensive than using the traditional product.  Every penny saved adds up!  Plus, no chemicals in this shaving cream alternative!

Disposable cartridge razor with cartridge packaging to cover blades
Disposable cartridge razor with cartridge packaging to cover blades

Do you have any travel or shaving tips?

10 Tips to Save Money Shopping

10 tips to save money shoppingI grew up frugal, and understanding the value of money.  I work hard for what I earn, and I don’t want to waste it.  Here are my top 10 tips for saving money shopping.  If you’re looking for apps and websites to help you have money, check out my post on that topic!

10 Tips to Save Money Shopping
  1. Don’t buy it if you don’t need it or really want it.  Easy. If you’re clothes shopping and find something that is just ok, don’t buy it.  It doesn’t matter how great the price is, if you buy it and never wear it, it was a waste of every penny you paid for it.  
  2. Buy store brand products.  You may end up spending a lot more money to always buy name brand products.  If you are willing to buy any brand, check out your local store brands.  I almost always get better prices on store brand items than name brand, even if there is a sale or coupon for the name brand item. 
  3. Coupon carefully.  Manufacturers provide coupons to entice buyers who otherwise may not buy their product.  If you don’t have a need or use for the product, you’re still spending money that you don’t need to be spending, even if you had a coupon!  I’ve also found that even with coupons on manufacturer products, generic/store brand are still often less expensive.
  4. Shop with a list.  Create a shopping list before you go into a store, and stick to your list.  This will help you avoid impulse purchases.  I find this particularly helpful when I go food shopping when hungry.  (Be aware that some exceptions are ok.  Today I was in the grocery store and saw the containers of organic baby spinach and mixed greens.  Upon seeing it I remembered I was out at home and had forgotten to put it on the list, so I bought it.)
  5. Learn what a “good price” is for items you commonly purchase.  I have a general idea what the prices are for things I regularly purchase, including produce, pasta, yogurt, and eggs.  I keep an eye on the grocery store circulars (you can get them electronically all in one place using the Flipp app) and try to purchase the items I need from the store with the best price that week.  There are also some items for which I will not pay more than a certain amount, so if I am out shopping and the item (like fresh blueberries) is above my threshold, I just wait a week and check again.  
  6. Shop sales. Check those circulars, especially for non-perishables and frozen items.  Stock up when you can get the best prices.  And plan your meals around produce and other items that are on sale that week!
  7. Buy in bulk when practical.  Many grocery stores have “stock up sales” where common non-perishable items are on sale.  This is a good time to evaluate what foods you and your family consistently eat, and how much space you have to store these items.  Before purchasing during these sales, be sure to confirm that you’re actually getting a good price!  The stores advertise these big sales, but not everything that is discounted may be the best price you’ll see that month.  If there is a good sale any time of year, it’s a good opportunity to stock up on things you’ll use!  
  8. Consider warehouse stores.  Depending on how much your family will actually shop at warehouse stores (like BJ’s Wholesale Club, Costco, Sam’s Club), it may be worth the annual membership cost to become a member and shop there.  Walk through the store to see what they sell before purchasing a membership.  I can save almost $10 on a year supply of allergy medication at BJ’s, compared to purchasing anywhere else.  This savings alone is 20% of the cost of an annual membership.  Combined with the other items I will purchase in a year, it may be advantageous for me to have a membership.
  9. Shop at discount stores.  Aldi has been spreading into New England in the past several years.  I was cautious at first but have had really good luck finding bargains on quality food.  Another great thing about Aldi- all of their store brand products are free from artificial colors and flavors and other chemical addatives.  
  10. Shop at salvage grocery stores.  These are more common in Europe than the US, but you can find some in the US.  In salvage stores you’ll often find products nearing or beyond expiration, damaged containers, etc.  The food is safe – these stores are still regulated by the government.  Definitely be picky when shopping here – I avoid foods with oil if it is beyond expiration since it can go rancid, but I have had good luck with things like pasta, canned goods, and items sealed in glass jars.  A couple years ago I found Luna bars for $0.10 each.  In regular stores they go on sale for $1.00 each.  This was quite a bargain!  I’ve also seen some fantastic prices on good quality pet food.  Salvage stores I know about in the Massachusetts and Rhode Island area are The Auction Store in Swansea, MA, and Frugal Frank’s in Fall River, MA. 

These are my top 10 ways to save money shopping.  To me they are simple tips to keep in mind to save a few cents or a few dollars here and there.  Be sure to check out my post about money saving and money making apps and websites!

Do you have any tips or tricks to save money shopping?