For a very long time the most popular video on my YouTube Channel "FutrNovlst" was a short video about making mentholated glycerin. It reigned supreme for many months until just a few days ago when another video surpassed it into the No. 1 slot. This video was about making homemade shaving products.
At first, I thought the large number of hits on my menthol glycerin video was due to the vaping community looking for techniques for making a mentholated vegetable glycerin to add to their ejuice. Some of them probably are e-cig users. Yet I can't help but wonder why so many people are interested in making their own homemade shaving products.
Of course the necessity of poverty is one reason. The past few years we have all seen a poor economy worldwide and things are still tough in many households. Then there's the growing number interested in creating the next popular "artisan" product that will make not only extra cash but enable that lucky garage based business artisan to tell the boss to "take this job and shove it". Then of course there are the college students and young shavers who have embraced traditional wet shaving in droves over the past few years. I remember my college days and finding ways to stretch limited funds and resources was always a necessity...particularly if due to a poor economy they can't find a job and have a mountain of school loans to pay off.
But when you get down to it, I don't have a clue why there are so many people seeking information about making their own homemade shaving products. I know why I am interested in doing it. I'm an underpaid civil servant social worker with a lack of extra funds to buy all the types and flavors of shaving products that I would like to purchase...so, without the funds to buy things, I try and find ways to "create" them from less costly materials.
Another reason, which I didn't really discover until I started "experimenting" and tinkering in my shave den laboratory is that I realized by looking at my shave products with critical eye and discovering what one product does better than another product, I have learned exactly what kinds of products work better for me.
I realize that I can make any product more cooling and chocked full of menthol goodness than any product I can purchase. By adding either mentholated glycerin or Corn Huskers Lotion and then applying it to an after shave, cream or soap, every product I use can be "mentholated". Consequently, a whole category of shave products are no longer on my acquisition radar. I have no desire to purchase most mentholated products...they are off my radar 99% of the time and no amount of "enabling" by my shaving friends will change that lack of interest. I can make just as good or better myself.
Consequently, since I am a menthol addict, this has freed up my limited shaving product funds for new and different products I would normally not pursue or show interest in. One thing I have explored that I probably wouldn't have otherwise has been different cologne and after shaves. I always presumed that the good ones were expensive due to expensive essential and fragrance oils. In the past, I thought quality meant pricey. Attempting to make my own products has changed that perspective.
I have now discovered that the classic and generally inexpensive after shaves like Aqua Velva, Stetson, Skin Bracer, Barbasol, Brut, etc. are really pretty good and some of them I had never tried before, for a couple of reasons. The first reason is the perception that something inexpensive and still available in many discount, grocery and drug stores must be not worth my time. Not true by any stretch of the imagination.
Another thing I have learned is that "new" doesn't mean better. The old classic products and "ways of doing things" have value and there is a reason why they have been around so long and stood the test of time...at least until modern advertising convinced us that the "new improved formula", etc., etc., etc, was the only thing to buy to be/stay "young, vibrant, and sexually appealing". But that is really another topic that I don't need to rant about right now. Historically, most shaving products, including shaving soaps were probably homemade prior to World War II and the advent of television advertising. Of course there is a long history of shaving products that goes back hundreds of years, but it has only been since the mid 20th Century that knowledge and distribution of those products has expanded.
The long and short of it is unless you've recently won the lottery, eventually at some point in time your pocket book will become thin while your acquisition disorder for new shaving products continues to itch like you fell naked into a patch of poison ivy. When that happens, working on a homemade creation can tide you over and give you the "new product" fix, at least until next payday.
Regardless, trying to make your own products can help you better understand and appreciate the shaving products you currently use daily and if you just happen to come across a recipe that works...well all the better. Just remember to share it.
Good Shaves, Be Happy, Be Safe