Tuesday, 04 March 2014 23:04

Making progress

I still have some work to do in order to meet my absolute goal before beginning sales, BUT I am making progress. I have at least one batch of each type of soap but one. That one will be in the molds on Thursday or Friday, and I intend to spend as much of the weekend soaping as I can get away with.

Tonight was unscented's turn. I used some to make a small shave stick (.75oz) to test with, as well.

Here's the stash so far:

Published in Dapper Dragon Blog
Tuesday, 04 March 2014 15:21

Shaving Soap

A puck of shaving soapShaving with a traditional shaving soap is a pleasure that everyone who shaves should experience.

Used with a brush, traditional shaving soaps and creams create a thick, slick lather that protects the skin, lubricates the glide of the razor, and delivers a pleasant scent to the shaver. The matrix of bubbles also traps moisture close to the hairs, making them softer and easier to cut. This is all accomplished without relying on aerosol propellants or petroleum derivatives, both of which can dry the skin.

 Dapper Dragon Shaving Soap can be purchased from my Etsy store.


Dapper Dragon Shave Soaps are made in two formulations from a small number of ingredients:

Original (Vegan) Formula

  • Stearic Acid - This fatty acid creates a soap with a stable, long lasting and creamy lather. It's slick as well, producing the effortless glide you want for a great shave. Our stearic acid is derived from palm oil, and contains no animal products.
  • Coconut Oil - Coconut oil soap produces a large volume of bubbles. When combined with the creaminess of stearic acid, you end up with a thick lather that easily lasts for your entire shave. Raw coconut oil is also a useful emollient.
  • Shea Butter - Shea butter pulls double duty in our soaps. This oil is high in stearic acid, adding to the slick, stable lather. But more importantly, shea butter is used around the world to moisturize and pamper the skin.
  • Glycerin - Glycerin is created in the chemical process that turns oils into soaps. In addition, we add extra glycerin to each bar. Glycerin is slippery, increasing the glide of your razor. It also boosts the amount of lather created. And finally, glycerin is a humectant, attracting and holding on to water. This ensures a moist, hydrating lather, and works with the shea butter and coconut oil to protect the skin.
  • Sodium and Potassium Hydroxides - these are the agents that turn oil into soap. The two caustics produce soaps of different hardness and slightly different properties. After testing multiple versions, we've arrived at a great balance of malleability, ease of lather, and longevity. 
    Our soaps are hot processed to accelerate the transition and tested for mildness to ensure that no active lye is present when it makes it way to you.
  • Sodium Lactate - Sodium lactate is an additive that causes hot-processed soap to maintain a smoother consistency for easier and more consistent molding and texture. It also has a small "boosting" effect on latherability, but in the quantities used by Dapper Dragon, the effect would be negligible.

Tallow Formula

The tallow formula contains the ingredients listed above, but in different ratios, and adds tallow to the mix.

  • Tallow - Tallow is made from rendered beef or sheep fat, and has been a highly regarded component for soap making almost as long as humans have been making soap. Tallow soap adds a lasting slickness to the formula, as well as leaving the skin soft and moisturized.

A bowl full of lather


Our shaving soaps are available in a variety of scents. For descriptions, please visit our shaving soap scents page.


Our shaving soaps are offered in a translucent green plastic tub. The tub is easy to load from, and flat on top and bottom for stacking. The size of the puck is perfect for both wet and dry loading methods, with a generous amount of head space to keep your developing lather from escaping.

The tubs are packed by hand, but each is weighed to insure a minimum of 4oz per tub.

How To Lather Dapper Dragon Soaps

Experienced wet shavers should have little trouble getting a copious lather from Dapper Dragon soaps. But if you're less experienced, having trouble, or just interested to hear how I do it, these are my methods:

Wet Brush

  1. Thoroughly wet shave brush to saturate boar bristles and warm badger & synthetic.
  2. For brushes that hold a lot of water (badger, large boars or some synthetics) give a little shake. We want to have a brush that's wet but not sopping/dripping.
  3. Gently swirl shave brush on the puck. Bubbles should begin forming immediately.
  4. Keep swirling on the soap puck until the bubbles become small, and the lather being created looks nearly ready to shave with.
  5. Move the brush to your bowl or face and continue to build the lather. You may need to add a bit more water before it's fully hydrated.

Damp Brush

  1. Some shavers find it benefitial to cover the soap in a small amount of hot water. This softens the top layer of soap and also causes the scent to begin "blooming."
  2. Thoroughly wet your shaving brush to saturate boar bristles and warm badger & synthetic.
  3. Shake all excess water out of your brush until it's merely damp. Large or dense badger hair brushes may benefit from a gentle squeeze.
  4. If you soaked your soap, pour the water off.
  5. Begin gently swirling the brush on the soap. Bubbles will be minimal due to the low amount of water.
  6. Load the brush until the end is thoroughly loaded. It should look like it's caked with a soft paste
    1. Load time will depend on the size, firmness and type of bristles. 30 seconds is a good starting point.
    2. If the brush stops picking up soap before loading is sufficient, add a small amount of water (perhaps 1/4tsp) to the soap before loading again.
  7. Swirl the brush on your face or in your shaving bowl. Add water in small amounts to the brush until a full lather forms.
  8. Look for a slight sheen on the lather, and slickness between your fingers to help determine when your lather is at its best.

Coming Soon

Keep your eyes on this page for how-to videos, brush recommendations, and other related information.

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Published in Shaving Soap
Tuesday, 04 March 2014 14:47

Dapper Dragon Scents

One of the things I enjoy most about soaping is finding and designing scents to enjoy. For our shaving soap line, I hope to create a mix of traditional scents, and a few less common ones thrown in for variety. Our scents may be made up of essential oils (EO), fragrance oils (FO), or a mix. If you have any concerns about which oils are which (such as allergies) please don't hesitate to contact us.

I think of our scents as belonging to these groups.

Premium Scents

The scents in this category are custom blended, and contain a large number of scents. They cost a bit more to reflect the more labor intensive nature, but not much.

I also plan to offer seasonal and special occasion scents - they will fall into this category as well.

  • Dapper Dragon Signature* (EO & FO) - The signature scent of the line. An old fashioned barbershop sort of smell, with a twist. Lemon, lime and blood orange combine with cantaloupe for a bright top end, supported by soothing oakmoss, spicy lavandin, and fiery black pepper. Used in: Shaving Soap, Bath Soap
  • Ice Wyrm (EO & FO) - Peppermint coolness meets rosemary and black pepper. It's not a menthol bomb - just a pleasant tingle from the double-distilled peppermint EO. Used In: Shaving Soap
  • Arctic Wyrm (EO & FO) - Arctic Wyrm uses our Ice Wyrm scent blend, but adds menthol to the soap for an extra cooling sensation. Used in: Shaving Soap
  • Lavender Lizard* (FO) - Lavender and vanilla are the forefront of this scent, with supporting notes of oakmoss and pepper. Used in: Shaving Soap
  • Green Dragon (EO & FO) - a complex scent that evokes the image of a forest full of growing things. Cedar and bergamot blend with leather, rosemary and lily of the valley for a heady aroma. Used in: Shaving Soap
  • Black Dragon (EO & FO) - Intentionally created as a move away from the sweetness of most of our scents. Black Dragon mixes earthy vetiver and sweet orange, with supporting notes of cardamom, anise and musk. Used in: Shaving Soap


Dapper Dragon Basics scents are made up of one or two oils (fragrance or essential) in a simpler configuration.

  • Blood Orange (FO) - Blood orange and a medley of other citrus fruits hit the tangy citrus note we all seem to crave without being one more variation on lemon or lime. Used in: Shaving Soap
  • Jasmine & Vanilla* (FO) - Jasmine and vanilla combine into a heady and intriguing floral scent. Constructed at the urging of my wife and daughter, the resulting concoction is suitable for all genders. Used in: Shaving Soap, Lotion Bars
  • Cinnamon Bun* (FO) - Spicy cinnamon, butter, sugar and vanilla create the scent of a sticky hot cinnamon bun. A sweet treat for a morning shave. Used in: Shaving Soap
  • Watermelon (FO) - An intense watermelon scent, but not too sweet. Reminds me of an upscale watermelon candy, or a watermelon smoothie. Used in: Shaving Soap, Lotion Bars, Bath Soap
  • Pomegranate (FO) - Sweet pomegranate candy, an excellent blend of tart and sweet. Used in: Shaving Soap, Lotion Bars
  • Mixed Berries (FO) - A pleasant combination of rasberry, strawberry and blackberry. In its incarnation as a lotion bar, it's paired with smooth white chocolate. Used in: Bath Soap, Lotion Bars
  • Unscented - This soap contains no fragrance or essential oils. Whether you prefer not to be distracted, or your skin just doesn't get along well with fragrances, we have you covered. Used in: Shaving Soap, Bath Soap

Seasonal and Limited Edition Scents

Starting with Summer 2014, Dapper Dragon will be offering a limited time scent each season. The scents' availability will run from the beginning to the end of each season according to the solar calendar: summer from the summer solstice to the autumnal equinox. Autumn from the equinox to winter solstice, etc.

  • Winter 2014: Wassail - Dapper Dragon wants to wish you "waes hail" with our shaving soap based on my family's wassail recipe. Wassail combines sweet orange, cranberry and apple with cloves and cinnamon for a warm Yuletide scent.
  • Fall 2014: Autumn Morning* - I wanted to evoke the feeling of sitting on a quiet morning, having a cup of coffee, watching the seasons change. Coffee with Brazil nuts blends with fallen leaves and green notes. Late blooming lily and bergamot add a bit of brightness.
  • Summer 2014: Strawberry Lemonade - For our first Summer Scent, we chose the fruity, refreshing taste of strawberry lemonade. It's a summertime staple from drive-in burger stands to fancy restaurants. In addition to the delicious combination of lemon and strawberry, this soap adds a mild kiss of menthol for those hot days.

Custom Scents

If you've been searching for a particular scent that no one seems to make, or envision a signature scent that's yours alone, drop us a line. Maybe we can make something happen. Costs will vary based on reusability, volume, and the cost of the components. Just head to the Etsy store and click "Request Custom Order" to start a conversation with me.

Some custom soaps we've created:

  • Cherry Limeade
  • Pineapple Punch
  • Sandalwood
  • Watermelon
  • Tiramisu
  • Sweet Orange & White Chocolate


* Fragrances marked with a * contain vanilla. Vanilla fragrance oils can discolor soap anywhere from a slight off-white to a medium tan. This is perfectly normal, and does not affect the soap's use or shelf life.

Published in Shaving Soap