No doubt that the quality and safety of a shaving product is determined by the ingredients used. It is the responsibility of the manufacturers to use safe ingredients to manufacture their products. To this end, Al's Shaving products uses only the highest quality ingredients in our product line. We strive to make safer products for you and for the environment, we do not use harmful chemicals. The forumula of Al's Shaving Cream is Triethanolamine and preservative (parabens) free and only contains sodium and potassium salts of fatty acids (stearic, oleic, linoleic, palmitic, myristic and lauric) in addition to water and botanicals. These botanicals include essential oils that are unique for each scent.
We are also aware of the right of our customers to know the contents of the products they are using and to fully understand some details about the formulation of our products. Most shaving soaps and creams are made using saponification of tryglicerides. This process converts tryglicerides to fatty acids and glycerin. Tryglicerides are obtained from natural oils of various plants or animals, examples of these are olive oil, palm oil, tallow, etc. This process allows the soapmaker some creativity in terms of what they use to achieve a certain fatty acid profile. It is this fatty acid profile that, in turn, determines the performance of the shaving soap or cream. By the same token, this process restricts the performance of the final product, as the formulation would also carry some compounds that do not play an important role in performance. High end shaving creams, like Al's Shaving Cream, are formulated using a different method that uses only the ingredients that contribute to performance, in higher concentrations than what is found in nature. The process is analogous to baking a cake using a mix or from scratch. In the former, you are constrained by what the maker of the mix supplies, in the case of the shaving product, nature; in the latter, you have the creative room for adding more flour or eggs if the baker considers it suitable. Notice that the nature of the ingredients do not change, only the amount. It is also possible to use a saponification and add additional ingredients and this is what is commonly done during milling or rebatching.
You should not expect Al's Shaving Cream to list olive oil, tallow. etc., because they are not used in the process at all. Oils used during saponification also are not found in the final product because they are broken down during the process, unless, they are added after saponification is completed. Therefore, there is a misunderstanding regarding the meaning of ingredient labels in shaving products. For instance, tallow-based soaps often do not contain tallow, that is, tallow has been used in the formulation but what is found in the soap or cream is not tallow; instead, it is a mix of salts of fatty acids that have been derived from tallow. Although, tallow contains a mix of fatty acids that is close to ideal for making a good shaving product, it is by no mean, the only combination that would work. The same results or better can be achieved with other combinations of fatty acids regardless whether they come from naturally occurring oils or not. In essence, tallow makes the formulation of shaving products easier but not necessarily better, this is why it is not surprising that tallow is so widely used in shaving products. Another point that is important to understand is that the chemical properties of a particular fatty acid do not depend on its origin. For instance, palmitic acid from tallow is chemically identical to that from palm oil. The only difference is perhaps the cost. This is another important difference between Al's Shaving Cream and other shaving products, we only use high purity ingredients that cost more.
Finally, there is the issue of harmful chemicals. There is growing concern about the use of chemicals like triethanolamine and parabens in shaving product. Although, to our knowledge, there is not conclusive research indicating any real link between the use of these chemicals and human disease, we simply do not use them in our products.
I sincerely hope that after this explanation you are more informed about what is involved in making a shaving product and better prepared to make an informed decision when you purchase shaving products. Please post your comments, questions and general feedback.