Dyed shaving cream pressed with a flat grater, creating cylindrical rainbow formations.
For team Alpha’s second team project, we decided upon dyeing shaving cream and pushing it through a strainer or flat plate object and photographing the final product. I stumbled upon an Instagram post by Slime.Vegetables via @asmrtingletreats and wanted to launch our own production of the phenomenon. Our team members agreed on dividing the labor evenly and we all ended up assembling our own setup. Ultimately, I intended the picture would be bright, vibrant, and fun to visualize.
I set my experiment up indoors in my parent’s kitchen under white, fluorescent lighting. I decided to use approximately a quarter of a can of Barbasol Original Shaving Cream (10 oz.), so about 2.5 ounces, and placed the hemispherical mound of cream on a cutting plate. For the food dye, we used McCormick’s assorted food coloring pack (green, red, blue, yellow). I criss-crossed the shaving cream with one line of each color, so one line of color across the diameter four times. For a more dramatic effect, I decided to leave quite a bit of white space in the blob so that the colors would mix well and “pop”. I then used a cheese grater and tried to push the cream through it in one swift motion. This did not produce anything worth photographing unfortunately. Since the first trial was a flop, I chose to unscrew the flat plate of my shower drain, wash it off, and push the cream through the plate instead. This resulted in square-like rainbow worms fanning out on all sides, perfectly mixed, and created a lovely centerpiece in the middle of the shaving cream mound.
Barbasol Shaving Cream ingredients are as follows: Water, Stearic Acid, Isobutane, Triethanolamine, Laureth-23, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Lanolin Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Chamomile Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract (Chamomile), Chondrus Crispus (Carragreenan) Extract (Irish Moss), Propoxylated Stearyl Alcohol, Dimethyl Lauramine Oleate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Propane, Fragrance. Therefore, most of Barbasol is comprised of water, saturated fatty acids, inorganic and organic bases, fragrance and “natural” derivatives. Propane was a surprising ingredient to me on this list. Apparently, most canned shaving cream contain multiple ingredients and chemicals that are highly flammable and can be potentially damaging to the skin after habitual use. As for the physics of the event occuring, the force of gravity is a key player. This coupled with the chemical composition of the shaving cream and food dye created.
The size of the field of view was approximately 6 inches across, with the distance from object to lens being 8 inches away. The lens focal length was 55, the dimensions at 6000 x 4000, the F number was 5.6, and the exposure time was set to 1/100. This image was shot on a Canon EOS Rebel T6i digital camera. After photographing, I took advantage of Adobe’s photo-editing software Lightroom and made a few adjustments. I mainly tinkered with the saturation, vibrance, highlights, whites and blacks, and the clarity. Once those edits were finalized, the fully-finished photo was completed.
Overall, I am quite satisfied with how this project turned out. I was the one who found the idea online and wanted the cream to look exactly the same as the demonstration in the video. Once I finished, I realized my setup yielded a much more appealing picture than the demonstration’s! I could have used a slightly different lighting setup than I did, since I was essentially using the soft lighting from underneath our cabinets in a kitchen. Additionally, next time I will make sure to be more deliberate with recording the specifics of my setup.