Liquid soap is taking over my life at the moment, and I’m loving every minute of it. I’ve been making liquid soap using lye (potassium hydroxide) like crazy, as well as surfactant-based bubble bath and shower gels. So I thought, how can I take this further? With a super creamy homemade body wash recipe!
This recipe is basically me trying to do just that. It’s like a cross between a body wash/shower gel and a creamy lotion, all in one.
My Homemade Body Wash Recipes
Lately, I’ve been keeping a bottle of this stuff by the bathtub that I scented with lovely lavender essential oil for relaxation. I have another one with refreshing orange essential oil that I use in the shower.
I’ve given them a dash of color so that I know which is which at a glance. Adding color to the body wash recipe is of course optional as they still look great without.
Although keep in mind that the essential oils do have a way of tinting the creamy texture of your body wash. If you do want to use a little coloring, look for either a vibrant food-grade colorant or a strong liquid soap dye. You’ll probably only need a single drop!
After I’d finished formulating this recipe I knew it was going to be one of my all-time favorites. I love the texture, look, and feel.
I loved everything about it, including making it. Although it’s worth mentioning that because this recipe calls for an emulsion, it’s definitely a step up from my other liquid soaps in terms of difficulty.
I’m using coco glucoside which is a mild surfactant that’s often used in baby products. Coco glucoside is a surfactant that I regularly use in my bath, shower, or cleansing products.
It’s classed as a green surfactant that’s biodegradable and has shown to be very compatible with our skin. This means there’s less chance of it irritating the skin as so many conventional foaming agents do. It’s also really easy to work with!
Olivem 1000 is a natural emulsifying wax that adds to the creaminess of the body wash. I’ve tried this recipe using other emulsifying waxes, all with disastrous results so this is non-negotiable. If you can’t get hold of it right now, I wouldn’t recommend attempting to substitute.
Keep in mind, if you’re struggling to get hold of ‘Olivem 1000’, try to find a generic version. Olivem is a brand, so it sometimes isn’t always available. Look for its INCI name, ‘Sorbitan Olivate, Cetearyl Olivate’.
Glycerine And Xanthan Gum
The glycerine has two functions in my body wash recipe. Firstly it adds moisturizing benefits to the wash, secondly, it helps the xanthan gum dissolve more efficiently.
We are using the xanthan gum to aid the Olivem 1000 in adding a little extra thickness and stability to the finished product. Xanthan gum is a natural product and is vegan friendly.
I’m using simple but effective essentials here. The orange I’m using is 5 folds which means it smells five times stronger, so I’m only using 0.5% in mine. If you are using ordinary sweet or bitter orange, use around 1%. Orange essential oil is a superb cleaning oil and has some wonderful uplifting properties making it a good choice for an invigorating morning shower.
Lavender essential oil is quite possibly the best all-around essential oil on the market, with an excellent price tag as well! It’s great for destressing, inducing sleep, calming irritated skin, fighting off wrinkles, and moisturizing dry skin.
As this formula contains water it will need a preservative, this will give you a shelf life of around nine months for your homemade body wash. I’m giving a guideline of using 1% but always check the manufacturer guidelines on the recommended amount, or speak with your supplier if it didn’t ship with instructions.
How To Make Body Wash
- Place the glycerine into a small beaker/container, add the xanthan gum and stir until fully dissolved. If you have a small milk whisk this is great for this job.
- Weigh out and place the distilled water and the Olivem1000 into the heatproof container.
- Place the water containing the water and Olivem1000 into a water bath to melt. You can do this by filling a saucepan with a couple of inches of water and bringing it up to a simmer.
- Once the Olivem1000 has melted remove the container from the heat and give it a good brisk stir. Then, add the glycerine and xanthan gum mixture.
- Continue to stir until it starts to cool and becomes thick and creamy. To begin with, it will have a slimy consistency; this is totally normal. Once again if you have a small electric whisk this is a good time to use it. You can also speed up the cooling time by placing the container into a bowl of ice water whilst you stir it.
- Once the cream has cooled to 40c (104f) and it looks thick and creamy, stir in the essential oils.
- Now we can add the coco glucoside. As this is a surfactant, we want to stir this in slowly and gently. If we stir vigorously, it will agitate it and cause foaming. We really don’t want this. However, we also have to make sure it's thoroughly combined. This can take a few minutes to do. Just be patient and thorough with this step.
- If you are adding color, you should do this now. Otherwise, skip to step 9. This creamy body wash looks pretty good without adding color to it. But if like me you can't resist, add a drop at a time until you are happy with the result. Be sure to stir slowly so as not to agitate the surfactant.
- Next, we need to ensure that our product is the right PH. For this recipe, we’re aiming to have a mild body wash, somewhere between 4 and 6 is good. To test the PH, dip one of your universal indicator strips into your body wash mixture. Compare this to the scale that comes with your strips.If it’s a little too high, you can add a couple of drops of lactic acid to bring it down. However, you can also use citric acid, but it will need to be diluted in a solution of 10% citric acid to 90% distilled water. Because this recipe contains a surfactant, it is highly unlikely that your body wash will test lower than a 4 on the PH scale, so don’t worry too much about needing to raise it.
- Add your preservative then re-test the PH. Sometimes your preservative can increase the PH of your product after it has added. If it has, add another drop of lactic acid or citric acid to bring it back down to between 4-6.
- Transfer the body wash to a suitable bottle and let it sit for 24 hours, to allow the Olivem to fully settle.
- The ingredients should almost fill an 8 oz bottle, but could possibly be slightly less.
- With the preservative, this should last around 9 months.
I’ve been using this diy body wash every day for the last few weeks, and honestly, my skin feels amazing. Because this is a wash-off product, it won’t nourish your skin like a lovely homemade lotion.
However, it works amazingly in conjunction with your favorite diy moisturizer to give your skin an extra oomph of skin-softening goodness.
They also smell amazing! I decided to only use a single essential oil in each of the two creamy body wash recipes I’ve made. But can you imagine how fantastic they’ll smell if you use your favorite essential oil blend?
If you don’t quite feel ready to make a creamy body wash that requires an emulsion, take a look at either my shower gel or bubble bath recipes. They both use surfactants, and use some of the same processes like this one, except it’s a little easier because there is no emulsion.
Then you can come back here and make this homemade body wash when you’re ready to take it to the next level.