A Homemade Body Wash Recipe That’s Marvellously Creamy

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Here’s how to make a creamy homemade body wash at home. It works amazingly in conjunction with your favorite DIY moisturizer to give your skin an extra oomph of skin-softening goodness.  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 DIY 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. 

creamy homemade body wash


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 body wash 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. 

About The Body Wash Ingredients

The Surfactant

how to make body wash

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!  

Emulsifying Wax

Adding emulsifying wax for a body wash recipe
Add your emulsifying wax

Olivem 1000 is a natural emulsifying wax that adds to the creaminess of the body wash recipe. 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 mixture should be like a thin gel

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. 

Essential Oils

Adding your essential oil

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.


Adding preservative

As this body homemade wash formula contains water it will need a preservative, this will give you a shelf life of around nine months for your DIY 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.       

creamy diy body wash

How To Make Creamy DIY Body Wash At Home

This creamy homemade body wash works amazingly in conjunction with your favorite moisturizer. It’s like a cross between a body wash, shower gel, and a creamy lotion, all in one. 

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Yield: 200 grams
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Author: Angela Wills

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  • 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.
    11 grams Glycerine, 1 gram Xanthan Gum
    In step 1 of how to make body wash you add the xanthan gum and stir until fully dissolved
  • Weigh out and place the distilled water and the Olivem1000 into the heatproof container.
    140 grams Distilled Water, 20 grams Olivem 1000
    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.
    Place the water containing the water and Olivem1000 into a water bath to melt
  • 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.
    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. 
    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. 
    1-2 grams Essential Oil or Fragrance Oil
    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.  
    24 grams Coco Glucoside
    add the coco glucoside
  • 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.  
    1-2 drops Liquid Soap Dye
    If you are adding color to your diy body wash, you should do this now
  • 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.
    PH Modifier
    To test the PH, dip one of your universal indicator strips into your body wash mixture
  • 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. 
    2 grams Preservative
    Add your preservative
  • Transfer the body wash to a suitable bottle and let it sit for 24 hours, to allow the Olivem to fully settle. 
    8 oz PET Plastic Bottle
    Transfer the homemade body wash to a suitable bottle and let it sit for 24 hours


  • The ingredients should almost fill an 8 oz bottle, but could possibly be slightly less.
  • With the preservative, this should last around 9 months.
Category: DIY Bath & Body
Cuisine: N/A
Difficulty: Intermediate

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Final Thoughts

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 face cream recipe 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 body wash when you’re ready to take it to the next level. 

Author: Angela Wills

Title: Founder and Author - Savvy Homemade

Expertise: Beauty Recipes, Skincare Formulation, Soapmaking, DIY Crafts, Parenting


Angela Wills is an author, founder, and the driving force behind Savvy Homemade. With over fifteen years of experience, she brings a wealth of knowledge and dedication to every post she writes. She is fearlessly dedicated to creating tried and tested beauty recipes, skincare formulations, soap recipes, and many other DIY crafts that will work for everyone. Angela has a Diploma in Skincare Formulation, is a proud member of the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild, and infuses each DIY product with her passion and expertise.

Discussion (9 Comments)

  1. I am trying to figure out what went wrong. Emulsifying wax ended up not solving all the way. I ended with flakes in my batch. Olivem came in a large chunk. I have now ordered flakes.

  2. I feel like I ask a lot of questions on your amazing posts! I am trying to understand the difference between olive squalane and olivem-1000. What, exactly, is olive squalane?
    I apologize for my ignorance, but I’m really wanting to dive more into skincare and want to understand better.

    • I love Squalene! But yes, those two ingredients are very different from each other. Olivem-1000 is an all natural e-wax that we use to emulsify oils and water together to make a light cream/lotion. It’s the functional ingredient that keeps water and oil together (which otherwise will not mix on their own as they repel each other).

      However, squalene is a cool down phase ingredient (add with preservative and vitamin e at the end) that we can use in our emulsions, as well as many other types of skin care products, to bring added moisturizing benefit.

      Our skin naturally produces squalene, but production begins to slow down in our 20’s and 30’s until it’s no longer present in the skin. Our skin becomes noticeably drier as a result of our squalene ‘drying up’, and is one of the causes of aged skin.

      However, by adding some squalene derived from plants and fruits to our skin care products, we can restore some of the lovely skin oil. The most readily available is olive derived squalene.

      • Thank you! I appreciate all of your knowledge.
        With that said, I did cheat and used Emulsifying Wax NF in place of Olivem-1000 and am curious what the “disasterous” results were for you when you tried a different ingredient than Olivem-1000? I was happy with my outcome, but maybe I’m missing something?

        • Hi Beth,

          Yes, I have since looked at this recipe, and the disasters I was getting were from a bit of low-quality e-wax I had at the time and wanted to use up. Turns out it was just a bad e-wax and other substitutes should work providing they are high quality (such as NF like you have used).

    • Ekta,

      Yeah, unfortunately, this recipe isn’t about lather or foam at all. It’s more about moisturizing and hydrating, as I’ve put in lots of cosmetic butter. But the downside of cosmetic butter is it does reduce the surfactant’s ability to flash foam, although I have not chosen surfactants for this purpose either. But don’t worry too much, it will cleanse skin as well as any other homemade body wash.


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