How to Make Body Wash

PLUS How to Thicken Body Wash

How to Make Body Wash

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Making body wash is an easy and rewarding experience. Learning how to make body wash is a simple and fun activity, well-suited to small group projects or craft time with the kids. No lye for soap handling is necessary, unlike in the recipe for making shampoo bars or solid soaps, and we even have a solution for how to thicken your body wash! Learning how to make body wash will allow you to customize the formula to meet your needs and preferences, or to create thoughtful gifts for others. Making body wash is an easy and enjoyable skill.  

For this recipe, I start with a liquid castile soap formula. If you have made your own natural liquid soap, this can be used interchangeably with the recommended Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap in the recipe. Simply substitute your soap ounce for ounce. (For instructions on making a similar recipe, laundry butter and foaming bath butter, see this article.) 

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Honey is added for extra moisturization and richer lather. It also helps to add a small amount of thickness to the body wash formula, an effect that is helped along by a saltwater solution.  

The added oil makes this body wash very rich and emollient to the skin without becoming greasy or sticky.  

Knowing how to thicken body wash is as simple as creating a saltwater solution. To make this solution, simply mix ½ ounce of plain salt with 1 ½ ounce of hot water. Stir until salt is dissolved and the mixture is clear, then set aside to use in your body wash formula.  

Natural Body Wash 

  • 1 cup natural liquid castile soap, (such as Dr. Bronner’s) 
  • 1/3 cup raw honey  
  • 1/3 to ½ cup oil — any oil that is liquid at room temperature, such as olive, hemp, jojoba, or sesame, your choice 
  • 25-50 drops essential or fragrance oils of choice, optional (use the minimum amount needed for the amount of scent desired) 
  • As needed: saltwater solution: (mix ½ oz. of plain table salt and 1 ½ oz. of hot water. Stir until the salt is fully dissolved and the mixture is clear.) 
  • Also needed: rubbing alcohol, vodka, or Everclear in a spray bottle 

Knowing how to thicken body wash is as simple as creating a saltwater solution.

To create your body wash, first gently warm the honey until it is runny. You can do this in the microwave in a few short seconds, or by placing the honey container into hot water for a minute. In a clean container, gently mix the castile soap, honey, and oil. If foaming occurs, spray with just a little alcohol. You can use a scented castile soap base without the need to add more fragrance. However, if you use unscented castile soap, you may wish to add some essential oils for interest. Add just a few drops at a time, counting and blending from time to time. Stop as soon as you reach the level of scent you prefer. In order to thicken your body wash formula, add small amounts of the saltwater solution to the body wash, stirring gently and thoroughly between additions, until the desired consistency is reached.  

Once you have made your body wash and have achieved the desired viscosity, store the body wash in an airtight container out of direct sunlight and preferably in a cool location. The temperature and light levels in your storage location can have a significant effect on the life span of the essential or fragrance oils used to scent your body wash. Heat can also speed oxidation of the oils in your body wash formula, so it’s best just to avoid the problem to start with. If desired, small amounts of liquid soap pigment or mica can be used to achieve a colored body wash. Mica will also provide a pearlescent effect that is extra nice for gifts. To give as gifts, pour into liquid soap dispensers.  

Now that you have learned the skills needed to transform castile soap, honey and oil into a luxurious natural body wash, what fragrances and colors will you try? You could combine lavender essential oil with lemongrass; perhaps a touch of sandalwood. Mint is always refreshing, but be sure to use it very sparingly — it can cause a “tingle” to the skin that not everyone enjoys. For a masculine blend, I like to mix lime essential oil with a little bit of pine and vetiver. It is woodsy and smoky with just the right amount of sweet. Fragrance oils can also be used to scent your body wash formula. Just as a warning, though — adding scents, whether essential oils or fragrance oils, can cause the body wash to change in viscosity, becoming thinner. If this happens, simply add more saltwater solution to correct the thickness.

Let us know what scents and combinations of ingredients you try in your body wash formula! 

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