Why DIY Body Wash
Conventional body wash can contain parabens, sulfates, toxic preservatives and artificial fragrances. Even those marketed as natural products can score frighteningly high in cancer-causing toxins and other harmful ingredients.
Alternative To Body Wash
I love using liquid Castile soap as a body wash. It is very natural and safe both for babies and adults, but still extremely effective. It suds with minimal water and is non toxic to the environment.
The only problem really for me, is that buying the liquid for a family of four can get very expensive. We can go through one large bottle in a week! Buying Castile soap in bar form and making a liquid body wash is much less expensive and creates a very luxurious product.
DIY Body Wash Ingredients
If you make a personal care product with water, it must be distilled. Tap water contains bacteria that will drastically shorten the shelf life of your body wash. The only other option besides distilled water would be water filtered through a high end filter that removes bacteria, then boiled.
This is one of the most gentle types of soap available. It doesn't pollute the environment when it enters the waste water stream and is non-toxic as it is made from vegetable oils, usually a mixture of coconut and hemp. Castile soap is typically scented naturally if it is scented. I avoid using peppermint fragranced Castile soap for body wash though, as it can irritate sensitive skin.
Vegetable-based glycerin is used to give the body wash a thicker consistency. It is also moisturizing and has a long shelf life.
Vitamin E works as an antioxidant and both increases the shelf life of the body wash, and protects your skin from harmful free radicals. When you buy and use Vitamin E, it is important to make sure that it is labeled “d-alpha tocopherol” which is derived naturally from plant sources and not “dl-alpha tocopherol acetate” which is synthesized and toxic.
High quality essential oils have myriad health benefits. For a relaxing body wash, try rose, lavender or chamomile. For an uplifting wash, try orange or grapefruit.
Body Wash Recipe
- 4 cups distilled water
- 1 bar Castile soap, grated (find it here)
- 2 tablespoons Vegetable Glycerine (find it here)
- 2 capsules Vitamin E (find it here)
- Optional: 20 drops essential oils of your choice (find high quality essential oils here)
- Bring distilled water to a low boil in a stainless steel saucepan.
- Over low heat, stir in grated soap and stir until melted.
- Remove from heat.
- Add glycerine, vitamin E and essential oils.
- Cover mixture and let sit undisturbed for 12-24 hours or until completely cool. (This is important, if you disturb it at this point you could end up with a very watery product or a product with an unpleasant, chunky texture)
- After mixture is completely cool and set, transfer to very clean containers.
As this body wash is made with water, it will have a shorter shelf life than a homemade lotion or body butter, or other product that doesn't contain water. This isn't really a bad thing, since the point of making your own bath and body care products is to keep the ingredients as safe and natural as possible. We don't want commercial preservatives in our products! Some ways to extend its shelf life include:
- Putting your body wash into a very clean container.
- Using a container that will limit your contact with the body wash, such as a pump or squeeze bottle. Scooping the body wash out of a jar will introduce bacteria from your hands into the product, shortening its shelf life.
- Refrigerating your body wash. I keep a small bottle of this product in the shower and use it up within a week so I've had no problems with shelf life, but I keep the rest in glass jars in the refrigerator until I'm ready to use it.