79 Responses to “Super Semi-Homemade Body Wash – Exactly How You Need It”


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  1. Esterina

    Hi!! Finally able to comment on the site, don’t know what I was doing wrong but here I am now =)
    I really like this recipe for body wash (gonna try it soon) and I LOVE Raw Shea Butter, it’s fantaistic! I use it on pretty much eveything, sun burnt skin, dry skin, pimples…it’s fantastic! Sigh… Also, if you have itchy scalp you can put a bit of Shea Butter on it and leave it there for as long as you want, it will calm the itchiness.
    And I’m right there with you about “natural” products: silicones, parabens, presevatives…Uhm-mm, all natural, right?
    Anyhue, love the site, love the recipes, keep it coming, it’s great work! =)
    Have a beautiful day

  2. OK, sorry, but not all of the ingredients in the Dove Bodywash are bad. I’m not saying not to do your own bodywash, nor am I saying to rush out and buy Dove (or any other commercial brand). I just get a bit frustrated about some of the misinformation that seems to be circulating about surfactants as of late. I know sometimes the INCI names sound scary, but some of these scary sounding names are actually neither synthetic nor dangerous (example: Cocamidopropyl Betaine is very mild for an amphoteric surfactant and it’s made from coconut oil. It also has a good biodegradability factor). I have a mini surfactant guide that goes into a little detail about the surfactants I use (and a few of the controversial ones) here

    • Crunchy Betty

      I totally get what you’re saying here, but I’m coming from two places: First, don’t tell me something’s “natural,” when it’s not (like Dove). Also, I get that your beef is with my mentioning cocamidopropyl betaine mostly. From what I understand, it’s made by reacting two different chemicals to coconut oil to produce an entirely different compound … which, to me, isn’t really “natural,” y’know?

      Secondly, from a make-at-home perspective (which isn’t for everyone), all those ingredients are ones I’m happy to avoid.

      Are some ingredients blown out of proportion in terms of their danger? Yes. All over the place. However, if I can make something and avoid it all together, that makes me really super happy.

      That being said, your input is always SO very valuable to the site – and I appreciate it hugely, even when we don’t see eye-to-eye. :)

    • Crunchy Betty

      I just realized my last response made it sound like I was saying “YOU” don’t tell me something is natural when it’s not … I meant that when a company like Dove shoves it in your face over and over in a commercial that their product is “natural,” it darn well better be. Didn’t want you to think I was being overly defensive there. Heh.

      • Hi Leslie,

        Thanks so much for your feedback. No worries, I totally got that you weren’t being ‘snippy’. And you are right, I am venting about surfactants. This has become a bit of a ‘sore spot’ for me. I have had what feels like a gazilion questions about surfactants and shampoo products from folks, and this was actually what prompted me to write the whole “what’s in Shampoo” mini series on my blog. You would be amazed at the misconceptions that are running around about surfactants – it’s very disconcerting. That being said, I think you and I agree on more than we disagree on. Matter of fact, I’m not actually sure we disagree on anything. :)
        (Thanks for letting me vent!)

  3. Wow, this recipe looks amazing! Where do you buy the castille soap?

    Thanks for sharing the Shea butter source – what a great deal! : ) And I also really like the lavender version of the recipe. That’s the one I’ll be using!

    • Crunchy Betty

      Dr. Bronner’s is available just about everywhere these days. I think this bottle I actually bought in a regular old grocery store (Kroger’s). There, it’s in the tiny little section where they have all the “natural” bath and body products.

      Dr. Bronner’s is one of the few natural products that’s NOT hard to find. Hehe.

  4. ani

    Oh I’m so excited to try this! I have that same shea butter from amazon on hand already for homemade lotion bars.

  5. Jen

    Yes! I just asked about bodywash in the Community. I’m new too all of this, but I’m off to the store today to get my ingredients. I’m sitting here with the mocha mask on starting my day off right! I love your site. It’s very welcoming for those of us who are intimidated by the whole ‘crunchy’ thing, but want to make better choices. Can you believe that last week was the first time I went I to my neighborhood Food Co-Op? Thanks again!

    • Crunchy Betty

      Haha! I know you did. I was already in the process of making/writing this when I saw your post in the community. Synchronicity, to be sure. Clearly, this was meant to be. ;)

      Good for you for taking little crunchy steps. Before you know it, you’ll be full-on crunch. It happens so fast.

      • Jen

        Awesomness. I feel the crunchy coming on. I was so excited at the store today, and then I remembered that a town here has a Lavender festival. I CAN NOT wait for that now. I just want to throw out the baskets and baskets of failed commercial products I have. Can I make another request? =)

        Foaming hand soup that I can refill those pumps with. My kids love the foam, but it’s really expensive for being mostly water. Plus, my daughter has eczema, so truly natural seems like it would be e major plus.

        • Beth

          I bought cheap store brand foaming soap in a pump at Walmart (maybe $1.50 each?) and of course dumped the soap (cheaper than any of the empty pumps I could find)… then add about 1 inch of castille soap and then fill to the “fill line” with water. Works like a charm and slows the little boys down on how fast they go through soap! We liked it so much, I got one for each sink in the house!

          • Kim

            Does anyone know if the use of water mixed in with the liquid castille soap for foaming hand wash will breed bacteria? If you add in essential oils, will they act as a preservative? If so, is one better than another? I want to use this idea, but not if I am putting my family at risk for getting some kind of skin infection from bacteria.

            Thanks for any insight!

        • Kelly

          I put some Dr. Bronner’s in an old foaming dispenser and fill it with water. After a while the spout gets a little clogged, but I just use a toothpick to keep it clear. Works well for me. My daughter has pretty sensitive skin and it doesn’t bother her.

          • Danielle

             I keep an empty 32oz Dr Bronner’s bottle to dilute the concentrate.  Something like 6 oz and top off with warm water.
            Shake before use and fill up “foaming” hand soap bottle.  I’ve been using it for a year and haven’t clogged it. 
            Though, now that I wrote that, it will!

  6. Katie


    Love it.

    I tried making my own with liquid castille soap and clay.

    Bad idea. Don’t do it. It’s disgusting.

    Must go get some Shea Butter! Well done, Leslie! <3

  7. Ohhh, I am very excited about this. Also about the shea butter.

  8. I’ve got a big tub of shea butter in my pantry. I’m going to try this!
    In our garden, we are thinking of planting some loofahs. I bet they’d be neat ground up in this. Wonder if they’d have to be dried first?
    Great you are, as always. (Spoken like Yoda from Star Wars)

    • Jen

      I never thought about where loofahs came from…I had no idea that they were something you could plant in your veggie garden…had to Google it. I think you just blew my slowly turning crunchy mind. =)

      • I think they are actually a squash. Maybe. My dad grew them when I was younger. They’re just like the ones you buy. And I think they were easy to grow.

    • Crunchy Betty

      So, you made me really start looking into growing my own loofah plants, ’cause as of next week, I’ll actually have a place to grow things outside. Yay!

      Anyway, sadly, it doesn’t look like loofah would grow well here in a cooler, dry climate. Booooooo. When yours mature, you HAVE to send me some. K? And I’ll send you some Colorado rocks in return.

      • My dad used to grow them years ago. And someone that Wayne bought some blueberry plants from last year sent me some loofah’s that she’d grown. So, I’m thinking this year, we’re going to give them a try! I will certainly send some your way!

  9. Clair

    oh my, this is EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for. THANK YOU for posting the recipe and tutorial. Invaluable! And I’m so going to try this ASAP as soon as my shea butter from amazon arrives :) For those that live near an Azure Standard delivery route, they sell Dr. Bronner’s 32oz castille soaps for $10.50! About $5 cheaper than I can find it at Target, which was previously the cheapest place I could find it.

  10. I’m so excited about this! I have been wanting to make a natural body wash. Thank you!

  11. I think I’m in love! Body wash was one thing I thought I’d have to be stuck buying from a store (and most of them are irritating to me). Thank you thank you thank you!

  12. Pixie

    I was using a Burt Bees bodywash, ran out and didn’t have the money it (because well… I tend to choose buying pretty dresses over like soap. Apparentely. But anyway.) So I brought Dr. Bonners from my supermarket. My naturally dry skin is loving it, it is making it way soft!

    Plus, it is all organic, fair trade ceritified, has bizzare information on the label about Dr. Bonner’s shenanigans AND now has the Crunchy Betty stamp of approval.

  13. Alex

    I am so excited about making this, thank you for sharing the recipe!

    Question though: do you think I could use cornstarch instead of xanthan gum for thickening?

  14. Elizabeth


    If you’re going to use even the smallest drop of water, you are going to need a synthetic preservative. Please do not underestimate the need here. If you’re going to forumlate products using water, and you do not properly preserve them, you are putting your health at risk. Bacteria can form in a matter of days–and just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean that it’s not there. Bacterial infections can range from the mild (skin itching) to the very severe, where people will end up hospitalized or forever scarred or injured.

    So please either find a way to remove the water from this recipe, or incorporate a synthetic preservative.

    Check out for more information. Once there, search for “preservatives.” I know that the pro-paraben language can be off-putting, but disregard it and you’ll find information that is actually useful.

    Bottom line: You absolutely can formulate natural products without synthetic ingredients–BUT THEY CANNOT CONTAIN WATER (or aloe for that matter).

    • Crunchy Betty

      I understand your concern. Thanks for the informative link. The Dr. Bronner’s soap already contains citric acid, which is why I thought it unnecessary to add additional preservative to the recipe I made. Would the citric acid within the castille soap not offer preservative protection? The second suggestion, to make the shower soap without a herbal infusion, doesn’t use water … and, while I haven’t made it yet, I have the feeling is just as effective and much easier in the long run, anyway.

      We like to do things safely around here, but at the same time, we don’t like to be alarmist. And while I did poke around that site (and found a good bit of it to be condescending and pretty industry-biased), you’re right. There is some decent information. And I’m not one to throw the baby out with the bathwater. :)

      Thanks again for the head’s up.

      • Heather

        You could also just store the body wash in the fridge. That would keep bacteria from growing.

      • LysiJoy

        I just did a quick search and Mountain Rose Herbs carries organic Calendula oil and extract. That way you can include the benefits of the calendula without the water!! :-)

    • Rachel

       I was just wondering if this also applies to homemade shampoo?
      I have made some with Dr. Bronners peppermint castile soap, green tea, olive oil and honey and I made a conditioner with water, apple cider vinegar, rosemary, tea tree oil and a cherry amaretto teabag. I have noticed my scalp has started to become extremely itchy and I now have bad dandruff so I have stopped using it am looking for solutions. Could this be the cause and what could I add instead?

  15. Elizabeth

    Hi there, unfortunately the citric acid in your castille soap is not going to be enough to preserve your body wash. I’m not a product formulator, but I do know that when you add ingredients to an existing recipe, the preservative amount needs to also be adjusted accordingly. It’s very specific. While your wash seems lovely and downright decadent, the water is very worrisome as it provides a perfect home for bacterial growth. As of now, there doesn’t seem to be an effective natural preservative, so your best bet would be to remove the water from your formulation, and perhaps add vitamin e or Rosemary to keep your oil from turning rancid (though I don’t think it’s totally necessary). Also, keeping your natural products in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight is always smart. I am absolutely pro-naturals when possible, and while I’m certainly not an alarmist either, the risk of bacterial growth in an improperly preserved product is actually very real. But don’t sweat it, there are ways around it! Contact the PCT folks if you have questions. The founders are actually cosmetic chemists who own two natural companies between them. They’re very responsive, sensible (not prone to causing undue alarm), and can be a valuable resource. Good luck!

    • Elizabeth is absolutely right!! I’m sorry I didn’t bring this up in my first comment— I was so focused on the surfactants that I completely missed the lack of preservatives.

  16. Taryn

    So i read your article on things to put in your hair to help it and i thought it was AWESOME! my hair dresser just recommended this shampoo with coconut oil and i have really noticed a change in my hair. i have pretty dry hair that gets frizzy and has split ends. I was wondering if you had a concoction that could treat that specific hair type. Also, does molasses really work for you skin and hair? should i try it? my skin is not too bad acne wise it just gets some blackheads and little under the skin red spots. do you have anything that could help that? also, how could i help back acne? Do you have any tips for making hair appear less oily when you haven’t washed it in a while? Sorry for all the questions but you are full of such helpful tips and i feel that you could really help me get my skin and hair into shape without spending tons of money!

    • Amber

      Im NOT Leslie but I have a few tips.
      For acne, you could use a number of things.
      I use a toner with apple cider vinegar, witch hazel, and tea tree oil.
      This CAN be harsh on normal skin, so I would use tone down the acne fighting ingredients a notch… (Omigosh this sounds so confusing)
      Just check here
      And for dry hair use yogurt. Use PLAIN all natural yogurt. Let it sit in your hair for an hour. Touch the awesome softness.
      Molasses DOES work for your hair. I find it difficult to get out. Needs a few shampoos.
      Im not so sure about on your face though…

      Hope this helps!

  17. Amber

    I use this for everything now.
    Its my shampoo when my hair is drowning in oil.
    Its my hand soap.
    Its also my bodywash! (suprise suprise)
    and the castile soap is so useful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    you are a genius. You are THE crunchy genius.

  18. What oil do you recommend to go with homegrown dried peppermint & peppermint Castille soap (mine is from a bar due to cost so I’ll be melting it down). I’m thinking extra essential oil might not be needed… What do you think?

  19. Duramatter

    hmmm the preservative issue was on my mind as well, but more around the use of the herbal infusions that will cause problems. I’m of the understanding that using distilled water eliminates a large part (if not all) bacteria. Then adding grapefruit seed oil and/or vitamin E oil should finish off the preserving. I use these for all my lotions and creams – though most use floral hydrosols – and they get 6+ months shelf life. There are other considerations: using a utensil (not your finger) to take creams out, the type of container (I prefer opaque glass) and the light/heat of a bathroom. I was venturing out into wash/shampoos etc when I stumbled onto this website and wondering if you made and shelved a sample for observation?
    p.s. I’m a certified herbalist and aromatherapist

  20. Elizabeth

    This sounds great and I’m gonna make some as soon as I can….could I use arrowroot powder for the thickening agent instead of xanthan gum?  I have the arrowroot, but not xanthan gum and I really want to make this now and not have to wait to go to the store….I’m not good at waiting!! :) Thanks for all your crunchiness….I’m going all-out crunchy….it happened so fast…..

    • Calilium

      Did you use the arrowroot powder? I have some of that, but no xanthan gum, so I was wondering if it worked for you!

  21. Lorraine

    Hi, thanks so much for the site and all the recipes for natural skin care! I’m new to making my own skin care products but I’m excited to try! I love healthy living and trying out new recipes so this sounds fun! I found this shea butter soap bar with essential oils already added and I wonder if the additional ingredients would make this body wash turn out weird or do you think it wouldn’t make a dif? Thanks again!~Lorraine

  22. Lorraine

    Hi, I’ve been checking out some of your recipes for a few weeks now.I’m new to being crunchy but can’t wait to get started!:)I have one question for you.I found this soap made w/ raw shea butter and wonder if it would work for the bodywash or would the other ingredients change the recipe too much?Thanks for sharing your crunchy recipes!~Lorraine

  23. Erica

    I am so excited to try this! (I haven’t commented before, but I love your website)
    If I make this without the infused water, do you think I should adjust any of the proportions?

  24. hmm.. maybe someone here would be able to help me with this dilemma. Dr. Bronners soaps (liquid and bar) irritate the everlovin’ bejeebus out of my skin. And I don’t have dry skin, as a matter of fact I’ve got somewhat oily skin. Dr. B’s and every other natural (and I do mean natural, no nothing but the basics, no chemicals or anything, made of every soap oil combo) makes my skin drier than the desert I live in and makes me red and itchy. Any idea how one can overcome this? ( the crappy body wash I get at target doesnt do this to me, haha) 

    • Jennmnoble

      My husband has the same problem.  I’ve been reading a lot about cleansers and am wondering if I can concoct something with the following ingredients:

      sweet almond oil/coconut oil (or any oil you prefer)
      Vegetable glycerine
      Aloe Vera Gel
      some sort of hydrosol or water


    • Danielle

      Have you made it yourself?  I have had similar issues with Krafted soaps.  When I make mine, I superfat it with jojoba and hempseed oils (this helps “cushion” the recipe and ensures all of the lye has saponified). 
      Do the base oils themselves bother you?  Are you allergic to any fruits or nuts?  I have a friend who is so allergic to tree nuts that her allergist recommended avoiding any nut oils.

    • LoraM

      Just wondering if you ever found a solution, I have the same problem.

  25. Jnnstokes

    How about the use of salt to inhibit bacterial growth?

  26. Dale

    Great iofo. thanks. Can you use this without washing it off with water?

  27. Motherof5

    I make my own body wash and I love it!! I make mine in an entirely different way though. I use a bar of unscented castile soap, shredded as a base. Put it in a blender with 1/4 – 1c. water (depending on how thick you want it) and blend until….. well, until it looks like body wash! Add about 5 – 10 drops of your favorite essential oil, quick pulse to mix, and viola! Body wash! I got sick of trying to pronounce the ingredients in a bar of “commercial” soap. I had to find a better way. I also needed something cost effective. The need and desire, and my wanna hafta make it all attitude told me to make my own bar soap. So, why not. Made my first batch and haven’t looked back! 

  28. Cherie

    Hi there. I am really excited about this natural body soap.  However, I am a little concern about all the bacterial talk.  I went ahead and broke open a vitamin e capsule and used distilled water and tea tree essential oil in Desert Essence castile liquid soap with tea tree oil.  Will that be enough to ward off any bacteria?

  29. LysiJoy

    Hello! Wow, I am so excited to have stumbled across your blog! I can’t wait to try out the homemade bodywash and castille/coconut shampoo! You’re a great writer, very easy to understand, and entertaining! I’ve been doing a lot of research on natural beauty/hygiene alternatives and I’m kind of confused by all the different oils. You suggest shea butter & almond oil in this recipe – do they have specific properties or would argan, jojoba or coconut oil work? I want to make the bodywash for my mom & I and we have pretty different skin types – I’m combination & prone to mild acne & have psoriasis & occasional eczema, she’s very dry – so I need to find oils that will hydrate really well but not clog pores. I heard great things about argan so I purchased some (on sale!) but now I’m hearing great things about all these other oils and I’m very confused! Any help from anyone would be greatly appreciated!

  30. laurajean81

    what if I used this recipe but did not add the water?

  31. Dody

    I make my own body wash with almond oil. You can use olive too. I wanted a thicker body wash, so here’s my recipe. I use 6 oz. of Almond/olive oil, 2 oz. of castile liquid soap, 1/2 – 1 tsp. of kaolin clay,(kaolin clay will thicken plus very good for skin) and 1 vitamin e capsule for preserative. It works pretty well for me. Love this site!

  32. Jeanne

    This is the third time I’ve tripped over your blog in my “DIY skincare” hunts. I must say, I *love* your writing style. =) Thank you for the candid feedback on your experiments. Right now I’m working on a “gown-up head-to-toe wash.” I was hunting for reflections on the effectiveness of xanthan gum (or guar gum) as a thickener in products containing soap, and you definitely answered my question – thank you!

  33. Loni

    What camera did you use to take the pics? They are gorgeous!

  34. kita

    Hello! Could someone please help me here. I am new to making my own cosmetics, but, the place I stay is not very abundant with the ingredients. I really want to try this body wash, but, I can’t find xanthan gum. Is there anything else I can use to thicken the soap? Thanks!

  35. Amy

    aawesome! I wish I have a patience like ya! I hope shea butter won’t break my fragile skin!

  36. Mikachu

    Hello :) I have been making this body wash for the past three months coupled with making my own beeswax lotion and my skin has never felt better! Thank you! Just want to know if I am doing something wrong when it comes to the xanthan gum. I wisk it in just as the recipe calls for and every time i get this gummy web like goo stuck to my whisk. I wisk forever hoping it will dissipate but it never does so I wind up removing it from the body wash with the whisk. Am I doing something wrong? Thanks :)

  37. Gayle

    Tried this yesterday – I think I went a little overboard with the xanthum gum, as I added in about four teaspoons! Anyway, it did all work and I have a georgeous creamy soap wash – it’s all white and foamy. Think next time, I won’t add in as much of the x. gum.

    I used some liquid soap that I had made as my base (all good stuff) but found that it was a little drying. Now that it is creamy, it is so much better.

    Thanks for sharing.

  38. Gayle

    Just read some of the comments about preserving the body wash. When using water, YOU must add a preservative – grapefruit extract is not sufficient.

    I forgot to add preservative in the small amount I made, so I am going to use it up quickly and from then add preservative. All preservatives will have a small amount of alcohol in it – there is no way from getting away from it and what would you prefer? Bacteria or none? I know what I would choose.

    Thanks again Crunchy Betty.

    • Lada

      Peroxide itself *does* have an expiration date, though–it breaks down naturally into water naturally, and exposure to heat and light hastens the process considerably–as does adding it to soap. Google “elephant’s toothpaste” to see what happens.

  39. Jehseeka

    How about adding peroxide? That would combat bacteria AND make the product have literally no expiration date. It may bleach/tint your body hair though! I’m new to all this naturalness…maybe peroxide is a no-no?

    • Lada

      Peroxide itself *does* have an expiration date, though–it breaks down naturally into water naturally, and exposure to heat and light hastens the process considerably–as does adding it to soap. Google “elephant’s toothpaste” to see what happens.

  40. This design is spectacular! You obviously know how to keep a reader amused. Between your’e wit & your’e videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Wonderful job. I really loved what you had to say, & more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

  41. Natalia

    It’s a shame castile soap works so terribly in hard water. I tried using castile soap as shampoo when I was on vacation in Oregon once, and my hair was DIVINE. I got back home to Denver and pretty soon it made my hair a sticky, gunky, dull, disgusting sight.

    I’m wondering if you have any ideas about homemade soap or body wash base that doesn’t leave so much residue and would work in hard water?

  42. Michelle


    I love your blog!

    I still use bar soap (Dove, although I definitely am rethinking this now! and neutrogena body wash on upper arms, chest, areas where I still have acne) and was wondering if you could help with some recipes for bar soap that would replace those two?


  43. james

    Hi Betty,

    Is your final product clear in the end (moisturizing Ylang)? I tried to make it a couple of times and it gets very cloudy and opaque. I was hoping it would stay clear, thanks for the recipe!

  44. Alex

    I made the lavendar version of the body wash today and it is lovely. I also added shea butter. Why is it so runny though? What can I do to thicken it up?

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  47. Jen

    Is it possible to just infuse the castile soap instead of using water? I don’t want to have to add preservatives, but otherwise the water leaves it open for growing mould & bacteria.

  48. Jordyn

    Hey! Ok so I have almost everything to finally try and make this. I think I may just substitute Chamomile for the calendula since I have that on hand. My only question is, should this be followed with an ACV rinse because of the castille soap being so basic or do you usually use it as is? Thanks!


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