Perhaps it’s because I first started making natural skincare products about 8 years ago, or maybe I just run out of cosmetic products earlier but I’ve definitely made more progress switching my skincare over to natural products than household cleaning products.
So far, we are now using homemade handwash, bodywash, deodorant and toothpaste.
I did, once upon a time, also make my own cleanser, toner, moisturiser and lip balm but these take considerably longer and many of the recipes I’ve used in the past (particularly for toner) need to be kept in the fridge. So it’s going to take me a little longer to switch over to those.
So today I’d like to share recipes I’ve used for hand wash and body wash, and a couple of tips for using them.
Recipe #1: Handwash
1/2 cup castile soap
1/2 cup filtered or distilled water
1 tbsp vitamin E oil (optional but highly recommended for its antioxidant [=anti-ageing] & moisturising properties)
1 tbsp sweet almond or jojoba oil (in a pinch, or if you’re just getting started, you can use olive oil but make sure it’s extra virgin and high quality)
15 drops tea tree essential oil
5-10 drops lavender essential oil
Combine all ingredients in a foaming pump bottle. It’s important that you do get one of these (I bought mine from Biome eco stores) because the soap is very liquid, When you use a foaming pump bottle, it does the work for you, so the soap comes out in a nice little white fluffy foamy puff on your hand. This has a few beneficial consequences: it has a much soapier texture than the liquid on its own, you get a better lather, and you use less of the product.
You’ll probably need a funnel to get the ingredients into the bottle easily. Add the water first so it doesn’t froth up.
The essential oils aren’t just for smell. Tea tree and lavender both have antiseptic properties.
Recipe #2: Body wash
In reality, you could use exactly the same recipe as the handwash (with the option of switching out some of the essential oils for your favourites) but I made the below recipe as a gentle baby wash and shampoo, and I really like this as a body wash. It’s pretty similar!
1 1/2 cups castile soap
4 tbsp vegetable glycerine (this is important as I’ve recently learned glycerine can be made from animal fat)
2 tsp almond oil or jojoba oil
1 tsp aloe vera juice (optional: aloe is a great ingredient for sensitive skin)
10 drops of an appropriate essential oil (if making for a baby be sure to check which ones are safe to use and which age you should use them from)
2 tbsp filtered or distilled water.
Again, combine all ingredients as for the hand wash in a self-foaming bottle, adding the water first. Shake to combine, and give it a little shake before use.
A note on costs:
Most of these ingredients can be bought from healthfood shops but they tend to be fairly expensive. If you are planning to make several things yourself, I recommend you list everything you will need and buy them online from an Australian provider (e.g. Biome) as most ingredients will be cheaper online.
However, the initial cost can still be expensive, particularly if there are lots of different essential oils you need, as some of these can cost upwards of $20 a bottle.
At a guess, the ingredients for the hand wash would cost about $60… but you will have enough ingredients to make many, many batches. And the castile soap, which you’ll run out of the fastest, is reasonably cheap to buy.
Prior to making my own handwash, I would buy Thank You brand hand wash, which costs $7.50 a bottle. Except for the castile soap, each of the ingredients will easily make more than 10 bottles of hand wash that lasts about as long as a Thank You bottle.
So, without doing any calculations whatsoever (sorry!) I would guess that you end up spending about the same amount of money. But, the more products you make at home, the more you save, because you can use your essential oils across multiple products.
A final note: essential oils have a surprisingly short useby date. Usually a couple of years. If you don’t use them within that date, suppliers recommend you throw them out. Personally, I don’t. I keep them and keep using them and have found no problems arising. I think the point is they aren’t going to do any harm (that I know of) but they just lose some of their aromatherapeutic (is that a word? It should be!) properties, or, I think, some become stronger. I certainly wouldn’t recommend using any expired oils in toothpaste, lip balms or face products, and definitely not for anything you might use on a baby. But for your run of the mill hand wash or body wash, I don’t see why it would be a problem.
Let me know if you decide to give one or both of these recipes a go!