Making liquid soap, in this case a body wash, is a simple way to keep your shower well-stocked. With a relatively small amount of ingredients, you can create a beautiful and effective cleanser! I created this recipe for my fiancé who is sensitive to bar soap, and even added a custom fragrance that we both enjoy! It uses calendula infused olive oil to reduce irritation and inflammation on the surface of the skin, and a blend of conditioning oils to prevent dryness.
If you make your own soap or other skincare products, you probably have most of these ingredients on hand! However, while bar soap is made using NaOH (sodium hydroxide) lye, liquid soaps require KOH lye (potassium hydroxide) to stay diluted in water. This recipe uses a dual lye base to create a thick paste that dilutes well (without losing too much of that lovely gel feeling). I used SaponiCalc to create it, and went with 70% KOH lye and 30% NaOH lye.
As a side note, I added a very small amount of a preservative to keep it fresh in the warm bathroom environment, opting for Germaben II E at a ratio of 1 quart diluted soap to 1/2 tsp preservative. While many people don’t use preservatives in their liquid soaps, I would rather avoid potential mold contamination in the steamy environment it will live in.
On to the recipe!
5.6 oz distilled water
Sodium hydroxide lye 0.59 oz
Potassium hydroxide lye 2.16 oz
Castor oil – 2.4 oz
Coconut oil (76°F) – 4 oz
Olive oil infused with Calendula – 5.6 oz
Shea butter – 2.4 oz
Sunflower seed oil – 1.6 oz
Sweet almond oil carrying helichrysum essential oil, rosemary essential oil, and peppermint essential oil (for fragrance; these essential oils can be omitted or replaced based on other safe fragrance options) – 2 oz
Total weight before dilution and added oils: 24.86 oz
Begin by turning on your crock pot to a medium-high setting (mine only has a high and low, so I started on high and adjusted throughout to avoid burning the soap). Add the coconut oil and shea butter to the crock pot. While that melts, add in your castor oil, calendula-infused olive oil, and sunflower seed oil.
Mix together your lye and water slowly, stirring well to disintegrate all of the flakes. Slowly add this to your oil mixture and emulsify with a stick blender. This step can take anywhere from 5-20 minutes depending on your emulsifier. You will know when it is okay to stop when it reaches a thick mashed potato consistency. If your blender starts to overheat switch to another or leave the mixture on a low heat setting and come back to it once your blender has cooled. Make sure to wear protective clothing, including chemical resistant gloves, goggles, and long sleeves to avoid being splashed by the mixture; not only is it hot enough to burn you, it also contains unsaponified lye, which can cause chemical burns on its own. Use a small crockpot to avoid splashback or emulsify the mixture in a separate container before moving to your crockpot.
Stir every 30-40 minutes until you are left with a paste that is transparent before you disturb it by stirring. Keep on medium-high heat while you wait. Once it reaches the transparent paste stage, remove from heat, carefully transfer to a jar, and allow to cool. Once cool, you can add your distilled water and sweet almond oil. Depending on how thick you want your soap, you can add different amounts of water. Start with small amounts and stir or use a stick blender to dilute the paste into a liquid. In the end you should end up with a golden-brown soap that is translucent! If you use a stick blender to dilute the soap, don’t be surprised to see that it is opaque for the first week or so. It will settle over time into that beautiful golden-brown colour! At this point, you can also add a preservative of your choice and any colourants or additives you like. I prefer to keep it simple and don’t use any mica or other suspensions, but you can customize your finished soap as much as you like! To thicken it to your preference, you can also add a gum such as xanthan gum, or leave it as is. I prefer a thicker soap, but it lathers well and works as is, too!
I’ve been slowly creating some hygiene and skincare essentials that are both simple to create and easy to customize. From body soap to lip balm, there are many great recipes online to choose from. Here are some ideas for things to swap when you run out along with a recipe or guide I found useful!
I’m a huge fan of cold process soap making, and this is my favourite recipe! You can add colorants and fragrance to it if you desire, or additives such as ground oats, kaolin clay, and goats milk for custom benefits. I’ve had so much fun learning to create beautiful soap bars, and I’ve gotten the cost down to about $2 per bar, or $24 ish for a 2 lb. loaf of soap. That’s about 11-12 bars when I cut it, which lasts a long while for a single person (about 6-8 months for me). Something I love about this soap is how nourishing it is. My personal favourite way to make it includes adding one tbsp. of ground rolled oats for gentle exfoliation and the skin-soothing power oats hold. I don’t use any fragrance or dye when I make it this way, but it smells great and is so pure! To avoid gelling and having a slightly off-white colour, place it in the fridge for 24 hours after placing your batter in the mold. Let it sit another 24 hours outside of the fridge, demold it, and cut into bars! Let it cure for 28 days and then enjoy!
I’m not a fan of DIY soaps that don’t lather or the ones that feel like water. So after I found a good dish soap recipe to start off with (and it lathered like a dream) I was ecstatic! The original recipe is calls for baking soda, castile soap, and water. I cut out the baking soda and added 1 1/4 tbsp sweet almond oil (conditioning agent), 1 1/14 tbsp castor oil (which added a lot to the foaming action), a few drops of fragrance oil, replaced the water with green tea (as an antioxidant preservative), and added 12 drops of vitamin e oil (antioxidant preservative). So, the recipe now looks like this:
1/3 Cup castile soap
1 1/2 Cup green tea (cooled)
1 1/4 tbsp. sweet almond oil
1 1/4 tbsp. castor oil
12 drops vitamin e oil
3-5 drops concentrated fragrance oil (optional)
Stir well and voila! Lovely handsoap.
One of my favourite parts of making things for myself is being able to customize them. Identify your needs and modify recipes to fit your needs! My hands were dry from washing them so often, and this was a really easy way to remedy that!
Lip balm is pretty pricey if you want the good stuff. My personal favourite commercial brand is Burt’s Bees, but I found that the one I like the best is their mango flavour. Working off of that as inspiration, I came up with a couple ideas and accidentally found my new favourite when trying to create a lotion bar in a jar! Using the ingredients I had chosen for the lipbalm and this super simple lotion bar recipe, I experimented until my bar idea became my dream lip balm. Here’s the recipe, which yields about 75 tubes in total, or 37 tubes and two overfilled 2 oz. jars (if you run out of tubes like I did haha):
1/2 cup shea butter
1/2 cup beeswax
1/3 cup mango butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
3tbsp. of a lavender infusion made with sweet almond oil and jojoba oil (2/3 sweet almond, 1/3 jojoba)
1/3 cup sweet almond oil (omit or use much less of this for a firm lip balm. I like mine super soft)
1/6-1/4 tbsp. vitamin e oil
You can use this as a skin salve as well. It is very nourishing and great for healing up small abrasions that aren’t infected. Sunburns, too, if they aren’t super blistered! I love it so much, and I’m really proud of how it feels, heals, and acts like butter on my lips. I originally planned to use some oil I infused with hibiscus for a subtle flavour, but it wasn’t ready at the time. I’ll have it at the ready next time I make this though and report back!
On the note of lotion bars (which are usually just slightly harder versions of lip balm), I found that my recipe above makes for a great bar if you subtract the 2/3 cup of sweet almond oil. As I stated before, it was originally a lotion bar recipe, and I did enjoy it as such before adding that sweet almond oil! I put mine in a jar because I didn’t have any tins, but I had plenty of those jars, haha. However, it’s getting warmer here and I don’t have as much of a use for lotion bars in the Summertime, so I opted for the lip balm formulation. That said, I’ll be getting some small containers ready to store nourishing, occlusive lotion bars all over the place come cooler weather. I used this recipe for my jumping off point, but there are so many others to choose from! It’s all about finding a balance of hard and soft oils, and if you use it, beeswax, too! Define your skincare needs and find infusions and oils customized just for you! I always recommend a healthy dose of vitamin e oil for antioxidative preservation, but there are many great hard and soft oils that have thermal and antioxidative properties! I enjoy searching through pinterest for recipe ideas, but another great way to find tride and tested formulas is to ask your friends and family that may enjoy making their own bars, too!
I’m not a dentist, and I’ve always been wary of the DIYs I see for toothpaste and mouthwash. However, I’ve recently begun exploring recipes that dentists have approved of, and they’re not as hard to create as I anticipated.
One thing I’m okay with omitting is any kind of peppermint flavouring. I’ve never really loved my toothpaste giving me that cold spearmint taste anyway. But, if you’d like to keep it in your routine, you totally can. I’ve found some awesome remineralizing toothpaste powder recipes that include everything your teeth need for a healthy smile.
In terms of the form I have found most often, toothpaste powder seems to be the most popular. The dry ingredients prevent mold or mildew growth, and inhibit bacteria from building up inside a jar. It also makes it last longer and activate when used instead of instantly deactivating when the water hits the ingredients.
Along the same thread of toothpaste, I bring you mouthwash. It isn’t just a way to feel fresh in the morning after a good tooth scrubbing, but can also impact your oral health and hygiene, according to the American Dental Association. Depending on your very custom, very personal oral hygiene needs, you can create a great mouthwash to have on hand. “There are therapeutic mouthwashes that help reduce or control plaque, gingivitis, bad breath, and tooth decay,” the ADA says on their “mouthwashes” page. Following those particular reasons for using a mouthwash, I’ve found some potential recipes. Remember, I’m not a dentist, and if you have any concerns about the efficacy or safety of your recipe or one you find online, you should go to a trusted healthcare provider, preferably one with a background in oral hygiene.
There are a few things I’m hesitant to make for myself, deodorant being one of them. That’s not say I’m afraid of getting hurt or using ingredients that could be potentially harmful; I just don’t want to stink! That said, I switched from dove antiperspirant to native several months ago, and while it definitely isn’t as strong as dove, it does work. I didn’t have to reapply dove at all, which was convenient, but the idea that the product was still there despite scrubbing in the shower was a little weird to me. I have to reapply native once in the afternoon on hot days or when I am running around, but I don’t mind like I thought I would. Deodorant should wear off, you know? I also found that less is more with it. I’m enjoying it for now, but I’d like to make my own since becoming more comfortable with the thought of natural/non-antiperspirants deodorant. Buying it helped me get a sense of what it should be like, and I’m excited to try it out!
That said, everyone’s bodies are different. What works for one person may be a complete flop for another. Some people hate native, but like lume. Others can’t stand dove and love their own creation. I do think this will be one of the hardest things to create for yourself simply because everyone’s needs are different. I recommend looking into the science of deodorant and antiperspirants before deciding what you need. Another thing I really hope people take into consideration is the sensitivity of their skin, especially over time. I never ever recommend using citrus or mint on sensitive areas of the body, especially not under the arms, which are prone to chafe. A common ingredient I see in DIYs for deodorant is baking soda, which can be irritating for some people. Coconut oil can be comodogenic in some formulations, but not always, so just watch out for clogged pores if you go with a recipe including it. All in all, I urge you to listen to your skin and body when testing new deodorants!
Since I’m still learning what you need in a deodorant, and all the DIY ones I’ve seen have been full of irritating ingredients and knocks to science, I don’t have any recommendations for you yet. I hope to update you soon!
I hope these ideas have inspired you to create some of your own products! Let me know what you make, and what works for you, personally! I’ll see you around with some more fun creating. Bye!