I always crack up at those chewing gum commercials that ask, “Feeling dirty?” And their answer to cleaning up is to pop a piece of gum in your mouth. Sparkling teeth, yes. Sparkling clean body…not so much.

Homemade Body Wash

So how about getting an all-over clean feeling with a little homemade body wash? I swear it’s simple – not nearly as simple as popping in a piece of gum – but the results will surely make you more presentable.


If you have simplified your personal products, you’re probably wondering why a bar of soap won’t cut it. It will. But some of us just like a little something we can squirt on a washrag or a bath pouf to scrub-a-dub-dub with. Oh yeah, and it takes only a few minutes to make this liquid body wash – that’s far less time than it takes me to make bar soap.

With this combination of ingredients, this moisturizing body wash is gentle enough to use on your face, and also makes a rich lathering shave soap. (In fact, I recently took this on a camping trip and used it as facial cleanser, body wash, and shaving foam. It really cut down on the amount of toiletries I had to pack!)

Ingredients you’ll need

Honey – Honey is the secret ingredient in this recipe. We recently published an article about honey’s amazing benefits for the body, inside and out. Honey helps your skin retain moisture and elasticity without drying it out. This makes honey perfect for mature, dry, itchy, or damaged skin. It can also help speed the healing of blemished skin. Instead of making the body wash sticky, honey just makes it nice and smooth. Be sure to use raw, unfiltered honey. (find raw honey here)

Liquid castile soap – Using a pure liquid castile soap will ensure your body wash has enough suds, without the addition of any chemical foaming agents. Feel free to use scented or unscented castile soap. If using scented castile soap you can omit the essential oils, or go ahead and add them for their therapeutic benefits. (Note: Peppermint castile soap may be a little uncomfortably tingly on sensitive areas for some.) (find it here)

Oil – Adding an oil that is easily absorbed by the skin makes this body wash extra moisturizing. Jojoba and grapeseed oil are two of my favorites. You may even find you don’t need to apply additional moisturizer after using the body wash. (find it here)

Vitamin E oil – Vitamin E is repairing and moisturizing. This ingredient is an antioxidant and can help elongate the shelf life of homemade personal care products. Perfect as an addition to products during the summer or winter months when our skin may be more stressed from extreme temperatures and weather. (find it here)

Essential oils – Many essential oils are perfect for troublesome skin conditions. Some of them soothe, repair, heal, disinfect, or deodorize skin. See suggestions at the end of the article for beneficial essential oils to use in your body wash. (find 100% pure essential oils here)

Homemade Body Wash 1


Moisturizing Honey Body Wash

Ingredients

Directions

Measure out all ingredients and combine in a bottle with a squirt top, shaking to mix. Shake gently before each use. To use, squirt onto a washcloth, bath pouf, or directly onto body.

Since this recipe doesn’t contain water, it has a long shelf life of up to a year.

Essential oils for skin

When making your body wash, keep your particular skin type in mind and find a scent you enjoy. If you’re using this body wash for your baby, you may want to omit the essential oils altogether, or just add a few drops of chamomile or lavender essential oil. If children will be using the body wash, use half the suggested amount of essential oils.

My current favorite scent combination is 45 drops of lavender and 15 drops of geranium essential oil. This creates a sweet floral body wash that reminds me of summer flower beds. Use a single essential oil or have fun blending a few. Here are some suggestions:

Chamomile (German and Roman) - Great for dry and sensitive skin, acne, eczema, and dermatitis.

Geranium - Great for oily complexions, acne, mature skin, eczema, dermatitis, and other problematic skin conditions. It also brightens and revitalizes dull skin.

Grapefruit – This essential oil tones the skin and is extremely cleansing for oily skin. If using the amount suggested in the above recipe, there is no phototoxic concern.

Lavender – Very gentle and good for all skin types, including very sensitive skin. Perfect for mature skin, acne, eczema, and psoriasis. Effective in soothing itchy skin.

Palmarosa - Stimulates new cell growth, moisturizes skin, and regulates oil production. This makes it a valuable essential oil for use in any DIY skin products.

Patchouli - Antimicrobial, astringent, fungicidal, and deodorant. Great for acne, cracked and chapped skin, eczema, oily skin, and mature skin.

Peppermint –  Since peppermint is very strong, use only half the amount recommended in the recipe (or less). Cooling, refreshing, and stimulating. Has astringent properties, making it perfect for acneic skin. (Note: Avoid during first 4 months of pregnancy.)

Rosemary - Rosemary is stimulating and restorative. Useful for acne, eczema, and dermatitis. (Note: Avoid during pregnancy. Do not use if you are epileptic or have high blood pressure.)

Sandalwood – Useful for acne, dry, cracked, and chapped skin. Also great for wrinkles and mature skin.

Sweet orange - One of the only citrus essential oils that is not phototoxic, sweet orange is helpful for dull or oily skin.

Tea tree - This antibacterial oil can be nicely blended with others like lavender and peppermint. May be useful for acne, oily skin, rashes, and inflamed skin. Using too much may actually create a drying effect. You may need to experiment a little to find the right amount for your skin.

Ylang ylang – Great for general skin care, irritated skin, oily skin, or acne. Since this oil is a strong scent, add a few drops at a time until the desired aroma is achieved. (You will need much less than the amount suggested in the above recipe.)

Make it your own

Don’t limit yourself to the essential oils or ingredients recommended in this recipe.

Experiment with your favorite ingredients, and be sure to let us know how it turns out!


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Comments

  1. Emily K. says

    Is there any reason why I couldn’t use this as a face wash as well? I am currently making your face wash & have been using it as a body wash as well, but I find myself using it up so fast. I don’t want to make too large of a quantity because I don’t want it to go bad so I’m making face wash once & sometimes twice a week. If I could make a larger quantity of the body wash & use for both face & body that would be great! I love your all of your tips & recipes. Slowly but surely I am implementing them one at a time in my house. Keep up the good work. I know I really appreciate it!

  2. says

    I am in the transition process and would like to know if you could recommend some safe plastic bottles for shower soap, shampoo etc. Thank you!

  3. says

    Question, do you HAVE to use ORGANIC carrier oils or can you use the regular ones? Like the sweet almond, jojoba, grapeseed, etc.? I’m on a strict budget and the difference in price is pretty substantial (I’m going to order them from MRH like you suggest), so I was just wondering. Thanks so much. Love your posts!

  4. says

    Thanks for the recipe! I’ve been dragging my feet on buying more face wash because it’s either full of chemicals or super pricey. This summer heat and my pregnancy combined are working against my face, though, so it’s time I do something! I love the smell of chamomile, I can’t wait to try this out. I especially appreciate that you noted the shelf life!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      It’s especially wonderful if you already have all the ingredients! That’s how this formulation was born…I needed more soap in the shower and I looked around in my cupboards for some good ingredients I could throw together. You’ll love this body wash! :)

    • Tammy R. says

      Jeni, I’m no expert but this recipe looks very much like the one I use for hair shampoo **with the exception of the 2 tsp. of oil** – so if you take that out you should have a nice shampoo! I use sweet orange essential oil in mine and along with the raw honey it smells yummy!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Yes, this could work as a shampoo. However, castile-based shampoo tends to work better in normal or hard water. If you have very soft water I would not recommend it.

  5. Brigette says

    Is there anything I can use to substitute for the Vit E? Vegetable Glycerin perhaps? Or would it be ok to just omit it?

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Sure Brigette, you can just omit the Vitamin E. Vegetable glycerin does not have the same antioxidant properties, although it will help soften skin.

  6. Leslie says

    Perfect timing–this is just what I needed. I’ve been playing “mad scientist”, too, and have been experimenting with making body wash. I had three of your five ingredients, but not the jojoba oil or the raw honey. I think that adding those two items will give the results I’ve been trying for. Thanks so much!

  7. Sharon says

    Love your recipes but I like to use fresh herbs Could fresh herbs be used in this recipe as a substitute for the essential oils?

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Absolutely Sharon! You could make an herbal oil infusion with the herb of your choice, then use the oil infusion in place of the 2 teaspoons of plain oil the recipe calls for.

  8. Colleen says

    Do the oils and honey in this recipe make the bathtub or shower slippery? Have had issues before.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Great question Colleen! The answer is no – the shower will not be slippery at all after using this body wash since it’s very sudsy.

  9. Kay Zeeh says

    Thanks so much for such a luscious recipe! I have been looking for some time for just the right body wash recipe,and I think this one is it.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      It makes *almost* 8 oz. or 1 cup of body wash. The reason I don’t make a full cup is so there is room in the bottle to shake ingredients, but you can increase the measurements to make the amount you like. :)

  10. 4HungryBunnies says

    Wow! You had me at the word HONEY (OR hunny as Pooh spells it). I recently started using raw honey as my preferred facial cleanser and as a shampoo. I totally love using natural things and not having to mix up things. But I might give your recipe a try. I do make my own deoderent and we currently use Dr. Bronner’s Castile almond bar soap for body. My husband and children use it as shampoo too.

  11. Sarah Campbell says

    I love using Argan oil in place of any needed oils, nowadays…..the real Argan oil can be pricy, but oh so rich and soft…totally worth it!!

  12. Mary says

    Can I use fractionated coconut oil for the oil? Everybody always gives examples of oils ,but nobody mentions FCO is it okay to use?

  13. dawn says

    Isnt 50-60 drops of essential oil way too much for 8oz? I can see if you were making several gallons. Its so concentrated….that much in 8oz could even be dangerous..

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Not necessarily. Have you seen recipes for homemade insect repellent? You need much more than 50-60 drops in 8oz. to make an effective repellent (which sits on your skin and is reapplied often). It’s also no more concentrated than getting a massage with diluted EOs. (Usually several drops to each TBSP of oil.) Some of the oils I listed can safely be applied to skin neat (undiluted). I purposely researched and suggested essential oils that are not known to have any safety concerns or cause skin irritation for most people. Additionally, this is being washed off the skin. However, if you feel like this is too concentrated, I encourage you to use only what you’re comfortable with. Thanks for asking this Dawn!

  14. Carrie says

    I am going to try this today if I can find the Castile soap! However I use young living essential oils and may have to cut those in half that brand seems so much more powerful than other essentials also where can I find a good source of raw honey in bulk we will need a lot of body wash!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Carrie, large chains like Target and WalMart have begun carrying Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap near their natural bath products. You could also check a health food store if you have one locally. Your best bet on finding raw honey in bulk is to check localharvest.com for a beekeeper near you who is willing to sell large amounts. We have also found large buckets of it at Amish bulk stores. Have fun making your body wash!

  15. Jon says

    Matt, my wife and I are making ours this weekend! We’re in the process of detoxifying our home…

  16. Jessica says

    I’m a vegan who won’t buy or use honey. Is there something I could use instead? Could I omit it altogether?

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Jessica – you can omit the honey altogether. However, castile soap alone can be a little drying, so you may want to add a little extra oil, possibly increase the Vitamin E oil a bit, and vegetable glycerin can also be added for an extra moisturizing effect.

  17. 4HungryBunnies says

    OK, you knew this would happen. Someone would have to ask, it might as well be me. (; Where did you get the Amber body wash bottle? Is it glass? Was it leftover from a store bought product. If so, what one? The picture just looks amazing and I feel I must have a matching bottle to go with your amazing recipe. (: Please enlighten me!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Ha! I used to feel the same way when I saw recipes online, and had to search high and low for identical containers to store things in. ;) I get amber and cobalt plastic squirt bottles (and you choose caps seperately) from http://www.specialtybottle.com. They have just about any kind of glass or plastic container you can imagine. Hope you like the body wash!

  18. says

    Hi guys! I just made a batch of this and used some last night. I absolutely live it!!! It made me skin feel so soft and smelled heavenly. I am done with store bought body wash. Winner winner chicken dinner!!! Thanks

  19. Tara Johnson says

    How long will this last with out going bad? I have a large family and would rather not make this every few days. Would this be appropriate for young kids? I also have a teenage boy, is there a “manly” oil that I can add to his?

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Since this recipe does not call for water the body wash has a very long shelf life – about a year. It’s appropriate for young kids, but you’ll want to decrease the amount of essential oils you use because their skin can be a little more sensitive. Some good oils for your teen boy include vetiver (my favorite for a “manly” scent – and also great for oily skin or acne), sandalwood, patchouli, bergamot, rosemary/tea tree, or whatever he likes. Hope you like this body wash!

  20. Irene says

    Just wanted to say that I made this yesterday and really like it. I have been using a different recipe for body wash that I really like due to its consistency (it doesn’t foam up as much as I would like though, like this one does). However, have you tried thickening it with anything? I would love for a thicker consistency.

      • Irene says

        Okay, I have Steric Acid on hand but that gets tricky, considering you have to do the “leave the top off the blender and dump the hot steric acid in while it is going” thing. Therefore I have been playing with the idea of chunking out for guar gum. Do you know anything about it? I have heard nothing but good things and it is supposed to take very little to thicken things.

        Also, do you by chance know how hot I can get the honey without killing the “good” properties? (not sure exactly what I would be killing I just know heating raw honey can defeat the purpose of it being raw)

        Thanks!

        • Betsy Jabs says

          I really can’t be of much help on the thickening issue. I like to add as few ingredients as possible to my recipes, so I don’t use thickeners. Sorry! Heating honey above 95 degrees Fahrenheit will start to kill some of the beneficial properties.

          • Irene says

            It’s totally okay! The body wash is great as it but I like a thicker body wash (just a texture thing) so was curious. Thank-you for the bit about the honey though, quite helpful to have an actual temperature.

  21. Kristen says

    I just made this yesterday. I did not have Vitamin E so I used jojoba instead.

    I used it this morning in the shower and a little bit surely goes a long way!

  22. Laura says

    Ok I’ve got all my ingredients but I need help figuring out how much EO to use and if they pair well together. I’m very new at this. I would like to use grapefruit, a little rosemary and geranium EO. Or grapefruit, rosemary, and rose. How much if each if I want a more citrus floral smell?

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Great question Laura. If I want to make sure certain EOs go well together, I’ll put a few drops of each into a small glass bowl or vial, swirl to combine, and sniff. This way you can see what the resulting scent is without wasting too much. If you don’t like it at first, continue adding more of the different oils until it’s what you want, swirling and sniffing after each addition. Keep track of how much of each oil you use though – that way you can duplicate the same scent again and you’ll have the correct proportions documented.

  23. Laura says

    I made this today. Wow! I will never buy body wash again, I loved it. I went very simple with the essential oils and did 30 drops grapefruit and 30 drops rose. My skin feels incredible and I loved the scent.

  24. Ana Carolina says

    Can I substitute the Castile Soup for something else? I’m Brazilian and I couldn’t find it here. I would love to do some soup and shampoo but it seems like all the recipes need it!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      The liquid castile soap is a pretty integral ingredient for this body wash that can only be substituted with another liquid soap. You can use an organic baby shampoo or natural body wash, but then this defeats the purpose of making your own. :)