My living room is a disaster today-I am talking mountains of down comforter, mounds of tissue, and a nest of pillows. I have been attacked by a combination of cold/allergies/oh-so-fun time of the month issues, and I am down for the count. I did want to put a post up today though, to make up for my lack of posting, and to make myself feel like something more than a runny, sneezy, sweatpant-clad slob. I even showered for the occasion. And on that note, my post today is on homemade, DIY, natural body wash.
We have all seen the commercials...an unrealistically fit and attractive woman with perfectly shaved and glowing skin lathers up in the shower with mountains of foam and cleanses her unusually already clean skin. Who the heck actually looks like that when they shower? I shower when I have peeled myself out of bed or off the couch, and it is generally not an attractive state. But ladies, I have a secret one-up on the commercial girl. And you can too. If you make your own body wash. I am not advocating throwing out whatever you have on hand now. I used up what I had left, and then made my own about two months ago, and I have been loving it. I have about half a bottle of some Softsoap body wash in my shower, which I will use for comparison in this post.
Making your own body wash is easy and extremely cost-effective. You will absolutely love the price point on this. And it is so much better for your skin. Let's start by looking at my Softsoap body wash. I paid $3.50 for this bottle (with a coupon). It has 18 ounces of product. If I used this regularly, I would get about three weeks of use out of the bottle. I tend to shower twice a day because I work out. If you have a family, you are likely going through a lot more of this than I am. My bottle is the "Ultra Rich Shea Butter Creme" variety, and it boasts that it is moisturizing and touts the benefits of the shea butter enrichment.
The back of the bottle lists the ingredients: Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Acrylates Copolymer, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Fragrance, Sodium Chloride, Glycol Distearate, Laureth-4, Sodium Hydroxide, DMDM Hydantoin, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Tetrasodium EDTA, Citric Acid, Gelatin, Acacia Senegal Gum, Mica, Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide. Notice how the main selling point of the product-Shea Butter-is waayyyyy down the ingredients list.
You can go through and research some of these ingredients on your own time-but they are considered "safe" in most cases if the absorption and exposure is not extended. I can't help but feel that use over a lifetime can be detrimental to health. Beyond the science of things, I know that I have issues using a lot of these chemical-based cleaners. My skin is constantly dry and itchy. I have to spend tons of money on moisturizers (made of more chemicals) to have soft skin. I sometimes break out in rashes and irritation. I can search for months to find one that truly moisturizes my skin, and then feel as if I have wasted my money on a product. So I switched to making my own body wash. The results have been amazing.
My skin is moisturized and smooth. I rarely need to use lotion and when I do, I can feel good about the fact that it is because my skin is actually thirsty, and not depleted of moisture because of harsh chemicals. I make my body wash about every two weeks, and it costs me about $.55 to make each container of homemade body wash. Some of the store-bough washes are upwards of $7. It's better for my family and our budget. The ingredients in my body wash are simple and natural: coconut-oil based castile soap, water, coconut oil, and if I choose to use any, natural essential oils. That's it! Easy, cheap, and all-natural. I also use this as my shaving lotion! It works wonderfully! Your skin and your wallet with thank you.
Start with a bar of natural castile soap. I am using Kirk's here. I buy it in a 3-pack at Harmon's, but it is also available at natural food stores, such as Sunflower Market or health food stores. A package costs between $3-$4. Some Wal-Marts are rumored to carry this in a 3-pack for $1.50, but I have yet to find it. I have also used Dr. Bronner's, but it is more expensive, between $4-$5/bar. You can also use liquid castile soap, but that runs between $14-$17/bottle. I find this method to be much more cost-effective.
This homemade body wash will behave differently than the store-bought product. It will not suds as much, but it is still working. Our shampoos and body wash from the store suds because of the sulfate in them-it is not an indication of whether or not it is cleaning. This soap, unlike commercial products, is not a detergent and will not strip your body of moisture or oils needed to maintain healthy skin.
Take your bar of soap and grate it into a mixing bowl. Just use a cheese grater (this is from the dollar store, and I use the big holes) to grate the whole bar of soap up. Set it aside.
I also like to add a few drops of essential oil. Today, I used four drops of lavender.
That's it! The soap will become thicker as it cools and sets (if you use the Dr. Bronner's. Kirk's remains very liquid), but just put a bit on your loofah, and wash away. It will not suds as much as you are used to, but for you will absolutely love the way your skin feels. You will see that the coconut oil forms a sheen on your skin, but it absorbs and leaves you feeling baby soft. A note: If you want a lot of sudsing, and to stretch your soap even further, reuse a foaming soap bottle. I just put some of mine into an old Bath & Body Works foaming soap container, and it foams up really nicely! I definitely recommend this!
Oh! I also just store my leftover castile soap in a large plastic tub (an old Sea Salt Caramel Tub from Costco), and use it whenever I need to make more body wash. I also use it for hand soap and shampoo!
There you go! Homemade body wash for $.55, and it works beautifully! Happy natural living :)