If you’ve got guests coming to stay with you this holiday season I highly recommend whipping up a jumbo-sized batch of this hand wash so you can all have clean, holiday-scented hands in the midst of this busy season. Out of everything we’re making for this holiday season this recipe might be the easiest—it requires no heat, and can easily be made in about ten minutes. It’s easy to scale up, too, so if you want to really stock up on hand wash before the insanity hits, this recipe gets you.
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Our surfactant blend is gentle and simple. It’s a combintation of non-ionic Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside and amphoteric Cocamidopropyl Betaine. We blend surfactants with different charges to create milder blends, so by combining two gentle surfactants with two different charges, we get a nice, gentle blend. Both these surfactants have very skin-friendly pH values as-is, so we end up with a final product that doesn’t require any pH adjusting. Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside is also a good solubilizer, so it helps disperse our fragrance or essential oils in our product—yay for multi-tasking!
On top of the surfactants we’ve got some moisturizing glycerin, and some new-to-me hydrolyzed rice protein. Windy Point has recently started stocking a few new hydrolyzed proteins (quinoa, rice, and baobab!), so I obviously had to grab a bottle of each of ’em. While rice protein is supposed to be amazeballs for hair (I can’t wait to start playing with it in hair products!), it’s also a good moisturizer for sensitive skin.
I’ve got two options for you for scent; an essential oil/hydrosol option, and a fragrance option. Option one is including some white spruce hydrosol for the tree note, and some peru balsam essential oil for a vanilla note (surprise! Peru balsam doesn’t smell like trees.). Option two is using all distilled water, and including a tree-like fragrance oil (I used balsam cedar) to scent the hand wash. Both options work, both are lovely—it’s up to you! I made the essential oil one for the blog post photos, and the fragrance oil one for the video.
The final hand wash yields all kinds of rich, soft bubbles—perfect for your incessant winter hand washing needs!
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Christmas Tree Foaming Hand Wash
13g | 5% Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside (USA / Canada)
20.8g | 8% Cocamidopropyl Betaine (USA / Canada)
26g | 10% vegetable glycerine (USA / Canada)
2.6g | 1% hydrolyzed rice protein (USA / Canada)
1.3g | 0.5% balsam cedar fragrance oil or peru balsam essential oil
1.3g | 0.5% Liquid Germall Plus™ (USA / Canada)
195g | 75% distilled water
or 39g | 15% spruce hydrosol & 156g | 60% distilled water
Weigh the Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside and Cocamidopropyl Betaine into a small heat-resistant glass measuring cup. Stir gently to combine. Add the vegetable glycerin, rice protein, fragrance or essential oil, and preservative. Stir gently to combine—you want to make sure there aren’t any big blobs of surfactants sitting at the bottom of the measuring cup or bowl.
Now, slowly start adding the water (and possibly hydrosol, depending on which version you’re making), stirring between additions.
Once you’ve incorporated all the water, you’re done! Transfer the hand wash into a bottle; I used a pretty 250mL red-capped foamer bottle from Windy Point Soap Making Supplies. You will need to use a foamer top bottle for this recipe. If you don’t have one you can try thickening the hand wash with Crothix™ Liquid (USA / Canada) so it’s normal-pump compatible.
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this hand wash contains water, you must include a broad-spectrum preservative to ward off microbial growth. This is non-optional. Even with a preservative this project is likely to eventually spoil as our kitchens are not sterile laboratories, so in the event you notice any change in colour, scent, or texture, chuck it out and make a fresh batch.
As always, be aware that making substitutions will change the final product. While these swaps won’t break the recipe, you will get a different final product than I did.
- As I’ve provided this recipe in percentages as well as grams you can easily calculate it to any size using a simple spreadsheet as I’ve explained in this post. As written in grams this recipe will make 260g.
- You can use Coco Glucoside (USA / Canada) instead of Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, but you will need to adjust the pH of the end product as the pH of coco glucoside is much higher. You may also want to consider including a solubilizer to keep the EO/FO dispersed as Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside is a much better solubilizer than Coco Glucoside.
- You can use a different hydrolyzed protein instead of rice—silk and oat are good choices.
I have all the ingredients except the hydrolyzed protein. Is it a make or break ingredient, or can I omit it from the recipe and replace it with more water or glycerin?
You can replace it with more water or glycerin 🙂
Lovely recipe! How would we be able to add color to this?
I tried incorporating some lake dyes (yellow + blue), which worked beautifully, but did make for a very strong GREEEEEEEEN colour that I didn’t like all that much. Whatever you use will have to be water soluble (no oxides, ultramarines, micas) and stable to oxidization (no powdered plan extracts).
Thanks for this post Marie! If I’m using distilled water instead of hydrosols, what other essential oils do you reccomend to pair with Peru Balsam essential oil to make a Christmas-y scent?
Peru balsam is rather vanilla-y, so I’d recommend trying to replace to pine note with an essential oil like fir balsam or white pine 🙂
Okay now those annoying secret Santa gifts for under $5 are now sorted. Yay! Thanks as always Marie!
Woo! The foamer bottles will probably be the most expensive part so I’d recommend buying the 10 or 12 pack off the bat to get the best prices possible 🙂 Happy making!
Nice recipe Marie. I’d love to try it, however, I live in Scotland and can’t seem to find Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside anywhere. I’ve tried Amazon but it only lists products which have it in it – not the ‘raw’ Glucoside itself. Do you know if there is a UK version for this? Thanks
Please refer to the substitutions list—you should be able to get coco glucoside 🙂
Naturallythinking have it…. they are based in the UK. I just got it myself. I also used to buy things off Amazon or Ebay and only recently I realised, after meeting Marie, that proper cosmetic wholesales have a good range of products, reasonable prices and also good quality, and in the UK we are rather spoilt with choice!
Hi Marie, can I use the same surfactant blend plus thickener to make face wash?
Yup! You could also just make a foaming face wash 🙂 I would probably use less surfactant, though—I tend to like a pretty low active surfactant matter for face washes.
looking for the ingredients: is Caprylyl glycol EHG the same thing as your listed ingredient. Right now I have so many different ingredients in my cupboard (for what, I don’t remember) then never the ingredients I need for a recipe I’m looking for, yikes! I keep telling myself I need to make notes when I order stuff, but apparently I don’t!
No, it’s not. Check the INCI 🙂
I can’t find Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside at either one of the Calgary stores (Windy Point and Soap and more). I do have Optiphen Plus, would that work as well? Thanks, Anneke
Hey, so—no. Those two ingredients do totally different things. Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside is a liquid, non-ionic surfactant. Optiphen Plus is a broad spectrum preservative with a maximum usage rate of 1.5%. That’s sort of like trying to substitute salt for ground beef in a meatloaf recipe—it won’t work out well 🙂 You could try Bioterge AS40 (I know Windy Point has it) instead of the Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, but you will need to incorporate some Polysorbate 20 as well or the fragrance oil will not solubilize. This is kind of covered in the substitutions list, you’d just be using Bioterge AS40 instead of Coco Glucoside. Happy making!
I was reluctant to start making liquid soap, but… now I never look back. As soon as I got my two surfactants I made this. It comes together so easily and you can customise it with zillions of aromas 😀 It is so much more fun to store it in a foam dispenser rather than a pump though, lucky I kept one from a hair dye. It works so well, I even use it in the kitchen for greasy hands (which before I used to wash with dish soap as the soap bar I had was not effective enough – never again!) Thank you.
Yay, I am so thrilled you’re hooked! I am so in love with how crazy easy it is to make these foaming hand washes—there’s no need to ever be out of hand wash again, which is great, because I go through it SO QUICKLY, especially in winter when I’m constantly worried about getting sick. Have fun playing with all the smells and thanks for DIYing with me (and happy belated birthday, right?).