Today we’re getting sudsy and clean with a seasonably pink Conditioning Valentine’s Hand Wash! I went through a lot of handwash in the beforetimes, and that has easily doubled or tripled in the last year. Lots of handwashing + dry weather is pretty hard on my hands, so I’ve designed this hand wash formulation to get your hands clean without leaving them feeling tight or dry—like a bubbly Valentine for your hands 😄

Conditioning Valentine's Hand Wash

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The surfactant blend in this hand wash is a combination of two of my favourite gentle, natural surfactants. Non-ionic decyl glucoside provides the bulk of the bubbles. Non-ionic surfactants are the gentlest type of surfactants, and decyl glucoside creates really luscious, dense lather. Amphoteric Cocamidopropyl Betaine completes the surfactant blend, boosting flash foam and making the overall product easier on the skin. Because decyl glucoside has quite a high pH (11–12), I’ve also included some citric acid in the formulation to bring the pH of the final product down to a skin-friendly 5-ish.

The conditioning part of this hand wash comes from the inclusion of some gorgeous Polyquaternium-7. This viscous liquid lends the loveliest skin feel to formulations—all kinds of rich, silky, and fantastic. It’s also a film former, so it helps keep the skin from drying out. And, unlike honeyquat, it doesn’t smell revolting. Hooray!

I’ve included 2% glycol distearate to opacify the hand wash and give it a pearlescent appearance. If you don’t have it you can use glyceryl stearate SE instead, but you will have to tweak the formulation a bit as glyceryl stearate SE thickens products more than glycol distearate does. There is information on this in the glycol distearate entry in the Humblebee & Me DIY Encyclopedia 😉

This handwash is thickened with Crothix™ liquid. I used it at 4.5%, but this can change with the essential oil or fragrance oil you use. I used the “Angel Heart” fragrance oil from Rustic Escentuals and I found the handwash thinned noticeably after adding it—the amount of Crothix™ liquid I use takes this into account. Different essential oils and fragrance oils can thicken or thin different surfactant formulations (check out this cool blog post on this!), so depending on what you use to scent your hand wash, you may need more or less Crothix™ liquid to get the end viscosity you’re looking for. You can also modify this formulation to work in a foamer-top bottle; details on that are in the Substitutions list at the end of the formulation.

The finished handwash is a shimmery, creamy pink. You’ll get a lovely, rich lather when you use it, and your hands will feel lightly conditioned when you’re done. I hope you love it!

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Conditioning Valentine’s Hand Wash

Heated phase
30g | 20% vegetable glycerine (USA / Canada)
0.45g | 0.3% citric acid (USA / Canada)
30g | 20% decyl glucoside (USA / Canada)
22.5g | 15% Cocamidopropyl Betaine (USA / Canada)
0.75g | 0.5% Polyquaternium 7 (USA / Canada)
3g | 2% glycol distearate
6.75g | 4.5% Crothix™ Liquid (USA / Canada)
0.75g | 0.5% pink mica

Cool down phase
0.15g | 0.1% fragrance oil or essential oil of choice
0.6g | 0.4% Liquid Germall Plus™ (USA / Canada)
55.05g | 36.7% distilled water

Prepare a water bath by bringing about 3cm/1″ of water to a bare simmer over low to medium-low heat in a wide, flat-bottomed sauté pan.

Weigh the heated water phase into a small heat-resistant glass measuring cup or glass beaker. Weigh the entire lot (measuring cup + ingredients) and note that weight for use later. Place the measuring cup in your prepared water bath to melt everything through.

While the heated phase melts, prepare an ice bath. Take a bowl that is large enough to accommodate the container the heated phase is melting in, and fill it about halfway with ice cubes and cold water.

After about 20–30 minutes the glycol distearate should be completely melted. Remove the water bath from the heat and weigh; add enough distilled water to bring the weight back up to what it was before heating. Stir gently with a flexible silicone spatula or small wire whisk to incorporate.

Place the measuring cup containing the heated phase into the ice bath and cool, stirring constantly, until the body wash has cooled to room temperature and noticeably thickened.

When the body wash is cool it’s time to incorporate our cool down ingredients. Because cool down ingredients are typically present at very low amounts you’ll need to use an accurate scale—preferably one accurate to 0.01g. As these more accurate scales tend to have fairly low (100–200g) maximum weights you won’t be able to put the entire batch of body wash on that scale without blowing it out. So—grab a smaller dish. Add a scoop or two of body wash, and then weigh the cool down ingredients into that, using the more accurate scale. Stir to thoroughly incorporate, and then gently stir all of that back into the master batch of body wash. Doing it this way minimizes the amount of cool down ingredients lost to the secondary container.

Once the cool down phase has been incorporated, all that’s left to do is package it up! I used a 250mL cube bottle with a pump top and that worked brilliantly for a 250g batch; you’d need to scale this formulation up if you want to fill a 250mL bottle.

Use as you’d use any hand wash. Enjoy!

When made as written the pH of this body wash is approximately 5, which is a great pH for a body wash.

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 may 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 150g.
  • To learn more about the ingredients used in this formulation, including why they’re included and what you can substitute them with, please visit the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia. It doesn’t have everything in it yet, but there’s lots of good information there! If I have not given a specific substitution suggestion in this list (glycol distearate) please look up the ingredient in the encyclopedia before asking.
  • If you’d like to learn more about the surfactants used and compare them to ones you might already have so you can make substitutions, check out this page and read this FAQ.
    • I would recommend one of the other glucosides; coco glucoside or Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside would be easiest as they’re both liquids (lauryl glucoside is a thick paste that will be harder to incorporate).
    • If you change the primary surfactant you will need to drop the citric acid from the formulation and then test and adjust the pH yourself.
  • You could try Polyquaternium-10 instead of Polyquaternium-7.
  • If you want to thicken this hand wash I would really recommend sticking with liquid Crothix™. You cannot thicken this formulation with salt. You could experiment with different gums, but that will create a very different feeling end product and can be tricky.
  • If you wanted to use this formulation in a foamer bottle instead of a pump-top bottle simply drop the mica and Crothix™ liquid and replace them with more distilled water.
  • If you’d like to use an essential oil instead of a fragrance oil essential oil, please read this.
    • Different fragrances/essential oils can noticeably impact the viscosity of the finished hand wash. You may need to use more or less Crothix™ liquid depending on what you use. I used “Angel Heart” from Rustic Escentuals and it noticeably thinned the hand wash.
  • If you’re like to use a different preservative, please review this FAQ and this chart.

Gifting Disclosure

The cube pump-top bottle and pink mica were gifted by YellowBee.