Today we’re smooshing up a Gentle Oatmeal Almond Body Wash Bar, featuring a generous amount of colloidal oatmeal and a beautiful, gentle surfactant blend. While I did design this with a body wash in mind, you can also use it as a facial cleansing bar and shampoo. It’s really easy to make, and really lovely ❤️
Want to watch this project instead of reading it?
This formulation was born from two requests; one from Liz and one from Hannah. Both requested a gentle syndet bar featuring a hefty amount of colloidal oatmeal. Liz’s request was inspired by an Aveeno product while Hannah had an idea for a gentle, low-waste syndet bar for the body.
The bulk of this Gentle Oatmeal Almond Body Wash Bar is a blend of finely powdered Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) and colloidal oatmeal. Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) is an ultra-gentle anionic surfactant, and is our primary cleansing ingredient. Colloidal Oatmeal is an ultra-fine, highly refined oat flour made from whole oats. It’s an awesome moisturizing skin protectant that’s recommended for soothing irritated skin. I wasn’t sure the bar would preserve well, so I made it several months ago and it’s been living in my shower since. I’ve been using it and watching it and it’s a-ok. Hooray!
This powdery blend of Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) and colloidal oatmeal is wetted into a dough with an assortment of liquid ingredients. There’s some sweet almond oil for re-fatting and richness, and some glycerin to help prevent the bar from drying out too much and cracking. A blend of additional liquid surfactants boosts lather and makes the finished bar milder. And, lastly, a 0.5% Liquid Germall™ Plus preserves the finished product.
Making this Gentle Oatmeal Almond Body Wash Bar is very simple; simply mix everything together to create a soft, pliable dough. Shape the bar into a blob that you like the looks of, leave it to dry for at least two days, and you’re off to the races! Two days of drying time results in about 1.25% weight loss; you can double that to around 2.5% if you wait a week, but you don’t have to. Let’s get smooshin’ 😄
Want to watch this project instead of reading it?
Relevant links & further reading
- Colloidal oatmeal in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Cocamidopropyl Betaine in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Other syndet bars:
- Other face wash formulations:
Gentle Oatmeal Almond Body Wash Bar
3.75g | 7.5% sweet almond oil
0.75g | 1.5% vegetable glycerine
4g | 8% Cocamidopropyl Betaine (USA / Canada)
5.05g | 10.1% Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate (USA / Canada)
0.25g | 0.5% Liquid Germall Plus™ (USA / Canada)
Put on your dust mask and weigh the Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) and colloidal oatmeal into a bowl. Stir until uniform. Add the wet ingredients. Put on a pair of nitrile gloves and blend thoroughly with your hands. Once the mixture is uniform, you’ll be left with a stiff, easily-mouldable dough.
If your dough is too sticky, you’ll need to add a bit more Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI). This is likely to happen if you used a larger grain Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) than I did, as it has less surface area to absorb moisture.
If your dough is too dry, you’ll need to add a few drops of water. This is likely to happen if you used a finer grain Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) than I did, as it has more surface area and will absorb more moisture. I used a very finely powdered Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI), so it is unlikely this will happen—I have never found a more finely powdered Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) than this.
Shape the dough into a bar-like lump/disc of your choosing and leave the bar to dry. I recommend leaving the bar to dry for at least two days, after which point it should lose 1.25–1.5% of its weight. If you can wait up to a week it’ll lose about 2.5% of its weight. If you live somewhere quite humid I’d err on the side of more drying time rather than less as I live somewhere really dry, so that’s what my drying times are based on.
To use, massage the bar into wet hair to work up a lather, and proceed as you would with any other shampoo. This also makes a great body wash if you work it up into a lovely lather with a loofah. Enjoy!
When made as written, the pH of this body wash bar is around 5.5, which is great.
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this body wash bar will regularly come into contact with water, I recommend including a broad-spectrum preservative to ward off microbial growth. 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 50g.
- 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 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.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (SLSa) would be my first choice as an alternative for Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI).
- Sodium cocoamphoacetate would be my first choice as an alternative for Cocamidopropyl Betaine.
- You’ll want a liquid anionic surfactant as an alternative to Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate. Bio-Terge AS40 could work well.
- If you change any surfactants, you will need to test and potentially adjust the pH.
- I don’t recommend substituting the colloidal oatmeal.
- You can substitute another lightweight oil like grapeseed oil or sunflower seed instead of almond oil.
- You could try propanediol 1,3 instead of glycerin.
- If you’re like to use a different preservative, please review this FAQ and this chart.
- If you’d like to incorporate an essential oil, please read this.
- If your dough is too dry, work in a few drops of water. If your dough is too wet, add a bit more Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI). I don’t think you’d want to adjust the formulation to make this bar any drier than it is as written—this version is pretty dry! I made an earlier version with 1% less Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) and an extra 0.5% of each almond oil and glycerin; that version was a bit wetter, but also worked.