Today we’re creating a lovely Lavender Aloe Foaming Hand Wash—a cheery purple liquid that transforms into mounds of rich, lavender-scented lather when you run it through a foamer top bottle. It comes together in a flash and is easy to scale up so you can always have hand wash on hand (ha). Let’s make some bubbles!
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To keep things simple we’re using a pre-blended surfactant mixture. If you’re new to working with surfactants, or just not sure if you want to dive in and order the two or three you tend to need as a minimum, a pre-blended product is a great way to dip your toes into the sudsy waters. The one we’re using today—Iselux Ultra Mild—contains five different surfactants with anionic, amphoteric, and non-ionic charges for a lovely, mild blend that creates dense, rich lather. If you don’t have it, please refer to the substitutions list at the end of the formulation for alternatives.
I’ve complimented the surfactant mix with some moisturizing and inexpensive vegetable glycerin and soothing panthenol. Our watery things are distilled water, anti-inflammatory aloe vera, and fragrant lavender hydrosol. You could also get that lavender note from lavender essential oil—I’ve detailed how to do this in the substitutions list at the end of the formulation.
For a bit of fun, I’ve also included a teensy bit of a purple water soluble dye. These bad boys are potent. I’ve called for 0.01%, but my scale can’t weigh out that amount for a 250g batch, so I just added a tiny speck of dye and that’s definitely enough to give me a very purple hand wash! If you use more you will get a purple foam as well as purple liquid. The dye is optional, but I sure like it—especially in a clear foamer bottle!
The finished hand wash pumps out as a fabulously dense, silky palmful of teensy lavender-scented bubbles. Feel free to scale up the formulation to make a 500g or even 1000g batch and store the extra in a jar so you can refill your foamer bottle as required!
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Lavender Aloe Foaming Hand Wash
37.5g | 15% Iselux Ultra Mild surfactant blend
25g | 10% vegetable glycerine
2.5g | 1% panthenol powder (vitamin B5)
0.025g | 0.01% water-soluble purple dye
1.25g | 0.5% Liquid Germall Plus™ (USA / Canada)
Weigh the surfactant blend, vegetable glycerin, panthenol, dye, and liquid germall plus into a measuring cup or beaker and stir to combine. Once that mixture is uniform, gently add the water, aloe juice, and lavender hydrosol. Stir gently until uniform—it’s useful to leave the mixture to sit for 30 minutes or so after a bit of stirring so it can do some dissolving on its own.
Once the mixture is uniform, you’re done! Package it up into a bottle with a foamer top; I used a 250mL cube bottle with a foamer top from YellowBee. I recommend using a clear bottle so you can appreciate the pretty colour of the hand wash.
Use as you would any other hand wash/hand soap. Enjoy!
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 that 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 250g (approximately 250mL or 8 fl oz).
- To learn more about the ingredients used in this recipe, 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 prefer a thicker hand wash that will work in a normal pump bottle, simply thicken the hand wash with Liquid Crothix (USA / Canada) at the very end. The instructions for this project serve as a good guideline.
- You can use a different mild surfactant blend instead of the Iselux Ultra Mild. Suggestions include BSB Liquid Surfactant and Miracare Soft 313.
- If you want to make your own surfactant blend I’d recommend starting with a mixture of 13% Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI), 63% Cocamidopropyl Betaine, and 25% Coco Glucoside. You’ll need to melt the Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) and Cocamidopropyl Betaine together first before adding the coco glucoside, and the whole mixture will need to be gently heated with the water and hydrosol to fully disperse. You can also look at creating your own blend based on your personal collection; I recommend checking out this table, this FAQ article, and this series of posts to learn more. If you use a different surfactant please check and adjust the pH as necessary.
- You could try propanediol instead of vegetable glycerin.
- The dye is optional; feel free to replace it with more distilled water.
- If you’d prefer to use lavender essential oil instead of lavender hydrosol:
- Disperse 1% lavender essential oil in 5% Polysorbate 20 at the start, and add the surfactant, glycerin, etc. to that
- Drop the lavender hydrosol and replace with 19% distilled water (19% distilled water + 1% lavender essential oil + 5% Polysorbate 20 = 25%, to replace the 25% lavender hydrosol)
- The Polysorbate 20 is to solubilize the essential oil—you can’t use the essential oil instead of the hydrosol without a solubilizer of some type
- You could replace the aloe vera with more distilled water or possibly witch hazel.
- If you’re like to use a different preservative, please review this page.