If you like washing up enveloped in big poufs of fluffy lather, prepare to fall in love. Back when I published my Gentle Chamomile Facial Cleanser recipe, Laura asked about using it in a foamer bottle sans the thickener, and then reported back and said it worked like a charm. I couldn’t get my mind off the notion of plump, fluffy, lathery goodness, so I got myself some foamer bottles and set to work creating this Orange Cloud Foaming Hand Wash. Good thing, too—it turns out I am a huge fan of fluffy orange-scented poufs.

I’m working with a blend of three surfactants to create this Orange Cloud Foaming Hand Wash; rich, creamy SCI and mild Cocamidopropyl Betaine, with some added Bio-Terge AS40 as it offers good flash foam and boosts cleansing. Bio-Terge AS40 is a new surfactant for me; it’s liquid, and anionic. If you don’t have it, I’d recommend replacing it with another liquid anionic surfactant. You could also use more Cocamidopropyl Betaine, but that will reduce the amount of foam—not necessarily a bad thing, but something to be aware of.

For some fancy-it-up add-ins, I included some hydrolyzed oat protein, panthenol, and vegetable glycerin; all with help keep your skin from feeling too dry after washing up. I would really recommend keeping the glycerin, but if you don’t have a hydrolyzed protein or panthenol you can replace those with more water; obviously water isn’t going to do the same things at all, but replacing the missing weight with more water will keep the recipe in balance.

The lovely juicy-fresh orange scent comes from the inclusion of orange wax; if you don’t have it, feel free to use orange essential oil instead. If you’re using a different surfactant than Bio-Terge AS40 I’d recommend blending the orange wax or orange essential oil with a bit of Polysorbate 20, Turkey red oil, or olivem300 before adding it. Bio-Terge AS40 is a good solubilizer for small amounts of oils, so if you’re using something else, you’ll need to get that emulsifying power somewhere else.

You’ll need to dissolve the SCI (which is powdery) into the Cocamidopropyl Betaine; that’s the part that takes a while. I tend to mix mine together and leave them for an hour or so in a hot water bath until I have a thick, uniform white paste. From there you’ll add that paste to distilled water and let it dissolve. Once that’s done, you can stir everything else in, and that’s pretty much it! Now, you will need a foamer bottle for this if you want to use it as-is as it’s very thin. If you just have a normal pump-top bottle, add some crothix or xanthan gum to thicken it; whisk the xanthan gum into a bit of glycerin for easier incorporation. You’d probably need 2–4g of either, but I haven’t tried it, so I recommend working up to that.

The foamer bottles I used are sort of like an air horn, and I am not keen on that design. The foam shoots straight out the front of the foamer, meaning it’s a two-handed operation; one hand to pump, one hand to catch the foam. I also find the foam tends to accumulate in the dispenser since gravity isn’t working in its favour. So, all in all, don’t get a foamer like the one in the photos if you can avoid it—they aren’t very good.

Even in the face of lovely, fluffy clouds of lather, I think my favourite thing about this hand wash is how it doesn’t leave my hands feeling stripped and dry. With Lottie around I wash my hands a lot these days, and I’m so glad that these fluffy citrussy clouds don’t leave me with sad, flaky skin, even when used multiple times in an hour. Also… fluffy citrussy clouds! 😍 You should definitely make some Orange Cloud Foaming Hand Wash, I’m pretty sure you’ll love it, too!

Orange Cloud Foaming Hand Wash

14g | 0.49oz Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) (USA / Canada)
24g | 0.85oz Cocamidopropyl Betaine (USA / Canada)

20g | 0.71oz Sodium C14-16 Alpha Olefin Sulfonate (Bio-Terge® AS-40) (USA / Canada) or Coco Glucoside (USA / Canada)
127g | 4.48oz distilled water
6g | 0.21oz vegetable glycerine (USA / Canada)

4g | 0.14oz hydrolyzed oat protein or other hydrolyzed protein (like silk)
2g | 0.07oz panthenol powder (vitamin B5) (USA / Canada)
2g | 0.07oz orange wax
1g | 0.03oz Liquid Germall Plus™ (USA / Canada) (or other broad spectrum preservative of choice at recommended usage rate [why?])

Prepare a water bath by bringing about 3cm/1″ of water to a bare simmer over low to medium-low heat in a small saucepan.

Weigh the SCI and Cocamidopropyl Betaine into a small heat-resistant glass measuring cup or beaker. Place the measuring cup in your prepared water bath to melt everything through—this will take at least an hour. It’s not done until you have a thick, uniform, white paste.

While the SCI mixture does its thing, combine the water, Bioterge AS40, and glycerin in another beaker. Stir the oat protein, panthenol, orange wax, and preservative together in another.

Once the SCI mixture is uniform, add the water mixture, and heat through until the SCI paste dissolves into the water mixture. This will also take a while; I covered my beaker with a piece of cling film to reduce water loss as it was taking so long. Periodically stir and mash the paste around, and you will slowly notice it start to vanish into the liquid.

When all of that is uniform, remove it from the heat and let it cool until the outside of the beaker is only warm to the touch. Stir in the hydrolyzed protein mixture and decant into a 250mL (8oz) foamer bottle. Enjoy!