This DIY came from an old ideas notebook I started back in 2014 or so—on a trip to Costa Rica, I believe (there are a lot of doodles of geckos and notes about surfing and passionfruit and goodness… to be back there now!). This little notebook is filled with all kinds of ideas, and it’s really fun to flip through all these years later, and remember what I was thinking back then and mesh it with what I’ve learned in the intervening years. Some of the ideas are pretty… misguided… but some are pretty good! When I saw “Silk Aloe Body Wash” in there I was shocked I hadn’t made it already, and figured it was high time I did—so here we are!
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Thinking back to 2014; if I’d made this body wash then, it likely would’ve been based around a liquid soap paste, with added aloe vera juice and hydrolyzed silk. My formulating preferences have since shifted to surfactants—the ability to create mildly acidic cleansers is a huge plus, and I’ve honestly been much happier with the quality of my syndet body washes than I ever was with my liquid soap ones. And, of course, syndet products are far easier and faster to whip up! Liquid soap paste requires a lot of stirring time over a stovetop or crockpot, and that’s really not my jam.
With the “silk” theme I chose foaming silk (INCI: Sodium Cocoyl Hydrolyzed Silk Protein) as the primary surfactant for this body wash, but no worries if you don’t have it—I think Sodium C14-16 Alpha Olefin Sulfonate (Bio-Terge AS40) would be a really simple swap, though you may need to do some pH adjusting as it does have a slightly higher pH than foaming silk. Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate would also be a good option to explore (if you have it), or even Sodium Laureth Sulfate (it has a lower ASM, but lathers like crazy and is generally stronger, so I’d just do a 1:1 swap).
I’ve rounded out the surfactant blend with non-ionic decyl glucoside and amphoteric Cocamidopropyl Betaine. Both help boost lather and make the overall body wash milder. I’m loving decyl glucoside recently for its dense, rich lather, but you could easily use a different glucoside in its place (again, paying attention to the pH of your final product if the glucoside you use has a dramatically different pH than decyl’s 11–12).
Our water phase is mostly distilled water, aloe vera juice, and some moisturizing vegetable glycerin. I’ve also included a small amount of citric acid to make the end product mildly acidic, and a wee bit of a green water-soluble dye for purely aesthetic reasons.
I’ve doubled up on the silk with the inclusion of some hydrolyzed silk for some moisturizing, film-forming goodness. The whole body wash is thickened with liquid Crothix, which is a very easy way to elegantly thicken surfactant-y things of all varieties. If you don’t have it I’d probably try 1% iota carrageenan instead as a starting point, making up the remaining 2.5% with more distilled water. You could also leave the body wash unthickened and package it in a foamer top bottle!
For scent—please know that this body wash does not smell amazing on its own. It doesn’t even smell neutral on its own… it smells pretty ick. You will want to add something nice-smelling to this body wash, be it a fragrance oil, essential oil, or swapping the distilled water out for a hydrosol (though unless your hydrosol is very fragrant you’ll likely still want to supplement that with a fragrance or essential oil).
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Silk Aloe Body Wash
10.49g | 10.49% distilled water
20g | 20% aloe vera juice
Weigh the glycerin, surfactants, and dye, into a measuring cup or beaker and stir to combine. Once that mixture is uniform, add the citric acid and silk, and stir. Gently add the water and aloe juice. Stir gently until uniform, and then add the remaining ingredients—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 “tottle”—I used this one from YellowBee.
Use as you would any other body wash. Enjoy!
When made as written the pH of this body wash is around 6, which is great.
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this body 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 100g.
- 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.
- You could use a powdered aloe vera concentrate instead of aloe vera juice. If yours is 100x concentrated I’d recommend using 30.39% distilled water and 0.1% aloe vera concentrate.
- The dye is optional; replace it with more water if you don’t want to use it. You could also try a small amount of green mica instead of the dye (~0.5%) as the finished body wash is thick enough to suspend a small amount of mica.
- 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. Also, please read the blog post—there are suggestions up there as well.
- If you change around the surfactants I would recommend replacing the citric acid with more distilled water and then test and adjust the pH as required once the body wash is otherwise complete.
- You could use a different hydrolyzed protein instead of silk.
- If you’re like to use a different preservative, please review this FAQ and this chart.
- If you don’t have liquid crothix you can leave this body wash unthickened and package it in a foamer top bottle (not my favourite approach for in-shower things if we’re being honest), or try replacing it with 1% iota carageenan and 2.5% more distilled water.
- The scent is up to you, but I do recommend including something that smells nice because this product smells pretty detergent-y without some sort of added nice-smelling thing (I used Salty Sea Air). Remember that different fragrances and essential oils can really impact the viscosity of the finished product when we’re working with surfactants; I find liquid Crothix to be fairly resilient to this, but you may find you need more Crothix after adding your fragrance.
The green dye and squeeze tottle were gifted by YellowBee.