While there's no single be-all-end-all recipe for a DIY moisturizing body wash, you can whip up an effective and all-natural blend with a selection of oils, castile soap and a few more common ingredients. While natural oils pack extra skin-smoothing power, the vegetable oils that make up castile soap -- which may include coconut, hemp, jojoba, olive or palm oils -- serve as an ultra-moisturizing foundation that goes gentle on dry skin.
To create your homemade moisturizing body wash, add 3 cups of of distilled water, 1 tablespoon each of shea butter and guar gum -- a bean-based thickening agent available at health food stores -- and ¼ cup each of aloe vera gel, olive oil and coconut oil to a blender. Blend the mix on high for about a minute, then stir in a cup of castile soap. Pour into a soap dispenser and shake it thoroughly before each use. The oils in the wash should last at room temperature for about a month.
Why It Works
In addition to the moisturizing oil content of castile soap, the shea butter offers the same natural moisturizers as those produced by the sebaceous glands of the skin, while aloe vera lends skin-hydrating collagen and hyaluronic acid. Likewise, plant oils such as olive and coconut feature emollient properties. Intensely moisturizing olive oil in particular packs oleic, palmitic and linoleic acids, all of which soften dry skin. Meanwhile, coconut oil -- unlike petroleum-based moisturizers -- penetrates skin tissue as it moisturizes, which helps reduce the occurrence of flaking and dead skin cells.
Customize the Blend
To cater your homemade hydrating body wash to your preferences, you can swap out the coconut or olive oils with other moisturizing oils in the same amount. Grapeseed oil, for instance, moisturizes and offers skin-brightening vitamin C. Sunflower oil has many of the same benefits as olive oil, but comes at a lower cost and penetrates the skin more quickly. Apricot oil also features fast-absorbing moisturizing capabilities, and lends the skin protection from sun damage with antioxidant vitamins A, C and E. Seek pure oils labeled as “extra-virgin” or “cold-pressed” for greater moisturizing ability.
Wash and Renew
Exfoliating the skin once or twice weekly helps renew dry skin, cutting back on flaking. To craft your own moisturizing exfoliant, combine one part olive oil and two parts table salt -- or brown sugar if you have sensitive skin -- with about five drops of the organic essential oil of your choice. Work the mixture into a paste and massage it into areas that are particularly affected by dry skin, such as the elbows, heels and knees. Rinse the paste off in the shower using your homemade moisturizing wash.
- David Suzuki Foundation: What Is Castile Soap?
- One Green Planet: How to Make Your Own Lavender Silky Body Wash
- American Shea Butter Institute: 21 Reasons to Use Shea Butter
- Marie Claire: Aloe Vera Juice Benefits
- Paula's Choice: Olive Oil/Olive Fruit Oil
- Organic Authority: Lather Up with Four Homemade, Skin-Loving Recipes
- Kelly Lawrence/Demand Media