What do you want in a body wash?
- mild to good cleansing abilities
- fluffy lather
- good foam
- a nice fragrance!
What do we have to fit our requirements?
- Amphosol CG is an amphoteric, so it will thicken our body wash and make it milder
- Bioterge AS-40 offers good flash foam
- BSB is a gentle cleanser - or - LSB as it is gentle and has a sulfosuccinate in it, which is a good degreaser
- SLeS has rich lather and good cleansing
- Plantapon is a mild cleanser
Which ones should we choose?
- Amphosol CG is a definite. As an amphoteric, it will add mildness and viscosity to the mix.
- BSB or LSB is a nice gentle cleanser, so we'll want that.
- Bioterge AS-40 or SLeS will offer the cleansing and lather. (Click here to learn more about C14-16 olefin sulfonate aka Bioterge AS-40).
- I'm not using Plantapon as I haven't played with it enough to know about its pH.
Okay, so we have the surfactants in place. And we know we're going to add water and preservative (Germall Plus at 0.5%), so what's next?
What other qualities do we want?
- Moisturizing - you could add oil, but this reduces the lather, so hydrolyzed proteins will help here. I like to add hydrolyzed oat protein at 2%, but you could use any other hydrolyzed protein. I also like to add a conditioning agent to a body wash, so I'm going with Condition-eze 7 at 2 to 3%.
- Skin soothing ingredients - Panthenol is great for your skin, so let's add that at 2%. And aloe vera is great, so I'll add that at 5% (plus, surfactants thicken with salt and aloe vera contains a goodly amount of salt, so it adds to the viscosity!)
- Foam boosting - Glycerin is great for bubbles and it's a good humectant, so let's add that at 3 to 5%.
An aside, it must seem like I'm obsessed with thickening things. I am. You can leave a surfactant mix as is, but most of the time it is going to be quite thin and runny. This isn't a bad thing, but we've come to expect our shampoos, bubble baths, and body washes to be a little thick, so this is where we meet Crothix, our surfactant mixture thickener.
Available in pastilles or liquid form, I prefer the liquid form every time. Crothix is a thickener, and adding it to your surfactant mix will thicken it nicely...but Crothix is a testy creature and oftentimes what you did last time won't work this time. It is dependent upon the temperature (it will reach final thickness at room temperature) and on your fragrance oil (one might seize it up, another turns it into water!) So always use Crothix at the end of everything, when your body wash has reached room temperature and well after you've added your fragrance or essential oil and preservative. As a secondary note, I always include Crothix as it mitigates irritation, so it is good for sensitive skin.
So here's our body wash recipe...
15% Amphosol CG (coco betaine)
15% Bioterge AS-40 or SLeS
15% BSB or LSB
5% aloe vera
3% Condition-eze 7
2% cromoist or other hydrolyzed protein
1% fragrance or essential oil
1% liquid Crothix
Colouring, if wanted
In a container, mix the surfactants together well, then add the water. (You can heat the water slightly to make it easier to mix). When the surfactants are mixed together, add the rest of the ingredients - EXCEPT THE CROTHIX - and blend well. Try not to get a ton of bubbles at the top. Let it rest until the mixture is clear of the bubbles and check the viscosity. If you are happy with it, bottle it! If you want it thicker, start at 0.5% liquid Crothix and stir well, ensuring you have blended it completely. If you still want it thicker, add another 0.5% Crothix. You can go up to 2% Crothix if you wish.
You can choose to colour your body wash if you like. I like to, so I use colours I bought at the supply shop for this purpose. Don't use much - you just want a hint of colour!
The cavalcade of surfactant-y fun continues tomorrow with BUBBLE BATH!