These are the ingredients for the Dove Moisturizing Body Wash "Deep Moisture".
Water: Okay, that's a given
Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil (Sunflower): This is an interesting addition. It makes sense because the linoleic acid in the sunflower oil is great for helping with damaged skin barriers.
Sodium Laureth Sulfate: This is a mild anionic surfactant great for most skin types. You could use ammonium laureth sulfate for even milder cleanser and a bit of substantivity.
Sodium Lauroamphoacetate: This is a mild amphoteric surfactant.
Cocamidopropyl Betaine: This will make any surfactant mixture less irritating on our skin.
Glycerin: This is a great humectant and increases bubbling and lather.
Petrolatum: There's the moisturizer. Probably mineral oil of some sort.
Lauric Acid: This is a fatty acid, like stearic acid, used to moisturize. Lauric acid is a short chain fatty acid (C12) found in coconuts. The shorter the chain, the less likely to interfere with foam.
Cocamide MEA: This is a lot like cocamide DEA as it re-fattens our skin and thickens the surfactant mixture.
Fragrance: To make things smell nice.
Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride: This is a cationic polymer like condition-eze 7 or honeyquat. It is substantive to our skin and makes our skin feel conditioned.
Lanolin Alcohol: A water insoluble emollient. This might be part of the moisturizing as well.
Citric Acid: pH adjuster.
DMDM Hydantoin: Preservative
Tetrasodium EDTA: Chelating ingredient.
Etidronic Acid: From wikipedia - "...used for suppressing radical formation, emulsion stabiliser and viscosity control." It also prevents the effects of hard water - it's a bisphosphonate.
Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891): I'm guessing this is to make the product whiter.
PEG 30 Dipolyhydroxystearate (may contain): This is an emulsifier (HLB 5.5) and surfactant.
So what do we see in this product? Mild anionic and amphoteric surfactants, humectants, conditioning polymers, oils, moisturizers, and re-fatteners, along with emulsifiers, preservatives, and fragrance.
I think the chelating and hard water modifying ingredients are an important part of this body wash because it means that regardless of water type, it's going to feel nice on your skin! Since I don't have the first clue about where to get these ingredients (other than EDTA), we'll need to choose surfactants that aren't affected by hard water.
Could we make a product like this? I think we already have! Just add tons of moisturizing and hygroscopic ingredients that will draw water to our skin from the atmosphere while not suppressing the foam.
How would I go about replicating this? I'd use about 30% surfactants with 10% water soluble oils. I want to use 10% SCI instead of sodium lauroamphoacetate because I don't have the latter and I know 10% SCI will be thickened and feel creamy on my skin (you can use SLSa at up to 5% to get a sulfoacetate into the mix, but it will thicken the mixture quite a bit! Oh, and if you're using SCI with stearic acid - for instance, the noodles - take it down to 5% and increase your water amount!). I could add some glycol distearate as another moisturizer - but I won't, because it will thicken too much - but I'll add little cocamide DEA to make it thicker and moisturizing or PEG-7 cocoate for the same reasons, use some cationic polymers and humectants, and add a little EDTA for chelating.
"TRYING TO DUPLICATE DOVE'S MOISTURIZING BODY WASH" BODY WASH
10% water soluble sunflower oil or other water soluble oil
10% SLeS or ALeS
10% cocamidopropyl betaine
3% cocamide DEA or PEG-7 cocoate
2% cationic polymer
Fragrance or essential oils if you want at 1%
Fragrance or essential oils if you want at 1%
Interestingly enough, if you take a look at this version of the body wash, Dove Ultra Moisturizing Body Wash, there are a ton of humectants including urea, sorbitol, sodium lactate, and glycerin. And we see allantoin in this, as well as SCI! So really the key is increasing your humectants, using mild anionic and amphoteric surfactants, and including a cationic polymer. (Hmm, where have we seen that before? This recipe uses a carbomer to make a gel, and you can do that, too!) If you want to replicate this, I'd take 10% out of the water amount and add 0.5% allantoin (heated phase), some hydrovance (2%), about 5% glycerin (heated phase) and 2% sodium lactate (although this is kind of pointless as it'll wash off when you rinse) - use the same recipe as above but add these things.
I hope I've shown you how we can duplicate the products we normally buy. Get the ingredient list and break it down for each ingredient. Figure out what each brings to the mix and see what you have in your workshop to fulfill those goals. We might not have every ingredient in the commercial product, but when we know our ingredients and their purpose, it's not hard to substitute what you have!