It's not a dumb question! It's a great one! And the answer is yes (with a sort of, kinda, mostly attached to it). If you take a look at how to make a body wash and take a look at how to formulate a shampoo, you'll see the ingredients are fairly similar. We have ingredients for moisturizing, conditioning, and cleansing in both products, but we'll have to choose our surfactants carefully to meet the needs of both your hair and skin type. Fortunately, most people with oily hair tend to have oily skin and most people with dry hair tend to have dry skin, so if your skin and hair types are similar, we can make a great product.
But what about the conditioning part? We can include a ton of lovely conditioners in the form of cationic polymers and dimethicone in our body wash and shampoo, and we can increase it slightly to ensure the conditioners will stay behind on your hair. The sort of part comes in here - if your hair is slightly longer or dry, you might want more conditioning. As someone with really long hair, married to a man with long (to the middle of his back) hair, this recipe will not be conditioning enough for someone who might have dry hair or tangles. But if you're someone with short hair in fairly good condition, then this could be a great product choice!
So let's take a look at how we could formulate such a thing!
Consider your surfactants first. I'd use 40% to 50%, and I'd choose gentle and mild surfactants. I definitely want my 10% - 15% cocamidopropyl betaine in there to increase the mildness and thicken the product. I'd go with SCI (with or without stearic acid) as it feels lovely and creamy on your skin and hair, but you can choose any of the surfactants that work well with your hair or skin type. I'll use 10% SCI because I love the creamy feeling and moisturizing after feel of the product. And finally, I'll choose something C14-16 olefin sulfonate or disodium laureth sulfosuccinate (DLS mild) for oily hair and skin or something like SMC Taurate (or SMO Taurate) or polyglucose/lactylate blend for dry skin at 15%.
Okay, so we've chosen our surfactants. Let's add about 10% aloe vera to the mix. This will increase the moisturizing and will thicken our surfactant mixture nicely. If you don't have aloe vera, or don't want to use it, you can leave it out, but ensure you thicken the product properly when you're done.
What else do we want? Conditioning agents. This is where the cationic polymers come in! You can choose from a variety of cationic polymers, such as polyquat 7, honeyquat, polyquat 44, polyquat 4, or polyquat 10. Since polyquat 44 is my new Saturday night thing, I'm going to include it at 0.5% in the heated water phase, and I'm going to throw in some honeyquat at 3% in my cool down phase to act as both a conditioning agent and a humectant. You can use 3% polyquat 7 or 0.5% polyquat 4 if you like - it's up to you. But you will want a cationic polymer in this product to make your hair feel nice.
We also want to add dimethicone at about 4% to the mix. This will act as a nice moisturizer and conditioning agent. And we can add up to 2% cetrimonium chloride to the product to act as a detangler and softener.
Humectants! I mentioned I'm using honeyquat at 3% in the cool down phase, but I'm also including glycerin at 3% in the heated water phase to act as a bubble enhancer and humectant. This will offer moisturizing to our hair and skin. Aloe vera also acts as a humectant. I'm also adding 2% panthenol in my cool down phase as this is a great addition for hair and skin.
I'm adding my hydrolyzed protein at 2% in the heated water phase as well. If you have dry hair and skin, consider using silk or Phytokeratin. If you have frizzy hair, consider using oat protein as it won't penetrate the hair strand.
How can we add moisturizers to the mix? If you have dry hair, consider adding some water soluble esters to the mix. PEG-7 olivate is a lovely inclusion in a shampoo or body wash. If you have oily hair, this might be too much for your hair type, but give it a try if you like. There are many different water soluble oils to consider - I just like PEG-7 olivate and have a ton of it in my workshop. Cromollient SCE is another good choice at 3% (here's a recipe for a shampoo containing this ingredient). And myristamine oxide is a great moisturizing ingredient, as is PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate. (Here's a recipe containing both these ingredients in a body wash, which has become my favourite one!)
Oh, and you could use glycol distearate at 2% in the heated phase to increase the moisturization and pearlize the final product.
As an aside, I've been experimenting with Caprol Micro Express in my body and hair care products. It can be used as a solubilizer for oils in body sprays or primarily water based products, but it can behave as a water soluble oil as well. I'm enjoying at 3% in my toner right now, and I'm find it to be a nice addition to a body wash at 3% to 5% (I haven't decided which I like more yet). If you have this available, you can try it in this recipe.
Okay, so we might take some time choosing our moisturizing ingredients...hmm, perhaps we need a few posts on this topic! Let's continue this tomorrow with a few recipe ideas!