Sunday, April 29, 2012

Coconut Tea Body Wash

Please don't eat this recipe :)

For Christmas, my daughter received a kit with recipes and containers to make homemade beauty products. We have only tried a few things so far (I really need to make more of the homemade lip balm--that stuff really worked on chapped lips).  Tonight's experiment was body wash.

This handmade body wash was really easy, and the ingredients are inexpensive and readily available at a grocery store. We re-used a commercial body wash bottle to hold the results (it made about 2-3 cups, mostly filling a 24-ounce bottle). And it smells lovely.

The recipe book was more of a general guide, so the following amounts/ingredients are what we actually used. You could substitute dried herbs for the tea, or add a bit of honey towards the end, or add essential oils or other ingredients. I specifically chose the tea because it is non-caffeinated and my daughter tends to bathe at night before bed (not sure whether caffeine can be absorbed through the skin, but I figured a soothing scent was a better choice).

  • 1 bar Ivory Soap
  • 2.5 cups water
  • 1 tea bag (we used Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime for the soothing scents)
  • 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • A large (20-24 ounce or bigger) body wash or shampoo bottle (reduce! reuse!)

  1. Heat the water to boiling (we used the microwave). Add the tea bag, cover, and allow to steep at room temperature 5-10 minutes.
  2. Grate the Ivory Soap with a cheese grater. 
  3. Remove the tea bag from the water and stir in the soap.
  4. Microwave 1 minute and remove from the oven.  Stir some more and add the coconut oil.
  5. Alternate nuking and stirring until all of the soap is dissolved (this part probably took 5-10 minutes--we used a large glass mixing bowl and a sacrificial wooden spoon for the task).
  6. Allow to cool completely, stirring gently occasionally. As it cools, the oils will try to separate from the soap-water mixture, so the stirring will keep it well blended. Once it is cool (or mostly cool), pour into a clean container.
  7. The soap will look super-runny right up until the whole batch hits room temperature. We were really concerned that it would never firm up, but shortly after we transferred it from the large glass bowl and into the bottle, it thickened right up.

Coconut Oil looks like shortening--it is a saturated fat that is solid at room temperature but melts at slightly warmer temperatures. Actually makes me want to experiment with it in baking in place of butter or shortening (if it works, could help with vegan baking, should I ever care to try that). This is one of several ingredients we used to make homemade lip balm (with wax and cocoa and peppermint oil and I forget what else), though by itself  it makes a nice non-greasy (and edible) moisturizer for lips.

Also, I'm wondering if this process could work with pre-scented bar soap to make body wash (without adding the extra oil and tea). A bar of my regular soap is maybe $1 compared to the $5-7 a bottle for the same-scented body wash. In my case, its more a question of time vs money--not sure that spending half an hour to save $4 is the most economical choice, but you never know when the knowledge could come in handy.

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