I make most of my own cosmetics, including shampoo, conditioner, lotions, insect repellent (just add lavender essential oil to lotion) and soaps. The recipe below is my favorite facial wash recipe. I used the minimum of ingredients. You can fancy it up with a lot of things by replacing some of the chamomile tea, but this one works really well for me so I stick with it. Many of the ingredients are easy to buy at the grocery, but the preservatives and cleansers have to be purchased at a specialty store or online. When there is water in a product, or in this case tea, you will need a preservative. Bacteria and fungus love water.
All of these recipes are done by weight, and my recipes are listed by percentages, which you can then convert to grams/ounces as you prefer. I use grams because it’s easy to convert. For example, 81 percent water would be 81 grams if you intend to make 100 grams of a formula. One hundred grams is not a lot, but you can double, triple and so on once you know you like a recipe. This recipe is very thin because I didn’t add thickeners so it requires a foaming bottle for easiest application.
On low heat just melt–do not cook–the following ingredients: (A crockpot works well–just put ingredients in, turn on low, cover and wait for everything to melt. Stir occasionally. You can also use a small toaster oven):
81% brewed chamomile tea (soothing for skin)
10% SCI – Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (very mild cleanser)
5% cocamidopropyl betaine (very mild cleanser. If you want even more bubbles, you would up the percentage here and subtract out some tea)
3 percent glycerin (humectant)
After everything above is melted and gently mixed (do not mix vigorously. It’s a cleanser so it will bubble all over the place!) let it cool down. Then add the following:
.5 percent liquid Germal Plus (preservative) or .5% optiphen plus
.5 percent essential oil (for fragrance. I like grapefruit essential oil in this wash).
You do not want to cook off your essential oils or preservatives. They must be added to the end when the solution is cooled under about 120 degrees. If you add preservatives when the mixture is too hot, it destroys the preservative.
If you want to thicken this recipe, I recommend subbing out some of the tea and putting in up to 2 percent crothix or reformulating to make this soap with a carbomer thickener (carbomer has its own tricks and requires a neutralizer so it’s a more complex recipe, but carbomer is dependable). Crothix works pretty well with this recipe, but finding the right percentage can be tricky and I don’t like it because it thickens over time (so it can get clumpy two weeks later). It’s not a necessary ingredient, and for me it’s just easier (and cheaper) to dispense the above in a foaming bottle. This is a very mild cleanser that leaves a very nice skin feel.