DIY Essential Oil Body Wash (Recipe)

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Personal care products… those products we use everyday to keep ourselves smelling fresh and clean. Unfortunately, many of the well-known brands lining store shelves have a hidden secret… they’re full of toxic, health-harming chemicals!

In a talk delivered at the Harvard School of Public Health in 2014, audience members learned that “In the United States, the average person is exposed to more than a hundred chemicals from cosmetics, soaps, and other personal care products before leaving the house in the morning [1].”

Read Labels and Don’t Use Soap/Body Wash With These Ingredients

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a watchdog coalition of groups dedicated to eliminating harmful chemicals in personal care products. On their website they share information with consumers on the health-harming chemicals found in personal care products.

Here’s a quick list of common soap and body wash ingredients they say you should actively avoid…[2]

  1. 1,4-dioxane is a contaminant linked to cancer found in products that create suds, such as shampoo and liquid soap. On the label look for: Sodium laureth sulfate, PEG compounds, chemicals that include the clauses xynol, ceteareth, and oleth.
  2. Coal tar is a known carcinogen found in shampoos, soaps, hair dyes, and lotions. On the label look for: Coal tar solution, tar, coal, carbo-cort, coal tar solution, coal tar solution USP, crude coal tar, estar, impervotar, KC 261, lavatar, picis carbonis, naphtha, high solvent naphtha, naphtha distillate, benzin B70, and petroleum benzin.
  3. Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives are often found in shampoos and liquid baby soaps. On the label look for: Formaldehyde, quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, polyoxymethylene urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bromopol), and glyoxal.
  4. Fragrance – Many products list “fragrance” on the label, but very few name the specific ingredients which prevents consumers from knowing the full list of ingredients in their products. On the label look for: Fragrance, perfume, parfum, aroma.
  5. Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) and Methylchloroisothiazolinone (CMIT) are common preservatives are found in many liquid personal care products, and have been linked to lung toxicity, allergic reactions, and possible neurotoxicity. On the label look for: Methylisothiazolinone (MIT): 2-methyl-4-isothiazoline-3-one, Neolone 950 preservative, MI, OriStar MIT and Microcare MT. Methylchloroisothiazolinone (CMIT): 5-Chloro-2-methyl-4-isothiazolin-3-one, and MCI.
  6. Nitrosamines are impurities that can show up in a wide array of cosmetics ingredients. Nitrosamines are usually not listed on product labels because they are impurities, but on the label look for: DEA and TEA.
  7. Phenoxyethanol is a preservative in cosmetic products and a stabilizer in perfumes and soaps. Reaction to exposure to phenoxyethanol can range from eczema to severe, life-threatening allergic reactions. On the label look for: Phenoxyethanol, 2-Phenoxyethanol, Euxyl K® 400 (mixture of Phenoxyethanol and 1,2-dibromo-2,4-dicyanobutane), and PhE.
  8. Parabens are preservatives used in a range of products including shampoos, conditioners, lotions, facial and shower cleansers and scrubs. On the label look for: Ethylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, and other ingredients ending in –paraben.
  9. Pthalates are chemicals linked to endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and cancer. While banned in cosmetics in the European Union, they still remain prevalent in U.S. products. On the label look for: phthalate, DEP, DBP, DEHP, and fragrance.
  10. Talc (which is found in some body and shower products) may contain the known carcinogen asbestos. Talc should be avoided in powders and other personal care products unless it is known to be asbestos-free. Even asbestos-free talc should be avoided in the pelvic areas. On the label look for: Talcum powder and cosmetic talc.
  11. Triclosan is an antimicrobial agent found in a wide variety of antibacterial soaps and other products that is linked to endocrine disruption, triclosan-resistant bacteria, and environmental toxicity. On the label look for: Triclosan (TSC) and triclocarban (TCC).

Healthier Alternative: Make Your Own Essential Oil Body Wash

If you love the feeling of lathering up with a sweet smelling body wash, here’s an easy recipe you can make at home. This body wash uses castile soap as a base, which is one of the safest commercially-available soap options. A good choice is Dr. Bronner’s unscented liquid castile baby soap which you can then scent with your favorite quality essential oils.

Essential Oil Body Wash Recipe
Rate this recipe
7 ratings

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 2 minutes

Yield: 30 Uses

Essential Oil Body Wash Recipe

Recipe used with permission from "Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine For The Modern World"



  1. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and mix until smooth.
  2. Store in an 8-ounce glass or BPA-free plastic bottle.


*Test sensitivity to the essential oils on a small patch of skin before using all over body

Purity and quality count when it comes to essential oils. Every time you use an essential oil you are creating a direct pathway to transmit every ingredient in that oil into your body. Essential Oils from Organixx are among the highest quality oils available to consumers and are made with indigenously sourced plants retrieved from the world’s best sources.

Article Summary

  • The average person is exposed to more than a hundred chemicals from cosmetics, soaps, and other personal care products before leaving the house in the morning.

  • Making your own soap is the best way to know what’s in your products and avoid harmful toxic chemicals.

Reader Interactions


  1. Are there any UK based sources of pure essential oils. Can’t afford stuff from what you keep advertising in the states. Please help me source this. Thank you.

  2. Thanks this is fantastic information that allows us to inspect the ingredients on our product labels to avoid these nasties. Can you advise if there are any Australia based sources of the organic pure essential oils as I cannot afford to buy then from the US due to the conversion rate of $$. Any advice would be great.

    • Thank you Luvin! That’s my question too. It seems since they don’t lather, the soap does not spread well, therefore I use more which means more money down the drain.

    • If you make it in a foaming soap bottle (available on Amazon), and do a little more than 1/2 castille soap mixture and the rest with water, yes, it lathers 🙂

    • It may not suds as well as store bought washes but I find thiese do suds up well with a net bath scrubby. Make sure to rinse the scrubby well and launder with your towels to keep it sanitary

  3. Please adjust this recipe so that the quantities make sense. The product amounts listed don’t fit into an 8 oz. container but must be more like 16 oz. container.

  4. What is the shelf Life for the product? I’m curious because I would have interest in the future to sell. Your guidance would be appreciated.

    • Hello Laura. Honey has antioxidants, antiseptic, and antibacterial properties for the skin. Vitamin E contains antioxidants, which makes it effective in combating effects of free radicals from the toxins in the environment. Lastly, jojoba helps with the inflammation (e.g. chapping and chaffing) of the skin. Hope this answers your question!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *