Finally, a homemade shower gel that is thick and creamy and so luxurious! You’ll never go back to store-bought shower gel.

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Although I love a good homemade product, there have been many products I just can’t seem to successfully create at home. A few of these products include: dishwasher soap, mascara, eye shadow, adult shampoo and conditioner, and liquid foundation. I’ve tried countless times to make these products, but time and time again my efforts result in nothing but failure, at least when you compare them to the store-bought versions.

Through my failures, I’ve come to the realization that it’s okay to not make everything from scratch! In fact, sometimes it’s better for both my sanity and the strangers I must stand next to in public to actually buy certain products. Store-bought shampoo is a prime example–it’s good for my sanity and the stranger standing next to me in the Target line. You’re welcome, Mrs. Stranger.

Just a note here…For the products I still purchase, I try to choose the best options available, meaning the products with a minimum amount of bad stuff.


Two years ago, I was overjoyed to discover homemade body wash.

Homemade body wash is super easy to make, and in my opinion, it works just as good if not better than the store-bought alternative. It’s a home run win! I’ve received many comments asking various questions about how to create a thicker consistency.

Finally, a homemade shower gel that is thick and creamy and so luxurious! You’ll never go back to store-bought shower gel.

For a number of months now I’ve been working quietly behind the scenes of Live Simply trying to figure out how to create a thick and creamy body wash, almost more of a shower gel. I’ve tried numerous methods to thicken my current recipe, but every effort resulted in DIY failure. Finally, a few weeks ago, I decided to start from scratch and create a brand new recipe in hopes of achieving a thick, moisturizing shower gel. And guess what?


Finally, a homemade shower gel that is thick and creamy and so luxurious! You’ll never go back to store-bought shower gel.

Finally, a homemade shower gel that is thick and creamy and so luxurious! You’ll never go back to store-bought shower gel.

To create my successful homemade version of shower gel, I used: shea butter, glycerin, a nourishing oil, water, castile soap, and the secret ingredient…xanthan gum! Of course, the point of today’s post is to share my homemade shower gel with you–it’s dreamy, my friend! Trust me, you’ll never go back to store-bought shower gel.

Finally, a homemade shower gel that is thick and creamy and so luxurious! You’ll never go back to store-bought shower gel.

Before I share, let’s take a look at each ingredient:

Shea Butter: This ingredient is one of my absolute favorite DIY products. Shea butter is an amazing moisturizer and contains healing properties (thanks to the Vitamin A). Shea butter is also super versatile. It can be used to make everything from homemade lotion to lip balm to shower gel.

Nourishing Oil: Since oil dissolves oil, it’s only natural to add a nourishing oil to a cleansing shower gel. The nourishing oil also adds moisturizing properties to this gel. I’ve used jojoba, grapeseed, and good ol’ olive oil with great success.

Castile Soap:  One of my favorite multi-purpose DIY ingredients. Castile soap is a concentrated vegetable-based soap with easy to recognize ingredients.  I use castile soap for everything from homemade laundry detergent to body wash and hand soap. I recommend using either the Baby Mild Castile Soap or Tea Tree Castile Soap for body-care products.

Glycerin: Glycerin adds nourishing moisture without weighing down the shower gel. This ingredient also helps dissolve the xanthum gum, which makes it absolutely necessary–sorry, no substitutes this time. Glycerin sounds like a fancy ingredient, but most drug stores sell it in the beauty or medicine departments for a fairly low price.

Xanthan Gum: This is the secret ingredient that’s absolutely necessary for creating a creamy shower gel! Xanthan gum is sold in the baking aisle (I like Bob’s Red Mill brand) and is often used to help thicken and stabilize foods, particularly gluten-free foods. This next part may gross you out, but I think it’s important to know the details about the products we use on our skin (and in our body)….

Xanthan gum is a sugar-like compound made by mixing aged (fermented) sugars with a certain kind of bacteria.” (sourceYes, I’m asking you to put a bacteria on your skin, but rest assured, this is a perfectly safe ingredient. Hey, I also asked you to drink a colony of fermented bacteria, so…

Xanthan gum is expensive (around $15 per bag) and you only need a very small amount of it to make this shower gel. This means one $15 bag will last quite a long time.

Finally, a homemade shower gel that is thick and creamy and so luxurious! You’ll never go back to store-bought shower gel.

Finally, a homemade shower gel that is thick and creamy and so luxurious! You’ll never go back to store-bought shower gel.

And without further ado, I present to you a creamy and moisturizing homemade shower gel. Lather up!

homemade shower gel
4.76 from 25 votes

Homemade Moisturizing Shower Gel

I present to you a creamy and moisturizing homemade shower gel. Lather up!
Kristin Marr
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course Homemade
Cuisine Body
Servings 8 oz


  • 2 TB shea butter melted
  • 2 TB jojoba oil or grapeseed, and extra virgin olive oil with good success.
  • 1 TB vegetable glycerin
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum or guar gum -If you're using guar gum try 1/4 tsp for starters since some readers have reported the gel is too thick with 1 tsp guar gum
  • 1/3 cup castile soap I like to use Baby Mild.
  • 1/3 cup warm water Distilled water for long-term use. The water doesn't need to be hot
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil optional

Special Equipment:


  • Add the melted shea butter, jojoba oil, and glycerin to a medium-size bowl. Sprinkle the xanthan gum over the top. Allow the gum to rest for 1 minute. During this time the powder should sink into the liquid. After 1 minute, use the immersion blender to dissolve the gum into the oil mixture--pulse the immersion blender for 1 minute. Add the castile soap and warm water to the bowl. Place the immersion blender at the bottom of the bowl. Blend the mixture with the immersion blender for 1-2 more minutes, pulsing up and down. The mixture should turn into a creamy lotion-like consistency during this time.
  • Pour the shower gel into a soap dispenser. I found my container (pictured) at Target.
  • While the mixture won't separate, I recommend giving the container a gentle shake before each use. When you introduce water into a product without a preservative you always run the risk of introducing bacteria, so use water-based products quickly.


The “where to buy” links provide links to the actual products I use. As always, I recommend shopping around online and at local stores for the best prices and products you love. Find my favorite DIY ingredients and tools, here.
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!


Finally, a homemade shower gel that is thick and creamy and so luxurious! You’ll never go back to store-bought shower gel.

More DIYs You May Like:

Homemade Foundation Powder Make-Up

 Homemade Foundation Powder


 Homemade Ultra-Moisturizing Lotion (without coconut oil)

DIY homemade liquid hand soap

DIY Homemade Liquid Hand Soap

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  1. theres no lather, super creamy with a thick consistency, but no suds like the picture of hands using it shows.

  2. 4 stars
    Mine came out thick and kinda goopey, almost like snot? and it doesnt lather at all. Its super creamy and thick… but is it supposed to have that goop consistency? And it should lather up, right?

    1. Hey Taylor, Hmmm, there should be some lather. The later won’t be like commercial soap, but there should be something. I’m not sure what may be happening. A goop consistency sounds about right–it should be thick.

      1. Hm. i will have to try making it again and see what happens. i could have possibly not done things in the right order. Would that effect this recipe?

  3. hi kristin, i’m hoping to make some of this but i’m a little concerned about some comments saying it leaves an oily residue. i’m disabled and could easily slip in the shower. do you think it will be ok? thanks.

  4. Could you sub a hydrosol for the water to make the product last longer?
    Or is there a natural preservative you could add to prolong the shelf life?

    Thanks! xx

  5. Would this recipe become a body lotion if the castile soap was left out? I am looking for a creamy, moisturizing body lotion. This seems like this recipe might have potential . . .

  6. Question: what does this recipe yield? I want to do a gallon or half gallon of this how much of each of the ingredients should I use?? Thanks isaura

  7. 4 stars
    Reading your recipe reminded me of a bad experience I had with xanthan gum. Trying to clean out my cabinets, I threw a container of xanthan gum down the sink. I thought it would run down the drain like flour. One plumber and 3 hours later we got the drain unclogged. It sets up like concrete. So needless to say,a little goes a long way. Lesson learned. I am new to your blog, but I’ll be

  8. 4 stars
    Hi Kristin, I LOVE YOUR DIY stuff!! I made body wash last night. I didn’t use your exact recipe, but it was defiantly inspired by this recipe.
    Neat tip: Ground chia seeds can be used instead of the xantham gum. Thanks google! The chia seeds have a cool gel property just like they do when put into liquid.
    Grind the chia seeds with a spice/coffee grinder or the milling attachment on the nutribullet (this is what I used). Then you simply mix a 1:1 rato of water to chia seeds. This does give the body wash a speckled more earthy appearance. I haven’t used by creation yet. I’m hoping the longer the seeds sit the more gelatinous my body wash will become.

  9. 5 stars
    HI Kristen,

    I was wondering how long is this product good for until we have to begin worrying about bacteria? I saw in your post that you said to use water based products quickly. In your opinion how long would this body wash be safe to use? Thank you in advance.

  10. 5 stars
    I make hair conditioner that’s thickened with cornstarch and it works great! This allows me to make a lighter (as in not so heavy in solid oils) product that’s still all natural. I tried a recipe today that was supposed to thicken with gelatin, but I ended up adding a cornstarch slurry to get it thicker. Your recipe seems to thick to pump–I agree to thin to “taste” add more castile soap.

  11. Thanks for this lovely recipe. It turned out beautifully when I made it last night. I was a little disappointed to find that the solution settled overnight and my full bottles of body wash are now more like half-bottles. Any idea as to why this might be? I user an immersion blender and followed your instructions to a T.

    1. Hey Mary, I’m not sure what may have happened, but one thought is that the ingredients didn’t fully emulsify? Is there separation in the bottle, or did the amount just reduce in half? Let me think about this some more, too.

  12. Hi Kristin

    Love your blog and are trying out everything you post on it!

    I have been making hand soap using liquid Castile soap for a while now. However, I just find it too thin and i personally do not like foam pump. When you come up with this recipe, I am very excited to try. Unfortunately, I could not find the x gum in your recipe. So i used cornstarch instead. I boiled the water in the pot, put a heap table spoon of cornstarch in a small glass with some cold water to loosen it up. then pour it into the boiling water, keep stirring till it thickens (if it doesn’t then you need more cornstarch). after the cooked cornstarch cooled down, i then add jojoba oil and soap into it, just stir till all ingredients are well combined.

    it works perfectly well at the moment, however, I am not sure what is the effect these thickening agent will have on our drains? i am just a bit worried that it might block the drain in the long run. is there any reason you didnt use cornstarch?

    1. Hey Angela, I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog! That’s so great to hear that the cornstarch worked well! I haven’t tried using cornstarch before, and honestly never considered it, so I’m glad you thought of that. There’s such a small amount of thickening agent used that I don’t believe it should be an issue–it hasn’t been for me. Enjoy!

  13. Hi

    I’m new to making natural products. I have a few products that I make and I wanted to make a body wash. As you know there are really no recipes for body wash.

    Question: What preservative can I add to decrease changes of bacterial growth because of the use of water in the recipe and increase shelf life? Phenonip?

    Question: Can you add fragrances such as peach, white tea & ginger etc?

    1. Hey Robbin, Here are my personal safety tips for making body-care products: This post is fantastic about preservatives: You can use essential oils. I don’t have any experience with the ingredients used to make fragrances, so I can’t recommend them right now.

      I personally love this body wash recipe which uses a hydrosol, if you’re looking for a recipe: