You’ll Love this Thick and Moisturizing Natural Shower Gel Recipe

A natural shower gel recipe that's moisturizing and really thick, like a store-bought gel! You need only Castile Soap, honey, oils, essential oils, salt, and water.

DIY Natural Shower Gel Recipe using Castile Soap, essential oils and more - and it is actually a gel!

For the longest time, I've been using my foaming body wash in the shower, in fact, everyone in my family of six has one of these in their showers! It works well and is super easy to make, but I wanted to switch things up and try my hand at making an actual shower gel that's thicker.

The Secret to Making this Natural Shower Gel a Gel

After making my liquid laundry detergent thick by using Kosher salt, hot water, and Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds, I knew I could try something similar for a shower gel.

So the secret ingredient to making this gel an actual gel (so you don't need a foaming soap pump) is the salt and water. But in this case, instead of using Kosher salt, fine salt works better.

Learn About the Ingredients in this Natural Shower Gel Recipe

Castile Soap

I use Castile Soap all of the time! I use it in all of our hand soaps and body washes, and it’s perfect in this natural foaming hand soap recipe because it lathers well and is also gentle and mild. It doesn’t contain any harsh detergents like Sodium Laureth or Lauryl Sulfate, so it is wonderful to use on the body. It is an olive oil-based soap that originated in the Castile region of Spain, which is where it gets its name. 

I used to really struggle with dry, cracked hands, especially in the wintertime when I used store-bought hand soaps. Now that I use Castile Soap, I rarely even have to use lotion, even in the winter!


Did you know that honey has many healing and therapeutic benefits for the skin and hair? It has been used for thousands of years in wound care as well. It also helps to thicken this natural shower gel. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Contains antibacterial and antiseptic properties
  • Excellent for acne-prone and dry skin
  • Contains antioxidants and boosts collagen production
  • Very moisturizing and hydrating
  • Helps to fade scars
  • Helps to open up pores, great for deep cleaning
  • Contains enzymes that help to exfoliate the skin gently

Moisturizing Agents – Carrier Oils and Aloe Vera

To add an additional moisturizing ingredients, you can use fatty carrier oils like olivealmondJojobaavocado, and grapeseed oils or use liquid Aloe Vera (not the gel – the salt will cause Aloe Vera gel to clump up in a ball).

Carrier oils are different than essential oils – they are the fatty part of the plant and serve to moisturize and soothe the skin and hair. Essential oils are therapeutic and volatile, which means they can evaporate. They are actually drying to the skin, not moisturizing.

DIY Natural Shower Gel Ingredients - make your own shower gel at home with Castile Soap, essential oils, carrier oils, and more!

DIY Natural Shower Gel Recipe

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4 from 3 reviews

A recipe for a natural shower gel made with nontoxic and gentle ingredients like Castile Soap, olive oil, essential oils, and honey. And it really does make a thick gel!

  • Author: Sara McFall




Heat the water until it's very hot or boiling (in the microwave is fine). Add the salt and stir until it dissolves completely. Then, add the Castile Soap and stir well. The salt water will thicken up the soap, turning it into a gel! Once it cools, add the honey, carrier oil, and essential oils and stir very well. Transfer to an 8 oz. squirt bottle.


This recipe really does make a thick gel that's perfect for squirting on a loofah! It also suds up really well. The salt is essential to making the gel consistency. Without it, it will be watery.

Which essential oils to use in this Natural Shower Gel Recipe?

I only use essential oils from Young Living. I have found them to work better than other brands I’ve tried. You have to use double the amount of other, cheaper essential oils to get the same scent and health benefits, and many essential oils on the market aren’t even effective (because I’ve tried many of them) for improving health issues. I’ve used Young Living’s oils for years to help keep my family healthy, and haven’t been disappointed yet! Learn more about them here.

More Natural Bath and Body Recipes on My Blog

DIY Natural Shower Gel Recipe - essential oil options like Gentle Baby, Cedarwood, Release, Joy, Bergamot, Lavender, Peppermint, and Stress Away

My Favorite Essential Oils to Use for the Body

There are many, MANY essential oils you could use in this natural shower gel recipe. If you have very sensitive skin, I would steer clear of, or use just 1-2 drops of, “hot” essential oils like Wintergreen, Peppermint, Clove, Cinnamon, and Eucalyptus. Use more gentle oils like Lavender, Frankincense, Cedarwood, and Ylang Ylang.

Stress Away – (get here) a blended oil of lime, copaiba, vanilla, cedarwood, ocotea, and lavender. It smells DIVINE and really does help melt the stress away. It is good for tired, sore muscles, too.

Cedarwood – (get here) very woodsy, earthy smell. Great for men, but it’s actually one of my favorite scents! It’s very relaxing and calming, great right before bed.

Aroma Siez – (get here) a blended oil of basil, marjoram, lavender, peppermint, and cypress – perfect to ease tired, sore muscles after a strenuous workout or long day. It’s also an invigorating way to start the day with peppermint and basil! Or just try peppermint.

Lavender – (get here) known for its ability to relax and calm, it can also ease sore muscles, and it smells wonderful!

Lady Schlerol – (get here) a blend of Geranium, Coriander, Vetiver, Orange, Clary, Bergamot, Ylang ylang, Royal Hawaiian Sandalwood, Spanish sage, Jasmine, Idaho Blue Spruce, and Spearmint. It has a beautiful, feminine scent, and I also use this as a perfume!


    1. Hi Demetria! It’s safe to say it would last about 2 weeks without getting growing mold. If you’d like it to last longer and not have to refrigerate it, Amazon does actually natural preservatives that are inexpensive.

  1. When I added the castle soap to the salt water, it thickened into a gel, but when I added the almond oil and honey it turned back into a watery consistency. It was slightly warm, but not hot.

  2. When I made this soap it firmed up and it does not come out of the pump? What can I do to make it more liquidity? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Stephanie! Okay so next time you make the recipe, I’d reduce the amount of salt. To make it more liquid for now, just add some water and whisk it until it is the right consistency. I think people that have hard water have trouble with the thickness of this recipe.

  3. I had the same problem as Stephanie. I’ve added water a few times, but it just gets impossibly thick again. I love the recipe otherwise! Next time I’m going to try less salt and distilled water, in case my water is the problem. In the meantime, I’m going to transfer it to a tub, and scoop it out to use.

  4. This came out really well. It CAN get clumpy if it sits for too long, but a good couple of shakes and it’s back to normal. It worked better for me with the aloe vera liquid vs the honey.
    Great recipe! Thanks!!

  5. Hi Sara,
    I have tried the recipe however when I left it sitting in the bottle overnight I get water at the bottom and gel at the top and I need to shake the bottle every time…Is that normal or I am doing something wrong? I know water and oil don’t mix without a surfactant however, I hoped that when getting the gel texture the water would remain as part of the gel? Thanks in advance

  6. I have not made this yet but am wondering if I can use my favorite fragrance (Dune for women by Christian Dior) as the scent. It is only available in the Eau de Toilette and CD used to make the shower gel, body lotion and body powder but not any more. Also, I would probably use distilled water in my recipe as thats how I roll! Not sure if my city water is hard or soft but using distilled water will eliminate that problem.

  7. Sara: You might want to update the recipe since the amount of essentials oils needed is not listed in the recipe. Glad someone had asked the question and you responded. Excited to try it.

  8. Hi Sara,
    My daughter and I have been using your recipes for a couple years now and they have truly changed our lives! Thank you! You mentioned in your video that there are some all natural shower gels that you recommend that can be purchased off Amazon. Which ones would you recommend? Thank you

  9. Hi Sara,
    Do you know how long Aloe Vera Liquid lasts? And does it have to be refrigerated? I’d like to add it to this recipe and found it on Amazon either in 100ml or 500ml sizes. Of course, buying more is cheaper but I am not sure what else I would need Aloe Vera liquid for.

    And you mentioned adding a preservative. Any suggestions on what and how much to you? I usually leave a bottle of body wash in my gym bag for when I shower at the gym and I certainly don’t want it to go bad.

    Many thanks!

  10. It’s my first time making this
    Apparently my skin just feels weird felt like it wasn’t bubbling but sticky and all
    Is that something I did ? Please forgive me because it’s my first time
    Namaste 🙏🏼

  11. I’ve been using this as a gel hand soap by my kitchen sink. It’s a great consistency, thick but it still pumps out great. It lathers nicely too. Since I have hard well water, I used distilled water and didn’t have to change the salt amount at all. I also get dry cracked hands in the winter and am hoping this will help! Thank you!

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