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DIY Shower Gel with Orange Essential Oil and Shea Butter


DIY shower gel - Dr. Axe

Makes about 10 ounces
Preparation time about 10 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons shea butter
  • 2 tablespoons jojoba oil or almond oil
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup Castile soap
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable glycerin
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/4 cup warm water distilled water
  • 12 drops orange essential oil


You may be wondering what to look for in a shower gel. If you use a store-bought product, choose a shower gel that is mild and make sure it doesn’t contain lye. Using cool-to-warm water, instead of hot water, can help avoid dry skin. Apply a moisturizer right away, such as my body butter, or you can even use almond oil or olive oil as a moisturizer. Putting it on the skin while damp helps retain moisture. Keep in mind that some shower gels contain petroleum and other chemical-based ingredients such as added fragrance. If you notice your skin getting dry, red, itchy or flaky, consider a different shower gel; however, I suggest making your own so that you can know exactly what is going into your shower gel. It’s easy to do.  (12)

To make my DIY shower gel, place the shea butter in a small pan and melt on low heat. Add the jojoba oil, almond oil and coconut oil. Shea butter is an amazing ingredient given its vitamin A contents. It is very moisturizing, too. Jojoba oil offers great skin-healing benefits and is helpful in reducing acne as well as psoriasis. For a vitamin E boost — something your skin craves — almond oil is the way to go. And, we know that coconut oil is a great moisturizer that also fights off bacteria.

Now, pour the oil and shea butter mixture into a medium-sized bowl and sprinkle the xanthan gum into the bowl allowing it to sit for about a minute. You may be wondering just what this ingredient is. Xanthan gum is a thickening agent. While it is not a good idea to eat too much of it, it can be helpful on the skin because it may help fight cancer. Using an the immersion blender on pulse, dissolve the gum into the shea butter and oil blend. Do this for one to two minutes.

Next, add the castile soap, vegetable glycerine and warm water. Castile soap is a favorite of mine because it is a natural, vegetable-based soap. Vegetable glycerin is useful because it is a plant-based humectant, meaning it provides moisture to the skin. Blend again for about two minutes. At this point, it will begin to look like a creamy lotion. That’s what you want! (3

Lastly, add the orange essential oil. Sweet orange essential oil has a delightful citrus scent, and it also kills bacteria while reducing anxiety. Pour the shower gel into a soap dispenser. You may want to shake it before use as it could separate just a bit. Use within a few weeks since it does not contain any preservatives.

DIY Shower Gel with Orange Essential Oil and Shea Butter

Total Time: 10 minutes
Serves: About 10 ounces


  • 2 tablespoons shea butter
  • 1 tablespoon jojoba oil
  • 1 tablespoon almond oil
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup castile soap
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable glycerin
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/4 cup warm water distilled water
  • 12 drops orange essential oil


  1. In a small pan on the stove, slowly melt the shea butter in the distilled water over low heat.
  2. Add the jojoba, almond and coconut oils. Blend well using an immersion hand blender.
  3. Pour blended oils into a heat-safe bowl.
  4. Add the xanthan gum and allow it to sit for 1–2 minutes.
  5. Next, add the castile soap and blend.
  6. Add the glycerin and sweet orange essential oil. Blend well.
  7. The mixture should be creamy and thick. Pour it into a dispenser.
  8. Use within a few weeks.
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  1. Margaret on

    What binds oil and water in your recipe? If you don’t add any binding agent, the oil and water will separate in the bottle. Also, to have your product last few weeks you need some kind of preservative – otherwise it will go bad and do more harm to your skin than good.

  2. Margaret on

    I just wanted to add, that it sounds like this is a great recipe but and I will give it a try, but I will add preservative (potassium sorbate) and as a binding agent I will try it with cetyl alcohol.

  3. Jan on

    I want to try this also, but I was thinking the same thing as you, about it spoiling. I don’t have potassium sorbate. I wonder if grapeseed oil or vit. E oil would help preserve this?
    Has anyone tried it yet?

    • Michelle on

      My opinion only, but I would think that you could use any oil you like. I’m going to hazard a guess that your allergy is to citrus in general, not just oranges? Lavender is a common oil frequently chosen for such recipes.

    • Kenn on

      You might try lemon essential oil, if you are only allergic to oranges.
      Test if you react with a diluted droplet on your wrist, before getting it all over.
      To remove: Wash off with soap and water.
      Also, how do you react to handling lemons in cooking (making lemonade, squeezing lemon wedges, etc.)?
      BTW: The oil from citrus fruits comes from the skin (colored part).
      Note: Meyer lemons are an ancient cross with mandarin or common orange.

  4. janet on

    Can Vitamin E be added to the shower gel recipe to extend its freshness? Is there a safe way to preserve to extend shelf life?

  5. Sia on

    This is rather misleading. Lye (usually potassium hydroxide) is an ingredient that is needed to make soap be soap, including Castile – however – the saponification process converts the lye so that none is left in the final ingredient. So, if you think it is still a problem, you shouldn’t be using Castile soap either.
    If you’ve got a basic good quality liquid soap, you only need to add your own EO scents really, you don’t need all the other stuff. Better to put all your extra oils on your body after the shower (in which that oily soap has been washed off and gone into your drains).

  6. Shannan on

    I tried to register and my phone freaked out telling me that your certificate expired 1 day ago. I tried to go forward still and my phone freaked out again saying all sorts of scary stuff. Could you please unravel this situation and let me know what’s up so I can register. I have really enjoyed all your helpful information and would like to get your ebook.

  7. Michael on

    Dr. Axe, I wish you would move away from the Castile soap recommendation for skin and hair. Very alkaline pH of between 9 and 11.5 with all that potassium hydroxide in it. One possible substitution might be soap berry extract. Naturally much closer to the normal pH of skin and scalp.

  8. Timothy Oluoch on

    Dear Dr,

    At what point do you add the warm water as it is not explained on the directions?



  9. cindy on

    I wish I could find a recipe with our coconut. I am allergic to soy, corn, coconut, dairy, nightshades, citrus, apples, grapes, strawberries, melons, onions, garlic, vinegar, & eggs. I can’t find many recipes without these things, especially shampoos, conditions and soaps. I found one shampoo but my hair looks like it wasn’t washed after using it.

  10. Ken Ballard on

    Thankyou so much for providing this practical information. I’m not sure where I might find some of those ingredients. If you would share some places I can go to find the ingredients, I would deeply appreciate it. I live in NE Florida. God Bless You!


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