I have a bit of an obsession with Lush, English purveyor of lovely soaps and delicious-smelling hair creams and glitter bombs for your bath. It’s become a problem, because while I cannot resist this stuff, RENT, Y’ALL. So I am systematically trying to figure out how to DIY all my favorite Lush products. Last time around I showed you how to make your own bath bomb, and today we’re gonna tackle something that I thought would be hard but which turned out to be so, so absurdly easy: DIY shower jellies, modeled after the ones I love but cannot afford.
Shower jelly is just a gelatinous form of shower gel. At room temperature, it falls somewhere between liquid shower gel and bar soap in terems of consistency—like Jell-O. You can use it as is, which makes showering more fun (I smush it into a loofah); you can chill it in the fridge if you like a more bracing shower experience (it feels REALLY COOL to loofah something cold onto your skin in hot water, trust); or you can freeze it if you prefer a more bar-soap-y feel.
This means it’s very malleable—you can use it as is, you can chill it in the fridge, or freeze it to become regular bar soap. It also makes a cool gift for a shower/bath fanatic like myself, though maybe some people would be offended if they were given soap. I can’t relate. Anyway, like I said, this one is super easy. Here’s what you’ll need:
• At least two cartons of unsweetened gelatin or, for a vegan version, agar-agar, which you can buy at any Asian supermarket and at some health food stores. (My mom wouldn’t let me dip into her JARS PLURAL of agar-agar because she likes eating it. Pffff. )
• 1-1½ cups clear shower gel, body wash, or shampoo.
• 2–3 drops of food coloring.
• Rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle.
• A saucepan (if you’re heating this on the stove) or a bowl (for the microwave).
• A wooden spoon or whisk.
• A small mixing bowl and a jar; OR, if you would prefer your soap to be in shapes rather than in a jar, silicone molds.
• Jojoba oil (or whatever body oil you prefer) for extra moisturization.
• Body-safe essential oil to add fragrance.
• Extra bowls for each additional color of jelly you want to make.
• Body-safe glitter: Some of the Lush jellies contain glitter, which looks very pretty in the soap, but it has never really stayed on my skin.
Boil some water on the stove or in the microwave (if you’re using the latter be sure your bowl is microwave-safe). The amount of water you’ll need depends on how much gelatin/agar-agar you’re using: Use the ratio provided on the box. I used one cup of water for every package of gelatin (and I used four packs of gelatin and four cups of water). When the water has reached a full, rolling boil, turn off the stove or take the bowl out of the microwave.
Pour the gelatin/agar-agar into the water a little at a time, whisking until all the powder has completely dissolved before adding more (you shouldn’t be able to see any powder or chunks). Keep going till you’ve added all the powder and mixed it in thoroughly. It should look like this:
Add the shower gel/body wash/shampoo and mix gently.
Add the food coloring. If you chose to include body oil and/or essential oil(s), add those now too. Mix. (I used two bowls because I wanted to make two different colors of jelly.)
Step Five: If you’re using glitter, sprinkle it into your molds or bowl(s), and spread it around in there to distribute it evenly. Pour the liquid jelly into your molds/bowl(s).
Step Six: You’ll probably notice some air bubbles, which make soap dry weirdly and look less pretty. To get rid of them, spray the bubbles lightly with rubbing alcohol, or just scoop ’em out.
Step Eight: Stick the bowls/molds in the fridge and leave them alone for at least five hours so they can harden. (This is a perfect opportunity to rewatch a few episodes of The X-Files or catch up on the Rookie diaries.
Step Nine: Pull your fully jelled soap out of the refrigerator. If you used molds, pop the soap out of them, and now you’re done! If you didn’t use molds, crush the soap into small pies and put it in your jar(s). Now you’re done. This might be a fun time to take a shower, because you can wash of all that hard work with the product of that actual work!
I know it looks delicious but DO NOT EAT IT! ♦