Saturday, March 9, 2013

Non-soap facial cleanser

I have had some issues with my face lately...  I have been changing my nutrition around a little bit, altering some of my daily habits, but unfortunately, my face has been SO DRY and full of break-outs lately.  It's been driving me crazy!

I've read about people who wash their faces with oil-based cleansers and some of the benefits of washing with oil.  One blog that I enjoy, LisaLise, has a blog that is full of great information on the ingredients in hair / face / body products.  She writes a lot of about preservatives, ingredients and how they react with skin, how they react in products, clinical trials to support claims, such as whether "noncomedogenic" equals "able to unblock pores".  Her research has been so helpful for me as I've been trying to understand how products and skin interact.

She has helpfully posted a number of recipes on soap-free facial cleansers, masks, make-up, body care, etc on her blog.   I have also posted about the Lovin' Soap facial bar I made a few weeks ago, and I have another 3 weeks or so before I have cured it long enough for me to use- I wanted it to cure 2 months so it would be more mild for my face.  Since I am currently running out of my face cleanser (that I buy from a store... is it okay to admit that?) and my soap is not quite yet ready, I thought that I should give this her bars a shot and see how it goes.

Lisa's cleansers are made of various oils and butters, along with clays and sometimes crushed botanicals or oatmeal.  The combination of the fats and the clays provide the cleansing needed, and for me, it's also moisturizing enough to not need to use a moisturizer afterwards!  The first recipe I tried was her Lavender Exfoliating.  In one order from BB recently, they sent me a packet of lavender buds.  I was not planning on using them for soap, since the lye will turn them brown like little mouse turds, so this is a great way to use them up and try out something new!

Lavender Exfoliating Cleansing Bar Recipe:
44 gr cocoa butter
40 gr shea butter
55 ml almond oil
25 ml castor oil
65 gr white clay
4.5 gr dried lavender
4 gr jojoba beads (optional - I didn't have these, so my recipe does not include jojoba beads)
lavender essential oil (optional)

I apologize that I don't have any pictures of the making of this bar.  Lisa's blog has a good tutorial on making this recipe, with pictures.  

I melted the cocoa butter on low heat on the stove, then removed it from heat and added the shea butter, oils, and crushed lavender and stirred until the shea was melted.  Once everything was melted, I added the white clay and mixed until the mixture was even.  Then, I poured it into my silicone 2-lb loaf mold and put it in the refrigerator to set up for a few hours. Since this cleanser doesn't contain preservatives (which is fine, since it also doesn't contain any water) and is also quite soft at room temperature, it's best to store the bar wrapped in a paper towel in an air-tight container in the fridge (to keep out the fridge smells).  Each application is about 1 tsp or so, so I have broken a few pieces and keep in a small bowl in the bathroom (see picture at bottom of this post).  

I WAY overdid it on the essential oil, though - instead of a few drops, I added about 10 grams (!), and so when I use this one as a mask for longer than 5 minutes, my face starts to burn.  Live and learn...  

I want to get feedback from others on this type of cleanser, though, and since there is much too much EO in the lavender bar, I looked through my stockpile and found I had the right ingredients for Lisa's Rose Clay and Oatmeal bar.

Rosebud, Clay and Oatmeal Cleansing Bar Recipe:
10 gr Kokum Butter (can be replaced with cocoa butter)*
40 gr Cocoa butter
50 gr Coconut Oil
45 ml Castor Oil
40 ml Almond Oil
15 gr pink clay
10 gr oats - ground as close to a powder as possible
40 gr white clay
10-12 dried rosebuds - (rosa gallica)
a few drops of rose absolute

In one glass container, I added the kokum and cocoa butters and coconut oil and put on low heat on the stove to melt.  
I also mixed the castor and almond oils together, added the finely-crushed rosebuds, and put that on the stove to heat up and infuse the oils.  
Once everything was melted or heated, I combined them together, added the white clay and oats, added a few drops of the rose absolute oil, and mixed until even.  
I poured half of the mixture into my 2-lb silicone loaf mold and put in the freezer for a few minutes to harden.  I mixed the rose clay in the remaining portion and poured on top of the hardened layer and put in the fridge for a few hours to harden.
Love this color!
I'm very excited - my mom is stopping over a little later today and she's going to be a tester as well!  Can't wait to hear what she thinks.

I used the lavender bar in the morning on the first day, and while my face felt clean and moisturized after I was done, it felt pretty dry by mid-day.  I then started to use the bars as an evening cleanser, leaving it on for 5-10 minutes before bed.  For me, that is perfect - the scent is nice and relaxing and puts me in a good sleeping mood and my face has some time to absorb the oil while I sleep.  My face has been looking a lot better lately, and I'm sure this is a big reason!  If anyone tries this, I'd be interested to hear what you think of these cleansing bars!  Make sure you check out her tutorial and FAQ on using cleanser bars - lots of helpful information there!



  1. Thanks for sharing your recipe, Chrissy! I have never tried to make these cleansing bars, but they sound nice. My non-soap facial cleanser are made of aloe vera and milk(or sour cream) and some drops of eo as niaouli, lavender, rosemary, rosewood.
    Glad to know your face is getting better!

  2. Thanks for sharing this on your post Chrissy! I have also been having problems with my face lately. I tried a peel a couple of months back and since then my face has not liked anything I used on it. I recently made a bar of facial soap with clay and that's been helping a bit.

  3. I can honestly say I love this product! I have very sensitive skin and many purchased products will cause a reaction. Today I spent a wonderful afternoon with Chrissy and enjoyed a lovely facial with her new Rosebud Cleanser. Couldn't keep my fingers off my face as the oil was absorbed and left my face feeling healthy, moisturized, and clean. The two color cleanser is beautiful, melts gently in your hand to apply, and using warm water washes off easily.
    This will be part of my nightly facial wash.
    Thanks so much!

  4. When I tried these bars, I did not like them at all. They left my face so greasy and it was very difficult to wash the red clay (and green) from my face. I looked like a tomato if I did not use a soap afterwards (even if I used just a tiny bit of the bar).

  5. What an interesting concept, I love this idea! Lucky Jan getting to try it first hand :) I really like the sound of Nat's aloe vera and dairy cleanser too. Thanks so much for sharing these Chrissy!

  6. Natalia - I love the idea of the cleanser with aloe. Do you use a lot of milk / sour cream? I am sensitive to digesting dairy, and I wonder how my face would react - it might be very cooling and gentle.

    Roxana - I am excited to try my activated clay face soap, too, in a couple weeks. I've also been using a castille bar I bought at a store along with one of those electric round face brushes, but I didn't notice a significant difference until I used these. I must be needing a different moisturizer for these winters? I don't know how to make lotions, so these oil and clay bars might just do the trick.

  7. Thanks, Cee - if you try these, I'd love to hear what you think of them. Mom - I'm so glad your face felt good even after you got home! I can't wait to hear what Kelly thinks, and if you guys notice a difference over time.

    Marika - I definitely noticed that I needed a washcloth to get all the pink clay off my face. I put this on before a shower yesterday, and there were bits on the sides of my face I needed to clean with a cloth. I was also weird at first to rinse my face but having the oils still there - I think my skin is especially dry, though, because the oils absorbed really quickly!

    After spending some time trying both, I like the consistency of the lavender bar recipe and the colors of the two-clay rosebud cleanser. I am going to play around to see if I can make one that is just right that is good for reactive skin, but is easier to clean off. I really love the oil and how it makes my face feel and that I don't need moisturizer afterwards.

    It might not be a daily cleanser for me, but it makes my face feel like it just had a facial, so I will probably use it a few times a week.

  8. I really don't understand the chemistry of how this works!!!
    I mean, it looks like a good body butter recipe if you omit the clay and oatmeal. And how does one wash up face with oils. I totally understand what Marika refers to, but I'm soooo eager to know more about this cleaner. I need a good recipe for extremely dry skin (not for myself) and I just wonder if you ever have made/bought any good for your skin!?

    P.S. If you like, you can e-mail me, so I could send you an invitation for a private blog I've recently started. Many soapmakers have joined and you will get the invite to join as an author. The blog is about problems in soapmaking. My mail is

  9. Chrissy, I use 1/2 homemade sour cream and 1/2 aloe gel. I don't really like the scent of sour cream but using eo to it it's ok. I find it easy to use, the problem is that I don't always have sour cream so when I have it more, I put it in small quantities in the freezer.


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