If you’ve been looking for a way to mix up your bath routine, I think you might just love this Calendula + Clay Soft Foaming Body Scrub. It’s a dry, sudsy body scrub that works beautifully on a loofah or between your hands—just work it up with a bit of water and you’ll be rewarded with a rich lather and some soft scrubby-ness that’s perfect for some light exfoliation. Starring white kaolin clay, dried calendula petals, and oatmeal, this Calendula + Clay Soft Foaming Body Scrub is easy to make and has plenty of room for customizing touches.
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The bulk of this Calendula + Clay Soft Foaming Body Scrub is white kaolin clay. I considered using other clays, but in the end, the low mess factor of white kaolin won me over. After all, the last thing I want to do after a bath is clean what looks like blood splatters from pink clay off my walls 😂 If you want to introduce a wee bit of colour you could probably swap ~5% of the white kaolin for a colourful clay—I think something pinkish or yellowish could work beautifully with the theme! I don’t recommend including any bentonite clay as it reacts very differently from kaolin when it gets wet.
For som lovely foaming goodness, I’ve included some Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI). SCI is a gentle, anionic surfactant made from coconuts, and I positively adore its rich, gentle, fine lather. You can find Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) sold as “baby foam”—that’s how gentle it is!
Some oats add a bit of gentle scrubbiness to this scrub—feel free to use the ones from your kitchen! If you aren’t an oat person I think you could have some fun with other grains as well. Brown rice would work as an alternative and will be more noticeably scrubby. You could also try rolled spelt or Kamut flakes (those also make really tasty porridge)!
I chose dried calendula and rose petals for a bit of a botanical kick. If your botanicals are extra fragrant you might even notice a bit of scent come through in the end product! You could easily use all of one or the other, or choose different botanicals that you have on hand—I think chamomile and plantain could also be lovey. Just make sure anything you’re using is tub safe… basically, please don’t put anything like ground-up dried chilis in this!
A small amount of liquid oil helps weigh this powdery concoction down so you don’t inhale it when you’re using it—that is unbelievably unpleasant! I used sunflower seed oil, but you could easily use anything that is liquid, inexpensive, and has a reasonably long shelf life (this isn’t the place to break out your flaxseed oil—it will oxidize faster than you’re likely to finish the scrub).
Now, you will need to keep this scrub dry up until the moment you’re using it. To this end, I’ve packaged mine in a shaker-top bottle like the sort of thing baby powder comes in. That allows me to close off the holes in the lid to keep water out of the bottle. Even with a package like that, this probably isn’t the best choice for use in the shower—I’d save it for the bath. Enjoy the bubbles!
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Calendula + Clay Soft Foaming Body Scrub
23.56g | 58.9% white kaolin clay (USA / Canada)
8g | 20% Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) (USA / Canada)
4g | 10% oatmeal
0.04g | 0.1% essential oil or fragrance oil of choice
1.2g | 3% calendula petals
1.2g | 3% dried rose petals
2g | 5% sunflower seed oil (USA / Canada / UK / NZ)
Put on your dust mask.
Weigh all the ingredients into your DIY-only coffee grinder and blend thoroughly. You’ll want to smack the lid of the grinder with the back of a spoon to knock powders down from the inside of the lid. You’ll also want to take the lid off at least once and stir around, taking care to turn over everything at the bottom of the grinder to ensure all the ingredients are blending together well.
Once the mixture is uniform, transfer it to a shaker-top container—the sort of thing you’d get baby powder in, or even a spice shaker! I’d recommend choosing something you can close (either through twisting or with a flap-lid) so you can ensure the product stays dry.
To use, dispense a small amount of the powder (~1 tsp) into your palm or onto a loofah. Work the powder into a lather, massage into your skin, and rinse off as you would with any foaming body wash.
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this product does not contain any water, it does not require a broad-spectrum preservative (broad spectrum preservatives ward off microbial growth, and microbes require water to live—no water, no microbes!). Kept reasonably cool and dry, it should last at least a year before the oil goes rancid. If you notice it starts to smell like old nuts or crayons, that’s a sign that the oils have begun to oxidize; chuck it out and make a fresh batch if that happens.
As always, be aware that making substitutions will change the final product. While these swaps won’t break the recipe, you will get a different final product than I did.
- As I’ve provided this recipe in percentages as well as grams you can easily calculate it to any size using a simple spreadsheet as I’ve explained in this post. As written in grams this recipe will make 40g.
- To learn more about the ingredients used in this formulation, including why they’re included and what you can substitute them with, please visit the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia. It doesn’t have everything in it yet, but there’s lots of good information there! If I have not given a specific substitution suggestion in this list please look up the ingredient in the encyclopedia before asking.
- I recommend sticking to white kaolin clay purely from a mess standpoint; something with a darker colour could make post-bath clean up quite annoying!
- You could use a different flaked/rolled grain instead of oatmeal; something like spelt or kamut flakes could be lovely!
- The format of the Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) doesn’t matter since we’re grinding it up. Sticks, coarse powder, and fine powder are all ok.
- If you’d like to learn more about the surfactants used and compare them to ones you might already have so you can make substitutions, check out this page. Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (SLSa) would be my top choice for an alternative.
- You can substitute another lightweight oil like sweet almond, grapeseed, or jojoba instead of sunflower seed oil.
- You could use different dried skin-safe botanicals (for example, NOT dried chilis!) instead of the calendula and/or rose petals.
- The fragrance is optional; replace it with more clay if you don’t want to use it.