Today we’re creating an herb-and-clay-based powder-to-foam facial cleanser. It’s a pretty simple concept, and easy to customize and tweak based on what you have on hand. It’s been quite a while since I shared a cleansing powder—it seems I really liked them in 2016/2017, and then forgot about ’em! A recent YouTube comment got me thinking about them again, though, and here we are.
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The bulk of this cleansing powder is a zeolite ultrafine clay, which is pretty similar to kaolin in terms of texture, so feel free to use either. I purchased a thoroughly silly amount of zeolite when New Directions Aromatics discontinued it years ago, so I have far more than anyone should, but I haven’t seen it for sale since NDA discontinued it. So—use what you’ve got, basically! Don’t use bentonite or rhassoul—they’re too coarse.
Up next are some botanicals; a blend of romantic rose and soothing calendula. They blend up really well, giving some mild exfoliating goodness without any overly aggressive botanical bits. I don’t find the botanicals contribute any scent to the end product, but if yours are more fragrant than mine you might get a touch of rose-y, herbal goodness.
Some colloidal oatmeal further amps up the soothing/gentle-ness factor of this cleansing powder, while some Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) gives us the foam part of the powder-to-foam description. At 15% this cleanser has a low, creamy lather. I also tried 10% and found that gave almost no discernible lather, though it definitely still cleansed the skin and rinsed off really well.
A touch of liquid jojoba oil helps weigh all the powders down so the end product isn’t too poufy when you open the jar and contributes a bit of richness to boot. All you’ve got to do to make this is to give everything a very thorough whizzing in your dedicated DIY coffee grinder, so what are you waiting for? Let’s get all sudsy and powdery!
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Calendula Rose Foaming Cleansing Powder
18g | 60% white kaolin clay (USA / Canada) or zeolite clay
1.5g | 5% dried rose powder
1.5g | 5% dried calendula petals
3g | 10% colloidal oatmeal (USA / Canada)
4.5g | 15% Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) (USA / Canada)
1.5g | 5% jojoba oil (USA / Canada)
Put on your dust mask.
Weigh everything 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, gently spoon it into a jar or other container; for a 30g (1.06oz) batch you’ll want a container with a 40–50mL (1.35–1.7fl oz) capacity. I used jars, but a wider-mouthed bottle would work as well.
To use, dispense a small amount of the powder (~½ tsp) into your palm, taking care to keep the contents of the jar dry. Work the powder into a lather between your hands, massage into your face, and rinse before continuing with the rest of your skincare routine. I find this gentle enough to use daily, but be sure to listen to your skin, especially if it is sensitive.
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this scrub 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!). Be sure to keep it dry to ensure it lasts as long as possible—don’t let any water get into the container and it should easily last a year.
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 30g.
- To learn more about the ingredients used in this recipe, 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.
- You’ll want a soft, smooth clay for this project. Do not use bentonite or rhassoul.
- You can use dried rose petals that haven’t yet been powdered—the coffee grinder will take care of them!
- You could also use different dried botanicals that you already have on hand.
- You could use oatmeal instead of colloidal oats, but this will make for a scrubbier end product.
- The format of the Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) doesn’t matter, as long as it is solid. I used the powder as it tends to be easier to find and less expensive than the noodle variety.
- If you’d like to learn more about the surfactant used and compare it to ones you might already have so you can make substitutions, check out this page. You’ll want a solid anionic surfactant, preferably with an acidic pH.
- You can use a different liquid carrier oil, though I would recommend choosing one with shelf life on the longer side of things, like fractionated coconut oil.
- If you’d like to include some essential or fragrance oils you can; I’d remove 0.5% from the clay and include the essential oil at 0.5% with the jojoba oil.