As the days get drier, I am loving this soft, silky cranberry clay facial scrub that’s lightly studded with wee bits of bashed-up cranberry seeds for a touch of exfoliation. It has a low, creamy lather that leaves your skin glowing, gently buffing away any dead, dry skin. With added coconut milk powder and rosebuds, it’s gentle enough to use morning and night. It smells awesome, is unbelievably easy to make, and it looks great in cute jar next to your bathroom sink.
The bulk of this scrub is white kaolin clay. You’re certainly welcome to use other soft, smooth clays if you prefer (French green would certainly be fittingly festive!), but kaolin is a nice choice if you like a face scrub that doesn’t need to be chased with a sink scrub. I would not advise bentonite, rhassoul, or other heavier, sandy clays.
A wee touch of cranberry seeds gives a hint of customizable exfoliation. I chose cranberry seeds as I picked up a small back from Saffire Blue a couple years ago and haven’t made a dent in it, but subsequent searching has shown that cranberry seeds are surprisingly difficult to source, so you can use sesame seeds instead if you can’t find them. I started with 1/8 tsp of cranberry seeds and worked my way up while developing the recipe; I found 1/8 tsp was pretty much un-noticeable, and liked the mild scrub I got with 1/2 tsp. If you have quite sensitive skin you might want to start with 1/4 tsp and work your way up from there. (The coffee grinder is 100% necessary here, too—you do not want whole cranberry seeds in your scrub!)
To the clay/cranberry mixture I added a blend of two safe, gentle powdered surfactants—Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (SLSa) (USA / Canada) and Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) (USA / Canada). If you don’t have both you can certainly use all of one or the the other, or use two teaspoons of dried, ground bar soap instead. The surfactants give the scrub a lovely creamy slip, and a low lather that’s quite lovely.
I added a wee bit of coconut milk powder to keep the scrub from being too drying, and some dried rosebuds for their soothing, hydrating effect on skin. A few drops of marula oil helps weigh the scrub down a bit and moisturize the skin, and a lovely blend of juicy red mandarin and bright spruce essential oils tie the whole thing together (seriously, it smells awesome!).
A wee clamp-top glass jar was the perfect thing to scoop the finished scrub into, and voila! This lovely jar of Cranberry Clay facial scrub goodness has a place of honour next to my sink these days.
Cranberry Clay Facial Scrub
2 tbsp white white kaolin clay
2 tsp powdered coconut milk (USA / Canada)
1/2 tsp Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) (USA / Canada)
1/2 tsp Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (SLSa) (USA / Canada)
1/2 tsp cranberry seeds or sesame seeds
3 small dried rose petals
Put on your dust mask. Measure the clay, milk powder, surfactants, seeds, and rose buds into your DIY-only coffee grinder. Cover and blitz everything for a minute. Leave the dust to settle for a couple minutes before removing the lid.
Scatter the drops of oil over the mixture and gently agitate the coffee grinder to shift some dry over top of the oils—this helps prevent them from jumping up and sticking to the lid of the coffee grinder. Blend everything together for another minute.
Give the mixture a stir to ensure the blend is even—if it’s not, blend again. If it is, scoop the scrub into a cute jar of some variety, and that’s it!
To use, start by wetting your face. Take about 1/2 tsp of the scrub into the palm of your hand (it’s best if your hand is wet first) and blend in a wee bit of water. Scrub away, adding more water as needed to adjust how scrubby the scrub is, and rinse. Follow up with your favourite serum and enjoy your clean skin!
Because this mixture contains no water it should last at least a year, though there’s little enough that you should use it up well before then.
If you don’t have/want to use the surfactants, you can use 2 tsp of dry, ground up soap instead. You can use any other orange/mandarin/tangerine essential oil instead of the red mandarin, and any other bright coniferous essential oil (fir, pine) instead of the spruce. You can use any milk powder (goat, cow, etc.) instead of coconut milk powder.