Something about the string of hot summer days we’ve been having has been making me think about herbs. It’s probably all the lush, overflowing gardens Lottie and I walk past on our walks, and the way the now-golden prairie grass ripples in the wind. It could also be that I recently realized I needed to use up a jar of calendula infused olive oil pronto, or I’d be throwing it out the next time I went to use it (that doesn’t sound like me at all, does it? 😬). Anywho—this simple sunny yellow cleansing oil is infused with wispy golden calendula petals to create a gentle cleansing oil with the anti-inflammatory goodness of calendula.

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As you might’ve guessed, the bulk of this recipe is calendula infused olive oil. To that I’ve added two different emulsifiers, but at a slightly lower percentage than my more recent cleansing oil recipes for a slightly more gentle end product. I’ve gone with a blend of solid (emulsifying wax) and liquid (Olivem 300) emulsifiers so we can get a bit of viscosity out of the solid emulsifying wax. I find 100% liquid cleansing oils are rather escape-artist-esque and tend to bolt out of my palm, so I like mine to be a touch more user friendly and have a bit of body to ’em.

Now, why is there an emulsifier when there isn’t any water in the product? It’s because we add water at the moment of use! The addition of an emulsifier allows us to blend the cleansing oil with a splash of water in our hand and watch it become all white and creamy (magic! Well… science!) as it emulsifies. Then, after you’re done massaging it into your face, it’ll wipe off beautifully, leaving no oily residue (side note: I’ve been using microfibre cloths for face washing for the last month and I’m never going back to normal washcloths!).

Want to customize your cleansing oil a touch? Go to your cupboard and pull out an oil that still smells fine, but is suspiciously old (and you have no other immediate plans for it), and use that for your calendula infusion instead of olive oil. Cleansing oils are a brilliant way to use up a good amount of oil quickly, not only in terms of putting it into a recipe, but also in terms of the recipe being something I’ll use quickly. I tend to motor through a 100g batch in a month or less as I use a nickel-sized amount morning and night, giving me a great way to keep still-usable (if not for long) from going to waste. Wondering how to make an herb infused oil? Learn how here!

As for the making—it’s easy-peasy. Measure, melt, stir, voila! I’ve chosen a blend of bright lemon and calming lavender for my cleansing oil, but you are more than welcome to use something else that your face loves, or leave it unscented and enjoy the herbal notes from the calendula—it’s totally up to you! You are free to make this Gentle Calendula Cleansing Oil your own 🙂

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Gentle Calendula Cleansing Oil

10g | 0.35oz complete emulsifying wax (not beeswax!)
5g | 0.18oz Olivem 300 (USA / Canada)
20g | 0.71oz castor oil (USA / Canada)
64g | 2.26oz calendula infused olive oil (pomace) (USA / Canada)

0.5g | 0.017oz Vitamin E MT-50 (USA / Canada)
10 drops lavender essential oil
10 drops lemon essential oil

Prepare a water bath by bringing about 3cm/1″ of water to a bare simmer over low to medium-low heat in a small saucepan.

Weigh the emulsifying wax, Olivem300, castor oil, and calendula infused oil into a small heat-resistant glass measuring cup and use a flexible silicone spatula to stir that together. Place the measuring cup in your prepared water bath to melt everything through.

Once everything has melted, remove the measuring cup from the heat and dry the outside of it off with a dish towel. Set the measuring cup on the counter and stir the mixture with a flexible silicone spatula to combine everything.

Leave the melted mixture to cool for 20–30 minutes before stirring in the vitamin E and essential oils, and then decant into a 120mL/4oz plastic pump-top bottle or a 120ml/4oz squeeze bottle. That’s it!

To use, take a nickel-sized amount of the cleanser into your palm and combine it with a bit of warm water. Massage it into your face and wipe it off with a damp cloth. Follow up with the rest of your skincare routine.

Shelf Life & Storage

Because this cleanser 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.


  • I’d recommend Polawax, Emulsimulse/Ritamulse, or Emulsifying wax NF for the e-wax; BTMS-50 is pretty pricey to wash down the drain, though it will work
  • You can use Polysorbate 80 instead of Olivem300—NOT Olivem1000!
  • If your calendula is infused in a different inexpensive oil, use that instead
  • The essential oils are fully customizable; feel free to use a different blend or a fragrance oil, or leave out scent altogether
  • If you’ve purchased a pricey pre-infused calendula oil, use 10g of that and 54g plain olive oil