I am so very thrilled with this gentle facial cleanser, and I think you will be, too. It’s thick and creamy, and works into a gentle lather as you massage it into damp skin. It rinses away easily, leaving your face clean and smooth, but not overly dry. And, unlike many similar store bought products, it doesn’t have any chemical surfactants in it.
The first time I heard of cleansing balm was in an email from a reader back in 2012 (maybe… I can’t find it). I was intrigued by the idea, but uncertain on how to execute it, so I shelved it somewhere in my DIY memory, and went on my merry way. Then, when I finally got liquid soap sorted, I had a thought, and it turned out to be a very good thought.
Previous experiments have taught me that wax + soap is not a very good idea (it leaves a sheen of wax on the skin, allowing you to glue yourself into your clothes), so I went with a blend of olive oil and cocoa butter, which are lovely and moisturizing, but not at all sticky. They also set up to a soft solid state after a few days.
Into this oil base I blended some liquid soap paste, which is much softer and more cooperative than solid soap when it comes to blending and mixing. I melted the oils with the soap, though the soap won’t melt—it’ll stay blobby. No worries.
Once the mixture has cooled and set up, we whip it! The electric beaters cream everything together beautifully, leaving us with a soft, creamy cleanser. I finished it off with a wee bit of kaolin clay and a few drops of essential oils. The resulting balm is soft, creamy, cleansing, and luxurious—I think you’ll love it.
I no longer recommend using alkaline cleansers like soap or baking soda on your face; read this for more information.
Combine the liquid soap paste, olive oil, and cocoa butter in a small double boiler and melt. The soap won’t dissolve in, so just mash it up into smaller chunks. Heat the mixture through for about 10 minutes, and then remove it from the heat.
Let your oily/buttery mixture set up at room temperature—this will take a couple days since only the cocoa butter will solidify, and it has a pretty low melting point. I made this a two weekend project, and just let it set up over the work week.
When your mixture has set up, it’ll be soft enough to easily dent with a finger. Scrape it into an electric beater friendly bowl, and whip it up, blending thoroughly so you can’t see any bits of soap paste in the mixture. Blend in the clay and essential oils, and you’re done!
To use, wet your face and massage a small amount (a dab of about half a teaspoon) of the balm into your skin with your finger tips. Massage off with a damp wash cloth and enjoy your happy, clean skin!
I like to store this balm in a plastic jar with a screw-top lid. This makes it especially awesome for travel as it’s a solid (so carry-on friendly), but you don’t have to wait for a bar of soap to dry out/try to pack a gross, slimy bar of soap.