I ordered some powdered yucca root about six months ago, and I’ve been sitting on it (metaphorically, of course) ever since, wondering what to do with it. You see, yucca is full of natural saponins, meaning it lathers all on its own, just like soapwort and soapnuts. This isn’t the first thing I’ve made with yucca, but it’s the first thing worthy of publishing. This creamy, gentle face wash gets its cleaning powers from yucca root and clay, and I really like it.


This face wash has a lot more in common with lotion than soap. That’s probably because it is lotion, really, it’s just made with some yucca root and clay. Thanks to its lotiony roots, it’s nowhere near as drying as straight up soap, and it’s much more gentle on sensitive skin.


In addition to containing natural saponins, yucca also contains antioxidants, which is always a bonus. Don’t fret if you don’t get a lather when using the final product—the saponins are still working away, carrying away excess oils, regardless of the presence of bubbles.


Saponins at work!

Saponins at work!

Clay lends a hand here, helping to pull impurities from your pores and offering a wee bit of gentle exfoliation. I used white kaolin clay, but you can use any gentle clay you’ve got on hand. French green and Fullers earth come to mind as great alternatives.


Gentle Yucca & Clay Face Wash

200mL | 6.8 fl oz boiling water
1 tsp powdered yucca root
4g | 0.14g vegetable glycerine

14g | 0.5oz complete emulsifying wax (not beeswax!)
16g | 0.56oz jojoba oil
20g | 0.7oz safflower oil

3 tbsp white kaolin clay (or any other kind of gentle clay you have on hand)
3 drops bergamot essential oil
3 drops lavender essential oil
1 drop frankincense essential oil (optional)

Broad spectrum preservative of choice (why?)

Pour the boiling water over the yucca root and let steep for 20 minutes. Strain out the yucca root and measure out 146mL of the yucca root water into a small glass measuring cup. Add the vegetable glycerine to the yucca root water to make 150mL and set aside.

Weigh the emulsifying wax, jojoba oil, and safflower oil into a small saucepan and melt together over medium heat. As they melt, warm the yucca root water in the microwave for about 20 seconds.

Once the oils have melted, add the water mixture to the pan and heat through. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk constantly as the mixture cools until it thickens into a cream (the thickening may take a few days if you are using a different emulsifying wax from emulsimulse/ritamulse).

Whisk in the clay, essential oils, and preservative, and transfer into a 250mL (8 fl oz) jar.

To use, pat a thick layer onto the face. Let dry for 3–5 minutes before rinsing off.

Don’t have the oils called for in the recipe? Check this out.


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