I seem to be on a bit of a “concentrated” kick, partially inspired by my recent trip to Australia. I brought shampoo bars with me (that also ended up doubling as body wash), and found that all the use (aka getting wet) and the lack of time to dry between moves meant they got pretty darn smashed up. I love shampoo bars at home, but it seems like if you are packing them up and moving them around frequently, and using them often enough that they never get a chance to fully dry, they’re not as travel friendly as they could be. So, I started thinking about ways to create sudsy things that didn’t need to dry, and that’s how we ended up with these Lemon Rose Facial Cleansing Drops.
Want to watch this recipe instead of read it?
The idea here is that you only need one solitary drop of the facial cleanser because it’s so concentrated. Bar cleansers are also very concentrated, and their solid-ness restricts the amount of product we can use in one go. For this project we’re letting our packaging to do that restricting for us, by doling out the cleanser one drop at a time. I used a 30mL/1 fl oz bottle with an orifice reducer/dropper top, but an eyedropper top would also work well. I tried a treatment pump as well, but it dispensed too much product.
Our surfactant blend is made up of gentle surfactants, but they are at a high concentration, so you do want to be sure you’re just using a drop at a time. We’ve got amphoteric Cocamidopropyl Betaine (Amphosol CG) , anionic foaming silk, and non-ionic Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside. I’m also using all liquid surfactants—I tried incorporating a bit of solid SCI (Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate) in an earlier version and there was nothing drop-able about the final product!
To help make the cleanser more gentle I’ve included a fairly hefty dose of soothing panthenol/vitamin B5 (we’ve got to get that more concentrated, too!) and some film-forming hydrolyzed silk. We’ve also got two humectants—vegetable glycerin and sodium lactate. I also tried a variation of this cleanser where I used just 10% foaming silk and added 10% water soluble shea butter, which makes for an even gentler end product, but I know water soluble shea butter isn’t widely available, so I’ve presented the version that doesn’t use it.
Between the video and the blog I’ve presented two different options for scenting this cleanser. Here on the blog we’re using a blend of rose absolute and lemon essential oil, but the version on YouTube uses a new-to-me fragrance oil from Windy Point—the fresh and floral rosewater lemonade. Both are lovely options and give a decadent rose/lemon-y scent blend.
The making of this cleanser is crazy easy! There’s no heating required; just combine everything in a little beaker or measuring cup, stir, and voila—it’s ready for your travel bag 😄
Want to watch this recipe instead of read it?
Lemon Rose Facial Cleansing Drops
2.9g | 8.80% distilled water
Weigh everything into a small heat-resistant glass measuring cup or beaker. Stir to combine; I used the MICROMini™ Mixer from Lotion Crafter, which is quite a lovely gadget. It’s a Badger Air-Brush Co. Paint Mixer, which you can also get on Canadian Amazon. It’s smaller than the Minipro Mixer, and well suited to less viscous projects like this one.
Once everything is all blended up, transfer it to a 30mL/1oz bottle with either an eye dropper top or a dropper orifice reducer. It is very important that the packaging you choose allows you to dispense a single drop of product so you are using it at an adequate diluting level. A lotion-style pump (and even a treatment pump—I tried it!) will dispense far too much product.
To use, dispense a single drop of the cleanser into your palm and work up with water into a lovely lather before washing your face.
Because this cleanser contains water, you must include a broad-spectrum preservative to ward off microbial growth. This is non-optional. Even with a preservative this project is likely to eventually spoil as our kitchens are not sterile laboratories, so in the event you notice any change in colour, scent, or texture, chuck it out and make a fresh batch.
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.
- You could use coco glucoside instead of caprylyl/capryl glucoside, but you will need to test the pH and lower it as coco glucoside has a much higher pH
- You can use a different liquid anionic surfactant with a ASM ~30% in place of the foaming silk. Foaming oats look like they’d work well.
- You can use hydrolyzed oat protein in place of the hydrolyzed silk
- You can use all of either glycerin or sodium lactate if you only have one of them
- Rosewater Lemonade fragrance is a good alternative for the essential oil blend
- The maximum usage rate for rose otto is 0.02%; keep that in mind if you would like to use it instead of a rose fragrance oil as specified above