Gently cleanse your skin with this formulation for a sunshiney Natural Turmeric Foaming Face Wash. It stars anti-inflammatory turmeric extract + two of my favourite gentle surfactants, and it positively spews bright yellow bubbles when you pump it out 😄 Let’s get started!

How to Make Natural Turmeric Foaming Face Wash

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The surfactant blend features three ingredients. You’ll likely recognize decyl glucoside and Cocamidopropyl Betaine from previous formulations I’ve shared. I love decyl glucoside for its dense, gentle lather, and Cocamidopropyl Betaine makes everything better by boosting lather and increasing mildness. A new ingredient to the blog is a blend of coco glucoside and glyceryl oleate with the tradename Lamesoft® PO 65. This viscous liquid helps make surfactant products milder/richer (glyceryl oleate is a great re-fatting ingredient) and adds a bit of viscosity.

 

I first started working with coco glucoside and glyceryl oleate back in 2018 as part of my Formula Botanica Diploma in Organic Haircare Formulation after bringing it home from the UK. I loved it (especially in shampoos!), but since it was hard for me to get I didn’t do much non-course formulating with it. Fast-forward to 2021, and Voyageur Soap & Candle now sells it in Canada! I’ve also found it in New Zealand, the USA, the UK, Germany, and more—I find searching for it by INCI rather than tradename works best.

Our preservative is Geogard Ultra—an all-natural powdered preservative that is heat tolerant. It functions best in a pH range of 3–6, and helpfully lowers the pH of our formulations when added. With this formulation, though, it went a wee bit too far into acidic territory, so I included some basic L-Arginine in the formulation to keep the pH in a happy-for-the-skin range. You can learn more about L-Arginine in the Humblebee & Me DIY Encyclopedia 😊 If you don’t have L-Arginine you will need to test and adjust the pH of this formulation yourself; it’s a very good idea to test it even if you make it exactly as written, but if you change anything that “very good idea” becomes a “must”. The “Relevant links & further reading” section of this post includes several links to learn more about pH testing and adjusting.

We’re getting our dose of sunshiney turmeric from a liquid turmeric extract from Voyageur Soap and Candle Co. (gifted). Curcumin, an active component of turmeric, has been found to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This extract is a vibrant orange liquid that’s very easy to work with it—simply add it to the cool down phase of your formulations at 1–3% and you’re off to the races. I sometimes hear from people who add ground turmeric to their formulations and they encounter settling and grittiness issues—that’s not a worry here! If you don’t have liquid turmeric extract you could try making your very own turmeric glycerite with turmeric root and glycerine 😄

This formulation is designed to be packaged in a foamer bottle; it’s far too thin to dispense nicely out of a regular pump-top bottle. If you’d like to modify the formulation for use in a pump-top bottle I have an entire FAQ on that; please read it!

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Relevant links & further reading

Natural Turmeric Foaming Face Wash

Heated water phase
39.78g | 66.3% distilled water
12g | 20% vegetable glycerine (USA / Canada)
0.9g | 1.5% Geogard Ultra™ (USA / Canada / UK / NZ / Aus / South Africa)

Surfactant phase
1.2g | 2% Coco Glucoside (and) Glyceryl Oleate (Lamesoft® PO 65) (Canada / USA / NZ / EU / UK)
1.8g | 3% decyl glucoside (USA / Canada)
3g | 5% Cocamidopropyl Betaine (USA / Canada)
0.12g | 0.2% L-Arginine (USA / EU)

Cool down phase
1.2g | 2% liquid turmeric extract

Prepare a water bath by bringing about 3cm/1″ of water to a bare simmer over low to medium-low heat in a wide, flat-bottomed sauté pan.

Weigh the glycerin and Geogard Ultra™ into a beaker. Whisk to combine. Add the distilled water and then weigh the entire lot (beaker + ingredients) and note that weight for use later. Place the beaker in the water bath and heat through until the Geogard Ultra™ has dissolved.

While the water phase is heating through, stir the surfactant phase (including the l-arginine) together in a second beaker.

Once the Geogard Ultra™ has dissolved, remove the water phase from the heat. Weigh the water phase and add enough extra distilled water to the heated water phase to bring the weight back up to what it was before heating. Gently pour the water phase into the surfactant phase and slowly stir to combine.

When the formulation has cooled to room temperature and the surfactants have totally dissolved, add the turmeric extract. This extract is very yellow, so be careful not to dye your skin or stain anything!

Before packaging, we’ll quickly test the pH to ensure it’s correct. Create a 10% dilution by weighing 2g product and 18g distilled water into a small bowl or beaker and whisk to combine (wondering why?). Check the pH with your pH meter (I have this one [USA / Canada]). Depending on the shape of your bowl/beaker you may need to tilt it in order to fully submerge the sensor on your pH meter. The pH should come out to right around 4.5–5, which is great—no need to adjust. (Please read this article to learn more about pH adjusting.)

Package the face wash in a bottle with a foamer top; the foamer top is a must. Refer to the list of further reading for an article containing more information.

Use like any foaming face wash (I like to use an oil cleanser for the eye area if I’m wearing eye makeup, and a foaming cleanser for everything else). Enjoy!

Shelf Life & Storage

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 may 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.

Substitutions

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 formulation 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 60g, which will fill a 60mL (2 fl oz) foamer bottle nicely.
  • To learn more about the ingredients used in this formulation, including why they’re included and what you can substitute them with, please visit the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia. It doesn’t have everything in it yet, but there’s lots of good information there! If I have not given a specific substitution suggestion in this list (Lamesoft® PO 65) please look up the ingredient in the encyclopedia before asking.
  • If you change anything about this formulation you will need to test the pH and be prepared to adjust it up or down if necessary.
  • For an easy way to scent this face wash, swap 20-30% of the distilled water for a hydrosol of choice.
  • You could try propanediol instead of glycerin.
  • If you’re like to use a different preservative, please review this FAQ and this chart.
  • If you’d like to learn more about the surfactants used and compare them to ones you might already have so you can make substitutions, check out this page and read this FAQ. Please also read the Humblebee & Me DIY Encyclopedia entries for the surfactants.
    • A different glucoside would be my first choice to replace the decyl glucoside.
    • If you have Plantapon® TF you could use that instead of the decycl glucoside and Lamesoft® PO 65.
  • If you don’t have l-arginine you can use a different base to adjust the formulation (a 10% NaOH [lye] solution will work), but you’ll have to figure out how much you need with your own trials & tests.
  • If you don’t have a liquid turmeric extract you could try making your own turmeric glycerite. I don’t recommend incorporating ground turmeric.
  • If you’d like to use less turmeric extract simple reduce the turmeric extract and replace the removed extract with more distilled water or glycerin.
  • If you’d like to incorporate an essential oil, please read this.

Gifting Disclosure


The glycerin and Cocamidopropyl Betaine were gifted by YellowBee.
The Lamesoft® PO 65 and turmeric extract were gifted by Voyageur Soap & Candle.

 

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