After years of DIYing, I’ve got a pretty good cache of acne-fighting ingredients. From clays to herbs to essential oils, my basement cupboards are a veritable arsenal of zit-busting weaponry, and these bars of soap have it all. They’re designed to clobber zits and stop acne before it starts. They’re also pretty groovy looking.
The base recipe is my lightly tweaked all-in-one bar, just with a bit more beef tallow for a harder bar. From there I have added all the things (as Allie Brosh would say).
In the powders department, we have French green clay, zinc oxide, and activated charcoal. French green clay has been a long time friend and ally in my fight against zits, emptying out my pores and boosting healing in mask form. I love French green clay and would never, ever be without it.
Zinc oxide is one of the starring ingredients in my blackhead busting silver powder. It’s astringent, so it helps control oil on the skin, as well as boosting healing.
Activated charcoal is a potent detoxing powder, often employed in cases of food poisoning. It is also black, giving this soap its characteristic colour. I’ve included it for a pore-o-riffic detox.
In the herbs and plants corner, we’ve got soothing, healing aloe vera and some moisturizing, irritation-busting colloidal oatmeal (USA / Canada). Famous acne-busting sea buckthorn seed oil makes an appearance, and anti-bacterial, healing essential oils like tea tree and lavender round out the bars.
I’ve also done a cool swirly bit on the top by blending some mica with some liquid oil, drizzling it across the top of the loaf, and twirling it about with a toothpick. Cool, eh?
I no longer recommend using alkaline cleansers like soap or baking soda on your face; read this for more information.
Über Anti-Acne Soap
Calculate at 5% superfat
Per 500g (1.1lbs) of oils:
- 1 tsp sodium lactate (optional—hardens the bars)
- ¾ tsp activated charcoal
- ¾ tsp non-nano zinc oxide
- 1 tbsp French green clay
- 1½ tbsp colloidal oatmeal (USA / Canada) or ground oatmeal
- 1 pinch aloe vera 200x powder
- 1 tbsp sea buckthorn seed oil or sea buckthorn fruit oil
- 7g | 0.25oz peppermint essential oil
- 7g | 0.25oz lavender essential oil
- 16g | 0.53oz tea tree essential oil
- 1/16 tsp silver mica + 1 tsp liquid oil (optional—for the swirl on top)
Use SoapCalc to calculate your final amounts of oils, lye, and water based on the size of batch you want to make.
Follow my standard soap making instructions. If using, add the sodium lactate to the lye water after it has cooled and stir to combine. If you’re using the sodium lactate I strongly encourage you let your fats and lye water come to room temperate before combining. I haven’t tried using the sodium lactate above room temperature, but I did notice a much, much faster trace than I would usually get at room temperature, and it’ll only get faster at higher temperatures.
Once the soap has reached a reasonably thick trace, blend in the activated charcoal, zinc oxide, French green clay, oatmeal, aloe vera, and essential oils. Use an immersion blender here so you can be sure all the powdery clumps are broken up, giving you a smooth bar without lumps in it.
Pour the soap into your mould. Blend the silver mica and liquid oil together in a small dish and drizzle it over the soap. Use a toothpick to swirl, and then discard the toothpick.
Cover, lightly insulate, and let saponify for 24 hours before slicing. Age for at least 3–4 weeks before using. Enjoy!