This decadent Whipped Cream Calendula Facial Cleanser is a riff on the Rose & Honey Rich Cream Cleanser I shared earlier this summer. That cleanser was really popular, and I really loved it, so I thought I’d play with the idea a bit more. This variation features a touch of surfactant for improved rinse-off, a slightly larger oil phase, a slippy-er skin feel, and it’s whipped for added fluffy decadence! It’s still a rich, gentle cleanser, with a fairly simple ingredients list, and I love it 😄
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Since the oil phase is so big, our water phase is smaller than usual. It’s almost equal parts distilled water, fragrant chamomile hydrosol, and moisturizing vegetable glycerin. If you don’t love the smell of chamomile (make sure to smell your hydrosol before using it—some smell much better [or much worse!] than others), you could very easily replace it. A different hydrosol is an easy choice for a different scent, but you could also use aloe vera juice, witch hazel, or just more distilled water for an unscented end product.
When I shared my Rose & Honey Rich Cream Cleanser I got a lot of questions about incorporating a surfactant, so I decided to do that here. Taking inspiration from some of my cleansing conditioner formulations and a Lavender Aloe Cream Cleanser I shared in the spring, I included 4% Cocamidopropyl Betaine in the water phase. Cocamidopropyl Betaine is a gentle, amphoteric liquid surfactant made from coconuts. It’s just 30% active, so at 4% the active surfactant matter of this formulation is 1.2%. That seems really low (it is really low!), but between that and the rinse-off properties offered by the Emulsifying Wax NF, this cleanser works beautifully. Much like the Rose & Honey Rich Cream Cleanser, it’s a bit like cleansing with cold cream, or a cleansing balm that’s already been mixed with some water.
Our oil phase is mostly fractionated coconut oil and isopropyl myristate (IPM); two inexpensive, lightweight emollients. I really fell in love with using isopropyl myristate in cleansers with my Soft Velvet Cleansing Oil. In my ingredient research, I learned that isopropyl myristate is commonly used and sold as a makeup remover in theatre, so I gave it a try in that cleansing oil and loved it—it removes makeup wonderfully! With that in mind, I included it in this Whipped Cream Calendula Facial Cleanser, knowing it would also help lighten it up a bit. I used Emulsifying Wax NF to emulsify the cleanser, and cetyl alcohol to thicken. Using cetyl alcohol instead of cetearyl alcohol or stearic acid gives us a much slippier end product, which I really like. Emulsions with extra-large oil phases like this one can be a bit draggy, but this one isn’t!
For some added botanical goodness I included some soothing calendula extract, but you could very easily use a different botanical extract in its place. I also included a tiny amount (0.3%!) of sea buckthorn fruit oil for colour. This liquid carrier oil is a deep red on its own, mellowing out to a soft yellow when diluted in this cream cleanser. It’s very optional, but I do love the colour it lends. In addition to the substitutions mention in the Humblebee & Me DIY Encyclopedia, you could also replace it with a yellow or orange mica. A water-soluble dye would also do the trick, but definitely don’t use 0.3% unless you want to dye your face orange! I’d use 0.01% dye and replace the remaining 0.29% with more distilled water.
And for one final, decadent touch—whipping! This Whipped Cream Calendula Facial Cleanser sets so solid that I opted to whip it, and I love what that does for the consistency. It takes on a mousse-y feel that is really indulgent ❤️ The finished cleanser is rich, whippy, silky, and downright delightful. It cleanses the skin both gently and effectively, and I love it. I hope you do, too!
More Facial Cleanser Formulations
- Rose & Honey Rich Cream Cleanser
- Lavender Aloe Cream Facial Cleanser
- Pemberley Foaming Facial Cleanser
- Sweetgrass Facial Cleanser
- All my facial cleanser formulations
- What’s up with hydrosols, distillates, and floral waters?
- My lotion is either too thick, too thin, or it didn’t emulsify.
- How do I use your recipes that are written in percents?
- Can I leave the colourant out of this recipe?
- How much essential oil can I add to this recipe?
- Can I use a different preservative than the one you’ve used?
- Can I use soap instead of foaming surfactants?
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Whipped Cream Calendula Facial Cleanser
Heated water phase
15.1g | 15.1% distilled water
15g | 15% chamomile hydrosol
15g | 15% vegetable glycerine (USA / Canada)
4g | 4% Cocamidopropyl Betaine (USA / Canada)
Heated oil phase
20g | 20% fractionated coconut oil
13g | 13% isopropyl myristate (IPM) (USA / Canada / UK / Aus / NZ)
0.3g | 0.3% xanthan gum
11g | 11% Emulsifying Wax NF (USA / Canada / AU)
5g | 5% cetyl alcohol (USA / Canada)
Cool down phase
0.3g | 0.3% Liquid Germall Plus™ (USA / Canada)
0.3g | 0.3% sea buckthorn fruit oil
1g | 1% calendula 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 heated water phase into a small heat-resistant glass measuring cup or glass beaker. Weigh the entire lot (measuring cup + ingredients) and note that weight for use later. Weigh the heated oil phase into a second heat-resistant glass measuring cup. Place both measuring cups in your prepared water bath to melt everything through.
After about 20–30 minutes the oil part should be completely melted and the water part should be thoroughly dissolved. Remove the water bath from the heat and weigh the water phase. Add enough hot distilled water to the heated water phase to bring the weight back up to what it was before heating, and then pour the water part into the oil part. Stir with a flexible silicone spatula to incorporate.
Grab your immersion blender and begin blending the cream cleanser, starting with short bursts so the still-very-liquid cream cleanser doesn’t whirl up and spray everywhere. Blend for about a minute, leave to cool for ten, blend for another minute or two, and repeat this blend-cool-blend cycle until the outside of the glass measuring cup is warm to the touch and the cream cleanser is thick and creamy.
Leave the cream cleanser to fully cool; it will solidify. That’s what we want! Now it’s time to grab your electric beaters (you’ll likely only need one of the beaters if you’re making a 100g [3.5oz] batch) and whip the cream cleanser until it’s light and fluffy.
Now that the cream cleanser is cool, we can also incorporate our cool down ingredients. Because cool down ingredients are typically present at very low amounts you’ll need to use an accurate scale—preferably one accurate to 0.01g. As these more accurate scales tend to have fairly low (100–200g) maximum weights you won’t be able to put the entire batch of cream cleanser on that scale without blowing it out. So—grab a smaller dish. Add a scoop or two of cream cleanser, and then weigh the cool down ingredients into that, using the more accurate scale. Stir to thoroughly incorporate, and then whip all of that into the master batch of cream cleanser. Doing it this way minimizes the amount of cool down ingredients lost to the secondary container.
Once the cleanser has been thoroughly whipped and the cool-down phase has been incorporated, all that’s left to do is package it up! Because we’ve whipped it you’ll need to choose a container that’s a bit larger than you usually would. I used a 150g (5.29oz) jar for a 100g (3.5oz) batch and that was plenty of room (I also tried a 120g jar, and that wasn’t quite big enough).
To use: massage a dollop of Whipped Cream Calendula Facial Cleanser into your skin, and rinse it off with a damp microfibre cloth. You can also work it up with some water in your hands before massaging that into your face, and then rinsing that off. It’s up to you!
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this cream 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.
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 100g, which will fill ~150mL (5 fl oz) after being whipped.
- 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 please look up the ingredient in the encyclopedia before asking.
- You can use a different hydrosol, or just more distilled water for an unscented end product.
- You could try propanediol 1,3 instead of glycerine.
- 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.
- You can substitute another lightweight oil like sweet almond, grapeseed, or sunflower seed instead of the fractionated coconut oil and/or isopropyl myristate (IPM). You could also use all fractionated coconut oil instead of a blend of fractionated coconut oil and isopropyl myristate (IPM).
- You can use guar gum or hydroxyethylcellulose instead of xanthan gum.
- You can use Polawax or Olivem 1000 instead of Emulsifying Wax NF. Do not use Ritamulse SCG; the oil phase is too large.
- You could try cetearyl alcohol or stearic acid instead of cetyl alcohol, but this will make for a less “slippy” end product.
- If you’re like to use a different preservative, please review this FAQ and this chart.
- You can replace the sea buckthorn fruit oil with more fractionated coconut oil for an uncoloured end product.
- If you’d like to incorporate an essential oil, please read this.
I adore the Rose & Honey cream cleanser, but I did find it a titch draggy, so I can’t wait to try this recipe out! Since I saw that you use a hand mixer to whip the product, it made me think of ways to sanitize equipment and containers. My dad, who brews beer as a hobby, uses Iodophor to sanitize his metal, glass, and plastic equipment. Iodophor is a no-rinse broad spectrum antimicrobial product that kills yeast, mold, fungus, bacteria, viruses and blood borne pathogens, while being safe for oral or dermal contact. I know you generally don’t recommend reusing plastic containers for fear of contamination. What are your thoughts on using Iodophor for this?
Ooh – loving this. I have some calendula glycerite and a calendula infused oil just about ready to strain so going to go all out with the calendula theme. Love it! Looks very luscious.
Oooh, that sounds utterly divine! Happy making ❤️
Hey Hana! I remember another reader sharing that she used her dad’s brewing disinfectant for her DIY things and she said that worked brilliantly, so I say go for it!
I’m cleansing oil and oily gels and clay scrub type but rich ones like this or honey & rose sound tempting. I have a question for Barb. Do you have any current favourite cleanser? Any of these? I know that we both like clay cleansing balms and you’ve shared 2 formulas in your blog. 🙂
Love this one with another nonionic emulsifier! This takes the honey rose cold cream to a whole new level. As you know, I’m obsessed with cleansers. The more I “get aged” the more I pay attention to well functioning makeup remover that takes off water proof makeup (which I don’t wear daily basis these days but few times a week anyway). I’ve enjoyed this and the ealier one (cold cream) well over 6 (or was it 8?) months as they actually remove makeup (synthetic or not) gentle and effective way (something my own cleansers just don’t do, as much as I like them). This smells lovely and has really luxurious vibes. My oily skin however loves my cleansing oils / oleogels / clay balms, esspecially if they contain whole, plant based carrier oils and polyglyceryl-4 oleate / sucrose stearate – I find this odd. I combine them with cleansing powders often. So this combination keeps my face happy – you have no idea how glad I am about these results. I’m thinking about adding some panthenol or caffeine to my next batch – I’ll likely make it today. Thank you tons, Marie. xx
I’m gonna make this right away! Looks so luscious
I’ve never seen (or tried) xanthan gum in the oil phase – does that make it easier to mix? I usually mix with glycerin and then slowly incorporate the water.. is this a new trick??
Thank you Marie for coming up with all theese wonderful concoctions! I love your blog ❤️
Hi Rosa! I wouldn’t say it’s exactly new, but for this one, I did try it in the water phase first. The water phase is so small that it got really quite thick during heating, and that made pouring it into the oil phase more difficult than I liked, so I moved it to the oil phase 🙂
So cool to see this kind of cream cleanser!! Having such a high oil phase got me thinking about different ways to run with the idea. If I could get a bit of liquid surfactant, like CAPB, into a cleansing oil, would this still require preservatives?
Please read this FAQ 🙂
I knew CAPB is water soluble but I didn’t realize it actually has water in it, like how glycols are water soluble but don’t need preservatives. Thank you!!
I’m totally in love with this cleanser! One question, can this recipe new on an airless pump bottle?
I doubt it, but try it and see?
Hi marie ☺.im using a cold cream with petrolatum,and with my cleaning gel that has 2,5 active matter ,i cant clean my face properly,y mean i still feel i have cream on my face,so i think doing your cream,but i cant buy isopropyl myristate. What do you recommend me? Maybe making it but putting more capb at the cream? I dony know.
I would think an oil cleanser or something like this (or this isopropyl myristate (IPM) free variation) would be a good approach for your cold cream as oil will dissolve more oil 🙂
I love watching your DIY videos. I have made a couple of your recipes. I was wondering how I can make this recipe more liquidy? I like that you used COCAMIDOPROPYL BETAINE. I would like to make a cleansing body oil.
Hey! Check out my recent lotions Q&A video for a good answer on this 🙂 I also have lots of cleansing oil formulations!
Will do! Thank you so much!
One additional question. Is it necessary to whip it?
You don’t have to, but I find it is a bit lumpy-ish if you don’t.
I hope this isn’t a silly question, but I’ve been wondering it for a while. When a recipe calls for an extract, does it matter if it is water based or oil based? Most of the extracts have an oil base and I’m hoping that doesn’t pose a problem.
It does matter in that different components of the botanical have varying solubilities, but I also don’t think that’ll be make-or-break as long as the extract you’re using can mix with your formulation (eg. don’t use an oil-soluble extract instead of a water-soluble one in an entirely hydrous product or it will separate). Happy making!
Sorry, I meant to say most of “my” extracts have an oil base…
I just made this and subbed ultra fragrant-fruity guava oil for coconut oil and neroli hydrosol for chamomile. The scent is amazing! I also subbed propanediol 1,3 for glycerine (I somehow misplaced my 16 oz bottle of glycerine!) and THEN read in the encyclopedia that you don’t use more than 3% because it can be draggy at higher concentrations. I was quite worried I’d have to dump this batch and re-make, but as long as I dampen my face with water ahead of applying the cream cleanser, it melts into the skin and washes off beautifully. I applied a serum and your green tea face cream after and my skin is incredibly soft! Thanks for sharing such wonderful formulas!
I’m so glad you are enjoying it! Hooray 🙂 Thanks for DIYing with me, and happy making!
Marie, I just wanted to drop in and tell you how grateful I am for all of the information you’ve compiled over the years. I’ve recently fallen pretty hard into this hobby and still have yet to collect most of the ingredients your recipes require but I apply the knowledge I’ve learned here with the ingredients I do have and it’s been immensely helpful. This is the first recipe I’ll be trying to replicate exactly because it’s exactly what my poor face needs during this loooong, NY winter. 🙂 Thank you so much for all of your hard work!
Thank you so much, Kate ❤️ I hope you have heaps of fun making things and thank you for reading 🙂