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
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.