This cheerily swirled White Chocolate Peppermint Cleansing Balm is just the thing for morning face-washing. With a refreshing pop of peppermint essential oil and gorgeous slippy texture, this cleansing balm melts quickly on the skin and rinses off readily, leaving your face gently cleansed and refreshed.
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The bulk of this White Chocolate Peppermint Cleansing Balm is inexpensive fractionated coconut oil and castor oil. When formulating oil cleansers it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to include a lot of fancy, expensive carrier oils since an oil cleanser (liquid or solid) is only in contact with the skin for a few seconds before being rinsed down the drain. All we really need from the oils in a cleansing balm is that they are oil, so choose something inexpensive (and/or something that is nearing the end of its shelf life) and save expensive oils for leave-on applications where they can truly shine.
This balm is thickened with a combination of creamy, rich stearic acid and beautiful chocolate-scented cocoa butter. The stearic acid is doing most of the heavy lifting in the thickening/hardening department, but the cocoa butter definitely helps.
A blend of Polawax (a complete emulsifying wax) and Polysorbate 80 (a solubilizer) give this cleansing balm its beautiful rinse-off powers. A cleansing balm doesn’t need both an emulsifying wax and a solubilizer to work, but I enjoy the result I get from using a combination. If you want to make the balm more or less cleansing, these are the ingredients you’d tweak. Less will reduce the wash-off of the balm and make it gentler; more will increase the wash-off and make the balm stronger.
For a bit of holiday fun, I’ve included an optional green mica swirl. After bringing it to trace you’ll basically pour most of the balm into your container, and then quickly blend a touch of green mica into the remaining cleansing balm before pouring that into the container and giving the mixture a light swirl with a spatula or toothpick. This part is completely up to you (it’s also lovely as a creamy white balm), but I think the green-on-white works beautifully for our white chocolate & peppermint theme!
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White Chocolate Peppermint Cleansing Balm
1.8g | 6% Polawax (USA / Canada)
1.5g | 5% Polysorbate 80 (USA / Canada)
12.69g | 42.3% fractionated coconut oil
6g | 20% cocoa butter (USA / Canada)
3g | 10% castor oil (USA / Canada)
3.9g | 13% stearic acid (USA / Canada / UK)
0.9g | 3% white kaolin clay (USA / Canada)
Optional: A small amount (~0.1%) of green mica
Prepare a water bath by bringing about 3cm/1″ of water to a bare simmer over low to medium-low heat in a small saucepan.
While the heated phase melts, prepare an ice bath. Take a bowl that is large enough to accommodate the container the heated phase is melting in, and fill it about halfway with ice cubes and cold water. You’ll also want to weigh the cool down phase into a small dish or bowl so it’s ready when you need it.
After about 20–30 minutes everything should be completely melted through. Remove the water bath from the heat, remove the measuring cup from the water bath, and dry it off with a dishtowel. Stir with a flexible silicone spatula to incorporate.
Place the container holding the melted balm in the ice bath and stir frequently until it gains a bit of viscosity. Remove it from the ice bath and add the cool down phase, stirring to combine. Put the cleansing balm back into the ice bath, stirring until you reach trace (watch the video to see this in action).
At this point, you have two options. If you don’t want to do the mica swirl, just pour the entire batch into a 30mL (1fl oz) jar and transfer it to the fridge to fully set up. If you want to do the swirl, pour about 90–95% of the cleansing balm into a 30mL (1fl oz) jar, and then quickly blend a small amount of green mica into the remaining 5–10%. Drizzle that green portion into the jar with the uncoloured balm, and gently swirl with a toothpick or the tip of your spatula (take care to not over-swirl). Transfer the balm to the fridge to set up.
To use, blend a small amount (½ tsp or less) of the cleansing balm with some warm water in your palm, massage that into your face, and wipe clean with a damp cloth. Alternatively, you can massage the balm into dry skin and then add water with wet palms or a damp cloth before wiping off. It’s up to you!
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this cleansing balm does not contain any water, it does not require a broad-spectrum preservative (broad spectrum preservatives ward off microbial growth, and microbes require water to live—no water, no microbes!). Be sure to keep it dry to ensure it lasts as long as possible—don’t let any water get into the container and it should easily last a year (use a dry finger or popsicle stick to dip into the container). If you plan on giving this cleansing balm away or taking it into the shower/bath with you, please include 0.5% liquid germall plus (USA / Canada). Though this preservative is water-soluble, this cleansing balm contains emulsifiers so it will emulsify, and because it is water-soluble it’ll be in the right phase if the balm gets contaminated with water.
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.
- To learn more about the ingredients used in this recipe, 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.
- Emulsifying Wax NF will work in place of Polawax. Emusilmulse/Ritamulse and Olivem1000 should also work; I’d avoid BTMS-50 simply because it is more expensive than the other options.
- You can try Cromollient SCE, water soluble shea butter, or Olivem300 (USA / Canada) instead of the Polysorbate 80
- You can substitute another lightweight oil like sweet almond, grapeseed, or sunflower seed for the fractionated coconut oil and/or castor oil
- I don’t recommend swapping out the cocoa butter as it is part of the theme. If you have to, another brittle butter (like tucuma) would be a decent option.
- I don’t recommend swapping out the stearic acid. Cetyl alcohol has a very different feel, and cetearyl alcohol gives a very different consistency.
- You can use a different clay instead of white kaolin, but be aware that it will likely impact the end colour.
- I don’t recommend swapping out the peppermint essential oil as it is part of the theme. If you want to leave it out, replace it with more fractionated coconut oil.
- Please don’t increase the amount of peppermint essential oil used.