I’ve been resisting using handmade soap on my face for the longest time. My own handmade soap mind you – where I know exactly how it’s made and what went in. I always had in the back of my mind what had been drilled into our heads at esthetitian school: “Never ever use soap on your face”.
I could see, that for someone with very oily, acne prone skin a nice bar of charcoal tea tree soap could be beneficial, but for my dry and sensitive skin? Uh, no thanks.
I’m not even sure what finally broke the spell, but I started to do a lot of research and to read a lot of testimonials of people who were raving about the handmade soap that they used on their face. And come to think of it, what did our grandmothers use on their faces? Certainly not some fancy schmancy overpriced gel cleanser. No, they used bar soap. By the way, all liquid cleansers have preservatives in them since they’re water based and are oftentimes heavily scented.
About a year ago I started testing and formulating my own face soaps. What I noticed was that the soap I had in the shower worked ok, but was a little too drying for my face (most likely due to the higher percentage of coconut oil). Face soaps (at least for my skin) had to be more gentle and loaded with skin-loving oils and additives.
For a face soap I’m ok with using higher priced oils that I normally wouldn’t use in a regular body bar. Yes, you could argue that soap is a wash off product and that it all goes down the drain anyway. All I can say is that my skin feels and looks great. After washing, my face doesn’t feel stripped of it’s natural oils nor does it feel tight. It feels clean, fresh and healthy, and ready for some of my face oil serum.
Let’s look at some of the key ingredients in this soap, shall we?
- Rose Clay
Also called pink kaolin clay. This is one of the gentlest clays, which makes it suitable for sensitive, dry and mature skin. It has the ability to gently draw impurities and excess oils from the skin. It can also help damaged skin and hyper pigmentation. As a bonus it gives cold process soap a gorgeous pink – reddish hue.
- Coconut Milk
Coconut Milk is a great skin food containing vitamin C,E and B6, iron, magnesium and unsaturated fatty acids. It can help moisturize and soften your skin. In soap it makes for a creamy and gentle lather.
- Shea Butter
Shea Butter has long been known for it’s great ability to soften and sooth dry skin. It lends a certain degree of hardness to a bar of soap as well as creamy luxurious lather. It’s real superpower in soap however is it’s high percentage of “unsaponifiables” (up to 17%). Unsaponifiables are benefial substances that survive the saponification process. These substances aren’t fatty acids and therefore they don’t react with lye making the finished bar even more moisturizing and nourishing.
- Jojoba Oil
Jojoba Oil is technically not an oil, but a liquid wax with an extremely long shelf life. Very similar to the skin’s composition, it his highly penetrating, regenerating and protective. With a whopping 50% of unsaponifiables, even small amounts will add a ton of skin loving properties to your bar of soap.
- Rosehip (Seed) Oil
Rosehip (Seed) Oil is a highly nourishing oil with remarkable rejuvenating properties often used to treat wrinkles and damaged skin. In soap it will add moisturizing and conditioning properties due to it’s high percentage of linoleic and linolinic fatty acids. Make sure the oil you’re using is fresh since the shelf life is only 6 months it can otherwise lead to spoilage in your soap.
You can probably tell that I’ve become a big fan of using soap on my face and that there will be more face soap recipes coming your way in the future. Let’s start with this gorgeous Rose Clay & Coconut Milk Facial Soap.
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- Sunflower Single Cavity Soap Mold (or any other mold)
- Stick blender
- Accurate kitchen scale
- 2 medium sized containers (not glass, one for lye solution, one for oils)
Recipe (makes 6 sunflower shaped soaps weighing 3 oz/ 85g each).
This recipe is superfatted at 7% and uses a lye concentration of 35% (usually I use a higher water discount, but since we’re adding quite a bit of clay straight to the oils a little more water will help keep the batter fluid) .
- Distilled Water: 3.1 oz / 88 g
- Lye: 1.7 oz / 47 g
- Olive Oil (35%): 4.5 oz / 126 g
- Shea Butter (25%): 3.2 oz / 90 g
- Coconut Oil (24%): 3 oz / 86 g
- Rosehip Oil (11%): 1.4 oz / 40 g
- Jojoba Oil (5%): 0.6 oz / 18 g
- Rose Clay: 1 tsp (I got mine from Nurture Soap, but you can find it here also)
- Kaolin Clay: 1 tsp
- Coconut Milk Powder: 1 Tbsp
- Lavender Essential Oil: 9 g
- Geranium Essential Oil: 2 g
- Gear up for safety: cloves, goggles and no pets or kids around
- Place the sunflower mold on a cutting board or card board (you’ll thank me later 😉
- Create lye solution by pouring the lye into the water (never the other way around!), stir until lye is dissolved and set aside to cool
- Melt shea butter and coconut oil in a double boiler on low heat or in the microwave on 30 second bursts
- Add olive oil, rosehip oil and jojoba oil to melted shea butter and coconut oil
- Add essential oils to melted base oils
- Add coconut milk to base oils
- Add rose clay, coconut milk powder and kaolin clay to base oils
- With your stick blender mix base oils until coconut milk powder and clays are well incorporated and you see no more clumps
- Carefully add lye solution to base oils by pouring it down the shaft of your stick blender to avoid air bubbles
- Stick blend until medium trace (thin pudding consistency) is achieved
- Pour soap batter into soap mold and give it a few taps on the counter (to release air bubbles)
- If you wish to gel your soaps you can place them in the oven at 170 degrees for 30 minutes, then turn the oven off and leave there over night OR you can leave the soaps out on the counter covered with cling wrap and a heavy blanket or towel
- After 24 – 36 hours release soaps out of the mold by gently pulling on the sides first
- Cure for 4 – 6 weeks
Looking for more natural soap recipes? Why not try:
Until next time. Happy Tinkering!