Friday, May 10, 2013

5 Homemade Facial Cleansers

I have what I would call combination skin with an oily T-zone and drier cheeks, but I was having all sorts of breakouts this winter, which prompted me to look for a new face wash. It didn't help that I made a really BIG mistake in using some Clean & Clear because I had purchased months before, having gotten what I thought was a super good deal with a coupon. Truly, it's not all that good of a deal if it makes your skin go crazy. Plus, this stuff is loaded with parabens and other chemical crap that I have been strategically eliminating from my day-to-day usage.

Next in my series of posts on the topic of "How I Pamper Myself," I am writing about a few different DIY facial cleanser recipes that I have been experimenting with for several weeks now. (My previous posts included How I Wash My Makeup Brushes, My Homemade Face Moisturizing Oil, and Homemade Eye Makeup Remover, in case you missed those.) There are many, many variations of homemade facial cleansers out there and this is just a small sampling that I tried. My original plan was to try at least 4 different recipes for at least a week each so that I could give a fair analysis of my results.

{This is my new favorite face wash!}

2/18/13 Trial #1: Baking Soda/Water
Up first was a simple sounding paste made with baking soda and water. I first tried this at night. My initial reaction was that this felt gritty in my palm, but adding more water made it slightly softer. My skin felt okay after the first usage, but I worried that it was too harsh to use regularly. By the second night, with twice daily usage, my skin felt smooth and my cheeks were not as dry. The acne on my forehead appeared to be clearing up, but I wasn't sure. After the third day, I was convinced that my skin was indeed looking better, but I could not tolerate the abrasive texture of this cleaning method any longer. I couldn't even bring myself to do this twice on the third day. So, my plan to last a week had failed. I don't remember where I came across this idea originally, but I do know that it was not my favorite homemade face wash! This works fine to wash my hair, but not my face, apparently.

2/21/13 Trial #2: Oil Cleansing Method (OCM)
This one seems a bit strange, but it also sounded relatively simple, so I decided to try it next. It's just a mixture of two oils, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and castor oil (found in the laxative section of the grocery store) It may seem counterintuitive to wash one's face with oil, but this actually feels really lovely and seems to produce very desirable effects. I learned a little chemistry lesson while researching this: oil dissolves oil, so using oil to make a cleanser is actually ideal for skin, since it naturally has oil. Plus, it's nourishing and not over-drying. Unlike my horrible experience with the Clean & Clear, this did not over-dry my skin (which, you are probably aware, makes your oil glands go into over-gear producing more oil to compensate, a vicious cycle).

On the first night, I combined a 50/50 mixture of my EVOO and the castor oil, because that was the proportion recommended for "normal" skin. I started with a small batch of just 1 teaspoon of each and mixed them in a small plastic bottle that is meant for travel sized portions of toiletries.

To Wash:
  1. Apply oil mixture to DRY skin. Gently rub in. I do this all over my face, including my eye lids.
  2. Soak a wash cloth in hot water. (I make it as hot as I can tolerate since it cools quickly.)
  3. Apply wash cloth to face and allow the steam to clean your face. I usually wait about 1 minute for the wash cloth to cool off completely.
  4. Gently wipe oil from face with the wash cloth. This removes eye makeup pretty well so for the most part, I have not needed to use my homemade eye makeup remover. I also do not find that I need to apply moisturizer after washing since the OCM is so hydrating.
My initial reaction to the OCM was that my skin felt good afterward, and it was not too oily. I quickly learned to keep wash cloths on hand in the bathroom instead of in the linen closet (since Logan was going through a phase of sleeping on the floor in the hallway, blocking my access to the closet). The main difference was the waiting portion of the cleaning routine. Normally, I would wash, rinse immediately, dry my face, and be done. I have since come to love the waiting because it forces me to just sit and be still for 1 whole minute, evidently not something I typically do! It's like giving myself a mini-facial, which is very pampering, in my opinion. On the morning of the 24th, I forgot keep my face dry in the shower, so I just decided to skip washing for that morning. I used my homemade face oil after the warm water splash and that got me through the day just fine. My skin seemed to be clearing up and I had less acne, but I was anxious to try out some other cleansers, so I kept experimenting.

2/28/13 Trial # 3: Oatmeal
This sounded easy enough. I like that it really only had one ingredient. I had already ground up some oatmeal in the food processor, making a knock-off Aveeno oatmeal bath that I had seen on Pinterest. I didn't share this one because it grossed Logan out and he refused to soak in it after the first time, so as far as a home remedy for eczema goes, that one was a strike-out for me. I put some in a small bowl that has a lid and kept it in the bathroom during this trial period. To wash my face, I just a tablespoon of oatmeal in my palm and then added enough water to make a paste. (I realized that this was way too much and vowed to use less after that.) Initially, I was surprised by how gentle this was to use. I had expected some abrasiveness. The smell wasn't overwhelming, it was distinctly "breakfast-y" but not so much as to deter me from using it. After the first use, my face felt clean and it appeared brighter. It didn't feel dry, but I saw dryness on my cheeks and followed up with my homemade face oil. Also, when I washed with this, I feared it was no good in the eye area. I wasn't even willing to attempt it, so I had to use my homemade eye makeup remover when washing in the evenings. Questions that came to mind were I wonder if this would be okay with whole oats, or did I do the right thing by using my ground oats? and Is this more appropriate as a weekly scrub/exfoliant rather than a daily cleansers? As you can see by the dates, I kept with this method for a bit. One downside to washing with oatmeal, however, is that I did not like finding bits of it in my hairline and eyebrows after I thought I was done rinsing. For that reason alone, I wanted to keep looking for another face wash method.

3/10/13 Trial #4: EVOO/Grapes/Milk
Well, I already knew I liked the olive oil, and milk is an ancient method for cleansing the skin. Lots of different fruits are purported to be good for the skin, probably because of the acids, I am guessing. What sold me on this particular recipe is that it didn't call for ingredients that were exotic or expensive. I can't tell you how many recipes I saw that asked for me to gather 15 different items, many of which I do not regularly have on hand, so this one looked like a winner for simplicity's sake! Grapes? Check.

2 Tbs EVOO
5 fresh grapes
1 tsp milk (I used whole milk)

  1. Process ingredients in a food processor until smooth and watery. (I found this hard to accomplish due to the peels plus the small size of the batch.)
  2. Apply to face. (The directions did not say how to use this at all, so used my hands.)
  3. Rinse with warm water.
My initial question was How long does it keep? The pros for this method were that it was easy to make with items most people have in their kitchens, it felt good going on the skin, and my face felt clean and moisturized. The cons were that it smelled bad, it looked icky, it probably wasn't safe to use near the eyes (I did not venture to try this), and it may have possibly clogged up my sink. I wanted to determine how long it would keep for and try it at least 3 times (to keep with my somewhat scientific method of giving stuff more than one chance to prove itself to me). On the second night, I found that it had congealed in the fridge, so I tried to warm it in my palms and apply it to my face, following with a warm wash cloth a la the OCM. This was a mistake. The smell nearly gagged me when I was confined under the wash cloth and forced to inhale the odor. I really did not like using this stuff, but my skin looked better than it had in weeks. The answer to my initial question: I would consider this to be something that is a one-time use formula, which makes it better for a weekly "mask" application, not something I would do daily. (Food processor each day? No thanks!)

3/13/13 Trial #5: Pure EVOO
Well, this fits my first requirement of being simple. It's just straight extra virgin olive oil. When I first tried this, I had no complaints. I used it the same way I did the OCM, just without the castor oil. However, I eventually decided that I didn't like how my skin felt afterward; it was just too oily. And it had seemed that my acne had improved more when using the 50/50 blend that included castor oil.

4/8/13 The Winner for Me: Back to the OCM!
My skin is not completely clear of break-outs, but it is definitely much improved from the winter when I was using the dreaded Clean & Clear. It's also very smooth and moisturized, and I swear it looks brighter and healthier. I now use the OCM just at night. For the most part, it gets rid of all my eye makeup, so I rarely need to use my homemade eye makeup remover. In the mornings, I just rinse my face with warm water and follow with my homemade face oil. This fits my lifestyle in that it is simple, inexpensive, and safe to use. The castor oil, which I found at Kroger, was on sale for $1.59 (regularly $1.89) for 4 ounces. Extra virgin olive oil is widely available, and I am considering buying it in bulk. The bottle I bought from Kroger was $3.49 for 8.5 ounces, but I just finished it off last night while experimenting with some other homemade beauty products. When I went back to this face cleanser, I made myself a larger batch consisting of 2 tablespoons of castor oil and 2 tablespoons of EVOO. I know that I can tweak the proportions as needed, but for now, I am happy my natural face wash.

32 comments:

  1. Works great! especially on my cousin that NEEDED This stuff.!

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    1. I am glad that you and your cousin found something helpful!

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  2. Thank you! This is exciting! :-) I have been using baking powder and Cinnamon to wash... then I have been using a honey/cinnamon mask. It works well. However, the OCM seems easier and I am excited to try it!

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    1. Great, Maria, I hope you have success with it!

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  3. I tried the C Oil and EVOO. It feels a little oily, does it absorb over night? What other things do you use in the morning with this? Just warm water? Thanks :)

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    1. Hi there. Everyone's skin is different, and these were just my own personal experiences. I am sorry to hear that it feels oily, but let's see if we can figure out a solution. First, you will to make sure to remove the excess oil with your damp cloth (after doing the 1 minute mini-facial -- steaming with the wash cloth). If it still is feeling too oily for your skin, you may want to adjust the ratio of castor oil to EVOO. For oily skin, try 3 parts castor oil to 1 part EVOO. For drier skin, 1 part castor oil to EVOO is suggested. I personally like the 50/50 blend for "normal" skin, but yours may need something slightly different. In the morning, I just rinse with warm water. I also like to apply a small amount of my homemade moisturizing oil in the mornings. I hope that helps!

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  4. I use pure aloes from the aloe plant as a face wash, I leave it on for a bit (max bout 30 mins) and rinse with water. I use honey, lime and sugar as an exfoliant and I sometimes use EVOO and honey as a moisturizer in very minute amounts and rub into skin(cuz it can be a bit oily/sticky) but I think this can also be used as a face mask(leave on for 30 mins). I use green tea or apple cider vinegar as a toner and I moisturize with just tea tree oil cuz its great for removing blackheads or almond oil. :)

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    1. Thanks for all the tips. I am sure lots of people will love to read them. :)

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  5. Hey Meg. I noticed you said your son didn't like oatmeal in his bath for exzema. I put the oatmeal in a rag and put a rubberband around it making an "octopus". My kids love to play with it and they get the benefit from the oats. Another plus is that it is fairly easy to clean up rather than washing oats down your drain.

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    1. Hi Lindsay, I love the "octopus" idea and I will definitely plan to try it out when we get back to that time of year when the eczema is no longer under control! I didn't like cleaning oatmeal out of the tub, either, so that is a big plus. :)

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  6. What do you mean by "This works fine to wash my hair, but not my face, apparently." What does baking soda do to your hair ??

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    1. Hi Mikayla, good question. A little over a year and a half ago, I gave up shampoo. In place of that, I have been "no 'pooing," which is how I now wash my hair. Basically, I make a slurry of baking soda, and warm water, apply to my scalp, rub in in gently, and rinse with water. Then, I follow with my "conditioner" which is distilled white vinegar mixed with warm water. I leave that for a minute or two and then rinse. Very inexpensive, easy, and NO toxic chemicals. You can read more on my previous posts, if you want, or just Google "no 'pooing" to learn about other people's experiences. Feel free to let me know if you have more questions, too.

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    2. P.S. Just click on the words "wash my hair" in this post, to be linked to the original post about no 'pooing.

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  7. Meg this is the first time that I have seen your blog. I was looking for a household face cleaner because it seems like the store bought items don't do what I need. My face combination is close to yours oily t-zone, forehead breakout. My cheeks also breakout and when I get stressed I tend to scratch and make black marks on my face. I am going to try your baking soda/water and the OCM to see how they work on my face. I am going to see how effective they will be if I do one in the morning and one at night. Will give you feedback on how they worked for me.
    -Thanks

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    1. Sounds good. I hope it works out well for you.

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    2. hi, i made an oatmeal face mask and i wanted to know what you thought of it.

      so i made some green tea with 4 spoonfuls of honey and 1/4 of a lemon with all the juice squeezed out. i added mint leaves.

      i cooked the oatmeal in the tea.

      i added dried parsley, thyme, and chopped up lemon peel to the oatmeal.

      the benefits of the parsley, thyme and lemon peel is vitamin c to make your skin glow but the lemon peel was also for exfoliation.

      the honey, for moisture, the mint i found does wonders for your skin, and i also added evoo in the mix.
      before you think how disgusting it sounds, it felt really good and the results were even better, plus it smelled really good.

      what do you think? any ideas? try it and reply

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    3. Personally, this sound like too many ingredients to use on a regular basis, but I am glad you found something that works well for your skin.

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    4. Also, I have not had any experience with using dried herbs for homemade face masks or for any other homemade beauty products, so I could not comment on that. I have always used fresh ingredients, but I am all for using whatever works for you!

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  8. I am very happy I have found you. I am a skin care specialist and I make some of my own facial products for my organic facials. Your ideas and experiences are very much in-tuned with my views and practice. I use olive and grape oils, plain yogurt, brown sugar, cinnamon, lemon, chamomile, green and mint teas very often in my recipes. Thank you.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Viviam. I am always happy to find that other people share my viewpoints. :)

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  9. I just tried this and LOVE it. Not at all greasy feeling after. One question: Would it be safe to add an essential oil for fragrance? Since I am steaming my face anyway, it would be like a facial and aromatherapy all in one. :D

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    1. Hi Kristin, thanks for stopping by! First of all, I am not a skin care specialist, so I cannot properly answer your question as to safety. I can only comment on my own personal experiences, which have told me that essential oils MAY be added to skin care products IF they are used in moderation. For example, I have used both lemongrass oil and tea tree oil (about 5-7 drops)when I have made batches of my face moisturizing oil. I chose those oils specifically because of properties that I felt were beneficial to skin (fighting acne, for example) and NOT necessarily because they smelled nice. I would definitely do more research before adding essential oils as some can be pretty potent and not necessarily gentle enough to use on your face. Good luck!

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  10. Thank you. I was looking for a recipe that was simple and I could add Essential Oils to. I added 4 drops of Lavender and 4 drops of Lemon Young Living Essential Oils (the only ones I trust) to 6 oz of the Castor Oil:EVOO 1:1 mixture. My face felt amazing. Lemon EO is great for cleansing if you have acne and lavender is soothing to the skin (diluted in the above mixture, of course). Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Sounds great, Sara! Thanks for stopping by.

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  11. Is the moisturizer and OCM still working for you? I battle acne and tonight I will be creating my own cleanser and moisturizer with tea tree oil.

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    1. Hi Christina, I will not claim that my skin is perfect. I do get acne due to stress and hormonal fluctuations, however it is definitely improved since switching to the OCM. Also, a HUGE benefit for me is that my skin has not been over-dried like it was when I used harsher cleansers. I have more recently changed over the proportions in my oil cleanse, so instead of doing a 50/50 blend of castor oil and EVOO, I am now doing 3 parts castor oil to one part EVOO, and this seems to be worker better for my current skin conditions (which may or may not be related to the shifting seasons... time will tell.) It's a little bit of experimenting to find what works best for your skin, and just recognize that what ends up working for you now could change a few months down the road. I hope that helps!

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  12. Hi there, I am curious do you wear daily makeup such as a concealer, powder, blush etc? I am just curious if the OCM takes off the makeup or do you have to do a seperate wash with a different cleanser to take off the makeup before you apply the OCM?

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    1. Hi Shenay. Yes, I do wear a full face of makeup (bareMinerals) and YES the OCM does take it off! Occasionally, I will have small traces of eye makeup left over that I can either rinse away, or I use my homemade eye makeup remover to get the last tiny bit.

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  13. Hi there, hope all is well with you and thanks for sharing. Do you wear makeup daily such as a liquid concealer, powder, blush etc.? I wear a full face of makeup daily and have been looking for a good DIY face cleanser. I want to try the OCM treatment however I was wondering if you used this to take off makup and do your wash all at once or if you do a seperate wash to take off your makeup and then use the OCM. Please let me know your thoughts/ suggestions.

    Also, it is interesting to me that the baking soda/ vinegar oil does not dry or damage your ends. I have long fine hair and I would be concered about my ends getting to dry because they damage very easily. Does the vinegar condition your hair? What has been your experience with that. Thank you!

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    1. Hi Shenay, I think I answered your question about makeup in the above comment. Regarding no 'pooing, I am planning to do a follow-up post soon. I have ended up with some dry, damaged ends after 2+ years of no 'pooing. While I am continuing to wash with baking soda, I am currently experimenting with different chemical-free conditioners. Vinegar IS said to condition the hair, so results may vary. Part of my problem was most likely that I had not had my hair cut in far too long. I don't want to discourage you from trying it, but that has been my personal experience of late.

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  14. hi Meg,
    I really enjoyed reading your experimental stories! loved the way you've explained them. I'll definitely try the OCM, sounds easy to do for a first timer like me.

    cheers,
    Nova

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    1. Hi Nova, thanks for stopping by. I hope that you will enjoy the OCM as much as I do!

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