Homemade Face Wash: A Natural Face Wash Recipe

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Homemade DIY Face Wash

This homemade face wash is a natural DIY face wash that works great, is inexpensive, and easy to make. You can also tailor it to your specific skin type.

For years I used commercial face wash products without looking at the ingredients. (Sigh.) Back then I suppose I was enticed by the care-free, flawless-skinned, flowing-hair teenage beauties bouncing around in their commercials. I thought they could have been my friends. I wanted to hang out in brightly-colored bathrobes and splash our faces, talk on the phone, or whisper secrets that would make us roll on the floor laughing – all while upbeat music played in the background. (What were they always laughing about???)

I was a serious sucker for advertising.

Making Homemade Face Wash

Maybe those commercial beauties were laughing about the ingredients! And the suckers like myself who would be buying the product.

Now that I have more knowledge about the ingredients used by multinational corporations, I’m more selective about the personal care products I use, and usually, prefer to make my own.

Focus on Ingredients

Want to know about some of the ingredients that may be lurking in your innocent little bottle of store-bought face wash? How does DMDM hydantoin, a formaldehyde-releasing ingredient, sound? Or maybe you want synthetic colorants in your face wash? Like the D&C or FD&C varieties that are continuously tested on animals due to their carcinogenic properties. No? Well, maybe you’ll want a synthetic fragrance in your facial wash, which has been linked to allergies, dermatitis, respiratory problems, or possible effects on the reproductive system.

Ummmm… I’m pretty certain there would not be such glamorous commercials on TV for certain skin care products if the truth about ingredients was advertised!

I’m no longer willing to spend even a few dollars on ingredients like these. On the other hand, purchasing a quality organic or natural facial cleanser can almost break the bank; when I checked the natural facial cleansers at my local health food store prices ranged from $8-$26! (And I know other products can cost much more.)

Homemade Face Wash

I’m no longer convinced that even the expensive natural products contain magical ingredients to solve all of my skin problems (or friendship problems). Some of them appeared to be the consistency of castile soap, very runny and yellow-tinted. And what do you know, the first ingredient in most of them was castile soap, followed by ingredients such as aloe vera gel, essential oils, Vitamin E, vegetable glycerin, etc. Not such an intimidating list of ingredients.

You can make your own DIY face wash!

Even though I keep all the aforementioned items on hand in my house these days, I decided to I keep it very simple and mixed up the following recipe for my combination skin. The chamomile tea and other simple, gentle ingredients make it perfect for sensitive skin, but this DIY face wash can be tailored to meet the needs of your exact skin type – I’ll show you how in a bit.

Homemade Face Wash: A Natural DIY Face Wash Recipe

Yield 4 ounces

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Brew a cup of strong chamomile tea and set aside ¼ cup to cool. (Enjoy the rest of the tea while you're mixing together this recipe!)
  2. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl and add tea when completely cooled.
  3. Mix ingredients well and pour into a small squirt bottle or pump bottle. Be sure to label your container. This recipe makes about 4 ounces of homemade face wash.

Using Your Homemade Face Wash:

Squirt DIY face wash into hands or washcloth and gently wash face. Rinse well. Follow with your typical toner and/or moisturizing routine.

Notes

Variations

  • Use your favorite essential oil (EO) to benefit your particular skin type.
  • For OILY skin use an astringent or antiseptic EO like tea tree, bergamot, geranium, or lemongrass.
  • If you have DRY skin, choose a more mild EO like sandalwood, chamomile, lavender, or rose.
  • For MATURE skin, use an oil that is known for stimulating new cell growth such as lavender, neroli, jasmine, or geranium. Adding several drops of Vitamin E oil to the mixture will also nourish mature skin.
  • Substitute rose water, distilled water, or pure aloe vera gel for the chamomile tea.
  • If using chamomile EO feel free to use plain distilled water instead of chamomile tea.
  • Scented liquid Castile soaps will also work great in this recipe. Feel free to omit essential oils if using a scented soap.

(Find 100% pure essential oils here.)

Homemade Face Wash Video

Other Uses for Homemade Face Wash

This facial cleanser also makes a great makeup remover! Avoid getting in your eyes.

You can mix up similar versions of this, diluting it more if you like, and use as a body wash. Keep some in a repurposed sports bottle with a squirt top in the shower. (Be sure to label it well so family members don’t quench their thirst with it during a hot shower!)

Additional DIY Face Wash Notes

Castile soap can be purchased online or at most health food stores but is also becoming widely available at chains like Target, Kroger, or WalMart. I prefer to purchase mine at local health food stores where I can bring my own container and refill for about half the price of purchasing a brand new bottle.

Essential oils can also be purchased (and smelled before purchasing!) at most health food stores. You can find good quality, reasonably priced essential oils online here.

This homemade face wash can be stored for at least a few weeks. Natural preservatives can be added to extend the shelf life. Try a few drops of Vitamin E oil as a preservative. Refrigerating the homemade face wash will also extend its shelf life.

My skin loves this DIY face wash, and I hope you’ll give it a shot if you’ve been looking for a good natural alternative!

Note: Find more homemade beauty recipes here.

Warning about essential oils: Always use caution and care when handling these pure plant extracts. If you’re using a particular essential oil for the first time, always perform a patch test to check for an allergic reaction. If pregnant or nursing, consult your health care practitioner before using essential oils.

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References:

About Betsy Jabs

Betsy holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Master's degree in Counseling, and for nearly a decade worked as an elementary counselor. In 2011 she left her counseling career to pursue healthy living. She loves using DIY Natural as a way to educate people to depend on themselves to nourish their bodies and live happier healthier lives. Connect with Betsy on Facebook, Twitter, and her +Betsy Jabs Google profile.

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for us to support our website activities, we may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for our endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this website.

DISCLAIMER: Information on DIY Natural™ is not reviewed or endorsed by the FDA and is NOT intended to be substituted for the advice of your health care professional. If you rely solely upon this advice you do so at your own risk. Read full Disclaimer & Disclosure statements here.

Comments

  1. Natural Face Wash says

    These natural home-made products are definitely better than the ones full of chemical. Thanks for sharing the face wash recipe. The whole thing sounds great.

  2. Maddy says

    Thanks for this, Betsy! I was wondering if I could substitute the Castile soap for normal soap. I realise this will have an impact environmentally, but is there any reason other than that to use Castile rather than normal?

    • Betsy Jabs says

      I’m assuming you mean normal liquid soap? It really depends on what brand you use. Normal, run of the mill brands contain so many harsh chemicals that aren’t friendly to your face. This is the purpose of the castile soap…it’s very pure and gentle. However, if you use a good organic brand without toxins, it might work well.

  3. Angela says

    THANK YOU!!! This is the MOST AMAZING thing I’ve ever put on my face. I have combination / sensitive / oily / mid 30’s skin. I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect facial cleanser for years. I’ve finally found it and I could not be happier! After using it once, my face skin looked amazing. My son’s pre-teen acne is even looking better because of this cleanser. My friends and family all want to try it now because I can’t stop raving about it. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Angela, you don’t know how tickled I am to hear this!!! Big huge hoorays!!! Thanks so much for returning and adding your feedback too. I know what a fabulous relief it is to finally find something you’ve been searching for. Hope you continue to get great results! 🙂

  4. Elizabeth says

    Thanks Betsy! I just started using this last week & am loving it. I’m also acne prone around TOM and not a spot on my face thus far. My husband even commented on how nice my skin looked.

  5. Norm says

    I’ve been using the recipe that Terri described as a shampoo for the last few months and it’s fantastic (castille, aloe vera gel, EOs, oils etc). It’s done a great job with my poor dry scalp.

    Someone also asked if you could moisturise with coconut oil. I’ve also been moisturising recently with coconut oil infused with EO. I was a bit concerned at first because I’d read it was pretty high on the comedogenic list (4 in fact) but I read Bruce Fife’s book and he says it’s good for your skin, but it can get worse before it gets better as it pulls impurities out, so I took a chance and tried it. The first couple of weeks the blackheads seemed to get bigger but softer, and now they are no better or worse than before. I can’t say at this point that it’s made any difference either way to my blemishes, but what ~has~ changed is the texture of my skin – softer with finer lines (I’m 48), plus it feels and smells gorgeous too!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Thanks for chiming in on the coconut oil issue. I have heard of others using straight CO for facial moisturizer, but have always read about its high comedogenic rating. How long have you been using it?

      • Norm says

        It’s probably been a couple of months now Betsy. It’s certainly no worse than the moisturiser I was using before, which was marketed as non-comedogenic. I use it on my face, neck, and the wrinkly bit at the top of my chest, and I can’t say for sure (because our summer’s been rubbish) but it does seem to have stopped me going pink in the sun since I’ve been using it too. I went cycling on one of our rare sunny days and the bits I used coconut oil on didn’t burn, but my lower back which was also exposed did. I do tend to burn very easily (red hair and fair skin) so I’ve been quite impressed. I’m not ready to give up the sun cream yet though!

        • Betsy Jabs says

          Yes, that’s awesome! Coconut oil has been estimated to have SPF levels between 4-10, so that’s the reason you didn’t get pink in those areas.

          • ann says

            i been using VCO as my cleanser for a month now. for me vco save my face. i have acne prone oily skin and now all pimple gone. i use it once a day only, on night time, before bed. it leaves my face smooth, and the dry feeling after cleansing with commercial cleanser also gone. save me a lot from buying ton of facial product. anothe thing the vco that i use is homemade by my mom.

  6. Ruth says

    I tried using the oil cleansing method, and although it cleaned and left my skin feeling soft at night, my skin felt really oily the next morning. So, when I came across your skin cleanser recipe, I was ready to try it. I am happy to say that my skin feels nice and clean, not too oily and not too dry. I have found that I really do not need alot to get great lather. It’s perfect!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Oh, I’m so happy Ruth! I have not tried the OCM, but I do love how this cleanser gives me a clean feeling and my skin is very soft, never dried out afterwards. Thanks for commenting and letting me know it’s working for you!

  7. Tina says

    I was starting to get eczema on my eye lids, I call it my alligator skin eyelids, it pops up seasonally then the asthma/allergies kick in. I have tried everything to make it go away and I had to go to the doctors for a prescription the last time it popped up. Well, I made the facial cleanser & I have been using it for 4 days now. The eczema started improving after the first day & now is completely gone! I have also been using the moisturizer recipe. My teen daughters asked me to make some up for them. I used unscented castile soap, grape seed oil & almond oil with distilled water. I might tweak the next batch or purchase scented soaps next time. The one question my girls & I had is…Sunscreen…any moisturizer recipes with sunscreen abilities? Natural homemade sunscreen besides a hat? Thanks!!!

  8. Vicki says

    Question, it looks like the Bonner’s liquid Castile soaps already have extra virgin coconut, olive, jojoba and hemp oils in them, so is it necessary to add the 3/4 teaspoon grapeseed, sweet almond, hazelnut, avocado, or olive oil? Thanks!!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Great question Vicki! It depends on your skin, but you may be able to get away with omitting the extra oil. Dr. Bronner’s alone is too drying to my face, so the little bit of added oil creates the perfect wash for me. Try it both ways and see what you think!

  9. Rebecca says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! In the past few months I have started to switch from store bought products to home made ones where I can. Since I am a stay at home mom, we are on a limited income, and finding recipes for replacements of the more toxic (more expensive) products is a blessing. I will admit that when I first began to use this, my face broke out more, so I got a bit dismayed (I’ve been blessed with only minor breaks out as my hormones fluctuate). It was a friend who suggested that maybe the cleanser was pulling more of the impurities out of my skin. Not sure, but wouldn’t you know, after about two weeks, I was (and still am) pretty much blemish free all month long! I used lavender Castile soap, so no EOs, and decided to also make another batch using peppermint Castile soap (I’ve come across so many other things I can make with the Castile soaps, so it’s a worthy investment, especially when on sale). I use the lavender at night, and the peppermint in the shower in the morning (works much like my old Clean & Clear Morning Burst). I only use sweet almond oil as I read it won’t clog pores, and is a good moisturizer for the face. It also seems to help combat the ‘drying’ effects of the Castile soap, as at 40 (eek!), my skin is beginning to change a bit. There is one other beauty splurge I also came across, and wanted to share…Bentonite clay. Mix even amounts with apple cider vinegar (a tbsp of each is plenty) in a glass bowl with a non-metal spoon, after it stops bubbling slather it on your face, let it dry, rinse with water, then moisturize. I splurged once for a clay “masque” product that I love ($35 for maybe an 8 oz tube?), but this works just as well, if not better, for a fraction of the cost. Our local health food store actually had it in their body lotions/oils section, and it was about $6 for the 1lb jar of the powdered clay. So again, thank you for all the wonderful things you and Matt have done! Now if I can only get the rest of the family on board with the natural products, including my teenage daughter who thinks I’m already a bit crazy (sigh)….:-)

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Wow! That’s a huge victory to hear that the blemishes have subsided and you’ve experienced clear skin for a month now! Glad we could help as you transition to more homemade products. 🙂 Thanks for the bentonite clay mask recipe! $6 for a 1lb. jar is an awesome deal!

      Getting others on board is a tough task. (Just ask Matt, who had to work on pulling me on board for a few years!) Keep enjoying the homemade items yourself and having fun with it and the rest of the family is likely to slowly come around. 🙂

    • Pam C says

      I tried the bentonite clay & apple cider vinegar on my face…it left it quite red for a time. Thankfully I used it early enough in the morning that by the time I was ready to “face the public”, I was normal colored again lol. Might want to start with just water & clay, then move up to half water/half vinegar, then full strength vinegar. Just an idea.

  10. Allison says

    Hi- I find the castille soap to be too strong. Anything with ‘soap’ still really dries out my sensitive ‘approaching 40’ skin. I have been experimenting with washing with just oils and its been great and also quite inexpensive.

  11. jenn says

    is there a substitute for the castile soap? Like baby soap? I got some samples of that and need to find a way to use it up.

  12. Ericka says

    Hi Betsy

    I got the book and had tried so many of the recipes, i love them all!!! I was wondering if I could use this recipe as a Hand Soap.i have some empty bottles that I want to refill for the kitchen and bathrooms 🙂

    Thank you for all this great recipes!!!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Glad you’re loving the book! Thanks for your purchase! You can definitely use this recipe as a hand soap…good thinking! You may want to add a little Vitamin E or rosemary essential oil (as a natural preservative) if you’re making a large batch that will sit by the sink for extended periods of time.

      • Ericka says

        Hi Betsy

        I have all the ingredients, ( and I am so excited!!!!) How many drops of either essential oil or vitamin e will work for this recipe?

        Thanks again

        • Ericka says

          I made it and everybody loved it, it was a little too liquid, but i used a pump that creates foam, and it was perfect for that, I used to as body wash, let my skin a little dry, but very clean, love it, love it, love it!!!
          Thanks!!!

          • Betsy Jabs says

            Yes, it’s a very runny formula, not gelled like commercial soaps. Glad you like it though. 🙂 I would use several drops of Vitamin E (or the contents of one capsule) or about 10-15 drops of rosemary essential oil for the proportions in this recipe.

  13. Isabel says

    Love your site! Thanks for all your great tips and recipes. I recently started using baking soda shampoo (which works really well for me!) – by accident some of it slipped down my face as I was washing my hair, and I noticed how clean and oil-free my face felt after that. Since then I’ve started using the same shampoo mix to wash my face, and it feels great! Just wondering if you have ever done that and if you think that’s a good idea? I just hope I’m not drying out my face too much!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      It seems like all the best discoveries are accidental! 🙂 I do wash my face with a bit of baking soda and water about once or twice a week. I have heard of others using it more often (especially with oily skin), and your skin might do fine with this!

      • Isabel says

        Thanks! Its amazing how such a simple recipe can have so many uses. I’m thrilled to bits – travelling is going to be sooo much easier now! (I used to have to pack at least 10 different little jars and bottles for all my skincare needs.) And it pains me to think how much money I’ve wasted all these years… Well better late than never! Thanks again!

  14. Hariet says

    I have made the facial cleanser twice and it’s quite runny. Any thoughts of what to use as a thickener? Also, what role does the tea play and why not use castile soap by itself?

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Yes, this is a very runny formula. You could use pure aloe vera gel to thicken if you wish.

      The chamomile tea has anti-inflammatory properties, helping soothe inflamed skin (great for acne), it’s great for dry skin, and can benefit an array of skin conditions (eczema, contact dermatitis,etc.). However, if you don’t have tricky skin feel free to omit.

  15. Sarah says

    Okay Betsy, I got all the stuff and I’m gonna give it a try. I’m gonna use green tea instead of the chamomile, jojoba oil for the carrier oil, and I got both tea tree EO and lavendar EO. Do you know if its okay to mix the two essential oils or should I just use one of them at a time? By the way, I’m doing a test patch with each of the oils tonight just to make sure they are both agreeable to my skin. If they are, I’d like to use both at the same time as it seems they both have excellent properties for acne prone skin. Thanks for your time 🙂

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Awesome! Tea tree and lavender make a wonderful combination I think you’ll really enjoy as long as they’re agreeable with your skin. Have fun creating!

  16. Obioha QueenChiamaka says

    I’ll give it a trial, I just hope it works for me because I have a hard skin.

  17. Brandy Girard says

    I’ve been using this face wash for a little over a week & I LOVE it! I follow it up by using grapeseed oil as a moisturizer during the day & jojoba oil at night. And I have extremely oily, acne prone skin! Not all oils are bad oils, I’ve learned that over the years. Thanks for all you guys do to help people live a more natural, simpler life!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Yaaaay! I’m thrilled you’re loving the results from this wash! The jojoba oil as a nighttime moisturizer sounds luxurious. 🙂

  18. Tabatha says

    I really want to try this, and I’m curious about the financial aspect of it. Is it comparable in price to the store bought face wash? Cheaper, or more expensive? I realize face wash varies a lot in terms of what you can get and how much it costs. But I’m thinking just anything you can buy in a drug store like Olay, Aveeno, and Clean & Clear like you mentioned in your article. Thanks

    • Betsy Jabs says

      I’m glad you asked! I hadn’t done the math yet, but I just figured this recipe to cost about $0.88 for 4 oz. with the ingredients I used!!! That’s a HUGE savings compared to commercial facial cleansers! (My old Clean & Clear cleanser was about $4.25 for 6.5 oz.) This, of course, all depends on where you purchase ingredients and whether you can find deals. The castile soap is the most expensive thing, and I cut the cost in half by taking empty squirt bottles to the health food store and refilling with their bulk castile soap.

      I hope you’ll give this recipe a shot! 🙂

      • Tabatha says

        I will definitely be trying it 🙂 I just asked about the cost because I’ve been making a lot of my own stuff lately, but I know my husband wouldn’t be too happy about me spending a lot on expensive ingredients for something I may or may not like. LOL as long as it’s reasonable

  19. Sarah says

    When I see the word “oil” in the ingredients list it scares me. Castile soap is made of oil, you’re saying to add essential oil and a little bit more of another type of oil, that seem like a lot to me. I always buy oil free products (which seems to help) because I break out very easily and oil as an ingredient makes me think its gonna make my skin oily and break out. Is this the case? Are essential oils the same as regular oil and is olive oil gonna break me out? I really want to try this but I’m very afraid…

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Great question Sarah. Everyone’s skin is different, so I can’t say for sure how yours will react to this particular face wash. However, the purpose of the oils in the recipe are to allow your face to retain some moisture instead of stripping all the beneficial oils…which causes our skin to overcompensate by overproducing oils…leading to more problems. Essential oils are not the same as regular oils. In fact, many are antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, etc. Essential oils like lavender are good for any skin type. Hope this helps!

    • Barbara says

      Also..it’s not the oil that is causing your face to break out. The breakouts are caused by the dirt and debris that are trapped in your pores. Betsy is right about stripping the oils from your face. When you strip your natural moisturizers (oils) from your face with harsh or drying detergents your body goes into overdrive trying to replace them, thus causing the dreaded oil slick. Instead of olive oil you might try Grape Seed oil. The linoleic acid in grape seed oil has anti-inflammatory, anti-allergen, acne reductive, and moisture retentive properties. I use it in my homemade hand scrubs, body washes, bath bombs, and face wash. It is a very light oil and absorbs quickly. Hope this helps.