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.
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.
Guess I’ll never get to split a Friends Forever necklace with the Clean & Clear® girls. Oh well.
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 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.)
Why not homemade?
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 and intimidating list of ingredients.
C’mon folks, we can do this!
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 makes it perfect for sensitive skin, but this facial wash can be tailored to meet the needs of your exact skin type – I’ll show you how in a bit.
Chamomile Facial Cleanser Recipe
- ¼ cup liquid castile soap (where to buy organic liquid castile soap)
- ¼ cup brewed organic chamomile tea (for its anti-inflammatory properties)
- ¾ teaspoon grapeseed, sweet almond, hazelnut, avocado, or olive oil (where to buy these carrier oils)
- 8 drops essential oils (where to buy 100% pure essential oils)
- several drops of Vitamin E oil – optional, but recommended (where to buy Vitamin E oil)
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!) Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl and add tea when completely cooled. Mix ingredients well and pour into a small squirt bottle or pump bottle. Be sure to label your container. Makes about 4 ounces of face wash.
Squirt facial cleanser into hands or washcloth and gently wash face. Rinse well. Follow with your typical toner and/or moisturizing routine.
- 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.
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!)
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 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 face wash will also extend its shelf life.
My skin loves this facial cleanser, and I hope you’ll give it a shot if you’ve been looking for a good natural alternative!
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.
- EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, from the Environmental Working Group
- The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, by Julia Lawless