Over the years I’ve done a lot of experimenting with my skincare, looking for the perfect thing. Soap dries my skin out, and a brief stint with a conventional soap in high school resulted in a breakout the likes of mount Vesuvius. I’ve tried washing with honey, but I wanted to give oil cleansing a try. These clay cleansing bars combine the gentle, clarifying nature of oil cleansing, with the impurity stripping benefits of clay.
The delicate art of oil cleansing
You may have heard of the oil cleansing method, as it’s gained a lot of popularity in recent years. Essentially it involves rubbing oil on your face, and then rinsing with water. If you’ll think back to freshman chemistry, like dissolves like, and that’s the concept used here. It’s worked wonderfully for many of its disciples, while it’s been an epic failure for others. So why does oil cleansing seem to only work some of the time?
Different carrier oils contain different properties that are beneficial for different skin types. Some are high in linoleic acid, which is better for acne prone skin. Still others contain high amounts of oleic acid, which is better for dry skin. It can take some experimenting, but choosing the right carrier oil for your skin type is key here. By looking at the chemical makeup of the oil and which fatty acids it’s composed of, it takes a lot of the guesswork out of the equation.
Where to find oil info
Maybe you’re wondering where to find that information. There are some helpful online resources, and I most frequently reference Mountain Rose Herbs and From Nature With Love. Most online information is either too brief or not reliable, and it can be hard to find a quality source. I also recently purchased this book, The Power of the Seed, on carrier oils, butters and waxes that has detailed information on anything you could ever want to know about carriers. So far I’m loving it! But none of that matters if you don’t put the information into practice.
Why clay is so awesome
These clay cleansing bars allow for a little more creativity with oil cleansing, and pack in added benefits from the clay. Bentonite clay is high in minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium, and helps draw toxins from the skin. This healing clay also oxygenates the skin by pulling excess hydrogen from skin cells for smooth, supple skin.
I’ve included recipes for two different types of clay cleansing bars. The version for acne contains grapeseed oil, which is high in acne fighting linoleic acid and light on the skin. You’ll also find tea tree, which is widely used even in store bought skincare to reduce the appearance of acne and fight the root cause. I’ve also included a tiny bit of tamanu for it’s remarkable skin regenerating abilities. Tamanu is perfect for those with acne scars or blemishes.
A jumpstart on aging skin
If you’re not in the oily, acne prone skin camp, then there’s a mature skin bar. Honestly, I don’t have mature skin yet. I’m not even 30. However, I do want to age gracefully, so I incorporate plenty of anti-aging ingredients in my skincare routine. Geranium and lavender are some of my favorite skin soothing essential oils and help keep skin wrinkle and blemish free. You need some quality carrier oils to dilute them with though.
The mature skin bar uses sweet almond oil that’s moisturizing, but not overly greasy. You’ll also find rosehip seed oil, which has been nicknamed the wrinkle eraser, since it’s so good at preventing and reducing lines and wrinkles. Avocado rounds it out with its ability to increase collagen in the dermis, keeping skin firm and full. This blend of oils is high in anti-inflammatories, vitamins, amino acids and phytosterols to support the skins structure.
Maybe clay cleansing bars aren’t the perfect thing in skincare, but in my book they’re pretty darn close.
Clay cleansing bar for acne prone skin
- 39 grams grapeseed oil (about 3 T and 2 t)
- 42 grams cocoa butter or 17 of these wafers
- 3 grams Tamanu oil (about ½ tsp)
- 30g Bentonite clay (about 3 T and 1 tsp)
- 15 drops Tea tree essential oil
- 10 drops lemongrass essential oil
* Do NOT allow the bentonite to come into contact with any metal, as this will decrease it’s benefits. Use glass, plastic and wood instead.
- In a large glass bowl add the grapeseed oil and cocoa butter. Perch the glass bowl on top of a pot filled halfway with water and turn the heat to medium high. Stir occasionally until melted.
- Once everything has melted, turn off the heat and add the tamanu, essential oils and clay, whisking well to combine.
Immediately pour the mixture into your mold and place it in the fridge until firm. These need to be quickly cooled, or the clay will just settle to the bottom.
Anti-aging and mature skin clay cleansing bar
- 30 grams Kaolin clay (about 4 T)
- 27 grams sweet almond oil (about 2 T)
- 42 grams cocoa butter or 17 of these wafers
- 15 drops Geranium essential oil
- 10 drops lavender essential oil
- 10 grams Avocado oil (about 1 T)
- 11 grams Rosehip seed oil (about 1 T)
- In a large glass bowl add the sweet almond oil and cocoa butter. Perch the glass bowl on top of a pot filled halfway with water and turn the heat to medium high. Stir occasionally until melted.
- Once everything has melted, turn off the heat and add the avocado oil, rosehip seed oil, essential oils and clay, whisking well to combine.
- Immediately pour the mixture into your mold and place it in the fridge until firm. These need to be quickly cooled, or the clay will just settle to the bottom.
How to use your clay cleansing bar
- After the bar has completely cooled, carefully pop it out of the mold and onto a towel lined countertop. It will need to be in the fridge for at least an hour, and you want to make sure it’s really firm before removing it.
- Cut off a small piece of the bar to use. These melt too easily if they’re held in the hand, so I find it easiest to just remove some as needed.
- Rub the clay cleansing bar piece all over your skin in circular motions, then rinse well with water. Your skin should feel soft and moisturized. Pat it dry with a clean towel, and that’s it! Easy, right?
Why use a scale?
I’ve included the measurements for this recipe by weight in grams, and also in teaspoons/tablespoons if you don’t have a scale. I love my scale, and its one of the best purchases I’ve made when it comes to skincare making supplies. I don’t have to get a bunch of measuring spoons dirty, it all goes in one bowl. Even better is that I get more consistent results since going by weight is more accurate.
My favorite piece of equipment
To use a scale, I simply set the bowl on and hit tare, add an ingredient, then hit tare before weighing each additional ingredient. This is the scale I use. It was originally recommended to me by Jessica over at Pronounce Skincare, and I also use it for my store This & That Herbal. Seriously, I use it ALL the time, and I only had to replace the batteries just this year.