Make Your Own Homemade Facial Cleansers . . . {4} All-Natural Recipes!

Facial Cleansers

Today’s post got a little out of control.

I’ve had several requests from readers recently asking for “natural” ways to wash their faces OTHER than the Oil Cleansing Method. (Hey, it’s not for everybody!) So I started searching and found four different recipes that I thought held some promise. I INTENDED on making ONE of the recipes and simply writing about the others, but somehow, before I knew what was happening, I was making all FOUR! (Sometimes I get a little carried away with trying new stuff…it’s an occupational hazard.)

So my mantra for today is: “Don’t bite off more than you can chew!”  I got a little over my head on this one. But it all turned out OK.  I had a HUGE mess to clean up in my kitchen (where’s my live-in maid when I need one??) but I got to try out 4 different facial cleansers. My face has never been CLEANER! :-)

All four of these cleansers have merit in that they don’t contain any detergent ingredients called surfactants. Surfactants are responsible for creating the lather you expect to see in soaps and many liquid cleansers, but the problem is they strip the natural lipid layer from the skin’s surface and destroy its protective barrier. In other words, they are simply too harsh for most skin types.

The good news is there are lots of home remedies you can try that not only are inexpensive compared to most store bought stuff, they are also environmentally friendly.

Let’s check them out.
natural facial cleansers
The first one I tried was the Jojoba Lemon Facial Cleansing Cream. However, I couldn’t find my bottle of jojoba oil (I know it’s here SOMEWHERE!) so I substituted coconut oil. I don’t know if that substitution is where I went wrong…but this facial cleanser just didn’t ever really work out for me. It was too waxy/oily feeling and the consistency of a cleansing cream…which has never been my favorite. But if you are a cleansing cream enthusiast, you might like this one.
  • 1 tbsp. beeswax
  • 3 tbsp. jojoba oil
  • 1 tbsp. witch hazel
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp. borax
  • 6 drops lemon essential oil
Melt the beeswax in a saucepan, using low heat.
Add the jojoba oil (I used coconut oil) and beat, using a hand mixer, for about 5 minutes or until it reaches a creamy consistency.
Heat the witch hazel and lemon juice in another saucepan just until warm, and then stir in the borax to dissolve. Add this liquid mixture to the cream and beat with a mixing spoon until well combined.
Set aside until the cream is cool.
Mix in the lemon essential oil and spoon into a container.
natural facial cleansers
The second recipe I tried was the Olive Oil Facial Cleanser from The Prairie Cottage. I have had this recipe in my To Do Files for a long time because it really looked appealing to me.

Olive Oil Facial Cleanser

  • 2 teaspoons liquid face soap or baby wash
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons glycerin
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Pour ingredients into a food processor or blender.  Mix until thickened, smooth and creamy. To use, pump a quarter-size amount of cleanser into your hand.  Gently massage into your neck area, face, eyelids and eyelashes for about one minute. Remove with a warm washcloth. Rinse washcloth in warm water and gently remove any remaining dirt or makeup off your face.
Keeps for up to a year.

For some reason this one didn’t thicken up like I THOUGHT it would (based on the instructions.) It DID, however, do a nice job of cleansing my face and left it feeling clean AND moisturized.

natural facial cleansers

Third on the facial cleanser rundown was the Anti-Aging Lemon Facial Cleanser made famous by Dr. Oz who claims the acid from the lemons will rid your skin of outbreak-causing bad bacteria while the healthy probiotics from the yogurt will infuse your skin with good bacteria.

Lemon Facial Cleanser

  • 1 tbsp natural yogurt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 drops essential lemon oil

Mix all ingredients together. Soak a cotton wool pad in mixture and remove makeup. Repeat with fresh cotton wool pads until make up is removed.

natural facial cleansers

As you can tell by the small measurements of ingredients…this recipe is for a one-time application. This mixture will not keep, so it should be used immediately. While that is somewhat of a drawback to this formula…I LOVED the way it felt on my face (not to mention the wonderful lemony smell)!  This cleanser was in SERIOUS contention for my FAVORITE out of the four UNTIL I tried the fourth.

natural facial cleansers

The fourth formulation was the Homemade Honey Cleanser from Towards Sustainability.

The advantages of this recipe are that it is easy and quick to make and that it contains HONEY! I personally am in awe of the seemingly magical properties of honey. (Many of which I have posted about before.)

Honey is a natural humectant so it absorbs and retains moisture in the skin. Honey is also a natural antioxidant which helps protect the skin from the damage of the sun’s rays, AND it absorbs impurities from the pores on the skin, making it an ideal cleansing agent.

Homemade Honey Cleanser

  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup vegetable glycerine
  • 2 Tablespoons liquid castile soap

Mix ingredients together. Apply to face and neck and massage into skin for at least 30 seconds, allowing the cleanser to loosen dirt and debris. Rinse face with warm water.


Ultimately this was the facial cleanser that WON MY HEART! :-)   (Followed by the Lemon Facial Cleanser as a close second.)

But don’t take MY word for it….try them yourself!  My only suggestion would be that you don’t try and make them all in one day. :-)

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  1. Heather says

    Hi Jillee – LOVE LOVE LOVE all the ideas you share. Your website is my “goto” when I need something quick and good! Question about these cleansers….Do you think that moisturizer is still needed when using the honey cleanser? My skin tends to be dry.

    Thanks !

    • says

      Heather…once in a great while I will still use a little moisturizer on my face…but rarely. I have found since moving to all natural cleansing formulas, like these, I rarely need a separate moisturizer. Try the honey…you will be amazed! :-)

      • Cindy says

        I want to try the honey cleanser……about how much does your recipe make, and do you store it in a glass container, and finally how long can it be stored? It sounds divine so I might triple the recipe!!

    • Julita Cumberbatch says

      use cocconut oil as your moisturizer…just use a pea size amount and massage into face…makes skin silky soft…..

  2. margaret says

    hi! live your ideas!!! i use olive oil and full fat milk ,place them in a cup (the never mix well olive oil is always on top )and using a cotton ball i am removing my make up and moisturize at the same time ,the fat from mil also helps my skin and makes it smoother ,rinse with lukewarm water and voila!
    have a great weekend!

  3. Betsy says

    I started out doing the OCM, but in the summer heat and humidity I didn’t care for this on a daily basis. I’m not a daily make-up wearer, either, but do appreciate it as a make-up remover when I do. Jillee, I’m not the least surprised by your “favorite” selection of the 4: I use straight honey on my face when showering. I absolutely love how my skin feels after a honey cleanse! At the sink I use my homemade foaming soap of Dr. Bronner’s baby formula and distilled water. There’s minimal amounts of Dr. Bronner’s in one squirt of foam, but it’s enough to gently do the job and leave my skin feeling clean & soft and looking healthy. BTW I’m 40 with oily, sensitive skin living in the midwest…everybody’s face is different and climate is also a huge factor. Just thought I’d offer what works for me – I’m a keep it simple kind of person who loves all your tips and tricks, Jillee!

  4. Jo says

    Thanks for this and all of your posts, Jillee! I use so many of them now. (Still trying to get hubby convinced! lol!!!) I love these homemade cleanser ideas. I use OCM every 2nd day. When I first read about it I thought that there’s no way that could work. So when I read it on your site, I decided maybe I should try it since everything else I’ve tried from you works so well. I love it! So thanks, and God bless you and your work!

  5. Landon says

    Great recipes! I’m an OCM girl at night & warm water rinse in the morning. I use a mix of 7 ounces sunflower oil, 3 ounces castor oil with a few drops of both lavender & clary sage. My 14 y/o daughter also uses the same mix & loves it. I just refill her small bottle from my larger bottle as needed. It works great at controlling our oily T zone. =)

    • Betsy says

      I use sunflower oil, too, because I can “keep it local” from a farmer less than 100 miles away. Love that aspect of it! Do the lavender and clary sage EO make a big difference in oil control?

      • Landon says

        I don’t know how much the EOs have to do with it, or if it’s just the process of not stripping my skin anymore. I do know that acne prone skin loves lavender. It will clear my daughter’s occasional breakouts in no time. I’ve read that lavender & clary sage are often used for oil control, so I add them.

        If it gives you any indication of the change in the level of oil my skin is producing —
        Before OCM I could apply cosmetics & go to Sunday School & AM church services. We’d get home by 12:30 & my T zone would be really shiny. I’d blot with a tissue, then before the evening service I’d have to blot again, re-powder my face & by the time we got home a couple of hours later it needed to be blotted again.
        Now that I’ve been OCMing for a while I check my makeup after the morning services & do nothing. Before leaving for the evening services I simply blot with a tissue & don’t need to reapply powder at all.

  6. Elina says

    these are fantastic recipes! (actually i LOVE your blog in general.)

    just a suggestion, it might be worth digging up your bottle of jojoba and re-trying the first recipe…. jojoba is actually a liquid wax and behaves quite differently than coconut oil does…. especially in regards to our sebum (skin oils).

    • says

      Thanks for that tip Elina. I had a feeling the substitution I made had something to do with it. I will definitely give it another try. :-)

  7. Ellen Gardner says

    I actually make and use the Olive oil cleanser regularly. I have substituted coconut oil in the past and it makes it runny, not as creamy. I tried adding melted veg shortening to thicken it up and I guess it threw the formula off because it ended up a little too greasy, but it still cleans well. Vegetable shortening aka Crisco is one of the better things to use on your skin for removing make-up instead of anything with mineral oil. Love your experiments! Keep on bloggin’!

    • says

      Crisco is an excellent skin remover but I had forgotten all about it. I used it many, many years ago and even told a very proper lady working the cosmetic counter in a large upscale store about. The look of horror on her face was priceless. Thanks for reminding me. I’m going back to it.

  8. says

    I have dry skin that is getting all blotchy as I age. It can also be rather sensitive. Which one would you recommend?
    Love, love your website. I’ve used so many of your “recipes” and cannot tolerate the smell of commercial laundry detergents anymore. Thank you!

    • says

      Cindy…if your skin is sensitive I probably would avoid the one with lemon juice…but the olive oil cleanser or the honey cleanser would probably work really well for you. :-)

      And thank YOU for being a loyal reader! xoxo

      • Deborah Jennings says

        Olive oil is really good for your dry skin. I use a lot of it in my lotions and such. I am trying to get completely away from petroleum products completely. I do use mineral oil, but only for my nails. I had a nail tech tell me that this will help my dry, brittle nails.

      • Sherry Thompson says

        I am also looking for a cleanser for my dry (and sensitive) 61 year old skin. May I ask why you (or anyone else for that matter) would prefer an olive oil based cleanser versus a honey based one?

      • Sherry Thompson says

        Thanks to the advice you gave Cindy, for my dry skin, I am going to try the cleanser with honey. Thanks for this forum, Jillee; there is so much good information available to us.

    • says

      Lauren….I have found both at the grocery store and at places like Walmart. At Walmart I actually had to ask the pharmacist, but it was there. :-)

    • Miranda says

      I can find both in the pharmacy section of walmart in the general area for first aid stuff (ie: bandaids, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol etc.). I think they’re both usually near the bottom.

    • Landon says

      Just had a tip to share since your question about where to find glycerine has already been answered.

      I use 2 oz of glycerine in my gallon size foaming handwash refil mix. My glycerine (Walmart) has a flip cap. When the bottles are empty I wash & remove the labels. They make great travel bottles for lotions, shampoos, conditioner, etc — except for air travel when you are required to have smaller bottles. My DD & I can share bottles for a week & still have plenty of product left in all the bottles.

    • Jo says

      I found Witch Hazel in Target in Grand Forks, ND for $1.44 for a big bottle. Here in Canada I found the same size bottle in my pharmacy for $9.99. I can only find the small bottles in Wal Mart here. We’re getting a Target soon though! You have an awesome country!