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Monday, 25 October 2010

Non-Soap Cleansers

A truly natural non-soap cleanser is not a far-fetched idea. In this world of mass-produced facial cleansers and makeup removers, containing all sorts of strange sounding chemicals, it might seem like soap is your only option. NO! It certainly isn't.
For example, did you know that you can remove your make up by using any vegetable oil from your kitchen cupboard? Well it's true - a little olive or sunflower oil on a damp cotton wool pad will remove even waterproof mascara. And it doesn't have to be olive or sunflower, it could be any kind of oil at all, even lard. Using lard may be taking things a little too far. But this website is not about buying masses of expensive ingredients (although you can if you want to, and I have recipes for those too!) or spending a fortune just to make natural skincare products. It's really just to open up the possibilities to you, another example...

Why do you think Cleopatra bathed in asses milk? Well we don't actually know if she did, but she is attributed with having done so, and if she did... well done her! Asses milk is high in fat content and very gentle and soothing - especially if you have sensitive skin prone to flare ups.Why would you buy a preparatory cleansing milk when you can purchase fresh goat milk (which comes without synthetic preservatives I might add) which will do exactly the same job? I bet you never thought about it like that did you? Yes there are considerations like how long will it keep before going rancid, but if you use milk on a daily basis in the kitchen there is no reason why you couldn't use some of it every day for your complexion.

Choosing what sort of non-soap facial cleanser you want to use will depend upon your skintype.

The choices you have are as follows:
All oil cleansers: from the simplest olive oil to a more sophisticated blend - removes makeup as well as daily grime.
Water-based cleansers: plain water with just one or two simple additions for cleansing the most delicate of complexions.
Milk-based cleansers: gentle and effective and cold from the fridge! If it worked for Cleopatra maybe it will work for you.
Cream-based cleansers: products to rival anything you can buy at the chemist. You could try a victorian cold cream as a cleanser. Great for removing theatrical make up and/or really stubborn dirt especially if you have very dry skin.

Starting with oil-based cleansers I have given you a couple of recipes to get you started.  Other recipes coming, keep checking back!

Rose Petal Oil for Dry or Mature Skin
75ml Sunflower Oil25ml Macedamia Oil
Three drops Rose Otto essential oil
Three handfuls of fresh rose petals dried. In preference choose an old-fashioned scented variety.
Macerate (instructions on macerating oils at the bottom of the post) the rose petals in the two oils for two to three weeks, after which, strain and use as is or add the essential oil. Leave the mixture for 24 hours to allow the essential oil to settle in prior to using it as a makeup remover for the first time.
To vary
The same recipe can be made substituting the expensive rose essential oil with lavender and replacing the rose petals with dried lavender buds.

Yarrow for Oily Skin Prone to Acne
100mls Olive oil (you can choose whichever grade of olive oil you wish, if olive oil is too reminiscent of kitchen and cooking for your taste, then choose almond oil.
Two drops tea tree essential oilThree drops lavender essential oil
A good handful of fresh Yarrow stalks complete with flowers and leaves. you should choose a mixture of both leaves and flowers because of the different chemical makeup of each - the balance is important.
Dry the yarrow and macerate in the oil (for more informaiton on how to macerate oils see the bottom of this post). Once the oil has been strained you can use it, as is, or add the essential oil. Leave the mixture for 24 hours to allow the essential oil to settle in before using it as a makeup remover for the first time.
To vary
Add the peeled rind of a large unwaxed lemon (make sure that you do not include any of the pith or white underside of the peel as this contains different chemical qualities) to the oil along with the yarrow and macerate together for two to three weeks.


Macerates make superb skincare oils. And it is possible to tailor them specifically for yourself. Maceration is the process of transfering the therapeutic parts of plants and flowers into the oil. You must use dried herbs or flowers and it is very important to identify which herb or flower you are using correctly. Not all plants have beneficial qualities. Very clear easy to follow directions for drying your herbs can be found at The Herbal How To Guide as well as any help identifying which herbs to use.
Once you have your dried herb, you then bruise it substantially in order to break the tough outer skin. The herb can then be covered with a suitable skincare oil. Plain olive or sunflower is most common but it is entirely up to you which oil you use. Cover the bruised herb with your chosen oil and then allow it to steep for two or three weeks in a sunny place, giving it a gentle swirl every day. If you do not have reliable sunshine, then simply place it in a warm place - airing cupboard or close to the Aga will do.
After two to three weeks the oil is then ready to be strained. First through a fine mesh sieve and finally through coffee filter paper or muslin, to remove any last traces of plant material. The oil can then be used to make your chosen skincare product.

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