DIY facial cleansing balm

A little over a week ago I decided to make a facial cleansing balm because I'm frankly a little lazy sometimes living off grid and removing my makeup at night - yep I know it's really bad but there it is. Mostly I stopped wearing makeup but recently someone commented that I wasn't maintaining myself and to be honest it hurt my feelings. It's true that off grid life makes basic chores like washing dishes, regular showers and toilet routines more work and then there's trying to fit all the tasks that need to be done like animal feeding, cleaning, gardening and running a small business. A lot of days I feel happy but exhausted and I fall into bed forgetting to wash my face. My bad.

The truth is that it hurt because I'd been feeling like I wasn't being completely authentic to who I was so it sort of rang I resolved to make extra effort to present myself to the world better!

One thing I have noticed though since being outside more, eating healthier and being away from the city is that I have far less skin problems than I used to. My skin has been healthy and clear all by itself for the most part since I stopped washing it with soap and water so often so I decided to try cleansing my face with a balm instead of using the water/soap method.

As a teenager I had oily / combination skin and back in the day there was a near hysteria around not clogging pores to avoid getting acne, so I'd generally been through a lot of different products to try and get rid of my oily skin and acne. As a result I avoided heavy cream cleansers like the plague and it wasn't until roughly 2010 when I read about facial brushing and oil based cleansers, though I was still reluctant to try it because at the age of 20-something I felt I sort of had the right routine to manage my skin and I was hesitant to upset the balance as it were and experiment with something that I'd always been told would be devastating for my complexion!

Fast forward to almost 40 and though I still have oily skin, by my standards it wasn't what it used to be and sometimes it looked dry to me, plus since I enjoy making my own handmade cosmetics for personal use I have a ridiculous hoard of butters, oils and of course essential oils from candle making! Seems like trying a facial cleansing balm wouldn't be such a bad idea.

I've used it for about a week now and I have to say I LOVE it! There's a way, in my opinion to do it right, but definitely this is part of my routine that's here to stay. Best of all it's completely waterless, zero waste and packed full of great things for the biggest organ on the body - the skin.

Full disclaimer, I made this recipe without thinking too much and just followed my instinct/intuition regarding how to make it so remember that if you try making it and maybe you'll need to adjust according to your skin type and preferences.

In all honesty this is probably quite a fancy and elaborate recipe, but as I said I have the ingredients to hand so I thought why not? I think in a minimalist pinch you could probably get away with just using pure coconut oil so that'd be an easy way to try it without spending much.

My recipe included (roughly) -

  • 1 tsp cocoa butter

  • 1 tsp shea butter

  • 1 tsp coconut oil

  • 1/2 tsp rosehip oil

  • 1/2 tsp grapeseed oil

  • 3-4 drops vitamin E oil

  • 3-4 drops argan oil

  • 3-4 drops lavandin essential oil

  • 3-4 drops chamomile essential oil

Making it was really easy - add the first three ingredients to a sterile container (I reuse a small glass jar for this) and melt them slowly in a hot water bath. Once they're melted, remove from the bain marie and add the remaining liquid oil ingredients. Stir well to combine, make sure you're happy with the scent - I happen to love the chamomile in this but I originally added it as I know it's fine for topical use and great for the skin, as the lavandin is. Lavandin is very similar to lavender in action, but I prefer the scent as I find it more citrus and less floral which suits me. Then I put everything in the fridge to set, giving it a little stir inbetween.

The result has been a balm that's solid at room temperature, but that melts instantly on the skin. For this reason you need to apply it quickly as it will melt on the fingertips. I use roughly a pea sized amount, massaging in small circles and careful on a lashline. It's great for removing eye makeup, but oil in the eyes leaves the vision blurry so I'm careful here! After that I start wiping it off gently with a facial cleansing pad - I have natural cotton ones because I haven't made any reusable ones yet (future project!). You could also use a microfiber facial cloth or just a plain cotton cloth. It doesn't need to be fancy as it's only going to absorb oil and grime.

Pro - tip: I only do this at night to remove my makeup because it leaves your skin silky soft with a fine sheen of oils. I'm not sure it's a good base for makeup, and I sort of think that putting it on before bed allows the skin to absorb it when it needs it most while it's repairing at night - I think of it as a cleanser first, then a moisturizing night mask. In the morning I just splash my face with cold water and then follow my normal routine.

You can also adapt this recipe easily to your skin type by switching up the essential oils and possibly the liquid oils. I'm not exactly sure how shelf stable this it either, but given that it doesn't contain water and has the vitamin E plus antibacterial

essential oils I think it will last a fair amount of time!

Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe and what you thought :)

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