Learn how to make a DIY cleansing balm to use as a moisturizing face wash and makeup remover. Made from a handful of natural ingredients and similar to Beautycounter or other popular cleansing balms.
As a teenager, I would have been repulsed by it. As a busy, not-so-young-anymore mom, I am in love with it.
What am I talking about? No, not an old Robert Redford movie or a silent yoga retreat. I’m talking about cleansing balm.
Yes, we’re here to talk about face washing today – but in a way that might surprise you!
What is a Cleansing Balm?
It’s possible you’ve never even heard of cleansing balm but it’s been quite trendy lately, so maybe it’s been on your radar.
A cleansing balm is an oil based skin care product that comes in a solid state (as opposed to liquid) and is used for cleansing and makeup removal.
What? Wash my face with oil? Sounds like a bad idea!
That was my reaction too but once I learned that “oil attracts oil” it all made sense.
The oil in a cleansing balm works to remove dirty oil from your skin and replace it with fresh, nourishing oils.
Believe it or not, cleansing balm is actually beneficial for people with an oily complexion because it keeps skin from over-producing oil. Traditional foaming cleansers can strip skin of oil, causing your skin to react by producing too much oil.
Cleansing balm also removes makeup like nobody’s business!
FYI – You many recall stories of cold cream as a popular beauty regimen used by everyone from famous actresses to your very own grandma. While the basic idea of a cold cream cleanser is similar to a cleansing balm, traditional cold creams (like Ponds) are made from mineral oil and artificial fragrances so I would steer clear!
RELATED: Simple Homemade Makeup Remover
Benefits of Washing with a Cleansing Balm
The beauty of a cleansing balm is that it works for any skin type – dry, oily, acne-prone, young or older!
The benefits of washing your face with a cleansing balm include:
- Deep cleansing without stripping skin of oil
- Clears congested pores (reduced acne and blackheads)
- Helps balance skin’s natural oils
- Keeps skin from over-producing oil
- Adds moisture to skin where needed
- Massaging the balm into skin encourages blood flow and helps drain toxins
- Removes makeup thoroughly
How to Wash Your Face with a Cleansing Balm
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Washing your face with a cleansing balm is easy, but there is a method to the madness! It is similar to the oil cleansing method, but this involves a solid balm instead of a liquid oil.
- Scoop out an almond sized amount of cleansing balm
- Rub it between your fingers to melt the balm
- Massage the balm into DRY skin, using circular motions
- Carefully massage over the eye area as well
- Wet muslin washcloth with warm to hot water
- Place cloth over face and take a few breaths while the steam opens your pores
- Use the cloth to gently wipe away oil from face, being extra careful around the eye area
- Repeat until most of the oil is removed – but skin still feels moisturized
Afterwards, your skin should feel clean but also wonderfully soft and nourished.
Depending on your skin type you may or may not need to use additional skin care products, such as facial serums or moisturizers after cleansing. Since my skin is dry, I usually finish with a few drops of a nourishing facial oil serum and a bit of eye cream right before bed.
Cleansing balms are most often used at night – but nothing’s stopping you from using it as part of your morning routine as well (I’ve certainly done it!)
Note: it may take time for your skin to adjust to this new cleansing routine, so don’t write it off at the first sign of zit! Just like switching to natural deodorant, there can be an adjustment period where your skin goes through a bit of a detox. Stick with it if you can!
Other Uses for Cleansing Balm
On top of being a fantastic moisturizing cleanser and a non-toxic makeup remover, this DIY cleansing balm as a few other superpowers!
- Overnight face mask
- Moisturizing face cream
- Hand and cuticle cream
- Relief for dry elbows or heels
- All purpose balm
The solid state of a cleansing balm makes it perfect for travel! Just remember it still must meet the airline rules for liquids and gels (3.4-oz (100 ml) and they must be presented in a quart-sized ziplock bag.)
P.S. Love the idea of cleansing balm but not into DIY? You can buy it instead – check out my favorite cleansing balm brand!
DIY Cleaning Balm Ingredients
The product that got me hooked on the cleansing balm method of face cleaning was Beautycounter Cleansing Balm. It is such a lovely product, but it’s expensive – $80 for a 2.75-oz jar. So once my Beautycounter product ran out, I began testing out a homemade version.
While I wasn’t expecting to copy it completely (I don’t have access to all the ingredients that a company like Beautycounter does!), I did want my cleansing balm to have a similar consistency. I wanted it to be solid to the touch, yet melt in my hands. And obviously I wanted to use all natural, non-toxic and preferably organic ingredients.
I’ll be honest, my attempts to make cleansing balm had a bit of a Goldilocks problem – the first one was too thin, the second one was too thick, the third one was almost there and the fourth one was just right!
Here are the ingredients that made the final cut:
- Shea butter – An excellent moisturizer that comes from the nut of the shea tree in Africa. (I buy unrefined shea butter in bulk from my local co-op but you can buy shea butter online.)
- Cocoa butter – A moisturizing oil that comes from the cocoa bean. Cocoa butter is very hard at room temperature so it helps with the consistency of the cleansing balm. (I get disks of organic cocoa butter in bulk but you can find them online.)
- Coconut oil – This popular kitchen staple not only tastes good but is revered as a skin care treatment and makeup remover. (Use whatever you already have in your kitchen cupboard – there is no difference between coconut oil for eating or for skin care.)
- Calendula oil – Calendula flowers are known for their soothing and healing properties, making calendula-infused oil a perfect ingredient for cleansing balm. (Here’s the brand of calendula oil I have or you can make your own by infusing calendula flowers in a carrier oil like sunflower, olive or grapeseed oil.)
- Frankincense essential oil – A popular oil for skin care due to its ability to rejuvenate dry or mature skin. (Find certified organic frankincense oil online.)
- Geranium essential oil – Geranium (also Rose Geranium, which is similar) supports clear, calm skin by regulating oil production and helping unclog pores. One of my favorite essential oils because of its woodsy, rosy scent. (Find organic geranium essential oil here)
- Bergamot essential oil – A calming essential oil with a cheery, uplifting scent. (Find organic bergamot essential oil here)
All these ingredients are available in certified organic versions so your cleansing balm can be 100% organic if you prefer it that way!
DIY Cleansing Balm Recipe
My DIY Cleansing Balm is extremely simple to make. This recipe makes enough for 1 jar (about 1/3 cup) but it can easily be doubled or tripled.
In fact, while you are making one for yourself, you should really make one for a friend or two as well. I mean, who wouldn’t want this lovely multi-purpose cleansing balm scented with natural essential oils?
Start by measuring out the shea butter, coconut oil and cocoa butter discs into a glass bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments (stirring in between) until the ingredients are completely melted. This usually takes three 30-second increments – but it will depend on the strength of your microwave.
Wait for the oil mixture to cool a bit (it can be a bit warm, but not hot), then add the calendula oil and the essential oils.
Pour into a glass, metal or plastic container and let cool. You can refrigerate it to speed up the cooling process if you would like.
Some of you may notice that I reused the container from my Beautycounter cleansing balm. I’m always up for reusing jars and bottles whenever possible! Here are some nice glass containers if you need something new.
Once the balm is in a solid state, it is ready to use. Follow the instructions I mentioned above for how to wash your face with a cleansing balm!
Easy homemade cleansing balm that is just a effective as high priced brands and made with only a few natural, non-toxic ingredients.
- 2 tablespoons shea butter
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 4 cocoa butter disks
- 1 teaspoon calendula oil
- 5 drops geranium essential oil
- 5 drops frankincense essential oil
- 5 drops bergamot essential oil
Place shea butter, coconut oil and cocoa butter disks in a glass bowl.
Microwave for 30 seconds.
Stir and microwave for 30 more seconds.
Repeat until all ingredients are melted.
Let cool slightly until mixture is slightly warm but not hot.
Add calendula oil and essential oils and mix well.
Pour mixture into glass, metal or plastic jars.
Wait for cleansing balm to cool completely and solidify before using. Refrigerate if desired to speed up the process.
Makes about 1/3 cup - enough for one jar of cleaning balm.
I don’t have the calculations for exactly how much this DIY cleansing balm cost me, but I guarantee you it is less than what you would pay for most natural brands like Beautycounter or others.
A nice reminder that luxury beauty products do not have to be expensive!
Have you used a cleansing balm? Share your experience in the comments!