Clay and Butter Gentle Cleanser

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you may remember 2012 as a 'year of cleansing bars'. After developing my first one and experiencing how much my skin loved it, I continued making them. Before long, there was a collection of 18 different bars.

Bare Basic Soap-Free Cleansing

The main ingredients of my cleansing bars are clays, butters, and oils. It's a real minimalist, back-to-basics approach to cleansing and moisturising the face and neck gently and effectively. The biggest bonus is that these ingredients work well for all skin types – normal, dry, mature – even oily and sensitive skin.

And now, I've now taken the main components and created a formula that puts a bar into a jar.


Because of Laziness

As much as I love how the bars work, I began to tire of the storage and maintenance process after a while. Cleansing bars in several different varieties started taking up a larger portion of the (food) refrigerator as testing 4-6 different bars simultaneously became the norm. And because they were all wrapped the same (in paper towel, then plastic), it was almost always necessary to go through several packages before the desired bar was located.

Go ahead and say it: "Why didn't you just label the packages, Lise?"

Did I mention I was lazy?

Also, retrieving a portion from the refrigerator directly before use meant having to work the product a bit longer to soften it enough for comfortable application.

The luxury beast in me finally took over.

Having perfect texture at hand in the bathroom – ready to go – became enough of a priority for me to rework my formula to a softer version – like this:

Don't be fooled by the little spatula – that's just for illustrative purposes.

You can happily dip wet fingers right into the mixture and have at it without a care in the world – because contrary to the cleansing bars, this little number comes complete with preservatives. No refrigeration necessary.

I've done several different versions and tested them all over the past months.

Love. Every. One.

Bar in a Jar

My present fave is cocoa butter with red clay and ground oatmeal. Samples have been passed to my regular testers for feedback. So far, it's all thumbs up.

A long overdue addition to my website is underway where I plan to introduce this and a few additional products before too terribly long.


Try the DIY

If you're curious to experience how clay and butters can cleanse and moisturise your skin, find links to all 18 of my cleansing bar recipes (along with tips on storage and use) on the how to page.

And – if you visit the Cleansing Bar Catalog page, there are even more recipes – all kindly shared by others who did their own fabulous versions.


You never cease to amaze me ! I love, love, love, loovvve, reading and seeing what you're currently up to.

This bar in a jar looks divine ! I love cleansing with clays and oils, though I've never tried butters. I may have to have fun with one of your DIY recipes !
LisaLise said…
Hi Admin@ativeLoveCo - Thank you sooo much for your kind words! Please do let me know what you think if you should give one of my bars a try. :)
María said…
Hi Lisa. I have just discovered your blog and though I did not have the time to read all of it, I absolutely love what I've read so far.
I make to my own cosmetics, just for myself, gifts, swaps, etc, and I also like to experiment.
I'm absolutely amazed by this idea of clay+oil cleanser, and I wonder what do you think about the idea of adding a small amount of a soft tensioactive (surfactant maybe? Sorry for that, English is not my best language, I'm Spanish), well, like I said, to add a little amount of tensio to improve rinsing the product off.
I've made some experiments of a semi solid strong cleanser mixing a solid tensio like sodium cocoyl isethionate with oils (I mean strong for lots of make up and all that, not just for daily cleansing) with very good results. For example, to add about 5-10% of a mild tensio, as decyl glucoside or similar. As a tensio, it will emulsify the oils with water and improve rinsing off.
What do you think?
Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us and greetings from Edinburgh!
LisaLise said…
Hi Maria - Thanks so much for your kind words! Your question about adding a surfactant sounds quite interesting and doable. Don't forget to add a broad spectrum preservative! I understand about your wanting to ease the rinsing-off process.

I have experimented some with adding surfactants to oil-based body scrubs and must admit I didn't have the best of luck with it. However, this was so many years ago, I would need to check my notes to tell you exactly what it was that didn't work for me.

It does sound like you have been working with this type of combination quite a bit , so I'd be interested to hear how it turns out for you! Please do let me know if you decide to give it a try.
María said…
Hi Lise.
In fact, I've already try some kind of "cleansing butter" with these proportions:
-40% solid surfactant (equal mix of SCS and SCI).
-30% coconut oil
-30% carrier oil.

This mix is quite dense, but a little amount (like a big hazelnut) is enough. The process was just rub the mix on the face with a little massage and then rinse thoroughly. It worked as a dream for strong make up, cleaning everything without a trace.
However, I think it could be a little strong for the eyes, so next time I tested I remove eyes make up with a mix I have of castor oil and olive oil and then apply the cleansing butter all over the rest of the face. When rinsing, as on the eyes there is no surfactant, was less irritant for them, but the emulsion formed when rinsing also helped to remove the oils when demak' the eyes, leaving the sking clean and smooth.

Following with your idea, what do you think about this proportion:
-15% surfactant
-30% clay (I love rhassoul, is a must-have for me)
-15% butter
-40% liquid oil
This would be just for experiment purposes. If you want to add some essential oils or actives, then I thing you could remove the quantities from the liquid oil.
I think I will experiment with this and I'll let you know.
Sorry for this long message :)
LisaLise said…
Hi Maria - Absolutely no need to apologize for your long message - it is interesting and also inspirational for other readers!

I do like the way you are thinking this formula. The fact that you want to try this with rhassoul is especially interesting to me - mostly because I'm now quite curious as to how it turns out for you!

I have had mixed results using rhassoul with this particular product series. I know rhassoupl is categorized as montmorillonite, but in my experience, it just doesn't seem to behave the same way as other clays when mixed with oils and butters.

Adding a surfactant could be the perfect thing - or could go quite wrong! Please promise to update!