How-To Soap-Free Rose & Red Clay Face Cleanser

Looks like chocolate, smells like rose, feels like silk, and cleanses and nourishes skin like a dream.

Today, we're going to combine powdered rose, rhassoul and red clay for this no-soap, skin-loving cleanser. If you haven't tried making or using a soap-free face cleanser yet, maybe this how-to will inspire you to give it a try.

Don't worry if you don't have these exact ingredients at hand, I've listed possible substitutes.

Here's how I put this product together.

The Formula

This amount will fill a 100 ml jar

  • 10 gr cocoa butter (or other hard butter)
  • 30 gr palm oil (or coconut oil)
  • 38 gr castor oil (or almond oil)
  • 30 gr rhassoul (or clay)
  • 20 gr red clay (or other clay)
  • 0,8% preservative 
  • 5  gr powdered rose (or chamomille, green tea, or other herb)

Always measure your ingredients by weight. If they are liquid, place a container on a scale, and pour until the scale measures the desired weight. Easy peasy!


Melt the fats and oil slowly over low heat - monitoring the mixture at all times. You don't want to overheat!

I've been doing 2 different formulas simultaneously as of late, so what you see above is the basis for 2 cleansers.

When the fats are just about to be fully melted, remove from heat and stir until thoroughly melted.

Add remaining ingredients, stir, and pour into a jar.

Let set until cool. (15 minutes in the refrigerator should do it if you want to speed the process up).

Pictured at the top: the final product.

Adding a label is optional, but it's a real good idea to note the production date and place it on the bottom of the jar.


Make Your Own Soap-Free Cleanser

Basic Formula
Mean Green Cleanser
Ayurvedic Skin Brightening Cleanser
How to use a soap-free cleanser-  FAQ and tutorial


Unknown said…
This face cleanser looks amazing! Is the preservative used because of the rose powder? What preservative did you use for this product? If I don't use rose powder, can I discard the preservative?

Thank you, Audrey
LisaLise said…
Bonjour Audrey! Thanks for your kind words. The preservative is added because this product risks coming into contact with water. It is a face wash, and will be 'living' in a bathroom environment. Wet or moist fingers are dipped into the mixture with every use. If water is introduced to the mixture in any way, the product must be preserved.
Annie Perez said…

I'm such a huge fan :) I LOVE YOUR BLOG! Can you please tell me what preservative you use? I made some clay bars from your vast collection of recipes :) Put them into silicone molds and am having trouble getting them out, they are quite soft even after a few days. Do you think it's OK to re-melt them, then add the preservative? I'm worried about bacterial/mold growth. Also want to pour them directly into jars.

Thanks you SO MUCH!
LisaLise said…
HI Annie - Thanks so much for your kind words! As for preservative: If there are botanicals (powdered herbs, flowers etc), then nothing short of broad spectrum preservative will do. Phenonip is good for this kind of formula. You'll find it at various soap making suppliers - try LotionCrafter (if you are in North America).
As for hardness: if you prefer your product in jars, yes, you can remelt and add your preservative, then re-pour.
Or, if you are looking for a bit more hardness and want to go back to the molds, try adding a bit more hard butter (such as cocoa butter) to your batch when you remelt. Best of luck with it!
Annie Perez said…
Thanks so much for your speedy response! Your products are amazing :)
LisaLise said…
And thank you for your very kind words! :)
AnnaMK said…
This is such a nice idea for a face cleanser! I will definitely try this soon. I'm just waiting on a new package with clays which I ordered.
I am happy I came across your blog, so far I am very much enjoying reading it.

LisaLise said…
HI Anna . Thanks for your kind words. Feel free to ask questions any time.
Anonymous said…
Sorry for being so ignorant but for this recipe how many oz or grms are recommended of preservative and which one you recommend.
LisaLise said…
Hi Alma -- a perfectly intelligent question! Since this recipe is in percent, the amount depends on the batch size. I recommend using a preservative called phenonip -- it's a mix of phenoexethynol, methylparaben and ethylparaben. As for the math-- it's easy if you figure a batch of 100 grams. Then, your amount of preservative would be 0.8 grams of preservative per batch. Mind you, some preservatives are only required at 0,5%-- so you have to ask your supplier if: 1: the preservative is broad spectrum and 2: the recommended dose to add. They always give their speicifications in percent. I hope this was if help. :)
LisaLise said…
Alma I apologize -- I just noticed this recipe is indeed in grams and not percent. For this particular batch the total gram weight is 131, so 0.8% would equal 1 gram.
Crystal H said…
I noticed that the castor oil is in 'ml' and not 'gr', and then you say "always measure by weight", is 'ml' correct or should it be 'gr' ?
LisaLise said…
Thank you for spotting this Crystal - it is indeed a glitch! Yes, it should say grams instead of ml. I will correct this.
Unknown said…
Looks absolutely fab.. any advice on how this can be used?
LisaLise said…
Hello Roopashree - If you check the links at the bottom of this post you'll find a link to an FAQ and tutorial on how to use a soap free cleaning bar :)
Tachan said…
I was wondering what could be used in place of palm oil? I know in soap Coconut can be used would this be the same for this face cleanser?
LisaLise said…
Hi Tachan - Yes, coconut oil is listed as a possible replacement for the palm oil. :)
Jax said…
Hello and thank you for this lovely recipe. I tried it today, substituting coconut for the palm oil and French Green Clay for the red but my mixture didn't set at all, I'm left with what looks like gloopy chocolate mousse with a thin film of oil on top - where did I go wrong? I have a good scales and because the quantities are so small, I was extra careful in weighing out. I scooped it back into the pot and mixed in an extra 145g green clay and 5g rose powder but it's still a whipped cream texture - i was expecting a waxy, semi solid? It still feels wonderful to use though! :D
LisaLise said…
Hi Jax - This will set at a normal room temperature as is common to Northern Europe. If you live in a warmer climate, you may need to adjust the amounts. Try adding more cocoa butter to get your mixture to set (you can do this with the one you have already made by simply remelting and adding more cocoa butter. For your next batch, try adjusting the oil DOWN 5-10% and the cocoa butter UP accordingly. Some people like this cleanser to be as soft as possible where others prefer a harder set. You'll have to play with the proportions until you have what you want. Best of luck with it and feel free to drop a comment and let me know how it goes!
Jax said…
Thank you! I've been reading your posts on the other cleansers and the ratios differ slightly, will try your suggestion above. I have to say I love the very gentle exfoliating feeling this cream has, you've inspired me to try the rest of the range and explore my packages of Ayurvedic powders......
LisaLise said…
Hi Jax - Great! I've had quite a bit of positive response on these. It sounds like you have all the right ingredients at hand to make some wonderful cleansers. :)
Dianna said…
Would plum oil work?
LisaLise said…
Hi Dianna - I don’t see why not and it would probably smell fabulous. Mind you, plum oil is on the pricier end of the scale so you may want to consider how of of a pricey oil you want to add to a rinse off product. :)
Febe said…
Hi Lisa!
I made this converting to percent do I could scale the end product.
However, it came out way too watery. This is what I got based on your recipe:
Cocoa butter 7.57%
Palm Oil 22.43%
Castor Oil 28.4%
Rhassoul Clay 22.4%
Red clay 14.95%
Powdered herb/flower/etc 3.74%
Preservative 0.8%

I think I need more cocoa butter because I have a slurry and not something I can scoop out of a jar. I think this is supposed to be a bit more solid. I am going to have to make adjustments. Just thought I would let you know incase you were thinking of checking out my math or making changes to your recipe.

Thanks for sharing the concept of this cleansing balm and recipe.
LisaLise said…
Hi Febe - Thanks for your comment! Your calculations look good to me. If your product is too runny and didn't set up over a day, then you could try adjusting the level of cocoa butter to palm oil - try raising the cocoa butter by 5% and using 5% less palm oil. Finally: depending on what climate you are living in, this product will set more or less firmly. Feel free to get back and post a comment on how it works out for you :)