Mallow Face Cleanser Kit - Part 1 - The Gel

After experimenting with mallow gel as a hair colorant and discovering how the mucilage content left my hair feeling super silky, I decided to give the gel a whirl on my skin – as a face cleanser.

Guess what.

It was a winner.

I tried it alone. I paired it up with a few additionals.

It continued to be a winner.

Batches one and 2 of my new favorite cleansing gel disappeared quite quickly. Batch 3 is happily sitting on my shelf as I write this.

I'm curious to know if you also find it effective on your skin. So curious, that I'm going to show you how to make your own.

Cleansing Properties - Mallow?

If you research mallows properties, you will not find cleansing listed among them – unless you count cleansing of the colon and gastrointestinal tract. Mallow consists of amino acids, mucilages, flavinoids, a few terpinoids, enzymes, vitamins, and a few other things. It is predominately favored as a detox aid and as such, mostly documented for it's benefits with internal use.

I haven't been able to find any mention of mallow as a skin cleanser.

Until now.

By me.

(insert little giggle here)

The Gentle Cleanse

I was delighted with how well mallow functioned as a face and neck cleanser – gently removing make-up (foundation, blush etc) and even eye make-up with nary a trace of dryness afterwards.

If you do decide to make this, please drop a comment on this post and let me know your skin type and how it worked for you.

Beginner Friendly

The gel is easy peasy to make, and there are surprisingly few ingredients in it. Not only that, this is a pretty pocktbook-friendly product to make.

Shall we get started?


The amounts below make a pretty healthy portion, so you might want to make half for your first batch.

For approximately 440 ml of gel you need:
  • 500 gr demineralised water
  • 10 gr dried mallow flowers
  • 0,8 - 1 % broad spectrum preservative (I used this one, but you could also use this one) NOTE!: The exact amount of preservative is calculated and added AFTER weighing the final amount of infused liquid so you can calculate and add the correct amount of preservative)
  • xanthan gum


Start with sanitized tools and containers and a clean workspace.
  • Weigh out mallow flowers and place into tea-infusion bags leaving room for the flowers to expand a bit
  • Staple the bags shut and place them in your infusing container (I used a glass teapot)
  • Bring the water to a boil
  • Pour water over mallow bags, cover to keep steam in, and let infuse for 1 hour
  • Strain into a clean bowl
  • Weigh the total amount of water, calculate the amount of preservative and add.
  • Slowly whisk in small amounts of xanthan until you have a desired viscosity. You want a gel that is thick enough to stay on the skin in a thin layer. Test the mixture on the back of your hand as you work until you are happy with the consistency.
  • Bottle your gel
  • Add a label (date) 

Check this post for a step by step of the infusion process with pics.

Below: a peek at batch 1. This was a MUCH more concentrated gel and had loads more color (far more than needed to wash the face). Pictured at the top of this post is batch 3.

To Use Your Gel as a Cleanser

  • Squeeze out approx. a teaspoon of product into your palm.
  • Apply to face and neck and massage gently.
  • If you have normal, oily or combination skin, you might want to leave the mixture on for 1-2 minutes (a perfect time to brush your teeth)
  • Rinse
  • Pat dry
  • Finish as you normally do

(I always finish with a spritz of hydrosol-based skin tonic and follow with a few drops of face oil)

Enjoy your fabulous-looking skin!

Next Up

We combine this gel with a few skin-loving ingredients to create a gentle exfoliant and face mask.

A Bit More Mallow

Chemical Composition of Mallow (leaves)
Aroma Active Compounds in Mallow (flowers)
Mallow Plant description and (medicinal) uses


Abby said…
I've been working on a powdered face wash similar to your flowers food and dirt concept, and decided to include flaxseed meal in one batch because I've heard how good flaxseed oil is for skin... but I forgot about the mucilage in flax! After washing my face with this powder-turned-creamy-gel, that completely removed all trace of makeup I might add, I remembered this blog post! :) I don't have access to mallow, but I think there's definately something to your cleansing mucilage idea!!! My skin feels amazing! :)
LisaLise said…
HI Abby - I know, it's great, isn't it?! I've been so pleased with how this gel works. I use it solo for removing eye make-up and mix it with the powders and grains as face wash or leave it on as a mask. I'll bet the flax seed idea could be developed - do let me know if you continue to work with it!
Febe said…
This looks great and I am looking forward to making and trying! I am having a bit of a problem finding mallow flowers. Where do you get yours? Thank you so much!
LisaLise said…
HI Febe, I get mine from a local Danish herbal supplier. I'm not sure how easy these are to source to tell you the truth. You may want to look to health food suppliers as well as cosmetics ingredients suppliers.
Tracy said…
Hi Lise,

Thank you for your hard work and sharing. I have learned a great deal from your blog.

The ingredient list of this mallow gel cleanser does not include any surfactant. So I believe there is no foam, is that correct ? How does it work to cleanse ?

LisaLise said…
HI Tracy, Thanks for your kind words! You are correct in that there is no foam at all. This is a wonderfully gentle cleanser that works particularly well for sensitive skin but can be used by all skin types. Surfactants are not necessary to cleanse the skin (or hair). You can cleanse beautifully with ground herbs and water (oats are great), clay will also do an excellent job of cleansing. The foam and lather are not a necessary part of cleansing. (but admittedly can be fun and aid distribution of the product)
Tracy said…
Hi Lise,

Thank you for your reply. I would love to try this as my face is quite sensitive recent years. I cannot use any essential oil at all in any of my facial products although some essential oils are great for skin.

Just one more question, is mallow the same as Malva Sylvestris ? I am trying to buy it from amazon.

LisaLise said…
Hi Tracy - yes indeed. As I write in my other posts about mallow, the INCI is indeed malva sylvestris :)
Laurie said…
Being a convert to plant power๐Ÿ˜€in my skin care I gave this a go, I have mature dry/sensitive skin. First off - love the colour. Tried it just as the gel for cleansing and it removed my day make up easily (not that I use heavy makeup). My skin felt lovely and soft afterwards. Next I made up some cleansing powder with oats, bee pollen, clay and chamomile powder, Mixed it into the gel and it made a beautiful mask. Total success - love it!

My only question is: Xantham gum is not my friend! What is the trick of incorporating it without causing lumps?๐Ÿ˜ž
LisaLise said…
HI Laurie -- Forgive this tardy reply, but as we have been connected in other forums in the meantime, I'll say I'm happy you have found a solution :)
Laurie said…
Not tardy at all! i was eager to sort it out.๐Ÿ˜€
suki-san said…
For anyone wondering what the answer, or at least one of them is, regarding how to incorporate xanthan gum more easily into a formula, I usually add it (at a much smaller percentage than I ever ever think I should) first into vegetal glycerin, making sure to stir it very well until it is all smooth & incorporated.
I can't recall at the moment if it allows sifting, but if it does, definitely sieve it (I usually use a very fine(which means the little openings are super tiny!) hemisphere-type tea strainer & tare the strainer, weighing the powder into it's 'bowl', then I triturate the powder with a pestle of either wood or marble into the eventual beaker or cup I will be using to mix the glycerin & powder).
Your other option is in the case of an emulsion, to pre-mix it with the liquid oil fraction, otherwise following the same instructions as above.
LisaLise said…
Hello Suki-san! Thanks so much for sharing :D