How to Make a Self-Preserving Rosemary and Honey Facial Cleanser


Today we're going to make a simple, all-natural cleanser that is both gentle and effective for all skin types.

The best part? There are only 2 ingredients
The other best part? It smells divine and works like a dream
The third best part? This cleanser is self-preserving and has a very long shelf life
The worst part? It takes a few days to prepare 

Are you ready to get started? Excellent, then let's get busy!

Testing Limits

You only need 2 ingredients to make this cleanser: raw honey and fresh rosemary.

Admittedly, this started last year as a bit of a 'let's-test-the-limits-of-these-ingredients' experiment. To really challenge the process, I decided to used freshly picked herbs – straight from my summer garden. 

You might already be gasping at the very thought. 

Raw botanicals with raw honey?!

Those ingredients are just asking for trouble!
Combining 'bug food' with more 'bug food'?! (and isn't it about time we retired that ridiculous term? Thank you, yes, I believe it is.) 

I told you I was testing limits, didn't I?

Well guess what.

Despite doing 'all the wrong things', the results were all kinds of skin-loving fabulous, so I decided to share this cleanser how-to with you.

LisaLise Rosemary and  honey
Here are the proportions

LisaLise’s Rosemary Honey Facial Cleanser

Ingredient Percent
Fresh Rosemary 25
Raw Honey 75


Method

  1. If your rosemary has thick stocks, remove the leaves and discard the stocks 
  2. Wash the rosemary in distilled water and let dry thoroughly
  3. Lightly chop the rosemary
  4. Weigh out honey and add to sanitized container
  5. Weigh out rosemary and add to honey
  6. Stir with a sanitized tool to incorporate
  7. Place lid on jar
  8. Let infuse for 3-5 days at room temperature away from direct light and heat
  9. Strain and bottle

Straining Tips

I strained this batch through a clean piece of muslin. If you wear latex gloves, you can easily squeeze out the last bit of honey.

Alternatively, place a sanitized, fine-mesh sieve over a bowl, pour the honey mixture into the sieve, place a lid over it and let gravity do its thing until your honey cleanser is ready to be bottled.


Viscosity and Bottling

My end result was thinner than the original (thickish, spreadable) honey so I opted for the pump bottle you see above.

Raw honey can have many colors and viscosities and still be the real thing. Depending on what your raw honey is like, you might find a squeezy tube ideal for your cleanser.

The book pictured below has a section on how to tell if your honey is the real thing (along with a whole lot of preservative-free cosmetics formulas you can make). Click the picture to be whisked to my site where you can read more.


Shelf Life

I know you're curious about shelf life. So am I. At the time of writing this, I've been using this rosemary honey cleanser for over 6 months and it's still going strong. If I can keep myself from using it all up, I will save a bit for monitoring and report back on shelf life.

Do Tell

Have you ever used honey as a cleanser?

Comments

Febe said…
Holy moly! This is incredible! Say more about why you selected rosemary. I am thinking other herbs as well. Like, fresh lavender or dandelion.....

Is your result moisturizing? I wonder what would happen if you added a pinch of clay.......
Anonymous said…
I'm curios about the change in viscosity. Why do you suppose it became thinner?
Lisa Belt said…
Yes I am curious as to how and why it became thinner. How do you use it? Do you apply it to a dampened face and rinse off with water?
Lise M Andersen said…
@Febe - Rosemary has a history of both medicinal and anti-bacterial uses, so it's a great addition to a cleanser. The result after using this cleanser is moisturising indeed. You can infuse other herbs in honey as well. Lavender is a great option. I've never tried fresh dandelion in honey so I can't comment on how it would turn out (although I now plan on giving it a try).

@Anonymous - the viscosity change is in all likelihood due to the natural moisture content of the fresh rosemary as it infused into the honey.

@Lisa Belt - To use this as a cleanser, apply to a lightly dampened face, massage gently (as you would with any other cleanser), then rinse off. Honey rinses away without a care in the world, but do be sure your hair is kept away from the face as it's a bit fiddly to rinse out of hair. :)
Kris Boggs said…
Hi Lise! Will you do a challenge test of this formulation?
I’m just wondering how we know for certain there is no bacteria inside.
Aish said…
Hi Lise, this is lovely. This reminded me of how, back in India, we would preserve fresh amla (Indian gooseberries) in honey. The preserved amla is then consumed to boost immunity and health. Never seen a bottle go bad :)
Anonymous said…
Great experiment Lisa! I too am so tired of bloggers who use the phrase ‘bug food’ over and over again. Well meaning perhaps, but i wish they would stop parroting what they learnt from one blog to another. Most serious DIYers know preservatives are mostly necessary but they also want to learn when things can be overpreserved, and also underpreserved if that be the case. In a world where homecrafters can buy so many functional ingredients, whether synthetic or natural that are similar to what commercial companies use, those who have a natural product inclination probably see you as a shining light in the confusing world of diy. I myself will buy a commercial product that is well formulated whether or not it is ‘natural’ but if I make it myself I want something different. otherwise I will buy from the manufacturers who can produce it more efficiently and therefore it’s better for our earth. Thank you so much for sharing your experiential learning, and that is what makes your blog so enjoyable. —Macy
Anda Dionisiou said…
I must say that the pure honey is thik so it will be a litle dificult to infuse thw herb in the honey. Only if we put it on heat but it will be thik again after a little time!!
Lise M Andersen said…
@Kris Boggs - You bring up an excellent point. Challenge testing is indeed the only way to know for sure. I am still working on testing different herbs and infusion methods, so this whole concept is still in early stages. Like I mention in the post - about 6 months at the time of writing this post.

@Aish - Oh my goodness I can imagine how fabulous a mixture of amla and honey would be- the tart and sweet together! I wish I had access to the fresh berries - I would be all over this idea for skincare! (And would probably taste a lot too)

@Macy - Your words are so kind and truly warm my heart. I am totally with you on using and going with what works for you - whether a commercially manufactured or home crafted product.

@Anda - Thanks for your comment. Raw honey can have many different viscosities and colors. I buy local honey from different suppliers where I live and have everything from a light and runny to a dark syrup-y consistency to a thick spreadable consistency. Although I know some prefer using heat, I personally refrain from using heat in order to maintain the integrity of the honey.
Febe said…
I made a honey infusion with fresh rosemary and ginger root.

I’ve used it solo and with my Rose Milk Cleansing Grains. I was inspired by your post on roses. The power of roses is incredible! I am in love with this cleanseršŸ˜. I digress....

The honey cleanser is impressive - either by itself or in combination. My Mom has dry skin...very dry skin. Plus, she has hard water which isn’t the best for faces. I am going to ask her to try this honey cleanser. She uses a Vitamin C focused Cleansing Grain I made. I think she will like adding the honey cleanser! too.

I will be posting pictures of the honey cleanser on my Instagram page- Barker Street Naturals. If you have the chance, stop by and see.

Thanks for your inspiration!
Lise M Andersen said…
Hey there Febe and thanks also much for sharing! I have checked out your IG profile and am following! feel free to tag me when you post your cleanser. Meantime, I am loving your ginger idea and now inspired to try this too!