How to: Rose and Soapnut Slow Beauty Cleansing Milk

Pictured: One of the latest batches of my Rose and Soapnut Slow Beauty Cleansing Milk. This is partly experimenting with a few ingredients combos, and partly testing the limits and capabilities of this particular emulsifier. I've been using this particular ingredient combo for most of this year and it has been performing beautifully. The best part? It's relatively easy to make.

If you've been following me on Instagram, you've probably already seen a few batches underway. As a matter of fact, I'm sharing this how-to with you due to numerous requests from lovely Insta-folks.

This formula utilizes a COSMOS certified and organic emulsifier (and oil thickening agent) that can be used either hot or cold (which is kind of cool if you ask me).

Today I'm going to show you how I made this as a simple cold process emulsion.
Spoiler alert: there's a reason the title includes 'Slow Beauty'.

COSMOS Emulsifier

I've been fooling around with this 'new' emulsifier known as Sucragel for a while now, and although it has its quirks, I think the positives outweigh the negatives - especially in a DIY or smaller batch setting. It seems the jury is still out on whether or not it does well for larger batch sizes and I'm assuming this is because of the mentioned quirks, but we'll get into those in a minute.

What's in an Emulsifier

There seems to be a growing number of suppliers of Sucragel, so it is pretty widely available. I have only sourced this from a couple of places so far (always good to try from different suppliers as sometimes there can be differences in how an ingredient performs). The INCI of the Sucragel I am using here is as follows: Glycerin, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis oil, Sucrose laurate, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis fruit water

Because this is a glycerine based ingredient, adding more glycerine to your formula could be a bit overkill, so if you are thinking of adding your own glycerites to a formula where you want to use sucragel, you'll probably want to keep it at a lower percentage than normal.

Depending on the texture you are aiming for, you can dose sucragel at anywhere from 6 - 20% of your formula.

This emulsion has a creamy, non-greasy feel and a viscosity that is my idea of cleansing milk perfection.

Batch Size: 150 grams of product (about 5.3 ounces)
Shall we get busy?

LisaLise's Rose and Soapnut Slow Beauty Cleansing Milk

Phase Ingredient Grams
A Demineralised Water 63.0
A Xanthan Gum 0.8
A Soapnut (dry extract) 3.0
A Rosewater 23.8
A Broad Spectrum Preservative 0.9
B Rose Macerated Castor Oil 42.0
B Sucragel 16.5


1. Combine phase A ingredients and allow to sit for 15 minutes.
2. Combine phase B and let stand for 15 minutes.
3. Stir phase B again.
4. Add phase A to Phase B little by little, stirring well in between additions.
5. Adjust pH if necessary
6. Transfer to final container

Sucragel Quirks

Fair warning: it can seem arduous transforming Sucragel and oil into a homogenous whole. My supplier recommends adding the oil to the sucragel ‘drop by drop’ and stirring until thoroughly incorporated in between additions.

Admittedly, this takes a bit of patience but the good news is, this process can be done by hand and without the use of any electrical mixers of any type with excellent results.

I’ve tried using different stirring implements (both 'electrified' and 'non electrified'), adding the oil to the sucragel faster (or in larger amounts at a time), stirring less, and just about every combo I could think of to speed the process up.

My experience to date is: the slower you go, the better and more stable a result you get. Read: if you (even try to) rush it, you (really) risk an unstable emulsion.

And now you know why I call this is a 'slow beauty' formula.

So if you don't have time to 'get your zen on', do wait for a day when you're ready to give slow-making a go.

pH Notes

I've done a few minor ingredients variations to the batches I have made which have resulted in pH levels ranging between 4.7 - 5.5. No pH adjustment has been necessary.

Ingredients Notes

Soapnut Extract

Soap nut dry extract is not the same as powdered soap nut and will give you quite different results if you try replacing a dry extract with a powder. There's more info about that right here.

If you can't access dry soapnut extract but have soapnuts, you could try doing a decoction and replacing half of the water amount in this formula with your decoction. There's a step by step how-to right here. 

Macerated Castor Oil

This is quite in line with the slow-going-ness of this formula. I made my own rose-infused castor oil by adding dried rose petals to castor oil and allowing the mixture to sun infuse for a couple of months before straining and using the oil. Depending on the quality and freshness of the dried roses you use, this will add a lovely note of rose to your product.

You could replace the rose with any herb you prefer (lavender and rosemary come to mind as possibilities).

If you don't want to make an oil infusion, just use castor oil.


I've made this with hydrosol, but to be a bit experimental, tried one batch with food grade rosewater (the kind you will find at specialty supermarkets). It worked beautifully and definitely won't be the last time I use rosewater of this type in a cleanser.


I have been using benzyl alcohol in these experimental batches and it has performed quite well. Estimated average shelf life: 12 months.

Do Tell

Have you worked with Sucragel before? What were your experiences? And if you have used Sucragel to make larger batches and are willing to share your thoughts, please feel free to drop a comment below! 


Audrey P. said…
Could you point out a supplier or two of soap nut (the dry extract) in the USA or Canada? All I seem to be able to find is the soap nuts itself.

LisaLise said…
Hi Audrey — This is a tough one as I don’t know many North American suppliers. This is why I suggested the decoction as an alternative. I’m sure it will give you the same gentle cleansing action, although I haven’t tried it (yet). I’ve still
got a few alternative ingredient combos to try. If you decide to try it with decoction I’d love to hear how it goes. Just pop a comment in again on this post. I get notifications for every comment regardless of how old a post might be.
Audrey said…
Ok. When/if I try ill report back here. Out of curiosity who are you suppliers? i may look into them and see if shipping is prohibitive or not. Thanks a lot!!
LisaLise said…
HI Audrey - You might look at Aroma Zone in France- I know they have several Ayurvedic powders and do also carry soapnut. They also ship worldwide , so you might get lucky there. :)

Jen said…
Do you think that a liquid plant saponins extract will be okay to use? Its a combo of soapnuts, soapwort, and quillaja. And how much should I use? (It can be used at 2-10%)
LisaLise said…
Hey there Jen - great question! I would imagine they would work beautifully and I would probably start somewhere right in between 2% and 10% and do a small batch first to see how it works out for you. Then you'll be able to either adjust up or down if you want to tweak. :) I'd love to hear how it works for you - please feel free to pop a comment in right here if you are so inclined.
SoapsbySly said…
Thanks for the post! I always enjoy all of them.

Every time I read about Sucragel, it always sounds like a pain to use. So why use it? Aren't there any other cold gel emulsifiers that aren't so difficult?

LisaLise said…
Hi SoapsbySly - I think saying Sucragel is a 'pain to use' might be a little exaggerated. I think many donate like using a different process than they are used to, and that's what they get with Sucragel. There is another cold process emulsifier called Sapogel that pretty much needs the same method, so I'm not quite sure how to answer you on this except to say - give it a try and you may quite like it. Personally, I think not having to go through a heated phase is a plus. :)
Anonymous said…
How long do soap nuts last?
LisaLise said…
Hi Anon — if it’s the dry extract, it should be good about a year. The soapnuts you buy to use as detergent seem to have no expiration date if stored dry and dark.