DIY Cleansing Oil
When it comes to skincare, I like the ingredient lists to be as simple as possible. And for a cleansing oil, no commercial ingredient list is going to be as simple as one you can make yourself! Oh, hey...and it's also a lot cheaper!
I've been playing around with making my own cleansing oil for well over a year now, and it has taken quite a lot of trial and error to find something I really like. There were a few times I thought I found a good combo of ingredients, only to try something else later and like that combo even better. Today I'm showing you my most loved recipe for a DIY Emulsifying/Rinse Off Cleansing Oil, along with some tips and tools you'll need to get started!
Before attempting...PLEASE READ ALL NOTES AND DISCLAIMERS.
***All items purchased by me. Non-affiliate links included. This is not a sponsored post.***
This is an emulsifying cleansing oil, meant to remove makeup and applied on dry skin and rinsed off - preferably followed up with your regular second cleanser. This is not to be confused with the Oil Cleansing Method, which uses only oil (not an emulsifying oil) and a warm cloth to remove said oil. I have tried the Oil Cleansing Method a few times and it left me with major clogs.
Ok, so for the nitty-gritty of this post, here's my DIY Cleansing Oil recipe - this is an emulsifying cleansing oil that will turn milky and rinse off when combined with water (preferably warm):
- 70% oil of your choosing
- 15% Cromollient SCE (surfacant)
- 15% Polysorbate 80 (emulsifier)
I've tried all different % of ingredients, different oils (even trying up to 3 oils), using only Cromollient SCE or only using Polysorbate 80 according to various other recipes and general experimentation. Ultimately, none of them rinsed as cleanly as this one does. That said, this one doesn't remove oil buildup 100% of the time (I've tried so many, as well as balms & I'm beginning to wonder if there is there such a thing??). Most of the time it does get rid of buildup, but if I've had an extra long day or if I'm using a product that's making me extra oily, the oil cleanser doesn't always remove the buildup. To combat this you can either 1) use the oil cleanser again just on the oily area or 2) use a muslin or baby wash cloth to remove the DIY oil cleanser along with the oil buildup. Usually I just end up using a muslin or baby wash cloth because it removes everything more quickly and I also get gentle exfoliation.
***EDIT: Ok, I made a big mistake in the paragraph above & I'm so sorry and a little embarrassed!! I remember it didn't sound completely right when I wrote it, and even had trouble trying to figure out what to say. And this morning in dawned on me WHY. I originally said this doesn't rinse clean 100% of the time, when actually this does rinse clean for me. What I meant to say was this doesn't 100% get rid of oil build-up 100% of the time, and I have yet to find an oil cleanser or balm that does!! I wanted to leave a note in case anyone who read the original paragraph was confused by what it says now (I also added in a few other bits).***
As with all makeup removers, I'd still do a second cleanse with your regular cleanser. But this has removed any makeup and sunscreen I've tried it with - the only thing I'm not sure of is waterproof mascara, as I haven't had any to test it against.
Mainly I love this DIY version because it's the most effective, clean-rinsing cleansing oil I've tried. It's also cheap (once you get the trial and error out of the way), and the best part - I know exactly what's in it!! And hey, it's kind of cool to say I make my own :-)
Where to buy the ingredients:
I purchase my oils from Nature With Love, Garden of Wisdom, Mountain Rose Herbs and Lotioncrafter. I don't have a preference for any of the sites, what site I purchase from depends on who has what particular item in stock, preferably organic. Same with the Cromollient SCE and Polysorbate 80, though it happens that I usually purchase from Garden of Wisdom because they tend to always have both ingredients in stock all the time. I've ordered from all the sites mentioned, and shipping from all is quick and reliable. If you purchase from anywhere else, just be sure there are no fillers or additives - each component in this recipe should be 100% pure.
How to choose the oil:
Honestly, trial and error and it might take awhile...but if you're lucky it'll be quick ha ha!
I've tried a ton, and each one is a little different. I started with the oils I loved using on my face - Passionfruit Seed Oil, Rice Bran Oil, Meadowfoam, Camellia, Marula. Rice Bran was the best of that lot because it had the best slip and didn't sink in as much as the others. Which goes to show, just because you love using an oil as a moisturizer doesn't mean it will be the best for a cleansing oil. After that I started using whatever I had on hand.
Right now I'm using Chardonnay Grape Seed Oil, but am finding I prefer straight up Organic Grape Seed Oil just by a smidge because it seems to remove my oilies a little bit better. But the Chardonnay Grape Seed Oil has a little better slip than the Organic Grape Seed Oil, so eh that's one of those characteristics that's personal preference. It's funny because I tried the grape seed oil as moisturizer and didn't like it. It's slightly astringent, so over time I found it actually dried out the normal areas of my face too much. But in the cleansing oil it's been fantastic!
All the sites mentioned have descriptions of each oil, along with different properties. Most of them will also tell you if a particular oil is good for oily, mature, etc. type skin. To begin with, it's probably best to order a 2-3 different oils in small sizes so you can experiment.
What else you'll need:
- Pipette for measuring very small ml volume amounts
- Small measuring cups for small vl/oz volume amounts
- Storage containers (I use a smaller one to decant for travel, and use the larger one to store each fresh batch)
- Conversion chart or app for oz to ml
The pipettes I have measure up to 3ml, and the small measuring cups measure up to 15ml/.5oz. You can try to use a regular measuring cup, but that will only be useful if you are making extremely large amounts of the cleansing oil. These smaller measuring tools allow you to make 2-3oz (or larger if you like) batches at a time, which is helpful especially when you are experimenting. If you do make large batches, you can keep the unused portion fresher, longer by storing them in the fridge. I make 3oz batches, and that lasts me 1.5-2 weeks. I prefer doing that vs. making larger batches only because we don't have much leftover room in the fridge - otherwise I would!!
The pipettes, small measuring cups and all containers I've ordered from various sellers on Amazon. The amber glass bottles come in various sizes, as well as with or without a dropper. The turquoise container in the pic is a 3oz random container I had on hand.
How to craft your DIY Cleansing Oil:
- Decide how much you want to make. EX: I decide to make 3oz.
- Convert oz to ml. EX: 3oz = 88ml (approx)
- Do your conversion in ml for the recipe. EX:
- 70% of 88ml for the Chardonnay Grape Seed Oil = 62ml of Chardonnay Grape Seed Oil needed for the recipe. For the oil part I always round up (the actual number was 61.6ml).
- 15% of 88ml for Cromollient SCE = 13ml of Cromollient SCE needed for the recipe. For this particular ingredient I always round down (the actual number was 13.2ml).
- 15% of 88ml for Polysorbate 80 = 13ml of Polysorbate 80 needed for the recipe. For this particular ingredient I always round down (the actual number was 13.2ml).
- Measure your ingredients and add to your chosen container. It mixes better if you add in the ingredients by volume, largest to smallest.
- Shake or stir well and start using!!
This is a really basic recipe, and just a place to start! Have fun an do your own experimenting! You might find you like having more than 1 oil in your recipe. You also might find you prefer Cromollient SCE or Polysorbate 80 and not both (or maybe you prefer lesser % of both) - in that case just pay attention to your %'s (max recommended %'s for both emulsifiers in the recipe above are suggested at 15% of the recipe). As an example, say you want to just use Cromollient SCE - your recipe should only have a max total 15% of Cromollient SCE (15% is the max recommended usage), and 85% of whatever combination of oils you choose.
Also in reference to %'s, the sites above and other recipes cite different %'s for the same ingredients so you'll have to use your better judgement and feel for the product. For example, with Cromollient SCE, Garden of Wisdom cites 10% should be max usage. However, other sources say you can go up to 15% if used in a cleansing oil. Who do you go with?? You'll have to do your own research and poking around to see what you feel comfortable doing.
Most oils either don't smell that great, have an earthy odor or don't smell at all, so don't expect your concoction to smell like roses or lemons or anything nice like that. Cleansing oils that smell nice have added fragrance - if you want a fantastic smelling cleansing oil, you'll have to look into adding fragrance yourself. Any of the above mentioned sites have lots of options.
I do travel with my DIY Cleansing Oil, and you can too! I use 1oz amber glass dropper bottles - they are leakproof and don't take up much space, just don't drop :-)
***DISCLAIMER: I'm no DIY skincare expert, and this recipe is only based on my personal research and experimentation. Please do your own research and only do what you feel 100% comfortable with. I cannot be held liable/responsible for any outcomes.***
WHEW!!! So what do you think?? Are you up for DIY-ing your own cleansing oil?!! Or have you tried it already and have a great recipe to share?