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For years, I had been cleaning my face with the same harsh cleansers that the majority of the population uses to clean their faces. I tried Neutrogena, Clean & Clear, Biore, Loreal, Clearasil, and even Proactiv, but not one of them ever actually made my face any clearer. As we learned in my first post in this facial care series, Cleanse Your Face with a Creamy Soapwort Facial Cleanser, soap is too drying to our skin because it's pH is much higher than that of the protective layer on our skin, also known as the acid mantle. So what should you use instead? Well, you could use the creamy soapwort facial cleanser OR you could use my favorite natural facial cleanser, cleansing grains!
What are cleansing grains?
Cleansing grains are a powdered facial cleanser that is made of clays, oats, nuts/seeds, herbs, and other powdered ingredients that can be used to cleanse, exfoliate, and transform your face. You wet a small amount of the powdered blend, in the palm of your hand, and cleanse your face with the wet muddy concoction as you would with your normal soap cleansers. I first read about cleansing grains in Rosemary Gladstar's Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health. I love her recipe, but I have a mind of my own and from hers, I was able to come up with my own ramped up version with flavor!
Why should you use cleansing grains?
Every hour, we shed 30,000 – 40,000 skin cells. Daily we are shedding millions of skin cells, leaving many all over our homes, bedding, clothing, and cars. Daily gentle exfoliation helps to gently remove this layer of dead skin cells, helping to clear your pores without destroying the balance of your skin's oils. Daily gentle exfoliation helps to reduce and minimize wrinkles and fine lines, while the soap-free skin-nourishing herbal ingredients provide your face with a healthy dose of the vitamins and minerals it's craving.
Clays for every face type
You can customize your facial cleansing grains, based off of your needs, with the clay that you choose to use in it. These are the four most common types of clays that are found all over the market, but there is a ton more healing clays out there to choose from too!
Kaolin Clay (a.k.a. white cosmetic clay) – One of the most common and versatile clays used in cosmetic applications, white kaolin clay is in just about everything from body powders and dry shampoos to deodorant and face masks. White kaolin clay is the perfect choice for sensitive skin types when other clays are too harsh.
Rhassoul Clay – Rhassoul clay is usually mined from the Atlas mountains in Morocco. It contains higher percentages of silica, magnesium, potassium, and calcium than other clays. One of the most luxurious clays, rhassoul clay is used in most high-end spas around the world and is great for all skin types.
Bentonite Clay – Rich in bone feeding minerals such as calcium and potassium, bentonite clay is a fabulous non-toxic teeth cleaner, facial mask, and even hair mask! Not only can you take bentonite clay internally for detoxifying purposes, but the high mineral content that this clay contains also helps to re-mineralize the teeth! Bentonite clay is great for all skin types NOTE: Do not house this in anything metal (including the lid) or use metal utensils when using bentonite clay. Bentonite clay is negatively charged (the reason it’s able to absorb and purify toxins in the body) and when it touches metal, the positive charge deactivates some of its amazing benefits.
French Green Clay – French green clay is high in minerals as well as decomposed plant matter (the reason French Green Clay is green!), giving your skin a large drink in mineral magic. Used extensively for its extremely absorbent powers, French Green Clay is great for use on acne/oily skin types helping to tighten pores and soak up oils.
Dry ingredients for a beautiful face
There are a TON of skin nourishing dry ingredients that you can use in your own facial cleansing grains and each one has their own healing properties that benefit different types of skin!!! Seriously everything from what kind of clay you choose to fruit/veggie powders, to herbs, and anything else you can think of in between. I don't normally purchase my herbs powdered off the bat, because there are so many other recipes I use them in, including loose leaf tea, so I find it more versatile to purchase the herb whole and powder it myself, for the recipes that call for it powdered, this saves you money from having to purchase the herb twice, both in powdered and whole form, for all your needs.
- Dried Fruit/Vegetable Powders – I was first inspired to add freeze dried fruit to my cleansing grains after I had purchased a bag of freeze dried raspberries and strawberries from Whole Foods. I threw these fruits into my coffee grinder and created a fruity berry powder that I mixed into my grains. You can also find many of these organic freeze-dried fruits already in powder form, to save you the time! There are so many options but these are just a few of my favorites to use in my own grains; blueberry, raspberry, strawberry, mango, peach, orange peel, lemon peel, lime peel, pumpkin, mixed berry, carrot, banana, elderberry, camu camu, amla, mangosteen, acai, acerola, pomegranate, moringa, goji berries, coconut, etc.
- Seaweed Powders – Chock full of vitamins and minerals, seaweed is ultra moisturizing to the skin and has long been used by natives to heal wounds of all sorts. Seaweed is well known for its ability to combat acne.
- Oatmeal – Extra gentle and great for all skin types including those with sensitive skin, oatmeal is very healing, nourishing, and softening to the skin and is always in my grains. It's great at helping to heal almost any skin condition, all the way down to poison ivy/oak/sumac.
- Nuts/Seeds – These are great for adding just a tad more exfoliation, if your grains are feeling too light, though you don't want to overdo the exfoliation because if it's not gentle, then it shouldn't be used daily. Nuts and seed have many different wonderful vitamins and minerals that are great for your skin. Many nuts and seeds contain a certain percentage oils too, so they can be very moisturizing and repairing to your skin.
- Powdered Milks – To get that uber softening experience, I am a huge fan of adding coconut milk powder to my recipe. I use it in both facemask, hair masks, and my cleansing grains. You can choose from many different powdered milks too, such as coconut, goats milk, or organic cow's milk.
- Powdered Honey – I love the healing powers of raw honey! A natural antiseptic/antibacterial, honey is a great wound healer, acne killer, and more! Even many vets know the awesomeness of honey and use it as a topical ointment on animals. It's lucky that honey comes in a powdered form too! It is actually difficult to find raw organic honey powder. Most of the honey powders on the market contain soy lecithin (which is cut with a petroleum byproduct, Hexane) and are cut with other ingredients. Not only that, they are usually not from raw honey which means it has been heated and all the healing benefits are gone! I love to use this Organic Raw Manuka Honey because not only is it organic and raw, but manuka honey comes from the manuka plant (i.e. tea tree). If you have used tea tree essential oil, you know how antibacterial it is, well manuka honey has these added extra benefits and makes for great additions to healing products such as facial and skin care, and most definitely acne) update 4/12/16: it seems that manuka honey powder has become very scarce and is therefore, hard to find here in the US. I have looked over as many of the honey powders that I could find and all of them contain either cane syrup or high fructose corn syrup so I would recommend you sub in bee pollen in these recipes instead!
- Bee Pollen – For the last couple years I have used manuka honey powder in my cleansing grains, but now it has become hard to find so in the process of looking for a replacement, I came across the skin healing benefits of bee pollen instead! You can either find this locally with your local beekeepers or you can find it on Amazon (here). Bee pollen has many of the same benefits of honey for your face, carrying natural antibacterial and anti-aging properties that make your cleansing grains even more awesome! Harness the power of bees 🙂
- Herbs – You can customize your cleansing grains based upon your facial needs, with herbs. It's great to look up each herb to find out their amazing properties for the skin but most of the herbs I use are skin healing, add vitamin c and antioxidants, and are astringent, helping to reduce inflammation and pores. Some of my favorite herbs to use in cleansing grains are; lemonbalm, rosehips, hibiscus, rose, lavender, chamomile, oatstraw, activated charcoal, flax, horsetail, nettle, raspberry leaf, cacao, etc.
The Hippy Homemaker's Cleansing Grains
This is my own recipe for cleansing grains! I developed these cleansing grains for my Etsy shoppe! Not only is this what I use daily on my own face, I have MANY five star ratings on Etsy for how amazing these cleansing grains are. With such gentle exfoliation, cleansing grains are great for daily use on ALL SKIN TYPES! You can either follow the flavors I have given you or you could customize your own by adding finely ground herbs or finely ground dehydrated fruits (freeze dried fruits tends to make the best powder). I use a simple coffee grinder to grind up all of my herbs and fruit powders.
- 1/2 cup clay (I love to use rhassoul and bentonite for myself, their great for all skin types, but you can use your favorite clay or any combination of clays)
- 1/4 cup oats, finely ground
- 1 Tbsp. coconut milk powder
- 1 Tbsp. flax meal
- 1 Tbsp. bee pollen
- ingredients for the flavor of your choice (below)
Pink Lemonade Cleansing Grains (Normal, Acne/Oily Skin, Combination)
- 3 Tbsp. lemon peel powder, finely ground
- 3 Tbsp. strawberry powder, finely ground
- 1 Tbsp. lemonbalm, finely ground
- 20 drops lemon essential oil (optional – helps to add extra scent and healing properties to your skin but is not needed)
- 20 drops strawberry flavor extract (optional – helps to add extra scent and healing properties to your skin but is not needed)
Peppermint Sage Cleansing Grains (Normal, Acne/Oily, Combination)
- 3 Tbsp. peppermint leaf, finely ground
- 3 Tbsp. sage leaf, finely ground
- 1 Tbsp. lavender, finely ground
- 15 drops peppermint essential oil (optional – helps to add extra scent and healing properties to your skin but is not needed)
- 15 drops sage essential oil (optional – helps to add extra scent and healing properties to your skin but is not needed)
Hibiscus Rose Cleansing Grains (Normal, Dry/Damaged, Mature)
- 3 Tbsp. hibiscus, finely ground
- 3 Tbsp. rose petals, finely ground
- 1 Tbsp. chamomile, finely ground
- 5 drops rose absolute (optional – helps to add extra scent and healing properties to your skin but is not needed)
- 5 drops geranium essential oil (optional – helps to add extra scent and healing properties to your skin but is not needed)
Chocoholic (Normal, Dry/Damaged, Mature, Acne/Oily, Combination)
- 6 Tbsp. cacao (or cocoa) powder
- 1 Tbsp. chamomile, finely ground
- 20 drops dark chocolate flavor extract (optional – helps to add extra scent and healing properties to your skin but is not needed)
Coconut Lime Cleansing Grains (Normal, Dry/Damaged, Acne/Oily, Combination)
- 3 Tbsp. coconut flakes, finely ground
- 3 Tbsp. lime peel powder
- 1 Tbsp. lemonbalm, finely ground
- 15 drops lime essential oil (optional – helps to add extra scent and healing properties to your skin but is not needed)
- 20 drops coconut flavor extract (optional – helps to add extra scent and healing properties to your skin but is not needed)
- Combine powdered ingredients until fully mixed together. If adding essential oils and/or flavor extracts, mix those into the powders thoroughly. I find it easiest to mix them in with my hands.
- Store in a mason jar or a spice jar!
TO USE: Combine 1/2 – 1 tsp. of cleansing grains with a small amount of water or hydrosol, in the palm of your hand (about 2 shakes of the bottle is perfect!). For an extra treat, you can use herbal tea, honey, yogurt, milk, or even fresh squeezed juice, instead of water. Apply to face, and gently scrub in a circular motion with your fingertips, in the same manner you did with your old soap cleansers. Rinse with warm water and follow with a toner and moisturizer. You can alternately leave the mask on as a face mask as well!
All information on The Hippy Homemaker is meant for educational and informational purposes only. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products and/or information are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. Readers are advised to do their own research and make decisions in partnership with their health care provider. If you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition or are taking any medication, please consult your physician.