How to Make Soap Free Cleanser for Any Skin Type

I love to make soap.

I make soap for my family, my extended family and my friends.  I give it as gifts for Christmas and birthdays.

I make soap for friends who are going through a rough time.  I make soap for friends who are going through a happy time.

I am evangelical in my quest to get everyone to make their own soap (because I just don’t have time to do it for all of you!), and to use it for everything they have to clean.

Except their face!

As gentle as homemade soap is (especially when I make it with plenty of olive oil!) I just don’t think that it’s the best thing to use on your face.

I think everyone should learn how to make soap free cleanser.  It is incredibly gentle to the face and with the right ingredients you end up with soft, silky skin.

In fact, let me share a story with you that makes me very happy…

I love to get spa facials, but I always found it kind of annoying when the esthetician would critique my skin and always tell me that it was dry and congested.

It felt like no matter how much water I drank and how much moisturizer I used, I just kept being told I had dry skin.

Then, about 2 years ago, I learned how to make soap free cleanser as well as toner and moisturizer.  Since then, I’ve been told repeatedly by estheticians that my skin looks really great and healthy.

Let me tell you, it’s a nice feeling to be told that at 40!

How to Make Soap Free Cleanser –
The Secret Ingredient!

How to Make Soap Free Cleanser - Yucca RootMy secret to soap free cleanser is yucca root.  Yucca root is a member of the agave family and is used as a folk remedy for conditions such as arthritis and rheumatism.

But for our purposes, the benefit of yucca root is its high content of saponins.  Saponins, when combined with water, produce a lather that is similar to that of soap, but much milder.

So when combined with other skin friendly ingredients, yucca root helps to make a lightly lathering, gentle soap free cleanser.

How to Make Soap Free Cleanser – The Basic Recipe



  • 400 mL distilled boiling water
  • 1.5 tsp. each dried yucca root
  • 4 tsp. dried herbs as needed (see below)
  • 4 Tbsp.  lavender water
  • 4 Tbsp.  vegetable glycerin
  • 2 Tbsp.  aloe vera gel
  • 4 tsp. ground chamomile
  • 2 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 20 – 30 drops essential oils (see below)


Step One:  Measure dried herbs into a pyrex measuring cup and pour boiling water over them.  Allow to steep for 15 – 20 minutes and then strain into another pyrex measuring cup.  (You can use a tea strainer or a mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth)

Step Two:  Add all the rest of the ingredients except essential oils and beat with stick blender until combined and slightly thickened.

Step Three:  Using spatula, gently fold in essential oils and mix well.

Step Four:  Bottle and enjoy!

**  Note:  As this is a very mild cleanser, if you are using it to remove makeup or you’re really sweaty after a workout, you’ll want to massage it on your face gently with a facecloth for extra cleansing action.

How to Make Soap Free Cleanser –
Options for Herbs and Essential Oils

One of the reasons you should learn how to make soap free cleanser is because you can customize it to your own needs.  I make it for my 14 year old son with different herbs and essential oils than I use for my own skin (which is slightly more mature!).

Here are some options:

How to Make Soap Free Cleanser for Mature Skin

Herbs – rose petals, chamomile, lavender flowers, comfrey

Essential Oils – rosewood, myrtle, geranium, sandalwood, lavender

How to Make Soap Free Cleanser for Sensitive Skin

Herbs – Chamomile, lavender

Essential Oils – Chamomile, lavender

How to Make Soap Free Cleanser for Oily of Blemished Skin

Herbs – Peppermint,, rosemary, calendula

Essential Oils – Tea tree, geranium, lavender,  bergamot

You can mix and match these herbs and essential oils based on your needs as well as what you have readily available.

If you want, you can double the recipe and keep a smaller bottle in your shower and the rest in your refrigerator.  It will last about 6 months if refrigerated and 2 – 3  months at room temperature.

Now that you’ve learned how to make soap free cleanser, I really hope you’ll try it.


  1. January 27, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Stephanie says:Hi, You said it will last 2-3 months at room temp. What are the preservatives in the reciepe that will keep this batch germ free?

    • January 30, 2013 at 12:16 am

      Coralynn says:Hi Stephanie, That’s a great question! When you say “germ free” I assume you mean what will keep bacteria from growing in it. I have kept this cleanser in my bathroom for 3 months without having any mold grow on it. I personally try to avoid chemical preservatives, but if you are looking for something that will extend the shelf life and help to keep bacteria from growing in your cleanser, I would recommend adding 5 – 10 drops of tea tree oil as this is antibacterial. Again though, this is not a preservative as I don’t put preservatives in my products. As well, I would recommend that you use a bottle for the cleanser and pour it into your hands as opposed to something you would put your hand into which can introduce bacteria. You can also keep a small bottle of it in your bathroom and the rest in your refrigerator. Hope this helps!

  2. June 20, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Ami says:Could rose water be subsituted for lavender water? Which herbs/essential oils are recommended for dry skin?

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