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2-Ingredient DIY Cleansing Oil with Emulsifier

I don't know about you but I am totally hooked when it comes to oil cleansing. I am a big fan of double cleansing method. The first step with oil takes all the dirt and makeup from my face and the second steps gives me nice the feeling of freshness on my skin. But how about having two-in-one cleanser? As a sustainable & green beauty advocate, I am all about reducing products in my beauty cabinet.

For years I made my various versions of cleansers at home. And I gathered a bunch of DIY cleansing balms, form/gel cleanser, powdered cleanser and other DIY concoctions in my beauty cabinet, but I ended up buying store bought cleansers all the time.

Since I am all about control and what goes into my skin, I decided to decode beauty products’ formulation. I made this an amazing replica of DIY cleansing oil to avoid store bought cleansers and having 2-in-1 effect.

Today, I want to share with you a simple recipe of DIY emulsifying cleansing oil which acts as a form as well as oil cleanser. And good thing about this cleanser, it contains only two ingredients. I also feel that, this recipe is ideal for beginners who would like to start using emulsifiers in their DIY products.

So, do you want to know, what's secret behind emulsifying effect on this cleansing oil? It's a natural, plant-based, traditionally used emulsifier called red turkey oil.

This product will remove makeup in one step and you won't need another soap cleanser afterwards. If you are like me, who loves micellar water or cleansing soap in general, those products work well on skin surface only. It doesn't clean as deep as an oil cleanser. When I feel, my skin congested, I opt for deep cleansing method using oils.

Also, when I buy cleansers from beauty stores, I often found that it contains water in most of their formula. I wanted to make some waterless formula for cleanser so that it’s more potent.

But honestly, I was itching to make this DIY cleansing oil for quite sometime. So let’s start with benefits first.

Benefits of this homemade cleansing oil

Since it requires only two-ingredients, it is very affordable. It can save you tons of money on expensive brand name cleansers in the long run. As much as I like to splurge on my favorite store-bought cleansing oil, I don’t always want to pay hefty amount every month.

Also, this cleansing oil recipe is really very customizable. Although I think, it might be more suitable for dry, flaky, sensitive, or combination skin. But, it works wonder in oily skin as well.

Many times, my friends who has oily skin type worry that their skin will not feel as clean as store bought products. Or they often worry about breakouts. But don't worry, I will share with you few combination oils which can make your oily skin as fresh as store-bought products. Also, remember the thumb rule of chemistry, oil removes the oil.

Now, before I reveal the recipe, I’d like to talk about what makes oil cleansers so beneficial for a variety of skin types.

I also want to share basic skincare formula which you can use, because many experts recommend not to make your own cleansing oil. But if you replicate same formula in weight-based basis, you can definitely make an awesome emulsifying cleanser.

So, first we are going to talk about skin types and oil cleansing but if you want to jump into recipe right away, then skip ahead.

I love cleansing oil because

1) It lift excess sebum, the oil substance produced by glands on our skin.

2) It clear clogged pores like blackheads, whiteheads and congestion

3) It eliminates dead skin, free radicals and of course makeup.

What is Cleansing Oil?

Basically, cleansing oil is a type of cleanser which remove impurity and excess oil from the face and neck area. This type of cleanser contains oil as a main ingredient while gel or foam cleanser are filled with hydrosol or water.

The combination of emulsifiers, lipid rich oils, sometimes exfoliants and water activated surfactants makes a perfect cleansing oil. A well-formulated oil cleanser also contains moisturizing ingredients, which leaves skin soft rather than tight or dry after cleansing. One more thing to add, cleansing oils contain surfactants, but they are not the most important part of the formulation - the oils are.

Cleansing Oil for Oily/Acne-prone Skin

Believe it or not, cleansing oils still work well, even though you have oily or acne-prone skin. When you apply cleansing oil on oily skin, it melts away all the excess oil. It is very important to use non-comedogenic oils while you make cleansing oil at home.

Since we all know; blackheads and congestion triggers acne-prone skin, cleansing oil goes deep down into blackheads and congestion and remove it from roots. So, if you have oily skin, do not hesitate to apply cleansing oil on your face.

Cleansing Oil for Dry/sensitive Skin

When it comes to dry skin, cleansing oil is safe choice because it cleanses and moisturizes both. Sensitive skin is very vulnerable to unknown chemicals used in traditional gel or foam cleanser that’s why cleansing oil is the best as it only contains oils, and emulsifier only.

Cleansing oil creates layer on your skin and locks the moisture. This helps prevent the dehydration from your skin so that you skin will not feel dry and itchy after cleansing process.

Generally cleansing oils are very gentle but if store-bought cleansing oil is causing a tight, dry feeling after cleansing, it is better to check ingredients on that product.

In general, if you have dry or sensitive skin it is better to give a try on our gentle, artificial fragrance-free cleansing oil.

How to use cleansing oil on your face?

For many people, when it comes to cleansing, it brings to mind foamy lather and rinsing the face in the water. But oil cleansing can be done two different way 1) my preferred way which I have explained below. 2) K-beauty (Korean Beauty way) apply cleansing oil first then foam cleanser.

Here is my favorite way to apply cleansing oil:

Cleansing oil can include both so no need to have foam cleanser. For the most part, it’s done with little bit of cleansing oil and rub it into damp face while it emulsified very gently. Once it forms mild milky lather, with a damp washcloth remove the cleanser from the face.

Once you remove the cleanser from the face, you shouldn’t feel oily, sticky or dirty. If you buy store-bought cleanser and it makes you feel flaky, dry and itchy, you should better check the ingredient list of the products.

That’s why I opt for DIY cleansing oil (and in particularly this recipe), as you know all the ingredients inside the bottle.

Before you go ahead and apply your DIY oil cleanser, I highly recommend doing patch test.

How to choose an oil for DIY cleansing oil?

When you choose oil for cleansing, it is important to look for these two things,

1) the content of fatty acids especially linoleic acid and oleic acid,

2) comedogenic score of the oil.

The balance of linoleic acid and oleic provides heaviness of the oil while comedogenic score tells you if the oil particles are going to clog your pores or not.

If Oleic acid content is higher side than linoleic acid, that oil tends to have sticky feeling. Visa versa, if the linoleic acid content is higher, that oil will give you no-stickiness to your skin. This thumb rule is useful to determine skin absorbent capacity of the oil.

For DIY, there is no harm to start with Argan oil or Hempseed oil. To give natural fragrance to the oil, it’s totally desirable to use macerated oil. The combination of olive oil and castor oil are very popular in DIY beauty world.

For Dry and Sensitive Skin Types, you can use:

Olive Oil

Sunflower Oil

Jojoba Oil

Argan Oil

Fractionated Coconut Oil

Sweet Almond Oil (my personal favourite)

Apricot Kernel Oil

For Acne-prone and oily skin types:

Grapeseed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil

Argon Oil

Abyssinian Seed Oil


Watermelon Seed Oil

Blueberry Seed Oil

Now we locked down, how to choose carrier oils, let’s talk about the recipe.

2-ingredient DIY Cleansing Oil with Emulsifier

Key Ingredients:

In this recipe, I want to use two types of oils: 1) Sunflower Oil (because it works well in terms of maceration, dry skin as well as oily skin types); 2) Red Turkey Castor Oil (This is one type of oil but it works as emulsifier in this formula)

So without further due, let’s do into details of the ingredients:

1) Sunflower oil:

Sunflower oil is food grade oil pressed from the seeds of sunflower. Sunflower oil is a great oil when it comes to cosmetic formulations. It acts as an emollient on your skin. Along with linoleic acid and oleic acid, sunflower oil contains Vitamin E and antioxidant. If you are planning to use this cleanser during night-time, the antioxidant will help you to fight against free radicals.

Organic sunflower oil is cold pressed using the seeds from sunflower heads, whilst commercially produced sunflower oil is produced by solvent-based refining. This oil contains vitamins E and D as well as a number of different minerals.

Sunflower oil is a light, moisturizing oil that is effective in massage blends or as the base for light creams. The oils come in different varieties - linoleic sunflower is the most common, but there is also a high oleic sunflower oil. Linoleic sunflower oil is high in Vitamin E, while the oleic version is very stable.

This oil is going to be your base oil. Since this oil is so light-weight and trapes good aroma from dry herbs, I tried to submerged lavender into sunflower oil for 14 days.

2) Red Turkey Castor Oil

Red Tukey Castor oil is one of the best kept secrets in Ayurveda. It is also called sulfated castor oil. Sulfated Castor oil is made by treating pure castor oil with an acid (sulfuric acid) in a process called Sulfonation.

After this process, when this oil adds into water or oil-based formulations, it disperses in the water entirely. For centuries, this oil use it to emulsify fragrance and essential oils. This type of oil can prove an excellent humectant & moisturizing property.

How to make Lavender Infused Sunflower Oil

In one cup sunflower oil, add 2/3 cup of dried lavender. Pour it everything in mason jars and keep this jar near window where sun is shining for 14 days. Feel free to shake it every other day. After 14 days, filter the oil and discard all lavenders. Now use this oil for cleansing oil formulation.

DIY Cleansing Oil Recipe

1 cup Lavender Infused Sunflower oil

2/3 cup Red Turkey Castor Oil

First add lavender infused sunflower oil into mixing jar. Now add red turkey castor oil. Using emersion blender, mix both oils really well. If oil separates, then when you mix shake it well.

Apply 2-3 drop of cleansing oil with damp hands on your face. It will give you milky feel when it will emulsify. If it doesn’t emulsify then, there is something wrong with formulation.

Let me know what do you think about this. I would love here from us. Comment and share your thoughts.

1 Comment

Mar 11, 2022

Thank you for the information on Sulfated Castor. I learned something new.

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