10 Natural Face Cleansers You Can Make Yourself

Updated: May 17, 2021

You don't need fancy, pricy products for smoother, prettier skin. Instead, try these simple natural face cleanser recipes from popular bloggers.

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Coconut Oil Face Cleanser

Without stripping your skin of its natural oils, coconut oil can eliminate any shine that appears at the end of the day. Its unique combination of natural fats—including linoleic acid (which helps fight acne) and lauric acid (which is hydrating and antimicrobial) makes it useful in treating the skin, says Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. It’s an effective moisturizer, and it’s great for atopic dermatitis. But if you have acne-prone skin, steer clear of coconut oil unless you know that your face can tolerate it.

Try: Gently massage a squirt of coconut oil onto your face (about the size of a quarter) for about 30 seconds, recommends Sherri at Overthrow Martha. Then apply a warm towel onto your face to open up your pores. Wait 15 to 30 seconds, then remove the oil by patting with a washcloth. Here are some additional healthy ways to use coconut oil.

Red apple and Apple Cider Vinegar.

Apple Cider Vinegar Face Cleanser

Apple cider vinegar has a long history as a beauty ingredient. In fact, Cleopatra is said to have used it as a facial cleanser. A key ingredient is malic acid, which is similar to alpha-hydroxy acid and exfoliates the skin,” says Lian Mack, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. This in turn promotes cell turnover, restores the skin’s pH levels, clarifies the skin, and helps clear out and prevent clogged pores and acne. A word of caution: Apple cider vinegar should always be diluted and never be applied directly to skin.

Try: To make a natural toner, mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with 2 parts water, and shake well, recommends Beth of Tasty Yummies. Apply to a clean face with a cotton ball or pad. Once your skin dries, apply your usual daily moisturizer. (What does face toner do to boost your skin care routine? Find out.)

Bowl of sweet honey and lemons on wooden table.
Bon Appetit/Shutterstock

Honey and Lemon Face Cleanser

Honey and lemon team up to become a natural moisturizer and antiseptic, a perfect soothing and cleaning combination for a natural face cleanser. Honey is naturally antibacterial and full of antioxidants, which have been shown to prevent acne and slow down the skin’s aging process, says Sejal Shah, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. Honey also provides a complexion boost. “Lemon juice is often recommended in DIY skin care because it has vitamin C, which is a great antioxidant,” says Dr. Shah. “It also has antimicrobial and astringent properties.”

Try: Mix 1 tbsp of organic honey with the juice from half a lemon, advises Jessica Siefert of LiveGlam. Apply the mask, covering your face and neck but avoiding the area near your eyes. Wait 20 minutes, then wash off with warm water, followed by cold water. Pat dry. Read about these additional benefits of honey for health and beauty.

overhead view of plain or natural yoghurt in yogurt pot with dessert spoon
Axel Bueckert/Shutterstock

Yogurt Face Cleanser

Yogurt is a perfect natural face cleanser, says Judith Hellman, MD. associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City, helping to rejuvenate and soften the skin. Protein and lactic acid in the yogurt.work together to help detoxify skin: Regularly applying lactic acid encourages your skin to get rid of the dead cells through exfoliation, and protein helps tighten pores, reduce the appearance of fine lines, and hydrate.

Try: Mix 2 tablespoons plain, full-fat Greek yogurt with 1 to 2 teaspoons honey. (Optional add-ins: a squeeze of lemon or a few blueberries.) Apply to your face and let stand for about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove  with a soft, damp washcloth.

Gently massage a thin layer of plain yogurt onto your clean face using your fingertips; this action will help loosen any dirt or makeup. Leave yogurt on for 20 minutes, then wash off with warm water, suggests Stephanie Gerber of Hello Glow. Here are 9 more detoxifying ingredients for your skincare routine.

Olive oil and olive twig on a wooden surface

Olive Oil Face Cleanser

This star ingredient can also feed your face! Olive oil is a great natural moisturizer to nourish and soften skin, says Dr. Hellman, and its antioxidants and good fats may also help reduce free radicals to relieve irritated or sunburned skin.

Try: From the YouBeauty blog: Mix one egg yolk, 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a few drops of lemon juice. Apply to your clean face for 5 to 10 minutes, then rinse off. Find out more about the benefits of olive oil for health and beauty.

Red grapes on wooden table - vintage filter.
tarapong srichaiyos/Shutterstock

Grape Face Cleanser

Research in the Journal of Clinical Aesthetic Dermatology found that phytonutrients in grapes can help shield skin cells from harmful UV radiation. Grapes also contain vitamin C, which is proven to help form collagen, the protein that improves skin elasticity and keeps you looking young.

Try: Combine 1 egg white with 6 or 7 grapes in a blender, recommends Stephanie Gerber of Hello Glow. Blend thoroughly, crushing the seeds, which contain grapeseed oil. Once the mixture becomes frothy, use a facial brush to apply the mask to face and neck in upward strokes. Leave on for 15 minutes, then rinse thoroughly and follow up with moisturizer. Don’t miss the worst pieces of skincare advice dermatologists have ever heard.

Bowl with dried Yeast (selective focus) on wooden background

Dry Yeast Cleansing Mask

When applied topically, yeast is hydrating, collagen-producing, anti-aging, and brightening, says Julie Russak, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. As It also protect the skin from environmental damage, strengthens its structure, and helps repair damaged skin cells. Many expensive skin products contain yeast, but you can easily make a DIY facial mask at home.

Try: Dissolve 1 tablespoon dry yeast in 2 tablespoons warm milk, then add 1 teaspoon honey, advises Eva at Ko-te.Pat the mixture on your face, avoiding the eyes. Allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water, and pat the skin dry. Find out which is the best face mask for your skin type.

Composition with hemp oil and seeds on wooden background
Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Natural Face Cleanser for Breakouts

Putting oil on your face when you have acne may seem counterintuitive. But hear us out. Oils with a high percentage of linoleic acid, an omega-6 essential fatty acid, can help, says Dr. Hellman. Linoleic acid is naturally present in your skin, but when you have acne, your skin has less of it than it needs. Among the oils that contain high amounts: hemp, safflower, rosehip, and grapeseed.

Try: Place a quarter-sized amount of oil in your hand, and rub your hands together to warm the oil, suggests Donica Johns of nmbotanical. Apply gently all over your face. Massage firmly but gently, always moving upward, for two minutes, then let the oil sit on your face for 30 seconds. Place a washcloth soaked with warm water on your face. Leave on for about a minute. (Here’s more about using a cleansing oil for your face, from someone who does it daily.)


Natural Face Cleanser for Dry Skin

Avocado oil, extracted from the pulp of the fruit, is an excellent source of enrichment for dry, damaged, and chapped skin, according to a study in the International Journal of Molecular Science. Macadamia, almond, and wheat germ oils are similarly rich in fatty acids and polyphenols, which nourish the skin and help fight aging.

Try: Follow the same instructions provided for the cleanser above: Apply enough oil to cover your face with your fingertips using a circular motion, and hold a warm washcloth over your oil-covered face for a few minutes to open the pores. Then gently wash away using warm water. Don’t miss these dermatologist-approved DIY homemade skin care treatments.

Almonds in willow bowl against dark rustic wooden background. Overhead view

Almond Mayonnaise Scrub

This combination may sound a bit strange, but it works well on very dry skin, according to the book Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things by the Reader’s Digest editors. The mayo will nourish your face, while the almonds will exfoliate.

Try: 1. Clean your face thoroughly with any natural face cleanser. Herbal Splash recommends grinding 1/4 cup (40 g) of whole, natural almonds in a blender or food processor. Mix in 1/8 teaspoon mayonnaise until it’s the consistency of a scrub. Set aside. 2. Combine 1 teaspoon red wine or cider vinegar with 1/2 cup water. Rinse your face with this mixture. 3. Gently and thoroughly massage your face with the almond-mayo scrub. Leave it on for 10 minutes, then rinse with warm water and pat dry. Next, check out these must-follow recipes for soothing homemade face masks.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest