In a day when there are hundreds of products containing so many mystery ingredients, each with their own individual marketing purpose, popping up in the beauty section of drug stores, it’s been so exciting to discover that caring for my skin can be a simple, natural, and luxurious process.

Today, I’m excited to chat about one more natural and simple bodycare product: cleansing grains.

Love this! A 3-in-1 facial cleanser that's easy to make and gentle on the skin.

A while back, one of my favorite green beauty Instagrammers, Gurl Gone Green, shared a picture on Instagram of cleansing grains. The idea of a cleansing grain intrigued me, which then led me on an exciting journey of learning about another option for natural skin cleansing.

Love this! A 3-in-1 facial cleanser that's easy to make and gentle on the skin.

What are face cleansing grains?

Cleansing grains are a powdered face cleanser/wash and gentle exfoliator. The grains are typically made from a few simple ingredients, such as: herbs, oats, nuts, and clay. The ingredients of choice are blended together to create a grainy powder. This powder may be combined with milk, water, aloe, or even a liquid face wash to cleanse and gently exfoliate the skin.

Sounds a lot like a facial scrub, right?!

Well, the beauty of this scrub-like product is that it’s gentle enough to use daily, and it may even be used as a daily facial cleanser/wash after removing makeup.

Love this! A 3-in-1 facial cleanser that's easy to make and gentle on the skin.

As a young woman, I was taught, via commercials and beauty magazines, that I needed a soapy face wash to properly clean my face. Over the past few years, as I look for “more natural” cleaning and bodycare options, I’ve learned that a soapy face wash isn’t the only option for facial cleansing.

Yes, you can make a simple face wash with gentle and natural ingredients, but there are also other options which aren’t talked about very much in the modern-age of industrial beauty products, like: honey and aloe vera, and cleansing grains.

PS: While cleansing grains may not be talked about as much as a bottle of face wash, there are a number of expensive beauty brands that sell cleansing grains (try $44 for a .99oz bottle–yikes!). See, cleansing grains are 100% real ;).

Love this! A 3-in-1 facial cleanser that's easy to make and gentle on the skin.

How to Make Facial Cleansing Grains

To make your own cleansing grains, you only need 3 ingredients:

Blend the ingredients in a spice grinder and then store the grains in a jar. Now they’re ready to mix the grains with a liquid (such as coconut milk, aloe vera, or water) to make a natural face cleanser, mask, or exfoliator.

Cleansing grains are an incredibly versatile, and long-lasting, three-in-one product. Once the grain ingredients are blended together, which takes about 60 seconds, the final powder may be used in multiple ways.

Love this! A 3-in-1 facial cleanser that's easy to make and gentle on the skin.

How to Use Cleaning Grains as a Face Cleanser

The cleansing grains may be used as a daily cleanser. I’m still obsessed with my honey and aloe facial cleanser, and it continues to be my go-to daily face wash with my Clarisonic Mia. I took a break from that cleanser to try out the grains. I’ll admit, I was a bit skeptical of the idea of using clay, oats, and lavender as a daily facial cleanser, just like I was skeptical of using honey and aloe.

I really enjoyed using the grains as a facial cleanser–my skin felt clean, refreshed, and smooth each night after using the grains. I did use a makeup remover before applying the grains, and I would recommend this step for anyone wanting to use cleansing grains as a daily cleanser.  To make a facial cleanser, combine 1 teaspoon of cleansing grains and 1 teaspoon of coconut milk (or another gentle liquid–see recipe). I recommend using the grains at night before bed, and just washing your face with water in the morning.

How to Use Cleansing Grains as a Face Mask

Combine 1-2 teaspoons of the grains with 1-2 teaspoons of canned coconut milk, and (optional) essential oil. Apply the mask to the face, and leave it on for 5-10 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water.

If you want a gentle and relaxing facial mask, combine 2 teaspoons of grains with 2 teaspoons of coconut milk (or another gentle liquid–see recipe). Apply the mask to the face, allow it to rest, and then rinse it off with warm water. This mask has been gentle enough to use on my sensitive skin multiple times in a week (just like my soothing facial mask). There are so many possibilities for customizing this mask according to your needs: add a bit of honey to the mask before applying, and/or add a drop of a skin-friendly essential oil.

Love this! A 3-in-1 facial cleanser that's easy to make and gentle on the skin.

How to Use Cleaning Grains as a Face Exfoliating Scrub

If you’re looking for a sugar-free face scrub that’s super gentle, look no further than cleansing grains. To make a scrub, combine 1 teaspoon of cleaning grains and 1 teaspoon of coconut milk (or another gentle liquid–see recipe). Then apply the scrub to the face, massage the skin with the scrub, and rinse it off with warm water. This scrub may be used as an occasional skin treat, or as a regular facial scrub, if you’re not using the grains for daily cleansing.

Homemade Lavender Cleansing Grains: Facial Cleanser, Mask, and Scrub
5 from 2 votes

Homemade Lavender Cleansing Grains: Facial Cleanser, Mask, or Scrub

Cleansing grains are made with two main ingredients: clay and oats. The grains are used to both cleanse and exfoliate the face. To cleanse the face, a portion of the grains are mixed with a liquid to form a paste. If you’d like to customize the grains, add a drop of essential oil the paste before cleansing. Storage: Up to 6 months Makes: 4 ounces 
Kristin Marr
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course How To
Cuisine Beauty
Servings 12 -16 applications

Ingredients

Lavender Cleansing Grains:

To make a mask, cleanser, or scrub:

Instructions

  • Combine the oats, lavender, and clay in a spice/coffee grinder and blend for 45 seconds, in 15 second intervals. When you’re done, leave the lid on your spice/coffee grinder for a minute to allow the dust to settle. Empty the grains into a clean jar for long-term storage.

To use the grains as a face mask:

  • Combine 1-2 teaspoons of the grains with 1-2 teaspoons of canned coconut milk, and (optional) essential oil. Apply the mask to the face, and leave it on for 5-10 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water.

To use the grains as a daily cleanser or a scrub:

  • Combine 1 teaspoon of the grains with 1 teaspoon of canned coconut milk. Add (optional) the essential oil. Massage the face with upward, circular motions, then rinse the grains off with warm water and a washcloth. Follow-up with a toner and/or moisturizer

Notes

Kaolin clay is a very common clay used in cleansing grains. It’s considered a versatile cosmetic clay that is suitable for all skin types. If you don’t want to use Kaolin clay, you may also try: bentonite clay (very detoxifying–so it may be too much as a daily cleanser), French green clay, or rhassoul clay.
I keep a small mason jar of coconut milk in my fridge for culinary use–using it within a couple of weeks, although the can says about a week. I’ve been using a small amount of the coconut milk to mix with the grains. If you don’t have any coconut milk available, try water, aloe vera gel or juice, or even mix it with a gentle cleaner (like my honey and aloe cleanser). The goal is to create a soft paste that’s easy to spread on the skin.
You can definitely double or triple the amounts called for to make the cleansing grains. The grains are a shelf-stable product.
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

21 Comments

  1. Would it be too much to use almond meal or ground almonds instead of the oats? I’ve run out of oats and won’t be able to buy any for a while!

  2. I’d like to substitute Bentonite Clay for the Kaolin clay – but then it dawned on me that my spice grinder is metal – which deactivates the Bentonite clay. Should I just grind the lavender and oats and add the Bentonite after – or is it important to get the clay mixed in using a grinder?

  3. what is the difference between this recipe and your two-ingredient-exfoliator-scrub? They are for the same use? Do you still do both or just one?

    Also, can I use normal milk to replace coconut milk in this recipe?

    Thanks for your kind sharing..

    1. Hey Marina, I just use the two ingredient scrub. This is a great scrub, too, and just another option if you’re looking for something very soothing that can also double as a cleaner or mask. You could use normal milk.

  4. 5 stars
    I have been using this every night and my skin is glowing. I had a large tub of bentonite clay so I’m using that with excellent results. Since a can of coconut milk will only last a week in the fridge, I freeze it in my mini ice cube tray. I put the little frozen coconut balls in a baggie and take one out of freezer about an hour before I want to wash my face to melt.
    BONUS: This works great as an underarm cleanser too. Gets rid of razor burn and the red itchy bumps from using baking soda deodorant!!!

    1. Hey Marlena, I think so. I wouldn’t let it sit any longer than a few days, or a week. I think the clay may absorb the liquid and dry out the mixture. You may need a bit more liquid. Aloe vera gel may work better than water, too.

  5. exfoliation sounds easy enough! I have to really try this! is this not that harsh to the skin? I guess my Solvaderm can fix that but I dont really want to take the risk

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