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Essential Oil Foaming Face Wash {5 Ways for 5 Skin Types}

This is my favorite face wash recipe.

It’s a really simple (but effective) foaming face wash recipe that can be customized for your skin type.  This is great for me because my 13 year old daughter sometimes has normal skin and sometimes (when hormones flare) she has mild acne.  And depending on the time of year, my skin can be sensitive (summer) or dry (winter).   And I’m increasingly using the aging/mature foaming face wash on a  daily basis.  It’s very moisturizing and nourishing!

We’ll get into the skin-type specific recipes in just a bit, but first I want to show you how basic this recipe really is.  It’s just 3 ingredients and water.  It doesn’t get much more simple than that.

1)  To a 16 oz foaming soap container (I love this one) add…

1/2 cup unscented Castile soap (

like this)

2 Tbsp. of a skin enhancer (such as, witch hazel, aloe vera gel, rosehip seed oil, jojoba oil, or sweet almond oil)

~30 drops of essential oil

1 cup distilled water

2)  Stir well

3)  To use:

wet face, put 2-3 pumps of soap in your hand or on a wet washcloth, gently wash your face using small circular motions, and rinse clean  (note: be sure to avoid your eye area; you don’t want to get soap or essential oils in your eyes)

After I use this face wash, here’s what I do:

  1. apply a homemade essential oil toner with a cotton round, using gentle upwards motion all over face (avoiding eyes) here’s the recipe
  2. finish by moisturizing my skin with my DIY face serum (here’s the recipe – just like my foaming face wash there are customized recipes of carrier oil and essential oil blends just right for your skin type whether you have dry, oily, acne-prone, mature, or sensitive skin)

foaming face wash 5 ways for 5 skin types overview


And it’s really easy to customize this basic recipe for your skin type.  So whether you have normal, sensitive, dry, aging, or acne-prone skin, there’s a foaming face wash that’s perfect for you. Here are the recipes by skin type:


Foaming Face Wash for NORMAL skin

to a 16 oz foaming soap container (like this) add…

1/2 cup Castile soap (like this)

2 Tbsp. aloe vera gel (like this)

20 drops lavender essential oil

10 drops melaleuca essential oil

1 cup distilled water


Foaming Face Wash for ACNE-PRONE skin

to a 16 oz foaming soap container (like this) add…

1/2 cup Castile soap (like this)

2 Tbsp. witch hazel (like this)

10 drops lavender essential oil

10 drops lemongrass essential oil

10 drops melaleuca essential oil

1 cup distilled water

Foaming Face Wash for SENSITIVE Skin

to a 16 oz foaming soap container (like this) add…

1/2 cup Castile soap (like this)

2 Tbsp. jojoba oil (like this)

10 drops sandalwood essential oil

10 drops frankincense essential oil

10 drops helichrysum

5 drops rosemary

1 cup distilled water

Foaming Face Wash for DRY skin

to a 16 oz foaming soap container (like this) add…

1/2 cup Castile soap (like this)

2 Tbsp. sweet almond oil (like this)

20 drops lavender essential oil

10 drops frankincense essential oil

1 cup distilled water

Foaming Face Wash for AGING/MATURE skin

to a 16 oz foaming soap container (like this) add…

1/2 cup Castile soap (like this)

2 Tbsp. rosehip seed oil (like this)

10 drops lavender essential oil

5 drops frankincense essential oil

5 drops sandalwood

5 drops helichrysum

5 drops myrrh

1 cup distilled water


Ready to make yours?  Here’s where I get my supplies:

click here for the foaming soap dispenser in the photo   (you can also find the pump at Michaels or other craft stores and make your own)

click here for unscented Castile soap  

click here for witch hazel 

click here for aloe vera 

click here for rosehip seeed oil 

click here for jojoba oil

click here for sweet almond oil

distilled water— grocery store or Walmart by the bottled water


Click here for a FREE PRINTABLE with 5 foaming face wash recipes for 5 skin types {normal, acne-prone, sensitive, dry, and aging}

foaming face wash 5 ways for 5 skin types recipe grid


If you liked this post, here are a few other essential oil posts that I think you’ll like:

calming diffuser blends for stress

essential oil relaxation rub – great for reducing stress & anxiety, improving sleep, calming, balancing, & relaxing. Plus is easy to make and only 3 ingredients.

soft & silky body butter with essential oils

DIY face serum with essential oils – customized versions for every skin type (dry, oily, acne-prone, mature, sensitive, normal)

simple, 3-ingredient DIY facial toner

lavender, oatmeal, & milk bath soak for dry skin

25+ Easy DIY Gifts Made with Essential Oils

DIY exfoliating sugar scrub cubes – easy to make, smell incredible, and leave my skin feeling silky smooth

bubbling bath salts – the perfect combination of a bubble bath AND a detox salt bath (plus all the therapeutic benefits of essential oils)



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Please note: Products mentioned in this article have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products and information on this page are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This website is not a substitute for professional care.  Always consult your medical doctor regarding your medical care. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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By | 2017-04-19T11:03:22+00:00 January 5th, 2016|Essential Oils|56 Comments


  1. Coralyn January 7, 2016 at 6:07 pm - Reply

    want to try

  2. Polly January 10, 2016 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    Could you put charcoal in this type of soap? Wonderful website, great information, thank you.

    • Sarah Lewis January 16, 2016 at 9:17 pm - Reply

      Hi, Polly. Great idea! Yes, you could definitely put charcoal in this soap. I would try adding charcoal instead of the skin enhancer (that is, witch hazel and oils). And since charcoal is a strong detoxer, I would cut back on the amount of essential oils I would use so that I wouldn’t overtax my skin. Hope that helps a little. – Sarah

  3. Collette January 13, 2016 at 8:33 pm - Reply

    Love this

  4. Rachel January 14, 2016 at 10:02 am - Reply

    Love these ideas so much! Thank you!! What would you recommend if you have combination skin, for example dry, sensitive and aging? Or like my 11year old daughter dry, sensitive and acne? Thanks!

    • Sarah Lewis January 16, 2016 at 9:09 pm - Reply

      Hi, Rachel Thanks for the note!
      For your 11 year old daughter with dry sensitive skin with acne, I would try to 1/2 cup Castile soap, 2 Tbsp. witch hazel, 5 drops lavender essential oil, 5 drops frankincense, and 5 drops melaleuca essential oil, and 1 cup distilled water. Then after she’s done washing her face, I would have her try applying a small amount of jojoba oil (this is a great moisturizer as it mimics the skin’s own properties).
      For sensitive and aging, I would use the aging recipe as that is the version that is most nourishing and soothing for skin.
      Hope that helps a little.

      • Alisha Cua March 6, 2016 at 4:55 am - Reply

        Hello Sarah.
        Thank you so much for sharing this info! Would you have an alternative mix for aging and acne-prone?

        • Sarah Lewis March 14, 2016 at 4:51 pm - Reply

          Hi, Alisha.
          I would start with the acne face wash and omit the witch hazel (that will be too dry), then I would add in 2 tablespoons of a moisturizing oil like sweet almond oil or rosehip seed oil.

  5. Stephanie January 27, 2016 at 9:28 pm - Reply

    Do you have recommendations for an alternative to helichrysum and sandalwood in the anti-aging wash? I don’t currently have those in my stash, but would like to try… =) Also, do you think that baby wash would be an acceptable substitute for the castle soap? Thanks so much for your input! Love your blog!!

    • Sarah Lewis January 30, 2016 at 9:56 am - Reply

      Hi, Stephanie. Geranium is a possible substitute for the sandalwood and helichrysum in the anti-aging face wash. You could also just omit the sandalwood and helichrysum (without adding in a substitute). I wouldn’t use baby wash. You can find unscented liquid Castile (olive oil) soap in the natural skincare aisle at Target, Whole Foods, Sprouts, and other natural food stores. – Sarah

  6. Denise February 15, 2016 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    Hi! I was just wondering if you had to put it in the foaming bottle. Would a regular pump bottle be ok?

    • Sarah Lewis February 16, 2016 at 3:55 pm - Reply

      Hi, Denise. No, it doesn’t have to be a foaming bottle. A regular soap dispenser will work just fine. I like to use the foaming kind so I use less soap, but either kind works great. – Sarah

  7. stephanie margiotti February 16, 2016 at 7:56 am - Reply

    Good Morning! Thanks for the info, can’t wait to try. How is it for removing make-up?

    • Sarah Lewis February 16, 2016 at 3:52 pm - Reply

      Hi, Stephanie. It works great for removing foundation, but I do use a separate eye makeup remover. – Sarah

  8. Donna February 18, 2016 at 9:32 am - Reply

    what do you recommend for an eye makeup remover? Have just purchased the necessities to make this face wash, and saw your comment about the eye makeup…. mascara just fuddles me!!! 😉 hard to take off….


    • Sarah Lewis March 2, 2016 at 1:24 pm - Reply

      Hi, Donna.
      Give this a try for eye makeup remover- equal parts of (1) alcohol-free witch hazel, (2) an oil (like jojoba, sweet almond, apricot kernel, or grapeseed), and (3) distilled water). Shake those three ingredients together and use a clean cotton pad to apply this mixture and remove your eye makeup. Be extremely careful to not get any dirt, makeup, additional water, etc into this mixture as you do not want to grow any bacteria in something that you are going to be using so close to your eyes. I would only make enough of this mixture to last you about a week (at most), and then I’d make a fresh batch.

    • Tig March 30, 2017 at 1:44 am - Reply

      Coconut oil takes off mascara like it was made for the job! Try it ONCE and you’ll never use another makeup remover again.

  9. Donna February 18, 2016 at 9:33 am - Reply

    Sorry, another question!! What about Grapeseed oil? Can it be used in replacement of Almond or Jojoba or the others? Just wondering….. 🙂

    • Sarah Lewis March 2, 2016 at 1:18 pm - Reply

      Hi, Donna.
      Yes, grapeseed oil would work great in this foaming face wash. It’s a nice gentle oil that is easily absorbed by the skin. While it’s moisturizing, grapeseed oil is not likely to irritate the skin or cause breakouts, so it would work well in any of these face wash recipes from mature skin to acne-prone.

  10. Teri February 26, 2016 at 10:33 am - Reply

    You mention in your recipe for face wash to using Melaleuca oil is that another name for tea tree oil?

    • Sarah Lewis March 2, 2016 at 12:41 pm - Reply

      Hi, Teri. Yes, you’re correct. By melaleuca oil I mean tea tree oil. – Sarah

  11. Kristi Whitesell March 7, 2016 at 10:07 am - Reply

    I’m making the recipe for acne prone for my mother (who is 72) for her rosacea. Any recommended modifications based on her age? Also, with the lemongrass, is the plastic tubing for the pump okay?

    • Sarah Lewis March 14, 2016 at 4:47 pm - Reply

      Hi, Kristi.
      I would try the face wash for sensitive skin with frankincense, helichrysum, rosemary, and sandalwood. If you don’t have one of those essential oils, it’s okay to omit it (I know most of those are quite pricey). I would make up a few small batch and see how her skin reacts.
      I do want to let you know though that this won’t cure her Rosacea. I’m not a medical professional (and I don’t play one on the internet), but as someone with rosacea myself, my understanding is that rosacea starts with gut health. Avoiding certain foods (spicy and nightshades) as well as avoiding caffeine and alcohol can help. Hope I don’t sound too preachy. I just have tremendous empathy for what your mom is going through.

  12. Briana March 8, 2016 at 12:22 am - Reply

    Would fractionated coconut oil work instead of jojoba or rose hip oil?

    • Sarah Lewis March 14, 2016 at 4:37 pm - Reply

      Hi, Briana. Yes, you could definitely substitute fractionated coconut oil for one of the other oils. Fractionated coconut oil won’t be as moisturizing as jojoba or rosehip seed oil, but it will still work. You could also omit the oil if you’d like. – Sarah

  13. Jane March 8, 2016 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    Sarah, you are such an angel to give such detailed answers to all the questions! Bless your heart!!!!
    p.s Fabulous and ez face wash recipe! Thank you!

  14. Bernard Margarette March 22, 2016 at 12:02 pm - Reply

    Thanks I love your products.
    I have dark spot caused by my glasses, I don’t kow what to do naturally to remove it. An oïl or a solution. Thanks a lot

    • Sarah Lewis April 4, 2016 at 10:02 am - Reply

      I’m not sure about this one. I’ve never heard of a dark spot being caused by glasses. Maybe another reader will have a suggestion?
      I have successfully used vitamin C serums to reduce dark spots and uneven skin tone. perhaps that would work for you as well?

  15. Frances April 3, 2016 at 5:58 am - Reply

    Where would I find the essential oils you mention in your recipes? Also are sandalwood, myrrh, rosemary, helichrysum, etc. essential oils as well? Thank you.

    • Sarah Lewis April 4, 2016 at 9:30 am - Reply

      Hi, Frances.
      Yes, myrrh, rosemary, helichrysum, etc are essential oils. Thanks for asking. I’m sure if it wasn’t clear to you, it wasn’t also to others as well. I try to write recipes and articles for what I would have needed to know a few years ago when I first started using essential oils, but sometimes I overlook something like this and I really appreciate people like you letting me know when something is confusing. Thank you!
      In terms of where to find essential oils, sorry I won’t be of much help. I try to keep this blog and my Facebook and Pinterest pages free of recommendations for specific brands of essential oils. So many of us already have brands of essential oils that we use and love that I don’t want our use of different brands to be something that divides us. Do be sure to look for high quality, 100% pure essential oils.

  16. Tara May 17, 2016 at 8:21 am - Reply

    Hi! I am curious if the acne-prone recipe would be good for me…a 36-year-old with oily skin. I used to have acne-prone skin in my teens and still occasionally get blemishes. My biggest problem now is the oil production. Would you recommend the acne-prone recipe or would you recommend any alterations to it? Thank you!

    • Sarah Lewis May 20, 2016 at 2:24 pm - Reply

      Hi, Tara.
      The acne-prone formula should work great for oily skin. I would make a small batch and test it in your skin for a few days.
      It’s counter intuitive, but it’s possible you might be over drying your skin which would cause more oil production. If that’s the case, then I would try switching out the witch hazel in this recipe for a gentle oil like sweet almond oil. Again, I’d make a small batch and test it out on your skin for a few days.
      Please let me know how it works for you.

  17. Jenna May 19, 2016 at 4:31 pm - Reply

    I can’t wait to try these recipes– they sound fabulous!! I was curious if you use a plastic dispenser or glass. I heard you aren’t supposed to use essential oils with plastic but I haven’t heard of a foam glass dispenser. Thanks!

    • Sarah Lewis May 20, 2016 at 1:51 pm - Reply

      Hi, Jenna.
      My foaming soap dispensers are glass, but you could also use a plastic foaming soap dispenser that’s made with plastic #1 (PET) or plastic #2 (HDPE). Both of those kinds of plastic are considered safe to use with diluted essential oils like this face wash.
      I’ve got my foaming soap dispenser in the photo of this post from Etsy, but you can also get that foaming soap pump at craft stores like Michaels and JoAnn’s to add to your own mason jar. I also have several glass foaming soap dispensers from Amazon. If you happen to have any old plastic foaming soap dispensers from Bath & Body Works those would work too (just check the bottom to make sure it says #1 (PET) or #2 (HDPE).

  18. Courtney June 22, 2016 at 10:36 am - Reply

    Hi. With water in it wouldn’t it need a preservative?

    • Sarah Lewis June 26, 2016 at 7:38 pm - Reply

      Hi, Courtney.
      You’re right, whenever there’s water involved, adding a preservative is a good idea.
      I personally don’t add a preservative to this face wash, but it would be completely fine to add one. Here are a few reasons why I feel okay skipping the preservatives (but again, you can definitely add a preservative for added safety).
      – I start with a clean, sterile soap dispenser (so no germs/bacteria from the container)
      – I use distilled water (so little to no germs/bacteria from the container)
      – I make the face wash in small batches that I use up within a few weeks (so germs/bacteria don’t have much time to grow)
      – My face wash is kept in a cool spot (which slows the growth of germs/bacteria)
      – I use essential oils (many of which have antiviral and antibacterial properties)
      – The face wash is stored in a sealed soap dispenser, and dirt/debris/germs are not introduced to the face wash when using it.
      those are some of my reasons for omitting preservative in this face wash even though there’s water. But again, adding a preservative is good, too. If you do that you can have even more confidence that your face wash will have a longer shelf life.

  19. Krista July 16, 2016 at 1:56 pm - Reply

    Hi. So I have doTerra oils. Do I need to use as many drops? I read somewhere that they’re more potent, but I’m not sure if that’s true. I’m not a distributor or anything, just got several from someone as a gift.

    • Sarah Lewis July 19, 2016 at 9:48 pm - Reply

      Hi, Krista.
      Good question. These recipes are written for 100% pure essential oils like doTERRA, Young Living, and Plant Therapy essential oils.
      And lucky you to get some great essential oils as a gift!
      Hope you have fun using them.

  20. Jen August 5, 2016 at 10:50 am - Reply

    Hi! I made the acne prone recipe but my skin is still very oily. Is there anything else I can add to help with this?

    • Sarah Lewis August 6, 2016 at 10:08 am - Reply

      Hi, Jen.
      Have you tried the oil cleansing method where you “wash” your face with oils (not soap). I’ve heard it works especially well to control oily skin. The idea is that like dissolves like so “washing” your face with oils dissolves and cleans the oils on your skin. Here’s a link to the basic recipe and method in case you want to give it a try.
      I’d also add a few drops of essential oils that are known to help control oily skin to the carrier oils. Here are a few essential oils to try mixing in: tea tree, cypress, frankincense, or lemongrass.

  21. Judith September 6, 2016 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    If I don’t want to make the face wash foaming, can I omit the distilled water in the formulation?

    • Sarah Lewis September 6, 2016 at 5:54 pm - Reply

      Hi, Judith.
      Yes, you can definitely omit the water.
      Just use a very small amount of the soap mixture when you wash your face. A small pea-sized amount of undiluted soap will be plenty.

  22. Bridget September 8, 2016 at 6:53 pm - Reply

    Just trying your face wash for sensitive skin for the first time. I wear make up. Would you suggest maybe adding more jojoba or sweet almond oil to the mix to make it a bit more easy to remove make up ?

    • Sarah Lewis September 18, 2016 at 8:16 pm - Reply

      Hi, Bridget.
      My experience has been that the face wash removes makeup when used along with a washcloth or facial brush, but I like your idea of adding more oil to the mix to help easily remove heavier makeup. Oil dissolves oil, so I think that would help. I always suggest trying new formulations in a small test batch to see how it works for you before committing to a full batch. Please let us know how it works. I’m sure others would like to learn from your experiment, too.

  23. Gabi November 30, 2016 at 5:13 pm - Reply

    Sarah, Thank you so much for all the information!!! This is exactly what I was looking for 🙂 I’m a huge fan of the essential oils, I’ve been using them for almost 5 years. Slowly but Surely Replacing everything toxic from my household. Looking forward to try your face wash recipes tonight 🙂

  24. Melani Pipo May 6, 2017 at 11:19 pm - Reply

    Hi thanks for all the info you’ve provided. Have you used argan oil for any of the recipes?

  25. Siti May 12, 2017 at 5:05 pm - Reply

    Hi Sarah!

    I was wondering if i could replace rose water instead of distilled water. do you think it will be a good idea?

    • Sarah Lewis May 15, 2017 at 7:57 pm - Reply

      Hi Siti,
      I love that idea! I think rose water would be great in the foaming face wash in place of distilled water. It has so many great benefits for your skin.
      Thanks for sharing your idea with us.

  26. Venus Sulaiman June 6, 2017 at 10:32 pm - Reply

    Are there any options besides distilled water? Don’t have any on hand. If that’s the beat option I can just wait till I buy some. Thanks!

    • Sarah Lewis June 7, 2017 at 11:10 pm - Reply

      Yes, instead of distilled water you can use boiled-and-cooled filtered water.

  27. Anne June 22, 2017 at 2:04 am - Reply

    Hi Sarah! Thank you so much for sharing your recipe. If I don’t have a castile soap, can I substitute it with any liquid facial wash that I’m already using?

    • Sarah Lewis July 7, 2017 at 1:30 pm - Reply

      If your face wash is made from natural ingredients, it likely will work just fine to use it instead of Castile soap.

  28. Marge West August 10, 2017 at 7:04 am - Reply

    I made your recipe but the oils float to the top so every time I use it i have to shake it. Is there anything safe that I can add to prevent it from separating?

    • Sarah Lewis August 13, 2017 at 3:10 pm - Reply

      Hi Marge,
      Here are a couple ideas to try to help your oil and water stay mixed:
      1) use less water, or don’t even add any water when you make the soap. Instead when you’re ready to wash your face, pump out a little bi of the soap into your hand and add a little water at that point. Then agitate the soap and water in your palm to help it foam up a bit before applying to your face.
      2) use less carrier oil in the recipe. Experiment by adding 1/2 of the amount of oil to the soap and see if that stays emulsified for you. If it does, then you can add a little more carrier oil. If instead the mixture still separates, then try adding a little more Castile soap to balance out the oil.

  29. Kimberly Bennett October 7, 2017 at 8:13 pm - Reply

    My 6 year-old granddaughter and I just made the foaming face wash for mature skin! She did everything, it was THAT simple!! I found your site because of the 3-4 ingredient recipe. I like things EASY!! I couldn’t wait until tonight to use it so I have already washed my face and my skin feels SO soft AND toned!! I LOVE it!! Thank you so much!! I have made my own cleansers for years with Castille soap but always wanted a foaming wash with less ingredients and I am SOLD!!! It is incredible how much money this saves!!!!

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