DIY Foaming Face Wash With Hydrosol & Essential Oils

Katie Wells Avatar

Reading Time: 3 minutes

This post contains affiliate links.

Read my affiliate policy.

How to make a foaming hydrosol face wash with essential oils
Wellness Mama » Blog » Beauty » DIY Foaming Face Wash With Hydrosol & Essential Oils

I’m a big fan of the oil cleansing method, and I’ve even been known to rub raw honey on my face. For those who are looking for a more traditional soap-based way to cleanse skin, I’ve been experimenting with this foaming face wash recipe. It has a rich lather and benefits every skin type.

This recipe is very similar to my foaming hand soap with a little added boost of skin nourishment from various hydrosols. While you can use distilled water as a more frugal option, hydrosols have a much longer shelf life than water and have extra benefits.

Hydrosols in Foaming Face Wash

Hydrosols are the by-product of essential oil production. While essential oils are highly concentrated, hydrosols are very gentle, but with many of the same properties.

One big difference to note: hydrosols are water soluble and essential oils are not. This makes mixing easier and takes away some of the worries about using essential oils safely.

Depending on how it’s made and what preservatives are used, hydrosols will typically last 12-18 months. This is a benefit to homemade skincare products since they typically don’t contain preservatives and can spoil earlier than shelf-stable commercial products.

How to Choose a Hydrosol by Skin Type

  • Witch hazel hydrosol – This is different from the witch hazel found in most stores which contains alcohol. It’s an astringent and cleansing, making it good for oily and acne-prone skin.
  • Rose hydrosol – This hydrosol is soothing and nourishing for all skin types, but it’s especially good for mature skin. Rose is hydrating and a humectant to lock in moisture.
  • Chamomile hydrosol – Very calming to irritated skin. Chamomile hydrosol improves skin elasticity and is antiseptic, and antibacterial.
  • Cucumber hydrosol – Useful for all skin types, this hydrosol cools and calms inflamed skin. It’s also very hydrating.
  • Clary sage hydrosol– This is a more potent-smelling hydrosol, but it’s known to smooth and calm skin. It’s also slightly astringent so it’s perfect for oily skin.
  • Geranium hydrosol – Geranium hydrosol is good for all skin types but particularly aging skin. It’s soothing, anti-inflammatory, and balancing.

Foaming Face Wash with Essential Oils

The beauty of a DIY face wash (pun intended!) is that you can swap out ingredients depending on specific skin conditions for a completely customized face wash. In a hydrosol the essential oils are diluted to about 2%, and the dilutions should be kept to 1-5% to avoid skin irritation. Keep this in mind if substitutions are being made.

A note on castile soap in recipes … different brands have different consistencies, so the amounts may need adjusting. The Dr. Bronners brand of castile soap is very thick, while some other brands are less so. Try reducing the hydrosol (or distilled water in the budget version) by half if the soap seems runny.

Foaming Face Wash for Oily or Acne Prone Skin

Foaming Face Wash for Aging or Blemished Skin


Foaming Face Wash for Normal Skin



  1. In the soap dispenser add the essential oil, castile soap, and carrier oil. Swirl the bottle until the ingredients are well combined.
  2. Add the distilled water or the hydrosol, leaving at least 1 inch of space at the top for the pump. You may not need a full ¼ cup to fill it. If the castile soap is thin, then reduce the hydrosol or water to 1/4 cup.
  3. Cap the dispenser tightly and gently tip it back and forth to mix everything. Don’t shake it too much though or there will be a bunch of suds!

Safety Note

Lemon essential oil is phototoxic if used above 2% in a leave-on product like a lotion. Just leave it out if desired, but you’ll miss out on its cleansing and age spot lightening benefits. I consider this recipe safe since it uses it at only 1% and it’s washed off. If there is any concern, use the face wash at night or at least 12 hours before sun exposure.

What is your skincare routine? Ever tried a foaming face wash? Share below!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


55 responses to “DIY Foaming Face Wash With Hydrosol & Essential Oils”

  1. Jessie Avatar

    I love the sound of these recipes and had never thought to use hydrosols. I want to make my own foaming face wash but do I have to use Castille soap to make it foam. I was trying to avoid it.

  2. Meredith Avatar

    Is there any benefit to adding these essential oils if you are oil cleansing?

  3. nikita Avatar

    Love your website! Ive made so many things using your recipes! Thankyou so much for sharing them with us. I have a question. I use raw honey mixed with some essential oils to cleanse my face and I love it! Nothing beats it. But the only problem is that it’s causes too much rubbing and pulling of the skin and might result in earlier wrinkles I fear. How Can I make it of a more thinner consistency? What Hydrosols and essential oils should I add to the honey to get a thinner consistency. Would love me ingredients for anti anti aging. Im 25 currently with oily tea zones and normal to dry cheeks.

  4. Rhonda Donat Avatar
    Rhonda Donat

    I am so happy I found your website. I now use many of your recipes, and I love everyone of them. I cannot say enough to express the “happy” factor of finding DIY recipes that I can trust.

      1. Nekisha Avatar

        Hello! I got a response back from Brambleberry and want to share it here for anyone else wondering. Soap has a pH level that doesn’t not allow mold to grow. So whether you use hydrosol (which would have a preservative added) or distilled water, no preservative is needed. However, if one wanted to be extra careful, they could use Phenonip or Optiphen at 1%.
        Hope this is as helpful to your readers as it was for me!
        Thanks for taking the time to respond. Your page is pretty awesome!

  5. Nekisha Avatar

    I was so excited to find this page but realize you did not suggest a preservative which is why I have not attempted this yet….

    Any thoughts? Thanks!

      1. Liz Avatar

        Some hydrosols are not pre-preserved so it is good to ask your supplier and read the MSDS , otherwise preserve to be in a safe side.

  6. Makala Avatar

    I just made the one for oily skin and I love it so far! Skin feels so nice and clean!

  7. Nancy Avatar

    Katie, I haven’t tried Plant Therapy’s essential oils yet. Did you recently start using their oils? Do you still buy oils from Mountain Rose Herb? There are so many companies selling essential oils, it is confusing to me to decide on which is the best to use.

  8. Carmen Avatar

    Does it matter if I use a regular soap dispenser? Where I live foam dispensers are very expensive and hard to get…

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      A regular one will work as well. If you aren’t using the foamer, I’d put a little of the face wash onto a wash cloth to help it foam and use that to wash your face.

  9. Melanie G Avatar
    Melanie G

    Hello, the instructions at the end aplly to all foaming face wash recipes?

  10. AJ Avatar

    Could you help me put together a forming body wash formula for a lady client of mine that has lymphedema in her lower extremities. Something that would boost her struggle to retain her femininity, as the areas involved exfoliate dead skin cells that create a less than pleasant odor. Most medical and commercial soaps only mix with the lymph fluid making the area sticky in a matter of a few hours after washing. Can hydrosols be purchased locally?

  11. Suzanne Avatar

    Can I substitute macadamia nut, or jojoba oil for the other oils?

  12. Jill Avatar

    I’ve been looking for a DIY face wash, and can’t wait to try this one!

  13. Nonna Avatar

    Thank you for the DIY recipe. I have a question, I already have lavender and orange castile soap do I still need the essential oils?


  14. Dara Avatar

    Wouldn’t this need a preservative? Hydrosols or water can start growing nasty microbes within a few days, I wouldn’t want to be rubbing those on my face!

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      The hydrosols act as a preservative. From the article: “Depending on how they’re made and what preservatives are used, they will typically last 12-18 months. Since homemade skincare products typically don’t contain preservatives, this keeps the homemade face wash from growing something nasty.”

      1. Stephanie Avatar

        What about if it is maid with distilled water? Would you need a preservative? and if so how much for this recipe and how long would it last

        1. Liz Avatar

          You will need a preservative if your cleanser contains distilled water or hydrosol. Some hydrosols are not preserved and even if they are preserved, that wont be strong enough especially to hold the mix. I would recommend for you add a preservative to be in a safe side. Ask your supplier if the hydrosol is preserved, then add preservative less than 1% and if not preserved , add 1%.

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      It could, but make sure the final product has some sort of natural preservative included so it doesn’t go bad quickly.

  15. Hélène Avatar

    Im not sold on PET as its still plastic. I ll stick with glass.

  16. Yumei silva Avatar
    Yumei silva

    As an Aromatherapy practitioner, I have to correct what you said about hydrosol and essential oils. The chemical constituents in hydrosol are very different from those in essential oils. Those in hydrosol are water soluble while the constituents in essential oils are not. Hope your readers understand the differences.

  17. Mary Avatar

    Katie: Thanks for this post. It is very interesting. I have never used a hydrosol. In terms of effects on the skin, what is the difference between using a hydrosol and adding essential oils of the same vein as the hydrosol (i.e. geranium hydrosol v. geranium oil)?

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      essential oils are not water soluble, hydrosols are, so they don’t have to be shaken each time. So just using essential oils in water won’t have the same long term properties or shelf life

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *