DIY Foaming Face Wash With Hydrosol & Essential Oils

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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. Nancy Carmickle Avatar
    Nancy Carmickle

    This face wash is really nice, but I stings my eyes. Is it the Castile soap? What do you suggest I do?

    1. Jamie Larrison Avatar

      Any type of soap or face wash can sting the eyes if it gets in them, so it’s best to avoid the eye area when washing the face.

  2. Alyssa Avatar

    This recipe sounds very interesting and I look forward to trying it. One question I do have though is: Can the rosehip seed oil be replaced with another carrier oil?

    1. Jamie Larrison Avatar

      The rosehip see oil is recommended because it’s astringent and good for oily or acne prone skin. If you have a different skin type and need something more moisturizing, then avocado, olive oil, or grapeseed oil are good substitutes.

  3. Lani Avatar

    Hello Katie,

    Thank you for this recipe. I’m looking forward to making the one for ageing skin, but wanted to ask first if its ok to use on my whole face including eye area with the essential oils in it. I put sunscreen on my upper eye lids, so like to wash it off.
    Thank you

  4. Char Avatar

    Hi ? I would like to add glycolic acid to Castile face cleanser. Any helpful hints please ?

  5. Lani Avatar

    This looks like a face wash I’d like to make. The question I have is, can the ageing one be used on the whole face including the eye area and for removing eye makeup?

    Thank you!

  6. Beth Avatar

    I added up the cost for the aging/blemished skin combination and it’s around $80, not including the dispenser. Granted, buying those products will make more than one bottle of cleanser. I instead purchase skin cleanser, avoiding the following: Diethanolamine (DEA), Triethaolamine (TEA), ammonia, phthalates, Perchloroethylene (PERC), 2-Butoxyethanol, Sodium Hydroxide, Triclosan, Quarternary Ammonium Compounds and Chlorine. There are many brands available that make non-toxic skin care products. Acure is one I am currently using.
    Katie, thanks for all you do. You have educated me and inspired me to live a healthier lifestyle. THANK YOU!!!

  7. Saffron Avatar

    Hi, is this recipe pH balancing? And what are your thoughts on skincare being slightly acidic? I have only just read this is apparently important

  8. Demariah Avatar

    Do your recipes not need any sort of preservatives? I want to make lots of them and give them out so just want to make sure I won’t be putting anyone in any harm.

  9. Mary Avatar

    Is there a brand of face wash you recommend that we could by if we don’t want to make it ourselves?


  10. liarda Avatar

    hello katie ! i have tried some of your diy and they are all so good! i have aloe liquid castile soap , is it ok to use?
    and if i only use distilled water ( i cant find where i live hydrosol) what preservative can i use to improve shelf life. thank you

  11. Raven Avatar

    Castile soap is very high in PH, the best PH for skin is between 4-5.5 I recommend using a 50% citric acid dilution and testing with a PH Meter until you reach at least 5.5 ph value
    Using lemon on the skin is not advisable. lemon has a pH of 2, meaning it’s highly acidic. So when you apply lemon on your skin, the acids disrupt your skin’s acid mantle and causes a significant amount of irritation on a cellular level The oils in citrus fruits are also phototoxic, meaning they can cause burns and a rash on your skin if you’re exposed to the sun after application.

    1. Liz Avatar

      I concur, testing the pH is very important as soaps have high pH which is alkaline, citric acid or lactic acid will help to lower the pH to the safer level, otherwise it wont make any difference from using a normal soap bar which is not recommended for face.

  12. Jaimie Avatar

    I JUST finished making this and am excited to use it; however, I don’t think I can justify making it again. By the time you add up the cost, WOW! I could mix a little Dr. Bronner’s with some water in a foam dispenser and be all set.

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