Facial Wash – made with just three simple ingredients

food on your face

Today, the bag of paper recycling is pretty indicative of my mood. Two empty cereal boxes (breakfast), and an empty box of ladies ‘bathroom essentials’. Yup, bring on the crankies! Actually, I think I can say conclusively that I’m not all that bad about PMS, but even though I don’t break out emotionally, my face often does. I thought I’d take this opportunity to talk about skin care – although my routine doesn’t involve much, I wanted to share one of my favorite home-made face washes.

You probably already know how eating right (yeah, right) and keeping hydrated can help your skin be clear and radiant, and help your hair to shine, but did you know that food can be good on, as well as in, you?

You’d never guess how easily you can replace your drug-store facial scrubs with just a few ingredients from your pantry! Because the skin is the body’s largest organ, and can absorb all kinds of things from its surrounding environment – from the light of the sun, to the products you apply to it – it’s important to treat it with respect. Besides being economical, this guarantees that you’re giving your body only what it needs – 100% natural nutrients.

It took a while for this to occur to me, but in the search for beauty products that actually work I realized that if it’s having an apparent effect on my face, it’s also having a significant effect on my body. That becomes a kind of scary thought when you read the list of ingredients on most commercially available skin care products and find that many contain chemicals and synthetic ingredients you can’t even pronounce the name of.

With just a few simple ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen, you can make a facial wash or mask that:
Dries up oiliness while maintaining hydration
Is antibacterial
Scar healing
Skin soothing
And smells fantastic
– Oh, and did I mention it tastes great on toast?

Here’s what you need:

#1: Raw Honey

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Honey is both antiseptic and antibacterial, and has for many years been used both topically and internally for medical purposes. Honey is commonly used as a salve on open wounds, because when it comes into contact with body fluids it will slowly release hydrogen peroxide – this, in combination with its slight acidity, will kill bacteria and prevent infection. Honey also contains antioxidants, and is long believed to have many healing effects.

For making your facial wash or mask, it’s best to use raw honey. If the bottle doesn’t specify that it’s raw, or unfiltered, you’re probably getting pasteurized honey. Pasteurizing is a process of heating to a very high temperature to kill bacteria, which ensures that your honey won’t crystalize very quickly, but also that some of its goodness has been compromised. (Note that the honey in the photo above is not raw – raw honey will often be thicker, and more crystalized than processed honey.)
If you’re lucky enough to have active Manuka Honey from New Zealand that would work as well, but considering its cost it should probably be saved for more specific uses.

#2: Ground Cinnamon

There are several different varieties of cinnamon, including Saigon (or Vietnamese) Cinnamon, Indonesian Cinnamon, Cassia (or Chinese) Cinnamon, and Ceylon (also known as ‘True’ Cinnamon) from Sri Lanka. Here in the States, Cassia is what’s most commonly found on our shelves and in stores. Each genus has different attributes, but for our purposes whatever you have will work.
Cinnamon has long been used as medicine in folk lore, and the myth is backed more and more by modern research. Some studies have even shown certain strains to be effective against HIV, and in lab experiments cinnamon extracts have helped to treat Alzheimer’s.
While that probably doesn’t mean much for the topical application of store-bought cinnamon, we also know that it has an antiviral, therapeutic effect – not to mention, it turns our honey ‘wash’ into a ‘scrub’, by adding a gentle amount of exfoliation similar to expensive microdermabrasion products.

#3 Nutmeg

What is nutmeg, anyway? Is it a nut? It kind of looks like a nut.
Actually, it’s a seed. Nutmeg is the seed of a genus of tree called the Myristica – a species of Evergreen. The seed is small and round, and grows inside a ‘fruit’ much like the pit of a peach. The seed itself also has a thin covering called an aril. This aril is removed from the seed, and is, in fact, where another common holiday spice comes from – Mace.

Nutmeg has long been thought to have significant medicinal properties, though much of this thinking is probably due to its psychoactive effects. Nutmeg contains a hallucinogen which in high enough doses is toxic, and can cause convulsions, nausea, and dehydration. Although humans can’t generally get nutmeg poisoning from the amounts called for in culinary uses, other animals can often be more sensitive – for this reason it’s recommended that you don’t let the family pet have anything with nutmeg in it.
While nutmeg has no proven medical uses, it has long been used therapeutically to calm the mind and relax the body. Nutmeg oil has been used in aromatherapy to reduce headaches, clear the sinuses, and lighten a depressed mood. It is also thought to have antimicrobial properties.

In this facial scrub, the nutmeg helps to dilute the harsh cinnamon and keep the exfoliating light and gentle, as well as adding a depth to the soothing aroma. I recommend using whole nutmeg, grated fresh, but if you already have powdered that will work as well.

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Once you have your ingredients, simply combine them in a jar or bottle.

1/4 cup Raw Honey
1.5 tsp. – 1.5 TBSP Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. – 2 tsp. Nutmeg

Why the huge variation in amounts? It all depends on what consistency you like. Using less cinnamon and nutmeg will keep the mixture fairly smooth and light, whereas more will make your wash more of a mask – a thick mud that can be applied gently with your fingertips and let set for 5-10 minutes before rinsing away.
I suggest starting with the lesser amounts, mixing with a spoon, and adjusting until you find the consistency that suits you best.

To use, take about 1 tsp. of scrub between your fingertips or in the palms of your hands and rub together to warm slightly. Then, apply to a dry face in gentle circular motions, avoiding the eye area, until evenly applied.
Optionally, let the scrub rest on your face for five or ten minutes. If you really want to pamper yourself, lick fingers clean while waiting.
Rinse face thoroughly with warm water. As the water dries, you may experience a slight tightening sensation. Moisturize as per your normal routine.

I like to apply the scrub just before showering, for easy rinsing.
Depending on your skin type, I suggest using the scrub only 2-3 times a week due to the exfoliation. On days in between, try washing with just honey!

IMPORTANT NOTE: Before using any new topical product, do a small test patch on a sensitive area of skin like the inside or your wrist. Let the product sit for several minutes before rinsing clean, then wait a few minutes more to be sure you don’t have any reaction to the ingredients before continuing.

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Other household fixes for your routine:

For moisturizing, try this combo:

2oz. Jajoba oil (available at most health-food stores and online – a very light liquid wax that closely resembles human sebum, the oils produced by  your skin. It’s quickly absorbed, and leaves little to no residue)
1-2 drops skin-safe essential oil of your choice – lavender, chamomile, rose… whatever you like.

Combine in a dropper bottle, and massage 2-3 drops into skin daily.


Baking soda toothpaste:

1/2 cup baking soda
1 drop peppermint extract, or flavor extract of your choice (optional)
water to desired consistency

Combine into a paste, and brush.

Coconut Oil hair treatment:

Before bed, try rubbing a palm full of coconut oil through your hair, roots to tip. In the morning, shower and wash hair as usual.


What other home-made beauty treatments do you know of? Feel free to share your routine in the comments!

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44 Responses to Facial Wash – made with just three simple ingredients

  1. Zainab November 21, 2011 at 10:04 pm #

    Hi. Was just browsing through and came across your space. Its interesting to know the facts about food on and in our skin. I have a home remedy to share.
    Face pack for a glowing skin
    1tbsn gram flour/chick pea flour
    1tsp turmeric powder
    1/2 tbsn yoghurt.
    Mix well and apply for 10 days. You get your skin glowing!!:)

    • Anonymous March 11, 2013 at 2:59 am #

      I’m East Indian and my mom used to use this on me often as a child and now i use it at least twice a week, it works wonders! The only slight variation is i also squeeze about a quarter lime into the mix, skin feels amazing!

    • Anonymous September 30, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

      Silly question probably but do you apply and then rinse or leave on? Thanks!

  2. Willow November 21, 2011 at 10:31 pm #

    Sounds great, I’ll have to give that a try – thanks for sharing!

    • Barb October 5, 2015 at 12:41 am #

      I was watching Dr Oz one day and he said regardless of what you use to wash your face always add cinnamon and nutmeg to whatever you are using. I use Olay facial pads and always sprinkle a little mixture on it when I wash my face and it always feels great when I am done. Then I rub a little coconut oil on my face and it feels amazing. It has really softened my skin. I am 72 and people can’t believe it. I have very dry skin too.

  3. Anonymous November 22, 2011 at 12:03 am #

    Beautiful photo! Where does one get raw honey, besides straight from a honey farm? Can you get it through a health food store?

    • Anonymous April 21, 2013 at 5:53 pm #

      you have to be careful when buying at any health food store. read the label carefully. if it comes from overseas chances of it being 100% raw is slim. best place to get it is somewhere local where you can talk to the people selling it

  4. Daphne November 22, 2011 at 12:16 am #

    Hair masks:
    Avocado – mash a ripe avocado with a fork, apply to dry hair, let sit for 10-30 minutes. Wash as usual. Moisturizing.
    Egg and lemon – beat an egg with a tablespoon of lemon juice. Apply to damp hair, leave on for 10 minutes. Wash as usual. Shine enhancing.

    Apple cider hair rinse:
    Dilute apple cider vinegar (1 part cider:2 parts water). After shampooing, pour mixture through hair. Rinse thoroughly, apply conditioner. Use weekly. Enhances shine and removes product residue. Great for after the pool!

  5. Willow November 22, 2011 at 1:49 am #

    @ Anonymous – all health food stores will have raw honey, and often times the regular stores do, too, though maybe in their ‘healthy’ section.
    Raw honey will definitely be labeled as such, and will look thick and pale. I was just at Whole Foods the other day, and happened to notice that they have almost a whole shelf full of different raw honeys. Hope that helps!

    @ Daphne – great ideas! I’ve heard of the avocado hair treatment, but would never have guessed about the other two. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Kim - Liv Life November 22, 2011 at 2:04 am #

    Saw this on Foodgawker and just had to tell you how gorgeous your photos are!! Lovely…

  7. Willow November 22, 2011 at 2:08 am #

    Aww, thank you!

  8. Brittany November 28, 2011 at 1:42 am #

    This is such a great idea! Thanks for the recipe.

  9. Willow November 28, 2011 at 2:53 am #

    No problem, I hope you like it!

  10. Anonymous November 29, 2011 at 12:00 am #

    Would it be alright to use regular store-bought honey? There’s no way for me to acquire raw honey(I live up north, about 6 hours drive away from the nearest city)….

  11. Willow November 29, 2011 at 12:42 am #

    Regular honey will definitely work if you can’t find raw, but note that raw can also be bought off Amazon or other online retailers.
    I’ve used plain pasteurized honey before myself, and in a pinch it’ll do just fine. If you want to just test it out and see if you like it, try adding a dash of each spice to the palm of your hand, then drizzle some honey on top. Rub your palms together to combine, and see what you think.

  12. Vee Jones November 29, 2011 at 4:11 am #

    Hi, I loved your post so much. My favourite beauty make at home is a sugar scrub. I used brown sugar, olive oil and a few drops of essential oil. I keep a tub in the shower and rub it on just before I have a shower.

  13. Willow November 29, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    Thank you! That sugar scrub sounds great – I’ve made sea salt and sugar scrubs before, but never would’ve thoguht to use brown sugar. I’ll have to give that a try!

  14. Willow November 29, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

    Update: I’ve just been reading about different uses for coffee in home cosmetics. As if we need more reasons to love coffee:

    1. A strong pot of coffee left to cool can be used to soak hair for twenty minutes or so to deepen color and enhance shine.

    2. Mixing a TBSP of coffee grinds with a half TBSP of olive oil and any essential oils you choose can be used as an exfoliating scrub.

    3. Warm, used coffee grounds can be mixed with coconut oil and rubbed in circular motions, supposedly to reduce cellulite.

    • Anonymous July 16, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

      Have you actually tried any of these? I am especially interested in the first one… I have been using almond oil and the shine is great! However I’d love to also deepen the color

      • Mandy December 29, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

        I’ve taken used coffee grounds into the shower before to exfoliate my body and LOVE it!!! My body feels so soft after!

    • Willow Arlen July 16, 2013 at 10:29 pm #

      I’ve used coffee grounds as an exfoliating scrub, but haven’t personally tried it in my hair. If you have brown or reddish-brown hair you could try using henna to get a richer color (my hair is blond, but I know several people with brown hair who use henna with good results).

  15. peneloped December 2, 2011 at 9:13 pm #

    Last time I was in the auto parts store, a mechanic was telling me that instead of all the expensive hand cleaners, at his garage they save coffee grounds, grab a handful, squeeze on a dab of DAWN dish soap and it’ll get anything off of their hands!

  16. Willow December 3, 2011 at 12:18 am #

    Great tip, thanks Peneloped!

  17. Jil December 13, 2011 at 11:10 pm #

    this sounds awesome! i’m also excited to try the coconut oil hair treatment. i’ve been obsessing over coconut oil lately…using it as lotion & lip balm, and using it to make deodorant. thanks for sharing!

  18. Willow December 13, 2011 at 11:18 pm #

    Haha – coconut oil is amazing stuff!

  19. shivani January 23, 2012 at 6:04 am #

    well there’s one magic potion i’d like to recommend anyone obsessed with clear and glowing skin. mix 1/2 cup of evoo with 1/4 cup of white vinegar and i’4 cup of h2o.apply it daily as night cream avoidig eye area as vinegar may cause irritation.

    • Willow January 23, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

      That’s certainly a new one to me – I’ll have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Anonymous April 12, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

    I am certainly beyond obsessed with coconut oil lately for hair and face and even dog dandruff treatment :) i am on the hunt for a face wash recipe using coconut oil, steel cut oatmeal, baking soda and essential oils… wondering how to incorporate the oatmeal, cooked or uncooked? any ideas, please let me know @ [email protected]. thanks in advance!

  21. Willow April 13, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

    I know oatmeal is often used in body/skin products, but have never done it myself. I always assumed it was cooked, and then blended (food-processed) into a paste. That’s how I would go about it, at least.
    Hope that helps!

  22. Anonymous August 21, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

    hey I put the wash/mast on my face, and it kinda looks like I just put my head in the toilet. is this supposed to happen??:)

  23. Anonymous August 23, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    Good day! Would you mind if I share your blog with my myspace group?
    There’s a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content. Please let me know. Thank you
    Also visit my homepage 3 Day Cleanse

    • Willow August 23, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

      Go ahead! Thank you for asking, and I’m glad you like my page. :)

  24. Anonymous September 27, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

    Hello! I am absolutely obsessed with face washes… I was thinking about making some of my own. I was just wondering though, can I use lemon juice as an ingredient?

    • Willow September 27, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

      You can – lemon is often used as a natural astringent, or as a brightener to even skin tone. It supposedly helps to get rid of acne, too. For some people it can be a little harsh on the face, though, and may dry you out some… so be sure to use a moisturizer afterwards.

      That’s my only advice – hope it helps!

  25. Anonymous October 24, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

    In winters, skin gets dry after bath… so if you want to avoid it and dont want to use any cream then massage your face with coconut oil for 5 minutes and take bath after 15 minutes ….. your skin wl not get dry by doing this….

  26. Anonymous December 1, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

    Mix honey (doesn’t need to be raw) baking soda, and crush up 3 aspirin pills. Combine all three ingredients together. Try to make the combo a little creamy. add a few drops of water if its too thick. Put all over your face and leave it on for 10 minutes.
    (Aspirin is an anti inflamatory, which will reduce any swelling of pimples and reduce the redness)
    You will light up an entire city with your new glowing face!!!

  27. Kairi December 4, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    I ran out of face scrub and i have one of those magic bullet grinders…i put about 1/2 a mandarin orange peel and a spoonful of oatmeal in and ground it up, mixed with some sugar and jojoba oil. It was very exfoliating and delicious! I have also used coffee grounds (the caffeine takes away any puffiness in your skin) sugar,and jojoba oil.

    • Willow December 4, 2012 at 11:01 pm #

      Ooh, those both sound wonderful! Great ideas, Kairi. :)

  28. Anonymous February 2, 2013 at 7:08 am #

    Hi theгe, іts faѕtіԁious рoѕt about mеdia ρrint, we all be аωarе оf media іs a great source of ԁatа.
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  29. Jessica Judd April 17, 2013 at 10:56 pm #

    Use oatmeal uncooked in facial scrubs, it works to exfoliate that way :)

  30. Anonymous December 18, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

    Ok Girls, this is great for us older gals… tsp. cacao powder, tsp, bentonite clay, and anything else you want to throw in, a little lemon juice, maybe cook some oatmeal and mix in a little amount (1/2 tsp), dash of sea salt, cinnamon, whatever works best for you or leave it as it with just cacao and bentonite. I usually mix it with a little spring water heated to boiling. First i mix the cacao to a paste and then I put the clay in and mix til it’s a smooth paste

  31. M. Kay June 2, 2014 at 4:35 am #

    Dont the coffee grinds stop up the sink and wash basin?

  32. Lexy January 29, 2019 at 11:29 pm #

    Can i replace honey with agave?


  1. The Herb Dispenser – Discover herbs; they're not just for cooking. - December 16, 2015

    […] Cinnamon is a flavorful spice that is frequently related to holiday cooking and pumpkin pie, but it has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce hypertension. It can also be used as a face scrub to purify and cleanse the skin. You can try and make this simple mixture by referencing here. […]

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