Recipe for a Gentle Facial Cleanser based on Lush’s ‘Angels on Bare Skin’
How to make this easy copy-cat version of Lush’s ‘Angels on Bare Skin’ soap-less cleanser. It takes five minutes and uses all natural ingredients. Includes a DIY video
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Angels on Bare Skin is a popular soap-less cleanser that uses the exfoliating power of ground almonds, the moisture of pure vegetable glycerin, and the deep cleansing power of natural clay powder, along with deeply scented and therapeutic essential oils.
At the prompting of one of my friends, I spent some time working on a recipe that I think is very close to the original and have even started using it myself on a regular basis! I think that you’ll find my version both easy and cost effective since you can make it at home in literally a few minutes and at a quarter of the price you’d pay for it at the shop.
Soap-less Facial Cleanser Recipe
(print this recipe) Makes enough for a month’s supply
25g (1/4 cup) Ground Almonds – the finer grade the better.
20g (1/4 cup) Kaolin Clay
13g (~1 tsp) Vegetable Glycerin
25 drops (~1/4 tsp) Rose Water
1/4 tsp Lavender Flowers
4 drops Lavender Essential Oil
3 drops Rose Geranium Essential Oil
Place all the ingredients, except 1/8 tsp of the lavender buds, in a bowl and mix. Next pour the the mixture onto a sheet of grease-proof paper and squish it into a ball. Using part of the paper between your hand and the ball, flatten the ball and then sprinkle on the remaining lavender buds.
Roll it up and store it a water-tight container with a fitted lid. There are no preservatives in this recipe but due to its low water content it will keep for up to three months.
How to use the facial cleanser
You use this gentle cleanser by taking a pinch in your hand and mixing it with a little water to release the ‘Almond milk’, according to Lush. In actuality this step helps to wet and disperse the ingredients and the milkiness comes from Kaolin Clay. Use the wet paste as a normal scrub all over your body but it’s especially great as a soap-free cleanser for your face. It’s gentle enough for most skin types and will leave your skin feeling bright and silky smooth.
This recipe is just like the Lush version! I absolutely love it! So much cheaper and so easy to make. I have made 2 batches now; the 1st was very brittle after a few days (but perfect once moistened with water) and the 2nd was really soft and moildable (and smells really nutty). The only difference is the 1st batch was made with shop-bought ground almonds (very dry) and the 2nd batch I bought whole almonds and ground them myself (very moist/oily). Not sure which I prefer but both are absolutely divine to use. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe! :)
Great tip with the homemade ground almonds!
Thank you. Love this recipe. Can you add preservative and sell this?
Probably not… The original is sold refrigerated and without preservatives.
Thank you for this recipe Tanya,
I have a question, I am planning to make this for my niece who has acne prone skin, Can she use this daily? or is it like other scrub cleanser where you only use it twice a week?
Also, I’m planning to make a cold process face soap for her too. Would you suggest to stick to one soap one at a time or is it alright to alternate this cleanser with the soap? (2 days facial soap, 1 day this cleanser). Thank you :)
Hi Anna, and yes, she could use this daily as her only cleanser. It’s very gentle and not exfoliating like a scrub cleanser :) Skip the soap for her skin since it will likely aggravate her acne.
Thank you :)
I appreciate this is ages old, but I’m very excited to find it. I was going to try and reverse engineer it myself, so a huge thankyou for doing it for me.
However one of the things I really struggle with is the amount of scent in the lush products. I saw that someone else asked if the oils were essential or not, but it wasn’t answered… I am a chronic asthmatic and don’t want to use them if I can avoid it. I find the lush one is ok for me to use, but I’d be very wary about adding the oil and getting a lungful by accident. I really don’t want to put A&E under more pressure at the current time!
Thanks so much.
Hi Dawn, you can leave the essential oils out of this recipe, no problem :)
Thanks so much
Hi, I want to make this recipe, but my mom is allergic to all nuts, including almonds, so I wondered if I can use ground oats instead? Also I don’t want to buy kaolin clay, because I still have lots of Heilerde (by Luvos, for face masks) that I need to use up. It’s a very fine and gentle clay, without any coarse particles in it. Would that work in this recipe?
Finely ground oats may work but I’ve not used them before for this recipe. As for your Heilerde, I don’t know this brand but if it’s 100% clay then I don’t see why you couldn’t use it. Also, make sure to test whatever you make on yourself before passing it on to other people — just to make sure it works and you’re happy with it first.
I don’t think heilerde would work as good as Clay because you’re not able to make a dough out of it …know what I mean?
Hi, could I use almond flour in this instead of grounding the almonds?
It may be too fine since you do want it to be slightly gritty. The only way to know is to try though.
I know this is an older post, but just wondering…are the essential oils necessary for anything other than fragrance? Thanks so much! :)
Thanks for the recipe! Do you have conversions from grams to teaspoons, tablespoons, etc. for those of us who don’t have a scale to weigh the ingredients? I’ve tried using measurement converters online, but the recipe isn’t coming out right.
Also, what is equivalent to 25 drops of rose water for those of us who don’t have a dropper?
I’ve updated the recipe to give quantities. Hope it helps :)
Thank you so much for this recipe! Is there a reason you didn’t use benzoin resinoid? I *think* I read somewhere that this may help it last longer?
Benzoin helps fragrance last longer, but not the product itself. It’s also a known skin allergen/irritant so I’ve steered away from using it.
Hi! My version was very crumbly and overnight became extremely hard and dried out even within my airtight container. Should I add more glycerine or rose water to prevent this drying?
This doesn’t seem right… What type of clay are you using?
Mine ended up being really cumbly. :(
It’s supposed to be crumbly :) If pressed together it will form a little log but it’s okay to store it in its crumbly form.
I am very excited to make this! Since having my children I can not afford to purchase Lush products ( Angels and Honey I Washed the Kids being my two of my all time Lush favorites) so I think this will be a great alternative. I am also looking forward to perusing your other recipes for a simple gentle and moisturizing soap to make. Thanks for the recipe!
You’re very welcome Amanda :)
Hi Tanya, can I instead used ground rice (I feel it’s gentler) instead of almonds and substitute rose geranium essential oil with rose essential oil (been saving this up because it’s expensive)? I have all these ingredients in my cabinet except dried lavender flowers but I can easily order that from a local shop here in Malaysia. We don’t have Lush here, it sucks and I am literally rationing my Lush cleansers I bought in Japan and Europe until I can finally go back to Amsterdam again. It’d be great if I can make this myself.
Hi Dita, I’ve never used ground rice before but do try it out and let us know what you think? And you’re also more than welcome to substitute the essential oils too. Rose Otto is a beaut!
I can’t wait to make this. Is there a substitute for the Rose Water? Perhaps cooled boiled water so the product won spoil?
Hi, I am so thrilled to have found your blog as I love this cleanser and will definately try making. Can you advise how much Chamomile Blue oil I could add as I was lucky enough to have received a bottle
Just a drop or two should do the trick Maria!
Total newbie, I stumbled upon your site as I have found a lot of tried and tested moisturisers and cleansers I used to use are now irritating my skin or just not doing anything for me- psoriasis is new so still trying to find a balance that works. You mentioned in another post (the rose and yoghurt face mask) that French Rose Clay is gentler than Kaolin – which would you advise for this recipe? Is there a difference in consistency? I’ve ordered your your Neem moisturiser so I can’t wait to try that :)
Hi Clare. You can use French Rose Clay for this recipe but Bentonite Clay is considered the best for Psoriasis.
I have your order here – it should be with you soon! Tomorrow hopefully :)
I have on hand French Green clay and bentonite clay, but no kaolin clay. Could either of these be used instead?
Either will be fine Mary.
Thank you for this recipe. My daughter-in-law just bought a pot from Lush, so I searched Pinterest and low and behold you provide the recipe. I just made my first batch and it turned out sticky. Should I add more of something to dry it a bit? Or just use it and try to get it right in my next batch?
Thank you again!
Sticky probably means you’ve put in too much Glycerin – try making it again but use less. The 13g in the recipe should give you a nice texture.
Hi Tanya, I calculated the ingredients in percentage so that i can get it correct for a larger batch formulation. Ground Almonds – 41%, Kaolin Clay – 33%, V.Glycerine – 21%, Vitamin e oil 1%, EO as required. will this work. Pls help.
Also for longer shelf life can i include a 1% of Optiphen in the final mix.
Personally I’d shy away from using a preservative in this recipe because it’s just so easy to whip up. Literally five minutes and you have a new batch! Are you thinking of making this as a saleable product?
Yes Tanya..Will the percentage formulation work out..
If you’ve done the correct math then yes.
Wow… I am looking for something like this. But how long it will last?
Lush keep theirs refrigerated and I believe they recommend that you use it within a month? In any case, it’s so easy to make up that I’d recommend making and using it up every week.
I tried it and it is just like the real thing! The texture, color, smell, and feel is exactly the same. It left my skin feeling so nice.
I did add two drops of German Chamomile blue oil as the real one does. It is pricey, but a little goes a long way.
I also doubled the amount of lavender buds because the feel of them on my skin is so luxurious.
I also mixed the lavender buds in at the beginning so they would be dispersed throughout the scrub. I will be making many batches with your recipe. I went ahead and bought a scale to ensure accuracy.
All of the products put together are expensive, but the price per batch is tiny compared to what I would pay at the store. Thank you so much for sharing your talent. Do you have other Lush recipes?
Not at the moment since I tend to not use them personally. A friend brought me Angels on Bare Skin and asked me to create a recipe! I’ll probably look into more in the future though since they do seem so popular.
What an amazingly simply recipe! I’m definitely going to try it. Will it work for acne-prone skin?
It’s especially good for acne-prone skin. It’s non abrasive, doesn’t strip the skin or cause irritation, and is completely natural.
I also found 13 g of glycerine to be insufficient. Are you weighing the glycerine?
I use a digital scale to measure so yes, 13g is correct. You’re of course welcome to customise your own recipe but I’ve found that adding more glycerin (and I made many test batches) makes it too sticky.
I’m super excited to make this! However, do the lavender and rose geranium oils need to be diluted? Also, I have rose hip oil, can that be used in lieu of rose geranium? And would that need to be diluted? I have tee tree oil, can that be Added? Any thoughts/suggestions would be great!
They do not need to be diluted Brittany…they dilute within the overall recipe. Rose hip oil would make a good addition as well, especially for dry and mature skin. It isn’t an essential oil though so won’t have a distinctive scent in the product.
Thank you so much!!! I just started creating my own beauty products, I’m a new stay at home mom and an AVID gardener and found your site! It’s awesome & full of fun/ inspiring ideas!!! I can’t wait to try this one!
It’s an easy recipe that will hopefully inspire you to keep creating beauty products! Thanks for visiting Brittany, and hope to see you again :)
Holy Mackerel! These ingredients cost a small fortune. I appreciate the post but wouldn't it be cheaper to just buy it already made from the store?
It’s an investment for some of the items but if you use this product regularly you’ll save HUGE. Keep in mind that a small (100ml) pot of Angels on Bare Skin from Lush costs £6.75 and the 250ml pot costs £16.75. In the USA, a pot sized 8.4oz costs $33.95.
What purpose do the lavender buds serve?
Thanks a lot …I tried this recipe and My friend she also tried and we love it, thank you in advance xxxx
Thanks a lot! I recently tried this recipe and love it.
I'm so pleased Kelly…it's so fun (and freeing!) to be able to make your own beauty products isn't it?
This costs $75to make according to your links!!! How long does it last? That's expensive facial wash!!!
The start up cost is kinda high, but each batch only costs a fraction of that.
Hi Terri, the links provided are to Amazon.com but if you buy ingredients locally, with another seller, or in smaller quantities you'll be able to save on cost.
Hi Tanya!Is glyceine vital in this recipe? I would love to make the recipe now but I haven't got any glycerine, I have all the other ingredients at hand.Thank You.
Glycerine IS vital, but cheap. You do need a LOT more than the recipe calls for. Like, double the amount.
I realize you wrote this comment a long time ago and probably don’t care anymore, but I used only 13 grams of glycerin and it didn’t seem like enough at first, but it’s similar to making a pie crust in that a little liquid goes a long way. You just have to stir long enough to work it through all of the dry ingredients.
It certainly does go a long way! If you use more glycerin then the end product might be sticky — you were wise to give it a chance to mix with the dry ingredients :)
I worked on the recipe for awhile and recommend to NOT double the glycerine amount. Any more than what is in the recipe and the result is too sticky. Add more rose water instead :)
Anonymous – you really need glycerine and will probably be able to find it at the chemist/pharmacy. It is inexpensive indeed :)
How did you measure the glycerin? I weighed out 13 grams and it wasn't nearly enough.
I have a micro-scale that measures small quantities accurately. Remember also that the final consistency should not be 'wet' like other cleansers.
Check out the Youtube video (link above) for more information and to see how much glycerin it looks like I used and how the end product looks and should be used :)
You said to mix the cleanser with a little bit of water before rubbing in on your face, is there a reason you wouldn't just use more rose water to try to enhance the effects?
You could do, but what would be even better is to save the rose water and dab it on your skin afterwards as a toner :)
Hi, I noticed you left out Chamomile Blue oil. Was that intentional? I know that Lush lists that as one of the featured ingredients. I noticed it's quite expensive…
Yes I left it out due to its cost…it's a lovely oil but I felt that it was unnecessary for the recipe and would turn people off of making it!
Hi Giuliana, Bentonite, and French Green, Yellow, Pink, and Red Clays would all work. Happy making :)
I see it
Cant find the green module or Amazon link…
cant find it tooo…
There are product links now in the ingredient list. Apologies for the Amazon widget not popping up for you!
Hi Tanya, This looks very good – I'd like to give it a try – but where is the Amazon link to the ingredients? Sorry if I'm being thick but I've been up down and round this post and over to your shop as well! And I'm not experienced enough on natural beauty ingredients to figure it out for myself! All help appreciated! Cx
You should see a green framed module above called 'Ingredients needed for Recipe'. It links to Amazon . com though
Are you going to be selling this in your shop Tanya??
No way Tanya…it's a copycat recipe :)