How To Make A Firming Face Cleansing Bar

Look good while fighting climate change.

Many of us who are bent on reducing our carbon footprint are ditching liquid soap in plastic bottles for bar soaps. While we may have no qualms using soap on our body, our commitment gets challenged when it comes to our precious hair and face. Soap, with its relatively high pH, may leave your skin dry and irritable, and that’s the last thing we need on our face as we age.

In 2022, on April Fool’s Day (no kidding), Stephenson launched the world’s first soap-free melt & pour cosmetic base, allowing us to take matters in our own hands and make gentle bar ‘soaps’ that are not just kind to our hair and face but also kind to the planet.

To make a cleansing bar that has skin tightening benefits, we look to red kaolin clay and rosemary essential oil, both known for their ability to tone and firm skin. The rosemary essential oil makes the face bar smell good too, if it’s really important for you that it be scented.

Add no more than 3% additives to the soap-free base. For this recipe, we are going with 2% red kaolin and 1% rosemary essential oil.

Fragrances may cause allergic reactions so you should add no more than 1% rosemary essential oil (like 0.3%, 0.5%). We prefer rosemary verbenone – the mildest chemotype of rosemary.

You may also choose to make a fragrance-free version by leaving out the rosemary essential oil completely. That allows you to load up the red kaolin to 3%.

Tight-Faced Face Bar

Course: Skin CareDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Mixing time





We paired red kaolin clay with rosemary verbenone essential oil, both with skin tightening effect, to create a soap-free cleansing bar that firms and tones your face (and body).


  • 500g soap-free cosmetic base

  • 10g red kaolin clay

  • 5g rosemary verbenone essential oil


  • In a small glass bowl, measure 10g of red kaolin clay and set aside. *Avoid using a metal bowl or a metal spoon when you are working with kaolin. Instead, use a glass bowl and a rubber spatula.
  • In the same bowl, add 5g of rosemary essential oil to the red kaolin and stir with a rubber spatula. Set aside. *Kaolin is dispersible in oil and water but it dissolves neither in oil nor water.
  • In a glass measuring cup, melt fully 500g of the soap-free cosmetic base, making sure there are no clumps and that you do not boil/burn the cosmetic base.
  • Allow the base to cool down to around 70 to 85°C, stirring slowly.

  • At around 65°C, add the kaolin/essential oil mixture to the cosmetic base


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