Imagine my surprise one summer to learn there was a considerable difference between marigolds and pot marigolds. (Tagetes vs calendula, to be precise.) I’d been hoping to grow my own calendula for some homemade balms and suddenly wound up with an orange mass of something completely unexpected. But when I did a little research, I discovered that tagetes marigolds are naturally high in salicylic acid — the active ingredient in all those acne-fighting face washes I’d been buying.
Waste not, want not!
- 1¼ cup marigold flower water*
* (½ cup packed marigold flowers, 4 cups water)
- 1¼ cup Pumice Powder
- ½ cup Liquid Castile Soap
- ½ tsp Tea Tree Oil
- 20-40 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil (optional)
- 10 drops Grapefruit Seed Extract
- 1 tsp Xanthan Gum
Makes: 24 fluid ounces (660 mL)
For this recipe, first you’re going to need marigolds. This is a plant that only seems to bloom more, the more you pull off the flowers. Remove the petals from the stalk. Then add ½ cup packed flowers (fresh or dried) to 1 quart (4 cups) water and boil down to 2 cups. Basically, you’re making a floral tea.
Next, combine your liquid castile soap (I prefer unscented for this recipe) with your oils, pumice powder, and grapefruit seed extract. Mix until it forms a mud of sorts. (Be mindful not to breathe the dust when adding your pumice.)
Separately, combine your marigold water and xanthan gum until the liquid gets almost gel-like. Then combine your mixtures.
If you want to combine all your ingredients in one go, feel free. In my experience, thickeners like xanthan gum can get a bit lumpy if you’re trying to mix too much all at once. (FYI.)
NOTE: An alternative to pumice is walnut shell, which you can process in a coffee grinder and use instead, if you should feel so inspired. Pumice makes for a finer exfoliant, but be sure to get the coarsest pumice powder you can find or else it’ll be almost too smooth to work, like silt. (Pumice seems to come in grades 2F and 4F. The latter was too fine, I found, so I would recommend either 2F or upgrading to ground walnut for a heartier, St. Ive’s-ier scrub.)
This recipe makes 24 ounces (660 mL) of face wash. You can keep it in whatever container floats your boat, but I find it’s easiest to keep in a large squeeze bottle from a restaurant supply store, and to fill up my smaller travel-sized tube in the bathroom whenever it’s low.
The grapefruit seed extract will help keep your face wash fresh, but it’s still a good idea to keep any surplus in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. I keep my surplus marigold water in the freezer until I’m ready to make another batch. I use eucalyptus essential oil for the satisfying tingle afterwards, but feel free to use anything you like. Menthol, mint, lavender — you name it.
As someone who’s had acne-prone skin for life, this stuff works great. If you have sensitive skin and the salicylic acid is too strong for you, use every other day or water down your marigold water.
I can’t tell you how awesome it is to not need to buy face scrubs at the store anymore. Especially when most conventional manufacturers today source their salicylic acid from petroleum instead of plants. (And don’t even get me started on microbeads.)
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