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DIY Vanilla Cleansing Bars for Face and Body

Suitable for all skin types, DIY vanilla cleansing bars provide a gentle cleansing experience without being harsh or drying on the skin. These all-natural cleansing bars melt away makeup and remove the grime of the day while releasing a luxurious and relaxing vanilla aroma.

The cleansing bars are a quick-to-make alternative when your skin is sensitive to soap. The materials include a homemade vanilla oil infusion and other ingredients that help to restore and nourish the skin and are perfect for natural skin care.

Homemade Cleansing Bars

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Benefits of natural DIY vanilla cleansing bars

It seems that I’m on a roll with homemade beauty bar recipes this year (and more are coming!). In the last weeks, I already shared my sugar and soap scrub bars and pink Himalayan salt exfoliating soap. Today, I add these DIY vanilla cleansing bars to my collection of homemade beauty recipes. You can either use the cleansing bar on your body (suitable for all skin types) or to clean your face, which is most suitable for normal to combination skin.

I find the scent of vanilla relaxing and calming which is why I like to use the homemade vanilla cleansing bar at night. Vanilla is said to soothe inflammation and has antioxidant properties that neutralize free radicals, aiding in anti-ageing skincare.

Homemade vanilla cleansing bars

What ingredients and materials do I need for natural vanilla cleansing bars?

Before we whip a batch of the bars, let’s look at a break down of the ingredients. Lately, I’ve been working on formulas that include some ingredients that aren’t often used in DIY body products. My goal is to create homemade beauty recipes that provide the best benefits for your skin.

The cleansing bars aren’t vegan since the recipe includes silk and pearl powder. You can omit both and replace them with the same amount of cornflour (cornstarch) to recreate the texture of the cleansing bars. But you will miss out on the skin care benefits of these ingredients. My friend Rebecca from Soap Deli News Blog suggested that you could also add clay to use the bars for oily skin.


SLSA (Sodium Laurel Sulfoacetate) is derived from coconut and palm oils. It’s a mild, natural cleanser and foaming agent that won’t dry out the skin.

Silk powder

Silk powder is made from the cocoons of the mulberry silkworms and gives the bars a silky and smooth texture. It contains over 18 amino acids, which are essential for rejuvenating and maintaining healthy, nourished skin. Silk powder has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and absorbs excess oils from oily skin, while also moisturising dry skin.

Pearl powder

As the name suggests, pearl powder is made from real pearls. It consists mostly of calcium, but also has many trace minerals and amino acids, which reduce free radicals, promote collagen production and wound healing. The powder gently exfoliates, helps to tone the skin and reduces the appearance of redness, pores and skin blemishes.

stack of cleansing bars

Shea butter

Unrefined shea butter is an excellent emollient and skin moisturizing agent with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties. Shea butter contains essential fatty acids,  minerals, and vitamins A, D, E and F, which nourish the skin and help to restore the skin’s elasticity.

Mango butter

Mango butter moisturises without greasing. This vegetable butter is rich in oleic and stearic acids that keep the skin soft and plump. Mango butter gives the cleansing bars a soft, melt-on-your skin texture.

Camellia oil

Camellia oil, also called camellia seed oil or tea seed oil, is extracted from the seeds of the tea plant. It locks moisture in the skin and can help to minimise the appearance of wrinkles.

Rice germ oil is rich in vitamin E and great for sensitive and irritated skin. The alpha lipoic acid found in rice germ oil is a potent antioxidant, more effective than vitamin E and vitamin C, making it an excellent anti-ageing agent.

Vanilla seeds

Fresh seeds from the vanilla bean act as a gentle exfoliant and give the cleansing bars a wonderfully fragrant vanilla scent. The seeds are steeped to create an aromatic oil infusion that provides a rich, sensual, and long-lasting scent.

I used a sturdy cupcake tray (pan) to mold the cleansing bars. A soft silicone mold won’t work as the mixture has to be packed and pressed tightly into the mold. If on hand, hard plastic molds can be used as well. It’s important to chill the cupcake tray (pan) in the freezer, not the refrigerator, so the bars pop out easily.

Facial cleansing bars

Natural Vanilla Fragrance

The last ingredient is vanilla oleoresin. You can use it optionally for a more pronounced vanilla scent throw. Two vanilla oils exist: vanilla oleoresin, which is made by removing the solvent from vanilla extract, and vanilla absolute, which is the most concentrated form of vanilla.

Unfortunately, both of these oils are on the pricey side, with the absolute being more expensive than the oleoresin. I used vanilla oleoresin as I had some on hand when making DIY diffusers a while back.

If you prefer a more inexpensive option, you can either purchase a skin-safe fragrance oil or use only the seeds from the vanilla pod, which will create a more subtle yet still aromatic vanilla scent. You can reduce the amount of vanilla oleoresin or leave it out if you have sensitive skin, are pregnant, or want to use the bars on children.

How to make DIY cleansing bars at home?

The first step is to combine all dry ingredients. As SLSA is a very dusty powder, please wear a face mask to avoid breathing any in.

The second step is to create a vanilla infused oil. Melt shea and mango butter in a water bath, then add the oils and vanilla bean seeds and let the mixture steep for 20 minutes on the lowest flame. The essential oils from the seeds will be released into the oil-butter mixture and create a pleasant vanilla fragrance.

After combing the wet and dry ingredients, the mixture should feel like damp sand and keep its shape when pressed in your hand. If you live in an arid climate, you may have to add 1/2 to 1 additional teaspoon melted shea butter to get the right texture.

Pack the mixture into the cavities of a cupcake tray (pan) and chill the bars in the freezer for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

How to package cleansing bars

DIY cleanings bars are great homemade beauty gift

Aside from using them yourself, vanilla cleansing bars are also thoughtful gifts for girlfriends or special ladies in your life. You can also add them to a spa-at-home gift set or beauty hamper.

For gifting, I wrapped the bars in clingfilm (plastic/Saran wrap) followed by a  round piece of regular paper that I crumbled and unfolded to make it soft and bendable. Then I attached a ribbon and applied a printable gift tag to label the bars. You can download the labels at the end of the post.

I know it may sound silly, but please let the receiver of the gift know that this homemade beauty product isn’t edible although it looks delicious. I can’t tell you how many times my brother-in-law has attempted to eat the skin care DIYs I give my sister.

Vanilla Cleansing Bars Recipe
DIY Cleansing Bars

Vanilla Cleansing Bars Recipe

Yield: 3 cleansing bars
Active Time: 30 minutes
Cooling Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Difficulty: easy

Suitable for all skin types, DIY vanilla cleansing bars provide a gentle cleansing experience without being harsh or drying on the skin. These all-natural cleansing bars melt away makeup and remove the grime of the day while releasing a luxurious and relaxing vanilla aroma. The cleansing bars are a quick-to-make alternative when your skin is sensitive to soap.



  1. Mix the dry ingredients. Add the SLSA, silk powder, and pearl powder into a mixing bowl and stir to combine well. SLSA is a dusty, fine powder so cover your nose and mouth from breathing in the powder.
  2. Make the vanilla infusion. Place the shea and mango butter into a heat-resistant bowl or container and melt in a water bath over low heat. Add the camellia oil and rice germ oil. Slice the vanilla bean open, scrape out the vanilla seeds and stir into the butter-oil mixture. Let infuse for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and add up to 18 drops vanilla oleoresin.
  3. Mold the cleansing bars. Pour the vanilla infusion to the dry ingredients and knead until no lumps of dry ingredients remain. Pack the mixture into the cavities of the mold and chill in the freezer for an hour. Once the cleansing bars are solid, pop them out of the mold.


As some of the amounts stated in this recipe are rather small, I recommend to measure out the ingredients with a digital kitchen scale for precise measurements.

How do I use my DIY vanilla cleansing bars?

Use on the face

I recommend this homemade cleansing bar for normal to combination skin. It can be used in the morning and evening. Wet your face with warm water. Then massage the face with bar, leaving out the eye and mouth area. Wash your face with running water and a clean washcloth and continue with your skincare routine.


Use on your body

The cleansing bars can also be used in the shower or bathtub. Wet your skin with warm water to open the pores. Then run the cleansing bar over your body using a circular motion and very light pressure. Rinse off with plenty of water.

Shelf life and storage

Store the cleansing bars in an airtight container in a dark, cool place. The bars can be kept for 6 months,

Vanilla Cleansing bars packaging

Printable Cleansing Bar Label

Click on the button to download your free printable DIY vanilla cleansing bars to package and present your homemade gift in style.


Thursday 28th of March 2019

These look amazing! I'm going to try these.

Country Hill Cottage

Friday 29th of March 2019

Thank you, Michelle! We hope you love them.

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