DIY: All Natural Grain and Herb Cleansers

How to make and use cleansing grains

Credits: Barby Dalbosco at
Amy Branum

Cleansing grains are a completely natural alternative for cleaning and exfoliating your skin. Cleansing grains are powdered grains, seeds, and herbs that are ground then combined with water to make a paste that can be used as a natural cleanser. One of the best benefits of using cleansing grains is that you are using the ingredients in their most pure form. There is no extraction or processing needed, other than grinding the grains and herbs. 

Not only are cleansing grains a simple and effective cleanser, they are also very convenient for traveling. You can easily bring a small amount in a container or disposable bag, or, if you forget your cleanser, you can pick up some grains and quickly make your own.  

Each ingredient will have a different effect on your skin, so you can choose your own blend to get exactly what you like! By making your own cleansing grains, you get to customize the recipe to your personal skin needs and preferences. 

Cleansing grains can be made quickly and easily with one or two flours, powdered grains, seeds or beans. If you have sensitive or dry skin, adding ground oats, almonds, or adzuki bean may be soothing and nourishing to your skin. Rice flour and chickpea flour have more of a drawing and drying effect for those with more oily skin. Some people may also like to add cornmeal or poppy seeds to their cleanser for a more abrasive exfoliant. Using any of these powders alone will make an effective cleanser; however I prefer to add extra herbs to get the assistance my skin needs.  I usually try to purchase my herbs locally, but when necessary, I’ll order them from and

Some of my favorite herbs are:

  1. Manjista: Manjista is anti-inflammatory and used in Ayurveda to support skin health.
  2. Neem: Neem is used in many skin care products due to its many skin benefits. It is anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and cooling for red and irritated skin.
  3. Echinacea: Echinacea is antimicrobial and cooling for your skin. It would be best for oily skin types that tend to break out.
  4. Nutmeg: Nutmeg adds a warming quality to your cleanser. Currently, it is being tested as a natural remedy for lightening blemish and age spots, but there is no final verdict as to its effectiveness.
  5. Calendula: Calendula is a favorite for skin care. It is known for its wound healing properties and is used for its anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and astringent effects.
  6. Chamomile: Chamomile is calming and cooling on your skin. It is anti-inflammatory and adds an uplifting scent to your facial regimen.
  7. Peppermint: Peppermint is also anti-inflammatory and cooling on your skin. It provides a nice refreshing feel and scent to your formula.
  8. Rose: Rose is a favorite for skin care recipes. It is gentle, anti-inflammatory and astringent for the skin. It is safe for sensitive skin and most skin afflictions. 

When formulating your cleansing grains, almost anything goes. It depends on what you like. Choosing to use only grains and keeping it simple is fine, or choosing only herbs works great too. 

Cleansing Grains DIY

  1. Grind any of the grains and herbs that are not already powdered in a clean coffee grinder or with a mortar and pestle. I find that it is easiest to grind the herbs separately for a more uniform powder.
  2. Combine the dry powders of your selected ingredients in a bowl and stir to create an even mixture.
  3. Place this mixture in a jar with an air-tight lid. Your cleansing grains need no preservatives!

Note: Be careful not to get water in this container, as that may cause mold. Your cleanser needs to stay dry until you use it. 

Using Your Cleansing Grains

  1. Remove any makeup with a gentle oil or your usual makeup remover.
  2. Place 1-2 tsp of powder in your palm and add just enough water to make a paste.
  3. Rub this paste onto moistened skin to cleanse using small circles. About 1-2 times a week, you can leave the cleanser on for 5 minutes to allow the herbs to have more time on the skin.
  4. Rinse the cleanser from the skin with warm water and pat dry with a towel. 

Tip: cleansing grains do not need to be limited to your face. You can use them on your entire body!  

A Few Tried-and-True Recipes

Cleansing grains for normal or sensitive skin

  • Oats/oat flour: 1 tbsp
  • Aduki beans: 1 tbsp
  • Calendula: 2 tsp
  • Chamomile: 2 tsp
  • Rose powder: 2 tsp

Cleansing grains for oily skin

  • Aduki Beans: 1 ½ tbsp
  • Rice flour: 1 ½ tbsp
  • Manjista: 2 tsp
  • Neem: 2 tsp
  • Echinacea: 2 tsp
  • Nutmeg: 2 tsp
  • Peppermint: 1 tsp

Cleansing grains for aging skin

  • Oats/oat flour: 1 tbsp
  • Almond flour: 1 tbsp
  • Calendula: 2 tsp
  • Rose: 2 tsp
  • Manjista: 2 tsp
  • Nutmeg: 2tsp

Allergy Note: Some people may have allergies to certain plants, so please test herbal formulations on a small area of your skin before using them on a larger area. 

What's Your Skin Type

Each article on Dermveda is unique, just like you. Find your skin type and save your results to get articles that are compatible with you.