How to make Cleansing Putties

A few weeks ago I showed you my Lush inspired Herbal Cleanser.  It has given me ideas for a few other products which will fall into the category of what I gave coined The Cleansing Putty or Cleansing Putties. After I made the Herbal Cleanser I discovered coconut vinegar at the local independent supermarket. I also found some maize flour and polenta and thought I might try my hand at making face and body scrubs using these ingredients.

The Coconut Scrub Putties

So, in this scrub I made a solid paste of maize flour, kaolin clay, kewra water, glycerin, coconut vinegar and coconut essence for a coconut scent. I rolled the putty in generous amounts of cocoa powder. Coconut vinegar is made from the sap (or tuba) of the coconut palm.  Once extracted it is allowed to ferment into alcohol and then further into acetic acid.  The smell is milder than white or rice vinegar. It contains approximately 4% acetic acid. Coconut vinegar is gluten free, if this is something important to you. I also used kewra water which is a fragrant water distilled from the  flowers of Pandanus tectorius.  It is, like rosewater, a favoured  flavour in Indian Cuisine, and has similar beautifying properties. Generous amounts of maise flour gives a high level of scrubbiness without being harsh on the skin. To make this you will need the following equipment:

  • A few bowls for mixing

  • A few spoons for mixing and measuring

  • A butter knife

  • A container

The Formulation

1           Maize flour             40.50
2           Kaolin Clay             19.00
3           Kewra water             09.00
4           Glycerine               24.00
5           Coconut vinegar         06.50
6           Coconut extract         00.50
7           Cocoa powder            QS


  1. Weigh and combine stages 1 and 2 in a bowl and set aside

  2. Weigh and combine stages 3-6 and mix well

  3. Mix 1 and 2 together using a dinner knife

  4. You should have a wet doughy consistency that doesn't leave any of the mixture on your hands.

  5. Roll out onto a table and set aside

  6. Sprinkle a generous amount of cocoa powder on the table and gently roll the putty onto it until it is covered in cocoa powder.

  7. Cut and put in a pot


You will notice that over the next few hours the putty will absorb all of the liquid ingredients so that it is crumbly.  This is completely normal. I wasn't sure if I liked it when I first noticed this change however I used it in the shower and loved it so much I used practically the whole pot.  If you prefer it to be wetter then you can make a solution of water, glycerin and vinegar and add it to the putty. You might also just want to add glycerin? Make sure you calculate exactly how much you used so then you can recreate the putty again.  To increase the shelf life of this product and to make it softer you can increase the glycols - you could possibly use pentylene glycol at 3% and reduce the water and vinegar or you could increase the glycerin so that there is twice as much glycerin in comparison to the water and the vinegar combined.

How to use


Break off some putty in your hands and mix with water. It breaks down into a gritty paste almost instantly. Massage onto wet skin and rinse with warm water.

Foaming Polenta Putty

This one is more like real putty but it foams due to the coco glucoside and exfoliates due to the polenta.   I made it a light pink colour and rolled it in nettle leaves which is optional but it is a nice contrast to the pale pinkness.  The coconut vinegar reduces the pH which would be quite high due to the clay and the surfactant.

The Formulation

A       KAOLIN CLAY                         31.10
A       PINK CLAY                           04.00
A       POLENTA                             25.00
B       COCO GLUCOSIDE                      07.00
B       GLYCERIN                            25.00
B       COCONUT VINEGAR                     03.50
C       NETTLE LEAVES                       OPTIONAL


  1. Combine all of phase A into one pot.

  2. Combine phase B in a separate pot.

  3. Add phase B to phase A and stir with a strong instrument

  4. Roll in nettle and put into a container

NOTES: You will notice that this will get thicker over time.  So you need to watch what happens to it over the next few weeks.   If you want to make it more 'wet' use additional glycerin and vinegar to 'loosen' the putty formula.  Make a series of them with different levels of liquid ingredients.

To use:

Break a small amount of putty and mix with water until you get a foam. Massage onto wet skin and rinse with clean warm water.  

Note on Shelf Life

I don't know the shelf life but expect they will last quite a few months at least.  This can't be guaranteed as I really don't know your habits and I have not tested them :-)  There is a lot of glycerin in all of these cleansing putties to be able to preserve them for a while..  If in doubt,  make small batches and use them quickly!  If you want to use a preservative please do, but this won't necessarily guarantee they are less likely to spoil due to the large amounts of starches.        

More Cleansing Putties?

I am planning on adding more putties to the range, but in the meantime my friend and colleague Lise Andersen has made a lovely Fruit and Flower Cleansing Putty, that you will probably just love!