Green Beauty Recipe: Cleansing Grains

I fell in love with skin care as an 18 year old girl newly arrived in Seoul, South Korea. Fumbling around the high street, I noticed that nearly every storefront had someone (wearing a themed uniform) passing out flyers or free stuff, like a face mask or serum pack. You couldn't escape it, even if you tried. One time, I was tossed a plastic face massager on my way to lunch. I was even in one of those hilarious street-side infomericials. It was in this bustling microcosm of skin care hysteria that I was first introduced to the power of plant-based beauty and my whole personal philosophy changed forever.

Mung beans, gluten-free oats, and black sesame seeds before and after.

Mung beans, gluten-free oats, and black sesame seeds before and after.

A friend taught me how to do it all at home and I promptly started washing my face with mung bean and matcha powder. Today, these little mixes would be known as 'cleansing grains' and they are thankfully becoming a smash hit here in the US. No harsh surfactants, chemicals, preservatives, or palm oil - just pure plant power. Apart from cleansing oils, it's one of my favorite ways to wash my face and it can easily be yours, with just a few steps:

Choosing Your Ingredients 

The great thing is that if it can be put into a coffee grinder, then it is fair game for cleansing grains. Before we go into the making your own powders, below, here are some store bought options to consider for your base:

Rice Flour or Powder
Matcha Green Tea Powder
Powdered Coconut Milk
Oat Flour
Green Bentonite Clay
Rose Kaolin Clay 

The Coffee Grinder is Your Friend

Yes, you can buy black sesame powder online. But you can also make it, at home, for a fraction of the cost! The same goes for just about any great bean, seed, or grain you can find at the store. Grind completely for a smooth powder or, leave in some texture (oats are a good choice) and grind three-quarters of the way. If you don't have the best grinder, you can filter out some of the solids with a mesh tea strainer. Here are some food items I process on a regular basis:

Black Rice
Gluten-free Oats
Mung Beans
Adzuki Beans
Black Sesame Seeds
Dehyrated tomato
Dehydrated strawberry
Coffee, of course

The Formula 

This 'recipe' is so basic, it doesn't really need any explaining. I simply pick three ingredients and add them to a cup in these increments:

1/4 cup bean or grain flour

1/8 cup clay or secondary flour

1-2 tbsp supplement

How do I choose which ingredient gets added most? It depends on what my skin needs at the time. I use rice powder when my skin is very dull, in the winter time it gets the 1/4 cup. Oat powder moves to the top of my list in the summer, like when I have a sun burn. Tablespoons are usually reserved for supplements that are expensive to use in excess, like dehydrated strawberry or matcha powder. 

My only real word of advice here is to not use too much clay - primarily only an 1/8 cup or less. Using too much may turn your mix into a mask! Feeling a little cleansing grain writer's block? Check out my own two favorite recipes below:

Blemish mix on the left; Dull skin mix on the right.

Blemish mix on the left; Dull skin mix on the right.

For Dull Skin

Mix with | water, apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup rice powder
1/8 cup gluten-free oats
1-2 tbsp black sesame powder
2 tsp ground tumeric (optional)

For Blemishes

Mix with | water, licorice root tea

1/4 cup mung bean powder
1/8 cup french green clay
1-2 tbsp matcha powder
2 tsp tomato powder (optional)


Place into an airtight container and give it all a good shake. To use: Spoon some of your cleansing grains onto a cloth or an exfoliating pad and dampen with water, tea, or vinegar. Massage into your face and rinse off with cold water, as you normally would. Not digging the consistency of your mix? Add oil, instead of water, to cleanse; instead of rinsing, wipe off with a warm damp towelette.

It's as easy as all that! Do you use cleansing grains at home? Have you ever considered making them yourself? Let us know below!