tips for healthy skin, part 6: homemade rice flour and licorice root cleanser

One of my favorite skin care products of all time (which I have bought exactly once in my life) is Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant.  It is a super fine powder that you mix with water and use wash your face.  It isn’t abrasive at all, and it made my skin feel unbelievably lovely.  It contained oatmeal, rice powder, and licorice root extract, among other things.  Alas, I ran out, and so I decided to make my own version of it instead of buying a new (very expensive) bottle.

My first attempt, a few weeks ago, I used my coffee grinder to grind the brown rice.  Unfortunately, my grinder wasn’t able to get the rice fine enough, so I bought some rice flour at the grocery to use instead.  (I have also added goat’s milk powder, as it is part of the skin regimen recommended for oily skin in Absolute Beauty, the book on ayurveda I’ve been reading and highly recommend).  This stuff is wonderful, and has such a calming effect on the skin.  Here’s the recipe:

Rice flour and Licorice Cleansing Grains

Mix together 3 T brown rice flour, 3 T oat flour, 2 T milk powder* (doesn’t have to be goat’s milk), and about 1/2 t. licorice root powder (probably easiest to find in capsule form. I used 3-4 capsules, gently broken open (discard the capsules)).  Mix together, and put through a sifter if the milk powder is clumpy.  To use: Remove makeup first, if wearing makeup.  Mix about 1/4 t. powder with lukewarm water and massage gently over damp skin.  Rinse, and pat dry.  (You can also mix into a thicker paste and leave on your skin for 10 minutes as a mask.)

Store in a clean salt/pepper shaker for easy dispensing!

*Some people may be sensitive to the milk powder.  If you have a milk allergy, obviously don’t use this ingredient, and if you experience any irritation, discontinue use.

Licorice root is soothing to the skin, anti-inflammatory, helps with acne and eczema, and is often used in skin-brightening products.

Rice powder is also used to lighten skin and clear the complexion.

Milk powder contains lactic acid, which is a type of alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) which works as a gentle exfoliator, promotes the production of collagen, and helps improve skin texture.  It is also hydrating and has anti-bacterial qualities.  Helps to even out skin tone and diminish scars.

21 thoughts on “tips for healthy skin, part 6: homemade rice flour and licorice root cleanser”

  1. Awesome! I’ve been using dermalogica’s exfoliant and was about to embark on making my own DIY version. How does this compare?

    1. I think it stands up to dermalogica’s version really well. I have pretty sensitive skin, and this hasn’t irritated it at all. I use it 1-2 times a day and my skin always feels nice and soft afterwards!

      1. Great ingredients for the skin but I am curious what you use to cleanse your skin with in the morning? Or do you use the scrub twice a day which seems like it would be too much for my sensitive skin.

  2. Thanks Laurie. I am not sure how my skin will react just cleansing once a day but worth a try. What do you use to remove makeup prior to using the scrub?

    1. Kathi, I use drug store make-up removal cloths to take makeup off. They’re a little pricey, but I’ve read that washcloths can harbor bacteria, and I just don’t want to risk putting extra bacteria on my face! And then I follow with the cleansing grains.

  3. Hi Laurie,

    Now that you have been using this for a while, have you noticed that the licorice has made a difference? I already have all of the other ingredients and I’m wondering if I should head to the natural foods store to get the licorice as well, or if I should just save my money.

    1. Hey Bridget,
      Well I actually haven’t been using it for a few months (I go through phases with skincare!) but I do think the licorice helps! But at the same time, the other ingredients are also great and will benefit your skin. When I used the scrub more regularly I never tried it without the licorice, so I don’t know quite what the difference would be. Maybe you could mix a batch up without the licorice and try for awhile and see how you like the results. I’d love to know what your thoughts are if you do start using this! And I should probably go make a new batch of it myself…. Good luck!

      1. Thanks Laurie! I’ll give the licorice a shot, since I think it can only help my sensitive skin, and I’ll certainly let you know how it goes.

  4. Hi! I’m wondering how foamy this concoction gets. Daily Microfoliant emulsifies and foams up a little bit. Does this mixture give the same effect? Excited to try!

  5. Hi, I am a qualified beautician and have trained in Dermalogica. You should only be exfoliating your skin twice a week.

    1. Hi Mel, I have always exfoliated everyday until a few years ago. Now that I am back in the routine; my skin feels so much better. It must be my skin regeneration speed; is that something you have heard of ? over production.

      I purchased “fresh” Memoirs of a Geisha, rice face wash – ONCE and now am having trouble finding it. I am so anxious to try to make my own.

      Thanks Laurie for putting this out there !

  6. hi wonderful recipe above, been thinking of trying to make my own similar to the DERMALOGICA – as I cannot afford theirs ! Any suggestions for a replacement of the goats milk powder, as my skin is more dry than oily and I have never made any home beauty recipes before so no idea if I should start messing with other things or maybe just moisturize after ?
    I also wondered if you have any other home type recipes for the PRE CLEANSER as I surf alot and use a full zinc blockout and its super sticky and hard to remove : and so far I find I need to pre cleanse and then cleanse using expensive products to feel properly ‘clean’ and am super interested to make my own pre cleanser , cleanser and moisturizer options ….. my skin is feeling super dry unless I use … again… expensive moisturizers and so I would LOVE some natural options for helping remove zinc, cleanse and re hydrate/ moisturize my face 🙂

    1. Hey there! not sure about a replacement for the goat’s milk powder, but lately I’ve just been leaving that one out, and it still works great. I’m not sure about a pre-cleanser! I use drug store face wipes to get makeup and sunscreen off, and if I have a lot of makeup or sunscreen I use some kind of oil– argan oil, jojoba, sweet almond, even olive oil works! I just rub a small amount of oil all over my face and then gently scrub off the makeup (or sunscreen) with one of the face wipes. Not sure if you’ve ever tried that, but oil does a good job of dissolving stuff while still leaving the skin in a healthy place. But I don’t know if it will work with the kind of sunscreen you’re using! I’d be curious to know!

    2. if you are not sensitive or allergy to organic extrac virgin olive oil, you can try mixing brown rice flour with the olive oil and use it to wash your face everyday, I have use this for more than three dys already and find it useful and make my skin look great. If you don’t add olive oil into the rice flour, your face will become dry, but you still get soft skin only.

  7. A couple of weeks ago I had my first pro facial ever and she used all dermalogica products on me. The products were all so wonderful that I wanted to purchase them all! Especially the daily exfoliator. However my wallet was recovering from the price of a facial so I too was on the hunt for the diy recipe. I was not able to find licorice root powder or oat powder, but I picked up flaxseed powder to substitute for the oatmeal. I noticed it had pineapple and salicylic acid in it and it does foam up a little and that is super nice. I mixed milk powder, flaxseed powder, and brown rice powder together and added a dab of Neutrogina pink grate fruit foaming acne scrub (with salicylic acid) to try and get the same effect as the original formula and a tiny bit of water. It is unbelievable! I am so happy I found a super cheap substitute for the most incredible dermalogica product!

    Thanks for sharing your recipe!!! 🙂

  8. An update on what has been working for me.. The brown rice flour and milk powder with water mixture first (scrub then allow to sit like a mask until hard then wet it again till dry then scrub off) then the Neutrogina pink grapefruit have proven to work best for me and my acne prone skin. Will keep an eye out for oat flour and licorice powder. Hope this helps someone! 🙂

  9. For a closer dupe, you could also add some papain or bromelain powder (fruit enzyme). This ingredient is dual purpose like most of the others in this product. It helps exfoliate/brighten but also has soothing properties. I love the powder. I mix in with different cleansers (or just water), depending on the weather and my skin’s condition

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