Nothing, at least in my opinion, makes you feel more refreshed and silky smooth than a sugar scrub in the shower (or bath). Sugar granules are small and more gentle on the skin than many other scrubbing ingredients, and they also have natural humectant properties. This makes them more hydrating and helps protect your skin’s natural moisture barrier. Salt, for example, can strip your skin of natural oils, but sugar helps keep them intact.
When mixed with certain essential oils that are beneficial to your skin and other natural ingredients, you not only get a smooth, exfoliating experience but also an aromatherapeutic one as well.
What You Will Need
½ Cup Sugar
In my mind sugar is sugar, and since you are using this on your body and not ingesting it, there isn’t much difference in which sugar you use other than color and slight texture differences. You can use plain white, organic, or brown (or any mix thereof) to make a sugar scrub.
For this scrub, I used a 3 to 1 ratio mix of white and light brown sugar for some textural differences (and a richer scent), and I made 3x the amount in order to make some gifts. One and a half cups sugar yielded enough scrub for 6 jars, plus one for me!
½ Cup Coconut Oil (or choice of carrier oil)
Coconut oil can also be processed in various ways, and the type you use for this is also entirely up to you. Fractionated coconut oil stays as a liquid due to the removal of some of the saturated fatty acids. I used an organic oil because I like the thicker texture it lends to the scrub that melts when warmed in your hand.
You also can use any other type of carrier oil, such as olive, grapeseed, or sweet almond- but coconut oil does not become rancid, making it last longer when stored.
2 Tablespoons Honey
Honey is amazingly nourishing and is a natural antibacterial which makes it good for troubled skin. It is moisturizing and can smoothen our skin. It can even treat acne and other troubling skin issues.
Raw honey is the best for just about every use as it contains all the amazing ingredients straight from nature without process. I used raw honey from a local beekeeper that has a rich, warm scent.
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Vanilla is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, so be sure to use a pure vanilla extract rather than an artificial one- unless all you care about is the scent (and then artificially created is fine). Making your own extract is incredibly easy, however- all you need is about 7 vanilla beans, a mason jar, and plain vodka. Seal it and forget about it for 2 months!
I used my own homemade vanilla and am interested in a pressure cooker recipe I recently heard about… by the way, homemade vanilla makes a great gift as well!
15 Drops Lavender Oil
Simply put, lavender is an amazing oil that has a ton of health benefits. It is used in aromatic applications, topical solutions, and even for ingestion. With natural anti-inflammatory properties, it is a calming oil in all applications and is found in many blends that aid in stress relief for both mind and body.
I used the Young Living lavender essential oil as I like knowing where it is sourced from and how it is distilled. Many people worry about cost, but to put this into perspective, a 5ml bottle of oil has approximately 85 drops of pure oil in it (which you will then often dilute further with a carrier oil).
Small Wide Mouth Mason Jars
These types of jars are my favorite. They are small and perfect for gift giving. You can also place fun squares of colorful cloth over the tops, tie them with twine, or even include a small wooden spoon to help with use.
Obviously, you can increase your recipe amounts if you are making large amounts of the mix for gifting or other purposes (I did). Honestly, it doesn’t take any special directions to mix this all up. Simply put into a bowl that holds all the ingredients, and blend together well until uniform in nature.
If you find that the coconut oil is a bit too hard to truly mix thoroughly, you can warm it slightly for it to soften. I had this issue so I simply placed the bowl over my warm stove for about 10 minutes, and it began to soften and melt which allowed me to mix it all much easier. You could also microwave it for a minute in advance as well.
How to Use It
A sugar scrub is best used in a warm, wet skin to take advantage of the smoothing and moisturizing benefits it provides. Allow your skin to soften for 5 to 10 minutes to prepare for the exfoliation effect, and then gently rub the scrub over your body in a circular motion while you step out from under the shower stream or stand up while in the bathtub (just be sure not to slip).
Be sure not to push too hard to avoid creating abrasions on your skin surface. Rather, you want repetitive, gentle pressure that doesn’t last too long in any one place. You want to feel refreshed and glowing, not raw after using any sort of scrub.
The use of a sugar scrub gently removes dead skin cells, and the oils used help provide added moisturization. The oils also work as the vehicle to allow for the easy movement of the sugar over the skin. The essential oils both help hydrate and treat the skin, as well as provide an aromatherapeutic experience.
Scented Scrub Alternatives
What’s so great about sugar scrubs as your blends and mixes can be just about endless. All you need is a sugar and a carrier oil, and you can add just about anything that provides a healthy benefit to your skin.
Some ideas to consider:
- Cinnamon and Vanilla: add ½ teaspoon cinnamon and 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Coffee and Cream: add a ¼ cup fine ground coffee of your choice and 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Peppermint Stick: add 1 teaspoon vanilla and 15 drops peppermint oil (color some with food-grade red coloring and layer it for gifting).
- Pumpkin Pie: add ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice and ½ teaspoon vanilla
- Sugar Cookie: 1 teaspoon sweet almond oil and 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Lemon Pie: 15 drops lemon oil and 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Energy Blend: 10 drops orange oil and 5 drops ginger with 2 Tablespoons honey
- Sinus Clearing: 5 drops eucalyptus oil, 5 drops lemon oil, and 5 drops cedarwood oil with 2 Tablespoons honey
Time to Get Crafty!
This is such an easy, inexpensive way to make your very own sugar scrub that’s free from synthetic fragrances or ingredients. It also is wonderful for gift giving and provides a personal touch to the attention given to the experience. I cut up a few fabric scraps and paper to provide a simple ‘gift wrap’ look, and also label what was in the jar. Underneath the lid, I also wrote the ingredients included in case anyone had any questions.
We’d absolutely love to hear about your own scents and ‘flavors’ you experiment with below. And, as always, please share!
Check out our infographic and don’t forget to share!