SAFETY ALERT! Before you make homemade body care products, be sure to read Homemade Organic Body Care: Safety Basics.
The best part about homemade sugar scrubs is that you control what goes into them (no icky chemicals, preservatives, or colors). You control the packaging (less waste) and they’re very inexpensive to make. If you don’t already have essential oils on hand your start up costs will be more, but not more than it would cost you to purchase a ready-made boutique quality organic scrub.
I have tons of sugar scrub recipes, but the scrub that always seems the most popular with everyone is the organic lavender vanilla sugar scrub.
Sugar scrub ingredients
1. Natural or organic body oil (basic carrier oil): My favorite carrier is organic apricot kernel, but I also like organic sweet almond oil. Sometimes I will use Organic extra virgin olive oil, especially if I’m low on cash, because non-olive carrier oil is usually more expensive. NEVER use cooking oil – you’re not a piece of fried chicken! Using vegetable oil will make your scrub smell funky and it will get rancid faster.
2. Sugar: You can use Fair Trade Organic Sugar or Organic Turbinado Raw Cane Sugar. White sugar makes the lightest scrub, and is good for sensitive skin, while raw brown sugar makes a more intense scrub. You can also experiment with a mix of both. Never use soft brown baking sugar or powdered sugar – you’ll only get clumps and zero scrub appeal.
4. Vanilla choices: You have some different choices when it comes to vanilla…
- Whole organic vanilla beans.
- Organic Vanilla Extract (Fair Trade Certified) may darken your scrub, but I’ve used it in a pinch.
- Vanilla Sugar. Depending on the kind you use, you’ll need to experiment with amounts.
- Organic vanilla essential oil is not too common, but does exist. Mountain Rose Herbs sells some.
Make sugar scrub with whole vanilla beans
1. Place 1 to 2 whole vanilla beans in 1 cup dry organic white or brown sugar.
2. Cover and let sit for a week or two – the longer it sits the better the smell. You can experiment with vanilla bean intensity. I like strongly scented scrubs, so I err on the side of more is better, however, use less for a lighter scent.
3. Remove your beans.
4. Saturate (but don’t over-saturate) your sugar with carrier oil. It should be totally moist, but there shouldn’t be a huge layer of liquid on top of the sugar.
5. Add two-four drops of lavender essential oil. Smell your mix, and add more lavender if you want a stronger scent.
6. Place in a reusable container with a lid. TIP: If you use a glass container, it won’t end up smelling like lavender forever, like a reusable plastic container will.
Make sugar scrub with extract or essential oils
- If you’re using vanilla extract or essential oil, skip straight to step 4 above. After mixing in your carrier oil, add a few drops (give or take) of vanilla extract or oil. Then continue with step 5.
- If you’re using vanilla sugar, I’d start with a half and half mix – 1/2 cup vanilla sugar, 1/2 cup other sugar. I haven’t used vanilla sugar much, and the time I did it was not too strongly scented, so you’ll need to experiment. After you have the sugar scent you want go to step 4 and continue from there.
Using sugar scrub
- For the BEST scrubbing action, stand in your shower with the water off. Scrub your dry skin down with your scrub, then rinse off in the shower.
- For basic scrubby action, use your scrub in your already running shower, after your skin is wet.
- Do not ever use this scrub on your face.
Although it seems odd, you won’t be sticky after using this sugar scrub. All you need to do is rinse with warm water. No soap is necessary. This scrub will not dry your skin out and is perfect for troublesome dry areas.
Shelf life and storage
- You can keep this in your bathroom. You don’t need to refrigerate it. It won’t mold.
- Make sure you keep it covered.
- I’d guess that this scrub keeps for 3-6 months well. I’m not totally sure because it never lasts that long. It’s so great, you’ll use it up before it goes bad.
- Oil does get rancid. It won’t kill you or anything once the scrub gets old, but it will start to smell funky. I once made this orange scrub, didn’t love it, threw it under the pantry, and forgot about it. I found it eight months later and you could tell that the oil had gone a little bad, so I tossed it. Since it’s non-toxic, you can throw old scrubs down your sink drain.
Sugar scrub safety
- If you give a sugar scrub as a gift be sure to make a cute little label (like the one above) that lists all the ingredients on it. You can’t know if a friend is allergic to a specific essential oil or if she’s allergic to nuts (if you used a nut based carrier oil).
- Be careful in the shower because oil based sugar scrubs can make life a little slick. No big worry, just be careful.
I’ve made tangerine, lemon and mint sugar scrubs too, plus an ill fated coffee chocolate scrub (it sounded good). You can experiment with all sorts of scents, just be sure to use real pure essential oils, not fragrances.
Let me know if you make this scrub and what you think…
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