What Is a Sugar Scrub?
Sugar scrubs may be made of two simple ingredients: sugar and a nut/seed oil like sunflower oil. You may choose to “amp up” a scrub with botanical ingredients, including essential oils but you don’t need to in order to reap the benefits.
Sugar scrubs are also known as “Body Polishes,” just a slick term that sounds sexier than “scrub.”
Why Pay $$ for Something You Can Make Yourself?
When you think about it, most products out on the market probably have humble roots and probably started out with basic, common ingredients like olive oil and sugar. What a lovely scrub that makes! Something that could even be the start of a cake!
When you get down to it, why are you paying what is probably too much $$$$ for something you could make yourself that doesn’t need to included unnecessary additives and preservatives? Before getting into the “how to,” let’s get into the “why…”
Benefits of Sugar Scrubs
- Stimulate: blood & lymph circulation
- Smooth: exfoliate & unblock pores
- Soften: nut/seed oils nourish
- Prepare: skin to receive a cream, lotion, butter or gel
- Sugar: support acid mantle, soften skin & attract moisture
- Nut/Seed Oils: soften & nourish
Getting Ready: Supplies
- Mixing bowl
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Lidded container to hold the scrub
- Organic with small crystals
- The coarser the granule the more likely it may micro tear skin and take longer to dissolve
- Nut/Seed oils of your choice:
- Organic: sunflower, olive, sesame or sweet almond
- Tip: keep it simple as you experiment with the easy-to-find oils listed
- Tip: choose the best oil for your skin type
- Tip: Don’t forget to mix it up by blending multiple oils together!
- Optional additives:
- Make it super aromatic with Essential oils
- Ground coffee
- Ground flax
- Baking soda
- Ground Oats
- Seaweed Powder
- Fruit Powders
- Dried flowers (powdered)
- Tip: Opt for ground or powdered ingredients.
- This increases the surface area of the plant material, enhancing the ability to work with your skin
- Tip: Be mindful of what you are putting down the drain to avoid clogging the pipes!
Use this table as a guide to make a face or body scrub:
|Work in a 1:4 ratio:||1-part nut/seed oil to 4-parts dry material|
|For those of you who prefer percentages:||1:4 = 20%/80%|
|Here’s an example, working by volume in cups and tbsp:||1/4 cup nut oil to 1 cup dry material (sugar + enhancers)|
(1 cup = 16 tbsp = 48 tsp)
|Essential Oil Guidelines:||On the lighter side: 15 to 20 total drops of essential oil per cup is more than enough, though the ideas in the “Inspiration” section follow the below formula. I pick my battles and this isn’t one of them…|
|Following is a more specific formula, incorporating essential oils:||By Volume: |
1% Essential oils
20% Nut/Seed Oil
79% Dry Material
|Metric measurement is used because it is easier. The above % translates to:||The following is ~1 cup = ~ 250 ml by volume|
— 2.5 ml Essential oils (where ~20 drops is 1 ml = 50 drops)*
— 50 ml Nut/Seed oil
— ~197.5 ml Dry material (round up to 200 because you can…)
*Read here to get more information on dilution rates
Simple Sugar Scrub Recipe
- Note: this recipe makes 1 cup!
- Measure out 3-4 tbsp of nut/seed oil(s) into the mixing bowl
- If using essential oils:
- Choose 1-3 essential oils
- Dispense a total of 15-20 drops into the nut/seed oil and stir to combine
- Measure out 14 tbsp of sugar and add it to the bowl
- Add 2 tbsp of your optional enhancers to the sugar
- Mix the ingredients together; the texture should be like damp sand
- Transfer the mixture to your container & affix the lid
Need Inspiration? Essential Oil Blends!
The following ideas are for one small batch (1 cup/~250 ml) with 1% essential oils. May they inspire you to make your own scrub!
Invigorate & Flush
- 30 drops Grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi) or Mandarin (Citrus reticulata)
- 10 drops Juniper berry (Juniperus communis) or Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)
- 8 drops Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus) or Eucalyptus globulus
Balance & Modulate
- 15 drops Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii) or Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
- 10 drops Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica or C. deodora) OR Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin)
- 20 drops Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis) or Petitgrain (Citrus aurantium var amara leaf)
Calm & Relax
- 30 drops Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) or Coriander seed (Coriandrum sativum)
- 5 drops Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) or Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
- 12 drops Sweet marjoram (Origanum majorana) or Clary sage (Salvia sclarea)
Essential Oil & Formulating Tips
Consider using less expensive essential oils. Why? You are washing off the product. True, the essential oils will want to stay with the nut/seed oil but I think you get the point. This is not to say a less expensive oil is inferior to a pricier oil! Cost often has to do with the amount of essence an aromatic plant may produce for itself, and therefore obtained through distillation or extraction.
Fifty drops of essential oils seem like a LOT! Don’t fret–use less (20 to 30 drops per cup)! Part of this article’s purpose is to give a straight forward formula.
Substitute the sugar for salt (dead sea and magnesium sulfate), omit the sugar and fixed oils and add the essential oil & salt mixture to a bath soak!
Usage Instructions & Tips
- Take a tablespoon of scrub from the jar.
- With wet hands rub the scrub between your hands a few times to start breaking down the sugar so it is easier to apply to your skin.
- Start applying to the area you want to address in circular motions.
- If you have added botanical ingredients like essential oils or clay, consider leaving the scrub on your skin for a minute or more to reap in the benefits!
- Rinse off and enjoy your soft, bright and invigorated skin!
- Use on your Face: 1 – 2 x/week & on your Body 2 – 3 x/week
- Avoid on delicate or thin skin, varicose veins, moles and broken skin
- Follow with a cream, lotion or body oil
- Tip: You may not need a follow-up product as the nourishing oil in the the scrub may be all you need!