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I’m all about NOT doing DIY skincare out of your kitchen for a lot of reasons, but I can definitely make an exception for one or two simple things.
The holidays are upon us (ready or not), so I figured that I’d share one of my favorite quickie recipes for making a cheap yet pretty gift that basically anyone will appreciate: a fragrant body scrub.
I like this scrub because the recipe is super simple, and it’s really easy to customize. You can make a gentler version for lips, a minty version for feet, or a nourishing version for all-over glow. You can also make a big batch, divide it up into smaller portions, and add different oil blends and extracts to make several custom gifts all at once (this is what I usually do).
I like to use these hinged-lid jars* for gifting because of the great seal they provide, but I’ve also used these canning jars*, and they work well too! I use different colors of curling ribbon to make each one festive, and I either tie on a gift tag or make a sheet of pretty labels to mark the jars before I gift them.
Salt or Sugar Body Scrub
As with all scrubby things, you should always be gentle when you’re scouring off dead skin. Physical scrubs like salt and sugar aren’t for everybody, so if your skin is particularly sensitive or grouchy, skip this in favor of a washcloth or body brush.
My skin is stubborn, so I actually have to scrub pretty regularly to prevent breakouts and itchiness. I like to use kosher salt, a carrier oil like jojoba or almond and a few drops of essential oil. This list of carrier oils from Garden of Wisdom is a great resource if you need help choosing!
A quick note about salt and sugar:
Sugar granules are generally considered gentler than salt. They’re smaller, smoother and dissolve more easily than salt granules. They’re better for sensitive skin. Salt is coarser and doesn’t dissolve as readily, so it’s more abrasive and better for stubborn spots or thick skin.
I’ll be honest…I’m an “eyeball and wing it” kind of cook. I’ll give you some baseline measurements to start from, but feel free to add or subtract until you get a consistency you like.
I prefer for my scrubs to be more gritty, so I start with very little oil and slowly add until I get a clumpy, wet sand consistency. If you want the scrub to be more nourishing, you can either reduce the amount of salt by 1/3 OR just slowly add more oil until it’s more of a “sandy sludge” consistency.
What You’ll Need
- 1 cup kosher salt OR granulated sugar (any kind)
- 1/3 cup liquid carrier oil
- 5-20 drops of essential oil (optional)
- medium-sized glass bowl
- small wooden or plastic spoon
- clean glass jar with a tight lid
What to Do
Combine the salt or sugar with the carrier oil first. Use the spoon to mash the mixture around gently until it starts to all clump together. If you’re planning to make your scrub more liquidy, keep slowly adding oil until you get the right consistency.
If you want to use essential oils, start with just a few drops at a time and mix them in well. Remember that you can always add more, but you can’t take it out if you use too much. This is a rare case where more is not more.
Once you’re happy with the scent and texture, spoon it all into your glass jar and pack it in. If you’re making several kinds at once, slap a sticky note label on it right away so you don’t get them mixed up. Not that I’ve ever done that…
I typically limit the shelf life of my scrubs to a couple of months, just to be safe. It’s better to make small batches more frequently!
About Your Oils
Don’t skimp on the oils you buy. Both the carrier oil and the essential oil should be high quality. Food-grade oils often don’t have all of the goodness and refinement of cosmetic-grade, and those cheap diffuser oils you can buy in the candle section of Walmart are NOT meant to be put on your skin.
Also, be sure to pay attention to the shelf life and whether or not your leftovers should be refrigerated!
When using essential oils in beauty products, be sure to use therapeutic-grade only.
What Do You Think?
Have you made DIY scrubs like this before? Do you do anything differently? Leave me a comment and let’s talk about it!