How to Make a Sugar Scrub

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A sugar scrub is a luxurious product you can use to hydrate and remove dead skin cells from your skin. The best part is that a high-quality sugar scrub can be made inexpensively, often using ingredients you already have in your home. 

In this article, you will learn how to make customized sugar scrub recipes that can be used on almost every part of your body, from the top of your head to the soles of your feet.

What is a Sugar Scrub? 


A sugar scrub is a type of scrub made primarily with sugar. It is typically combined with an oil and either botanicals or essential oils.

The sugar granules work to gently remove dead skin cells while you massage the scrub onto your skin. The oil helps to hydrate the skin, and the essential oils provide aromatherapy benefits for the senses.

A sugar scrub is a type of exfoliating product used to remove dead skin cells and leave the skin feeling soft and smooth. Sugar granules serve as the exfoliant and are typically mixed with a hydrating oil or butter, such as coconut oil or shea butter. When massaged onto the skin in a circular motion, the sugar granules help to loosen and remove dead skin cells, revealing the fresh, glowing skin underneath. Sugar scrubs can be used on the face, body, and lips to improve skin texture and promote healthy circulation. They are often used in beauty and skincare routines to enhance the overall appearance of the skin.

Read More: A Comprehensive Guide to Safely Exfoliating Your Skin

Ingredients for a Sugar Scrub 

If you haven't tried making a sugar scrub before, you are missing out! All you need to create a DIY sugar scrub are three simple ingredients:

Oil + Sugar + Essential Oils

Here is an explanation of each of these three ingredients. Experiment and mix them to customize the perfect DIY sugar scrub recipe to fit your specific needs!

What Type of Sugar Should I Use for Sugar Scrubs? 

When making a sugar scrub, you have a choice of different types of sugar to use. Most of the time, I use regular white granulated sugar that is easily accessible in my kitchen. However, there are some exceptions to this.

Ordinary white granulated sugar is suitable for most sugar scrubs. Superfine sugar is a better option for those with sensitive skin or for areas of the body that require more delicate treatment, such as the face. 

Brown sugar has a pleasant aroma and can be used in sugar scrubs, but it is coarser in texture, so it's best to only use half brown sugar and half granulated sugar. Otherwise, the scrub may be too harsh on the skin. 

Himalayan sea salt can also be used instead of sugar in some recipes. While it contains many minerals, it is much coarser than sugar and can harm delicate skin. This is best used on rough skin, where the salt scrub can be gently massaged. Make sure to use fine sea salt, not coarse.

- Oil for Sugar Scrubs 

When it comes to sugar scrubs, good oil choices include olive oil, grapeseed oil, sweet almond oil, and virgin coconut oil. I prefer to use cold-pressed, organic oils when making a sugar body scrub.

Olive oil is highly moisturizing and can improve the appearance of stretch marks. However, it is also quite oily on the skin and may clog pores. For this reason, it's best to avoid using olive oil in face scrubs. 

Grapeseed oil is lighter and absorbs quickly, and is full of antioxidants that help with skin conditions and rashes. It can also decrease clogged pores and improve acne, making it a good choice for face sugar scrubs.

Sweet almond oil is light but oily and highly moisturizing. It contains Vitamin E to protect and heal the skin. It's great for dry to normal skin, but it may not be suitable for those with oily skin. Additionally, it's important to avoid this oil if you have nut allergies. 

Virgin coconut oil is readily available, has a long shelf life, and is full of antioxidants. It is heavy and oily, but can help repair sun-damaged skin. Additionally, it is anti-fungal and can combat bacteria. Customizing oil - I often infuse one of the above oils with herbs and botanicals to add additional healing properties. For more information on how to make herbal oils, please see this post.

- Essentials Oils for Sugar Scrub

Essential oils are concentrated liquids that can be added to sugar scrubs for both fragrance and therapeutic benefits. Only a few drops are usually required as essential oils are extremely potent.

Consider these essential oils for your sugar scrub recipes:

Lavender essential oil – helps balance skin moisture and reduce redness and inflammation. It's gentle on sensitive skin and makes a great option for a lavender sugar scrub.

Chamomile oil – has a calming effect on skin and can reduce redness. However, if you have ragweed sensitivities, you may want to avoid this oil in sugar scrubs as it may cause irritation. 

Geranium oil – claimed to reduce wrinkles and slow aging, geranium oil also has a delightful floral scent. Tea tree oil – works as a natural astringent for acne-prone skin. 

Peppermint oil – invigorating with a cooling effect, a peppermint sugar scrub recipe is my personal favorite for foot scrubs or soothing sore muscles.

Read More: How to Get Rid of Dark Spots on the Face

How to Make a Sugar Scrub

Now that you've chosen your ingredients, let's learn how to make a sugar scrub.

  1. Get a bowl and fill it with 1 cup of sugar.
  2. Add 3/4 to 1 cup of oil to the sugar, depending on your desired consistency. If you prefer a drier scrub, use less oil and for a more oily scrub, add more. This is personal preference, but keep in mind that the more oil you add, the more moisturizing benefits you'll receive.
  3. Once you have the desired consistency, add 1-2 drops of essential oils. Remember, a little goes a long way.
  4. If the scrub turns out too dry, add more oil. If it's too oily, add more sugar. 
Note: When using coconut oil, which is a solid oil, use at least equal amounts of sugar or more compared to the oil.

How to Store Homemade Sugar Scrub

A homemade sugar scrub will last up to two months at room temperature if stored in an airtight container like a mason jar with a lid. To extend its shelf life, consider storing it in the refrigerator where it can last up to six months.

Adding essential oils to a bowl of homemade sugar scrub. Additionally, sugar scrubs make great gifts for Christmas or birthdays. To make a complete homemade beauty set, consider pairing it with homemade lotion or hand cream.

How to Use a Sugar Scrub

Here's a simple guide on how to use sugar scrubs at home:

Foot Scrub:

  1. Soak your feet in warm water for 10 minutes to soften the skin.
  2. Apply a generous amount of sugar scrub to your feet and massage in circular motions.
  3. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.
  4. Follow up with a moisturizing foot cream, such as a healing peppermint foot cream.

Hand Scrub:

  1. Wet your hands and apply sugar scrub.
  2. Rub your hands together for 1-2 minutes, focusing on the area around the nails.
  3. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.
  4. Apply a moisturizing lotion, such as a DIY hand cream.

Body Scrub:

  1. Apply sugar scrub to damp skin in circular motions, focusing on areas prone to cellulite or dryness.
  2. Rinse and pat dry.
  3. Apply a moisturizing lotion, such as an ultra-moisturizing lotion.

Lip Scrub:

  1. Wet your lips and apply sugar scrub.
  2. Gently rub in circular motions for 1 minute.
  3. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.
  4. Apply a lip balm or coconut oil to lock in moisture.

Remember, sugar scrubs can be used on the face, body, lips, hands, and any other area that needs extra care and attention.

6 Sugar Scrub Recipes to Try

With these foundational ideas, you can easily make a variety of unique sugar scrubs. Here are a few of my favorite recipes:

- ALMOND OIL BODY SCRUB: For a moisturizing body scrub, mix almond oil into a basic sugar scrub recipe. Feel free to add your preferred scents, but I like to use invigorating essential oils such as peppermint and eucalyptus in the morning and relaxing fragrances like lavender before bed.

- SUGAR SCRUB FACIAL: When making a sugar scrub for the face, there are a few important considerations. First, choose a light oil that won't clog pores, such as grapeseed oil or the more expensive jojoba oil. Then, add 1-2 drops of essential oils like geranium, chamomile, carrot seed oil, or lavender, depending on your skin's needs.

Make small batches of 1/2 cup or less and replace it frequently to prevent bacteria buildup. Additionally, use fine sugar to avoid damaging delicate facial skin.

- HONEY LIP SCRUB: Honey can be added to sugar scrub recipes to help gently exfoliate the lips. 

Try this recipe for Honey Dandelion Lip Scrub or substitute coconut oil for dandelion oil if needed. For even more healing benefits, use Manuka honey for cold sores and heavily chapped lips.

- COCONUT OIL HAND SCRUB: A hand scrub is beneficial for everyone, especially during winter when hands tend to become dry. This is especially true for people who work in fields where they have to frequently wash their hands, such as healthcare workers, artists, chefs, and gardeners.

Using a hand scrub after a day of work is a great way to revitalize and moisturize your hands before bed. I prefer to use coconut oil as it is moisturizing and a blend of ylang-ylang, carrot seed, lavender, geranium, and rose essential oils.

- HEALING FOOT SCRUB: The Pampering Peppermint Foot Scrub is a great example of how to make a basic sugar scrub with the added benefits of coconut oil and peppermint oil. This combination helps soothe, moisturize, and cool the feet.

If you have dry, cracked skin on your heels, you can use coarse sea salt or a mixture of brown sugar and white sugar. Just make sure to be gentle when scrubbing to avoid further damage to the skin.

- PRETTY PINK BUT NOT AS SWEET: Try swapping the sugar for a Himalayan Pink Salt Scrub. Salt contains numerous minerals and is a bit coarser than sugar. Use a fine salt for most recipes, as coarse salt can be too rough on the skin, even for tough callouses. It's best to opt for a gentle scrub to avoid damaging the skin during exfoliation.

Bottom Line

The frequency at which you can use a sugar scrub depends on your skin type and the product itself. For most people, using a sugar scrub once or twice a week is sufficient to see benefits. However, if you have sensitive skin, you may want to limit use to once every two weeks or less. On the other hand, if you have particularly rough or dry skin, you may find that using a sugar scrub more often, up to three times a week, can help to improve texture and hydration.

It's important to listen to your skin and adjust your exfoliation routine as needed. Over-exfoliation can cause irritation and make the skin more vulnerable to damage. If you notice any redness, sensitivity, or dryness after using a sugar scrub, reduce the frequency of use or switch to a gentler product.

In conclusion, making a sugar scrub is a straightforward and effective way to care for, soothe, and hydrate the skin from head to toe. What sugar scrub recipe will you try first?

Read More: Effective Tips to Lose Face Fat


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