Homemade Body Scrub

Body scrub recipes to rejuvenate your skin

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Using a homemade body scrub feels wonderful, and has many benefits for your skin and health.


Body scrubs are wonderful because they...

  • Remove the dead layer of cells on your skin's surface, revealing the younger cells beneath, and leaving your skin feeling soft and smooth.
  • Contain natural oils that moisturise and feed your skin.
  • Contain essential oils with aromatherapy properties. You can combine scents to relax, soothe, energise, or create a romantic mood.

homemade body scrub jar

Homemade body scrubs are really easy to make. Whether you want to make them for yourself, or as gifts for your girlfriends or relatives, this page will show you how. I'll cover how to make sugar scrubs, salt scrubs, oatmeal scrubs, coffee scrubs, and more.

(By the way, if you'd like to try other bath and body recipes, you might like to have a go at making your own bath salts and fizzy bath bombs.)

A bit further down the page, I'll give you some easy homemade body scrub recipes. But first, I'd like to give you an explanation of the basic ingredients. That way, you'll be able to come up with your own personalised homemade body scrubs :-)

Homemade Body Scrubs 101: The basic ingredients

All body scrubs, even ones you buy in the store, contain just three primary ingredients:

1. An Exfoliant
Basically a gritty substance of some sort. Sugar and salt are the most common, and have the benefit that they dissolve in water so they don't leave any mess in your bathtub.

Salt is great for relaxing your muscles. Some people prefer to use sea salt, because it is less processed than table salt, contains a wider variety of trace elements and minerals, and is said to be kinder on the skin. Personally I've tried sea salts, table salt, and epsom salts, and found all of them to be fine. Your mileage may vary depending on your skin type (mine is fairly normal, perhaps slightly dry). Whatever salt you use, I'd recommend grinding it finely, i.e. to a similar consistency to table salt, because coarse grains can feel a little too exfoliating.

Sugar feels slightly gentler on your skin than salt. You can use either brown or white sugar. I prefer brown, because it smells yummy, especially if you mix it with a little vanilla essential oil.

Ground coffee smells divine, and the caffeine may even have some benefits for your skin. Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, meaning that it causes blood vessels to constrict, so it can temporarily reduce varicose veins and rosacea. Intriguingly, experiments have shown that caffeine applied to the skin of mice makes them less likely to get skin cancer... but we don't know yet whether this works for humans.

Oatmeal is the gentlest of the exfoliants. It is an emollient, meaning that it softens and hydrates your skin. People have used it for decades as an effective home remedy for dry, itchy skin. Unlike salt and sugar, you can use it with a bit of water instead of a carrier oil.

Other options include almond meal, flax meal (ground linseeds), rice bran, wheat bran, and ground nut shells. I haven't tried any of these so I can't really comment, though I've heard that ground nut shells can really be quite scratchy against your skin. (If you'd like to share your experience with any of these exfoliants, then get in touch.)

I have used sugar, almond meal and ground nut shells before in my homemade body scrubs. You probably know what the sugar feels like, but the almond meal is really nice- suggest you try it! It's kind of soft, and it's scrubby, and it leaves my skin nice and soft. Only problem is that it doesn't dissolve in water so I always end up with a ring around my tub or on the floor of my shower. The ground nut shells were not a pleasant experience, to be honestly honest. It was too exfoliating for my skin and left it raw and sore. Although, it is pretty good for feet!

~ Lucia

2. A Carrier Oil
Also called a base oil, the oil in a homemade body scrub holds the mixture together, and moisturises your skin. Most body scrub recipes use about 1/3 cup of oil for each cup of exfoliant. There are many carrier oils to choose from. Unless your skin is very dry, I'd recommend choosing an oil with a fairly thin consistency so that it will wash off easily and won't leave your skin feeling too greasy. Some popular options are

Sunflower oil has a very faint odour, thin consistency, and penetrates well without leaving much of a residue. It is also one of the most affordable oils and has a shelf life of about 12 months. It is used in several commercially available body scrubs, including some manufactured by "Body Shop", "Nourish", and "Jason Natural".

Sweet Almond Oil has a slightly sweet and nutty aroma, medium consistency, and absorbs fairly quickly. Shelf life is about 12 months.

Grape Seed Oil has a faint sweet odour, is very thin, and leaves a thin film on the skin. It has a shelf life of 6-12 months.

Hazelnut Oil has a sweet nutty odour, is quite thin, and leaves a film on the skin. Shelf life is about 12 months.

Kukui (Candle Nut) Oil has a light, sweet, nutty odour, a thin consistency, and absorbs well. Shelf life is about 12 months.

Macadamia Nut Oil has a nutty odour, thick consistency, and leaves a an oily film on your skin. Recommended for dry skin. Shelf life is about 12 months.

It goes without saying, but don't use a nut oil if you have a nut allergy!

3. Fragrance
The easiest way to scent your homemade body scrub is with essential oils. Avoid "fragrance oils", which are synthetic. Here are some essential oil combinations for different skin types, recommended by Carla Oates in her excellent book Feeding Your Skin. Each combination is intended to be diluted in ⅓ cup (approx 2½ oz) of carrier oil.



Normal: 10 drops lavender, 6 geranium, 4 ylang-ylang
Oily: 8 drops sandalwood, 6 lemon, 6 lavender
Dry: 8 drops sandalwood, 6 geranium, 6 rose
Sensitive: 6 drops chamomile, 4 rose, 2 neroli
Dehydrated: 10 drops rose, 8 sandalwood, 2 patchoulli
Mature: 8 drops neroli, 6 frankincense, 6 ylang-ylang
Acne: 10 drops lemon, 10 cypress, 5 lavender
Devitalised: 10 drops geranium, 6 rose, 4 cypress
Broken capillaries: 8 drops rose, 6 chamomile, 6 cypress

For more ideas on scent combinations, including fragrances to evoke different moods, see my page on essential oil skin care. Note that certain essential oils should be avoided by pregnant women.

Have a go and experiment with your own combinations. But avoid getting undiluted essential oil on your skin - it is very concentrated and can cause irritation. For sensitive skin, avoid the following oils: basil, cinnamon, clove, lemon, lemongrass, tea-tree, thyme, citrus. Citrus oils in particular can cause sensitivity to sunlight. Read more on our essential oil skin care page.

Now that you know the basic ingredients, you can make up your own recipes for homemade body scrubs! But first, here are some starter recipes for you...


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Easy Sugar Scrub Recipe

Yummy vanilla sugar homemade body scrub recipe

  • 1 cup fine brown sugar (I use a light muscovado sugar, but any fine grain sugar would suit)
  • 1/3 cup (approx) sweet almond oil or other carrier oil
  • 20 drops vanilla essential oil or 1 tsp vanilla essense

In a glass or ceramic bowl, add essential oil to sugar and stir thoroughly. Add almond oil gradually, stirring continuously. Stop when the scrub reaches the consistence of moist sand. Once you've made this one, try out some other essential oil combinations!

"I followed your sugar scrub recipe but using superfine white sugar and Body Shop White Musk oil and it came out amazing. My skin felt so nice and soft and smooth. I am extremely fair skinned and sensitive so I was thrilled when I came out of the shower without being all red and blotchy!" ~ Eileen


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Easy Salt Scrub Recipe

Energising Salt Scrub Recipe

  • 1 cup finely ground salt
  • 1/3 cup (approx) sweet almond oil or other carrier oil
  • 8 drops grapefruit essential oil, 8 bergamot, 4 peppermint

In a glass or ceramic bowl, add essential oil to salt and stir thoroughly. Add almond oil gradually, stirring continuously. Stop when the scrub reaches the consistence of moist sand. Once you've made this one, go ahead and try out some other essential oil combinations!

Warning: Don't use a salt scrub immediately after shaving your legs - it will sting! Instead, use the scrub before shaving. The oils left on your skin will lubricate the blade and make shaving smoother.


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Coffee Body Scrub Recipe

Cinnamon, Orange, and Coffee Body Scrub Recipe

  • 1 cup ground coffee
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1/3 cup (approx) sweet almond oil or other carrier oil
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 8 drops grapefruit essential oil, 8 drops orange, 4 drops peppermint

Mix coffee, salt, and essential oils in a glass or ceramic bowl. Add almond oil slowly, stirring continuously, until mixture reaches the consistency of moist sand.


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Gentle Oatmeal Body Scrub

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup finely ground oatmeal
  • 8 drops lavender essential oil, 8 drops tangerine, 8 drops rosewood, 4 drops chamomile
  • 1 Tbsp dried lavender petals (optional) - see my tips on drying lavender

In a glass or ceramic bowl, add essential oils drop by drop, stirring constantly to avoid clumps. Store in an airtight jar in the fridge - keeps for up to 1 year. To use, combine one Tbsp of the mix with a little water to form a paste, then gently rub onto skin.


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Rosemary Oatmeal Facial Scrub

This rosemary oatmeal facial scrub recipe was shared by one of our readers. Rosemary's astringent properties mean that it helps to calm oily skin, and it also acts as a mild antibiotic and disinfectant.

rosemary oatmeal facial scrub


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Foot Scrub Recipes

Peppermint and Lavender Foot Scrub Recipe

  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/3 cup (approx) sweet almond oil or other carrier oil
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil, 5 drops lavender

Combine ingredients well in a glass or ceramic bowl.

Ginger and Orange Foot Scrub Recipe

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (approx) sweet almond oil or other carrier oil
  • 12 drops orange essential oil
  • 3 drops ginger essential oil, or 1tsp ground ginger

Combine ingredients well in glass or ceramic bowl.


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Using Your Homemade Body Scrub

Use once per week. Stir scrub gently before use, in case ingredients have separated. Sit on the edge of your bath, and wet the area you want to scrub (e.g. your leg). Put a bit of scrub on your palm, and gently rub into your skin. Rinse well. Beware that your bath or shower floor may be slippery with oil afterwards! Enjoy your silky smooth skin :-)

Tip: Try using your homemade body scrub just before you shave your legs - the oil left on your skin from the scrub will lubricate the blade and make shaving smoother.


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Homemade Body Scrubs as Gifts

If you'll be giving your homemade body scrub as a gift, here are a few tips:

  • Put the scrub in an airtight container. A squat, wide-mouthed glass jar is ideal.
  • Use sugar or salt as the exfoliant, because these keep for longer than the other exfoliants
  • Advise the recipient to use the body scrub within 6 months, because some carrier oils may start to go rancid after that time


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References and Resources


  1. The book Feeding Your Skin, by Carla Oates, has loads of wonderful skin-care recipes. Some of the recipes on this page are adapted from her book.
  2. There is a nice discussion of body scrub recipes over at http://www.cancerlynx.com/bodyscrub.html


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What Next?

I hope you enjoyed making your own homemade body scrub! You might also like to check out my recipes and instructions to make your own:

Bath Salts
Fizzy Bath bombs
Other Bath and Body Recipes

And if you'd like to stay posted on the latest homemade gift ideas, suscribe to my free newsletter. Learn more...

Happy gifting!



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