Using a homemade body scrub feels wonderful, and has many benefits for your skin and health.
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.
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 :-)
All body scrubs, even ones you buy in the store, contain just three primary ingredients:
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!
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!
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...
Yummy vanilla sugar homemade body scrub recipe
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
Energising Salt Scrub Recipe
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.
Cinnamon, Orange, and Coffee Body Scrub Recipe
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.
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.
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.
Peppermint and Lavender Foot Scrub Recipe
Combine ingredients well in a glass or ceramic bowl.
Ginger and Orange Foot Scrub Recipe
Combine ingredients well in glass or ceramic bowl.
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.
If you'll be giving your homemade body scrub as a gift, here are a few tips:
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:
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