A sugar scrub is a luxurious tool you can use to moisturize and exfoliate your skin. Even better? A good sugar scrub can be made for pennies, often with ingredients you already have at home. In this post, learn how to make sugar scrub recipes that can be customized for nearly every part of your body, from head to toe.
Making sugar scrubs is one of my favorite past times. It’s almost an instant gratification project—it can be used right away after you mix it together, rather than having a cure or wait time like so many other natural beauty recipes do. Plus, the benefits are exponential – this scrub will soothe your skin and remove dead skin cells from head to toe while also providing aromatherapy benefits.
I’m a firm believer in the power of natural ingredients, and these sugar scrubs are no exception. Here’s everything you need to know about how to make a good sugar scrub recipe, and how to customize it for different uses.
In this post, we will cover:
- What is a Sugar Scrub?
- Sugar Scrub Ingredients
- What Kind of Sugar Sugar Should I Use to Make Sugar Scrub?
- Essential Oils
- How to Make a Sugar Scrub
- How to Store Homemade Sugar Scrub
- How to Use a Sugar Scrub
- Foot Scrub
- Hand scrub
- Body scrub
- Lip scrub
- 6 Sugar Scrub Recipes to Try
- 1. Almond Oil Body Scrub
- 2. Sugar Scrub Facial Recipe
- 3. Honey Lip Scrub
- 4. Coconut Oil Hand Scrub
- 5. Healing Foot Scrub
- 6. Pretty Pink but Not as Sweet
- More Sugar Scrub Recipes
What is a Sugar Scrub?
First of all, what exactly is a sugar scrub? It’s almost exactly what it sounds like: a scrub that is made with sugar. Generally, the sugar is paired with an oil of some kind, and either botanicals or essential oils.
The granules of sugar can help to gently exfoliate your skin as you rub it gently against your body. At the same time, the oil will moisturize while the essential oils provide therapeutic aromatherapy benefits.
Sugar Scrub Ingredients
If you have never made a sugar scrub recipe, you are seriously missing out! All you need to whip a DIY sugar scrub recipe up are three simple ingredients:
Oil + Sugar + Essential Oils
Here’s the breakdown of the three ingredients. Mix and match to meet your specific needs and build your ultimate DIY sugar recipe!
What Kind of Sugar Sugar Should I Use to Make Sugar Scrub?
To make a scrub, you can use your choice of sugars. More often than not, I reach for the everyday white granulated sugar that’s always stocked in my kitchen. However, there are sometimes exceptions.
- Regular granulated sugar, like the stuff you have in your pantry, is just fine for sugar scrubs in most cases.
- Superfine sugar is better to use if you have sensitive skin, or want to use the scrub in a more sensitive area, like your face.
- Brown sugar smells delicious in sugar scrubs, but as it is coarse, only replace half of the sugar with brown sugar. Otherwise, a brown sugar scrub can be too rough on your skin.
- Himalayan sea salt can also work in place of sugar in some recipes. While salt does have plenty of minerals, it is much more coarse than sugar and can damage delicate skin. This is best saved for rough skin where you can gently rub the salt scrub on. Make sure to use fine sea salt instead of the coarse!
Olive oil, grapeseed oil, sweet almond oil, and virgin coconut oil are good choices for sugar scrubs. I generally prefer cold-pressed, organic oils for a sugar body scrub whenever possible.
- Olive oil is very moisturizing and can help to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. On the downside, it is a greasier oil on the skin and can clog pores. For this reason, I suggest you avoid olive oil in face recipes.
- Grapeseed oil is a lighter oil that absorbs quickly and is full of antioxidants helping for skin disorders and rashes. Grapeseed oil can actually help decrease clogged pores and clear acne, so this is a good one for face sugar scrubs.
- Sweet almond oil is a light oil but greasier and very moisturizing. It contains Vitamin E to protect skin and heal it. It’s great for dry to normal skin but I wouldn’t use this if you have skin that’s already greasy. And it goes without saying that this oil should not be used if you have nut allergies.
- Virgin coconut oil is widely available, very shelf-stable, and is packed with antioxidants. It is a heavy, greasy oil, but it can help skin with sun damage. Additionally, it is anti-fungal and can help fight bacteria.
- Infuse your own oil – I often like to infuse one of the above oils with herbs and botanicals to give it additional healing properties. See this post on making herbal oils for more info.
There are many essential oils that can be added to sugar scrubs for scent and additional healing properties. A few drops are often all you need as essential oils are concentrated, and thus extremely potent.
Here are a few essential oils to consider adding to your sugar scrub recipes:
- Lavender essential oil – can help balance moisture levels and reduce redness and inflammation in the skin. A lavender sugar scrub is often a good option for sensitive skin as it is a very gentle oil.
- Chamomile oil – this soothing oil can help reduce redness in skin, and is also anti-inflammatory. If you have ragweed sensitivities, you may want to avoid this essential oil in sugar scrubs as it can cause irritation.
- Geranium oil – said to reduce wrinkles and slow premature aging, geranium also has a lovely floral scent.
- Tea tree oil – can act as a natural astringent for acne-prone skin
- Peppermint oil – energizing with a lovely cooling sensation, a peppermint sugar scrub recipe is my go-to oil when I am making foot scrubs or attending to sore muscles.
How to Make a Sugar Scrub
Now that you have the ingredients selected, let’s talk about how to make a sugar scrub.
- Grab a bowl and fill it with 1 cup of sugar.
- Add between 3/4 – 1 cup of oil* into the sugar. If you prefer a drier scrub, do less, and if you want a more oily scurb, add more. This is purely based on personal preference in many cases. One thing to keep in mind that the more oil you add, the more moisturizing benefits you’re likely to get.
- Once you have a good consistency, add 1-2 drops of essential oils. Remember, a little goes a long way!
- If your oil turns out too dry for your liking, add some more oil. Too oily? Add some more sugar.
*a note about coconut oil – since coconut oil is a solid oil, you want to use at least equal amounts of sugar (or more) to your oil.
How to Store Homemade Sugar Scrub
At room temperature, a homemade sugar scrub will last at least one to two months in an airtight container, like a mason jar with a lid. If you want to keep it longer, you may consider tucking it away in the fridge. When refrigerated, DIY sugar scrubs can last up to six months.
I’ll add that sugar scrub makes for an excellent Christmas gift or birthday gift. If you want to pair it with other homemade beauty products, I recommend gifting it alongside homemade lotion or hand cream.
How to Use a Sugar Scrub
Remember, depending on how you make them, sugar scrubs can be used on the face, body, lips, and hands – basically anywhere that needs a little extra TLC! Here’s a quick guide on how to use sugar scrubs at home.
Soak your feet in warm water for 10 minutes to soften the skin. Apply a generous amount of sugar scrub to your feet and massage in circular motions.
Rinse with warm water and pat dry. Follow with this luxurious healing peppermint foot cream for even more pampering!
Wet your hands and apply sugar scrub. Rub hands together for 1-2 minutes, paying extra attention to the area around the nails. Rinse with warm water and pat dry. Then, apply a moisturizing lotion such as this DIY hand cream.
Apply sugar scrub to damp skin in circular motions. Focus on areas that are prone to cellulite or dryness. Rinse, dry, and apply lotion (this ultra-moisturizing lotion is my favourite!).
Wet your lips and apply sugar scrub. Gently rub in circular motions for 1 minute. Rinse with warm water and pat dry. Apply a lip balm or even coconut oil to lock in moisture.
6 Sugar Scrub Recipes to Try
Now that you have the basics down, you can easily make all kinds of different sugar scrubs. Here are a few of my favorite sugar scrub recipes!
1. Almond Oil Body Scrub
Add almond oil to a basic sugar scrub for a moisturizing all-over body scrub. Use whatever scents you like, but I like invigorating essential oils like peppermint and eucalyptus for my morning shower and relaxing fragrances like lavender for before bed.
2. Sugar Scrub Facial Recipe
There are a few extra considerations to take when you are making a scrub to use on your face. Firstly, make sure to use a light oil that doesn’t clog pores like grapeseed oil or even the more expensive jojoba oil which closely matches skins own sebum.
Then, add just 1-2 drops of essential oils like geranium, chamomile, carrot seed oil, or lavender, depending on what your skin concerns are.
Make in small batches of 1/2 cup or less and replace it often, as you do not want any bacteria scrubbed into a delicate area like the face. Also, use a very fine sugar so that the grains don’t damage delicate facial skin.
3. Honey Lip Scrub
Honey is a great addition to a sugar scrub recipe to help gently exfoliate lips. This recipe for Honey Dandelion Lip Scrub is a great starting point—if you don’t have dandelion oil, you can use coconut oil.
Swap out the regular honey for Manuka honey to help heal cold sores and heavily chapped lips.
4. Coconut Oil Hand Scrub
Pretty much everyone can benefit from a nice hand scrub, particularly in the winter months where hands become dry easily. A hand scrub also comes in handy (sorry) for those who have to regularly wash hands like healthcare workers, artists, chefs, and, of course—gardeners!
Using a daily hand scrub after a day of work is an excellent way to stimulate and moisturize hands before bed. I like to use moisturizing coconut oil and a blend of ylang-ylang, carrot seed oil, lavender, geranium, and rose essential oils.
5. Healing Foot Scrub
A recipe like this Pampering Peppermint Foot Scrub takes the basic sugar scrub formula and uses coconut oil in conjunction with peppermint oil to soothe, moisturize, and cool feet.
If you have very dry, cracked skin on your heels, you can use the coarse sea salt or a 50:50 combination of brown sugar and white sugar. Just scrub gently as to not damage the skin further.
6. Pretty Pink but Not as Sweet
Swap the sugar for this Himalayan Pink Salt Scrub. Salt is full of minerals and a bit rougher than sugar. Choose a fine salt for most recipes, as coarse salt will be too rough on skin, even if you have tough callouses.
Again, it’s better to err on the gentle side to not damage skin when exfoliating.
So there you have it! As you can see, making a sugar scrub is a simple, effective way to treat, soothe and hydrate skin from head to toe! Which sugar scrub recipe will you try first?
More Sugar Scrub Recipes
- Heavenly Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub
- Simple Energizing Rosemary and Spearmint Sugar Scrub Recipe
- Lemongrass and Ginger Energizing Sugar Scrub
- Basic Honey Lip Scrub
DIY Sugar Scrub (Basic Sugar Scrub Recipe)
- 1 cup sugar granulated sugar, brown sugar, superfine sugar or even sea salt works
- ¾ cup oil olive oil, grapeseed, sweet almond
- 1-2 drops essential oil lavender, chamomile, tea tree, and peppermint are some great options
- Add sugar to a bowl, then pour in the oil.
- If your mixture seems dry, you can add a bit more oil (up to 1/4 additional cup).
- Then, add 1-2 drops of essential oil and mix well. Enjoy!