Flipping through a magazine recently I spotted a gorgeous sugar scrub – for $40! Gulp. That seems a bit high for what’s basically just 8 ounces of sugar and oil.
Turns out it’s incredibly easy to make your own sugar scrub. And bonus: it’s cheap!
Just follow this basic homemade sugar scrub recipe and add in whatever extras sound good to you. (Or follow our battle-tested lemon, vanilla sugar scrub recipe at the end – we won’t judge.)
Basic Sugar Scrub Recipe
But legs, elbows and bums don’t get as much attention. The fastest route to soft, smooth skin is a super simple sugar scrub. Trust me, your skin will feel amazing after using this!
1 cup sugar – you can use regular sugar, brown sugar or cane sugar. Epsom or sea salt will also work but I find they can be a bit harsh, especially if your skin is sensitive.
1/2 cup oil – again, pretty much any kind goes: olive, almond, sesame, grapeseed, coconut. The smell of olive oil is overpowering to me so I use either grapeseed or sweet almond.
Put the sugar in a bowl and add oil slowly, stirring as you go. You want a consistency you can scoop with your hand so don’t let the texture get too runny. Store in a container with tight fitting lid. You can easily double this recipe if you want to keep it on hand for awhile.
Sugar Scrub Extras
Now the fun part is mixing and matching the ‘extras’ in your homemade sugar scrub recipe. Extras fall into several different categories: additional exfoliants, scents, and beauty-boosters. You can add as many extras as you like, but I recommend going light at first to make sure it doesn’t irritate your skin.
- Ground oats
- Finely ground coffee
- Powdered goat or coconut milk
- Baking soda
- Bentonite clay
- Essential oils
- Citrus peels
- Dried, ground flowers
- Rose water
- Floral hydrosols
- Raw honey
- Citrus peels
- Aloe vera
- Vitamin E
- Avocado oil
For the sugar scrub recipe below, I used lemon zest, which adds a fresh scent along with a dose of vitamin C and alpha hydroxy acids to help lighten skin imperfections and boost collagen production. And vanilla, because, well, it just smells good! You could also add 10 or so drops of vanilla essential oil, if that’s easier.
6 More Sugar Scrub Ideas
Coconut Ginger: Use coconut oil for the base and add grated ginger.
Orange Ginger: Add orange zest and grated ginger for an energy boost.
Cucumber & Melon: Puree cucumber and melon together and add to mixture.
Brown sugar & Warm honey: Replace the oil with 1/4 cup of warm honey. Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil to get the right consistency.
Lavender & Chamomile: Add a few drops of lavender essential oil along with chamomile essential oil for a soothing scrub before bedtime.
Peppermint & Eucalyptus: Add a few drops of both essential oils for a great stress reliever.
Homemade Sugar Scrub FAQ
Do I need to refrigerate leftover scrub?
Yes, any scrub that contains food-based ingredients, like lemon zest or milk powder, should be refrigerated.
Can I use sugar scrub on my face?
It depends on the ingredients. Since facial skin is incredibly sensitive and can tear easily, you should only use fine sugar, like white or castor sugar, and keep other coarse ingredients to a minimum. Here’s a sugar recipe to try on your face.
If I want to give these as a gift, do I need a preservative?
Yes, a good preservative is essential if you want your sugar scrub recipe to last more than a few days. That being said, any scrub that contains food-based ingredients should be used within 2-3 days, even if it contains a preservative.
Where can I get those jars?
They’re little Weck jars, which you can buy here.
Will lemon make your skin burn or sting?
It’s highly acidic, so a little goes a long way. If you have sensitive skin, then cut back to 1 teaspoon lemon zest and adjust accordingly.
Citrus Vanilla Sugar Scrub Recipe
- Small bowl
- Jar or container with a lid
- Add sugar to a small bowl and pour in the oil until you have a crumbly texture that's not too runny to scoop with your hand.
- Add the lemon zest and vanilla extract and stir together.
- Store in a jar or container with a lid.
- Coconut Ginger: Use coconut oil for the base and add grated ginger.
- Orange Ginger: Add orange zest and grated ginger for an energy boost.
- Cucumber & Melon: Puree cucumber and melon together and add to mixture.
- Brown sugar & Warm honey: Replace the oil with 1/4 cup of warm honey. Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil to get the right consistency.
- Lavender & Chamomile: Add a few drops of lavender essential oil along with chamomile essential oil for a soothing scrub before bedtime.
- Peppermint & Eucalyptus: Add a few drops of both essential oils for a great stress reliever.