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Luxurious Sugar Scrub Recipe for Silky Smooth Skin
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FACT: Sugar can be very good for your skin…
Those expensive sugar scrubs you see in department stores and spas… they cost pennies to make! Sugar scrubs are a simple beauty recipe with countless variations, and they can be incredibly moisturizing and exfoliating to the skin.
I use sugar scrubs on my face, body, and (especially) feet to slough off dead skin and moisturize. The result? Silky skin with minimal effort!
If you are new to making your own beauty products (or even if you are a veteran natural beauty alchemist) I highly encourage you to try out these homemade sugar scrub recipes.
Why Use Sugar Scrub?
Taking time out from mom-life to take care of ourselves isn’t always easy, but let’s face it… skin needs TLC to stay healthy. Switching to more natural cosmetics and beauty products may mean leaving some of your favorite products behind.
Not to worry! In my experience a natural skin care regime can work even better (and certainly is better for you). In many ways natural beauty products have simplified my routine since I can mix up what I need with simple ingredients I already have on hand.
Here’s the highlights of my skin care routine these days:
- Dry brush before showering (here’s how to do it)
- Exfoliate and moisturize with a sugar scrub in the shower
- Apply a natural lotion post-shower
- Oil cleanse my face, adding a facial sugar scrub once or twice a week for exfoliation
- Finish with a quality nourishing face serum (this one is my absolute favorite)
I make up for the money I invest in a few high-quality store-bought beauty products by making the rest myself at home. Sugar scrub is so easy and fun to make, it’s one item I’ll never buy.
Sugar scrubs also make a great DIY gift idea! Just put them in a cute mason jar and apply a decorative label or tag. Now you have a pampering and practical gift for an expecting/new mom, or for Christmas gifts or Mother’s Day gifts!
Men get dry skin, too. Make a manly scented version by trying some of the suggested essential oil combinations in this post.
DIY Sugar Scrub Recipe
This is the perfect recipe for beauty DIY beginners. Sugar scrubs take under ten minutes to make and you can have fun customizing them with endless ingredients for your desired outcome.
Sugar Scrub Ingredients
- 1 cup granulated sugar, either white or brown, preferably organic
- ½ cup oil (olive oil and coconut oil work great)
- essential oils of your preference (optional)
- 1 small wide-mouth glass mason jar
How to Make It
- Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container, such as a mason jar.
- Use 1 tablespoon as needed in the shower. Scrub skin with the mixture and rinse will. It will leave your skin feeling like silk. Goodbye dry skin!
Sound simple? It is!
Sugar Scrub Variations
Ready to mix it up? Change your sugar scrub to suit the season. All of these variations use simple ingredients found at most grocery stores.
- Pumpkin Pie Scrub: 1 cup of brown sugar, ½ cup coconut oil, ½ tsp vitamin E oil, and ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice (or just ½ tsp cinnamon)
- Vanilla Brown Sugar Scrub: 1 cup brown sugar, ½ cup almond oil, ½ tsp vitamin E oil and 1 tsp real vanilla extract
- Lemon Sugar Scrub: Great hand scrub for after washing dishes! 1 cup white sugar, ½ cup olive oil, ½ tsp vitamin E oil, 15-20 drops (or more) of lemon or orange essential oil
- Gentle Lavender Sugar Scrub for Face: 1 cup white sugar, ½ cup almond oil, ½ tsp vitamin E oil, ½ tsp real vanilla extract, and 15 drops lavender essential oil. Or make this gentler oatmeal version.
- Vanilla Latte Sugar Scrub: Need I say more? Seriously… make sure you have coffee on hand to make a vanilla latte because it will have you craving the real thing. Find the recipe here.
- Sugar Cookie Lip Scrub: Better than lip balm, in my opinion, since it exfoliates and moisturizes in one step. Here’s the recipe.
- Homemade Foot Scrub with Magnesium: Perfect for pedicure season, this foot scrub is therapeutic as well with the addition of magnesium.
- Cumin Sugar Scrub for Face or Body: Not all sugar scrubs have to smell like dessert. This more exotic scrub is packed with antioxidants for glowing skin.
- Himalayan Salt Scrub: Salt is typically coarser than sugar and slower to dissolve, which makes this salt-based scrub recipe great for heavy-duty exfoliation. (If you have sensitive skin, stick to sugar scrubs.)
- Sugar Scrub Cubes: Make this cute and compact version of sugar scrub in single-use cubes. No mess and you can even make them colored with purifying French rose clay. Here’s how to make them.
- Chai Sugar Scrub: All the scents of your favorite chai latte in a luxurious moisturizing scrub! Here’s the recipe.
How to Store
These last on the counter for up to 2 months (or more). Take care that extra water doesn’t get into the scrub when you use it as it won’t last as long or work as well.
One warning: these smell good enough to eat! Actually, they are good enough to eat, but don’t… sugar is bad for your intestines!
This Ingredient Will Give You The Softest Skin Ever!
Aside from a generous daily application of sunscreen, exfoliation is one of the best gifts you can give to your skin. We’d hazard a guess that you’re probably already using an exfoliating product in your facial skincare routine (even if you don’t realize it)! Retinol, salicylic acid, all those glow tonics, at-home peels, and gentle scrubs all exfoliate your face in some form or another, keeping your complexion bright, radiant, clear, and balanced.
So where do sugar scrubs enter the picture, then? Well, given the large granules, sugar scrubs are best used to exfoliate your body. (The only exception would be if the sugar has been hella-refined to an almost powder consistency, but in general sugar scrubs are reserved for non-face usage.) Today we’re giving you a full rundown on what sugar scrubs are and how they work, plus we’re throwing you some detailed directions for how to use a sugar scrub in your weekly regimen. We’ve also got some product recommendations for you, as well as a DIY sugar scrub recipe.
What Is A Sugar Scrub?
For some extra insight into the topic of sugar scrubs, we hit up our friend Dr. Rita Linkner, a board-certified dermatologist at NYC’s Spring Street Dermatology. “A sugar scrub is a type of mechanical exfoliator that removes dead skin cells from your skin,” she tells us. “They are formulated with sugar granules, which are large and physically exfoliate [your body] for glowing, more radiant skin.”
Source: New Africa/Shutterstock
In addition to sugar granules, sugar scrubs are typically mixed with some type of fruit or nut oil, such as coconut oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil, and jojoba oil. So, while the sugar buffs away dead cells to reveal the fresh and bright skin underneath, the oils help hydrate and nourish. The result is happy, healthy skin that’s ready for a red carpet moment.
If you’re wondering what the difference is between sugar scrubs and salt scrubs, the answer is, well, not a whole lot. Both are similarly exfoliative, though sometimes you can find salt scrubs that are a bit larger and therefore more abrasive if that’s your preference. While salt scrubs tend to sting a bit when used on freshly shaved or waxed skin, they’re believed to have nourishing mineral qualities. In general, though, sugar scrubs tend to be gentler.
Is it OK to Use Sugar Scrubs on Your Face?
Like we mentioned above, sugar scrubs work best when you use them as a body exfoliator.“Some people tend to use sugar scrubs on their face. However, since they are not medical grade, I do not recommend them for facial use. Sugar granules can be large – like on par with sand – and this is very exfoliative, especially to someone with sensitive skin,” says Dr. Linkner.
In other words, if you use a sugar scrub on your face then there’s a solid chance it’ll clap back with angry, red, damaged skin if it has not been specifically formulated for the face. The skin on your body is much thicker and more durable, and therefore benefits from a heartier scrub. Bottom line: save the sugar scrub for your body and use products intended for your face to gently exfoliate your way to pretty, bright skin. For example, we discovered the L’Oreal Smooth Sugars scrubs, and when used very gently, they gently buff the skin without causing damage, read our full review here. However, if you have very sensitive skin, it’s better to avoid altogether, as advised above.
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How To Use Sugar Scrubs On Your Body
Using sugar scrubs is about as straightforward as you’d think. You can apply the scrub either before hopping into the shower or once you’re already in there, and it’s just a matter of grabbing a generous glop in your hands and massaging it into your skin using a circular motion or back and forth strokes. Dr. Linkner says you can focus a little more attention on the rougher parts of your body, which include your elbows, knees, ankles, and the bottoms of your feet. Dead skin tends to accumulate here, so they’re basically begging for some exfoliating action.
If you want, you can apply the sugar scrub to a washcloth or hand mitt and massage it into your skin that way. Whatever method you prefer, the biggest thing to note is that you don’t need to press very hard while exfoliating with your sugar scrub. The light pressure from your hands and the abrasiveness of the sugar are all that’s required for the scrub to do its job.
Once the sugar scrub is applied, you can let it set for a couple minutes so that the oil has time to sink into your skin and amp it up with some moisture and nutrients. After simply rinse the scrub away and you’re good to go. Some people like to follow up with a cleanser if the oil feels too heavy on their skin, but others prefer to let the oil soak in throughout the day for extra moisture. It’s really just a matter of your skin type and preferences. As for how often you should scrub down, Dr. Linkner says, “If you are looking to incorporate a sugar scrub into your routine, use it on your body only once a week.” Make it a ritual, babe.
Pro tip: You can also use sugar scrub the day before getting a spray tan or before applying a faux tanning product at home. Why? The exfoliating action creates an even base for the tanner and therefore reduces the risk of splotches, streaks, and uneven fading.
Our Fave Sugar Scrubs
The beauty market is your sweet oyster when it comes to sugar scrubs. Dr. Linkner says one of her faves is Fresh’s Brown Sugar Body Polish Exfoliator, $39. “It uses real brown sugar crystals mixed with a combination of rich oils to exfoliate the skin. It smells divine, too,” she tells us. Those oils include primrose, sweet almond, apricot kernel, and jojoba, which work together to make your skin silky soft. The brand also threw in some ginseng root and peppermint extract to soothe, nourish, and invigorate.
Source: Tree Hut
To conjure visions of the beach, try Tree Hut’s Coco Colada Shea Sugar Scrub, $8. This wallet-friendly sugar scrub is made with sugar, coconut oil, pineapple fruit extract, sweet almond oil, orange oil, and shea butter for a proper summer-inspired party on your skin. It also contains glycerin, which means it’ll lather and rinse away nicely.
If you’re feeling particularly extra there’s no way you could go wrong with Frank Body’s Shimmer Scrub, $22, which is made with holographic mica for the perfect bath time selfie opp. In addition to using sugar to exfoliate, it also uses salt and coffee seed powder. The oils at work are grape seed and soybean, and a little carrot root extract and vitamin E are added to further nourish.
Source: The Body Shop
The Body Shop also makes a handful of kickass sugar scrubs, including their Shea Exfoliating Sugar Body Scrub, $24, which puts super hydrating shea butter in the spotlight; their Mango Exfoliating Sugar Body Scrub, $20, which smells absolutely divine; and their Spa of the World™ French Grape Seed Scrub, $32, a luxe scrub that combines French grapeseed powder and organic sugar from Paraguay with nourishing Brazil nut oil and grapeseed oil.
How to Make a Sugar Scrub at Home
Wanna whip up your own batch of DIY sugar scrub? Simply combine three parts sugar – we’re partial to brown sugar since it tends to be less abrasive, but white works, too – along with one part of whatever oil you’ve got on hand. Olive, avocado, sunflower, grapeseed, and jojoba are all great choices. To make your DIY sugar scrub even more personalized, add a few drops of your chosen essential oil.