Nourishing Homemade Sugar Scrub

This Nourishing Homemade Sugar Scrub is the perfect addition to your natural beauty routine. So easy to make, extra nourishing for your skin, you'll love it and you'll love the savings over store-bought scrubs.

Homemade Sugar Scrub in glass jar with small wooden spatula

Today I'm sharing one of my favorite DIY personal care products of all time--a Homemade Sugar Scrub. Unlike most store-bought scrubs, it has no chemical additives and it of course will save you lots of money over store-bought scrubs.

In order to keep as many toxins out of our homes and off of our bodies, I try to make as many homemade personal care items as possible.

Today I've got a great new DIY beauty care recipe to share with you--a Homemade Sugar Scrub.

My First Sugar Scrub

If you're anything like me, dry hands and feet (and dry skin in general) is a problem for you.

I never tried anything a scrub until I was at an antique car show where a woman was selling beauty products and offering free hand scrub demonstrations.

Hesitatingly, I tried the scrub, feeling skeptical (I'm pretty skeptical about a lot of things....see my post on Are Essential Oils a Scam? ~ A Skeptic Looks at Thieves Oil for an example of my skepticism).

I wondered how this could be so amazing.

Well, I tried it and really loved how my hands felt and looked after rubbing that scrub all over my hands and rinsing it off.  Smooth and revitalized and younger-looking.

However, I didn't like the price or the ingredients.

Totally not healthy.

I looked online to verify what the "incriminating ingredients" were, and though the exact product I tried isn't there any longer, get a look at the list on one of their comparable products:

Ingredients in Store Bought Sugar Scrub

  • butylene glycol
  • sodium methyl cocoyl taurate
  • polyacrylamide
  • C13-14 Isoparaffin
  • Laureth-7
  • Fragrance (who knows what's really in that, but it almost always means artificial fragrance :-?)
  • DMDM Hydantoin
  • Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate

Sheesh.

And the price was $16.00 (marked down from $18.00) for only 6 oz.

Other Less-Toxic Scrubs

To be fair, there are other less toxic scrubs on the market, but I couldn't find ingredients for many of them online.

Here are the ingredients for one that doesn't have quite the scary list:

Glycerin
Sugar
Silica
Fragrance - I've written about "fragrance" in personal care products here - too many concerns to use on my body.
Polysorbate 20
Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Wax
Sea Salt
Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil
Yellow 6 (CI 15985)
Yellow 5 (CI 19140) - these are both artificial colors that have been linked to different concerns

The above scrub costs $12 for 8 oz.

There had to be a cheaper and less toxic way to get the job done!

Fast forward several years.

One day, a sweet friend from church blessed me with a handmade sugar scrub.

I loved it!

First of all, I loved someone who would go out of her way to make me a gift that was special in and of itself.

But her beautiful presentation in that squat mason jar with a beautiful ribbon made it extra special!

So, true to my "I know I can make this myself" style, I started on my hunt to avoid the toxins and the exorbitant price of the store-bought scrubs.

And I did it.

How much will you save?

Here's a sampling of what you might expect to pay (based on prices at the time of publication of this post):

Granulated sugar is $2.68 for 5 lb at Aldi (that's $.54/lb)

Grapeseed oil is $6.75/ltr at the buying club I run out of my home.

My Cost:

Sugar: $.27

Grapeseed Oil: $1.59

Essential Oils: approximately $.14, depending on the oil chosen

(I didn't include the mason jar because you can reuse it unless it's for a gift.)

So, compared to the retail price of the "packaged version" at $18 for 6 oz., you can make a homemade sugar scrub for only $2.00!

No questionable ingredients. No wasteful packaging.

AND much much much less than paying to have someone in a spa scrub your feet and hands.

collage of homemade sugar scrub in a jar

What Oil Is Best to Use in a Sugar Scrub?

Really you can use any oil you like, but I personally like using cold pressed, organic oils for their nourishing properties. Olive oil is especially moisturizing and can possibly help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and stretch marks. Friends of mine have touted their family's use of olive oil for ages for this reason.

This Cold Pressed Organic Olive Oil is a good option for this purpose.

What Essential Oils Are Best for a Sugar Scrub?

You can really use any essential oil or blend that you like. You can even do fun combinations like those in this list of Christmas Essential Oil Blends for creative gifting options.

Sugar scrub with a popsicle stick in a small glass jar placed on top of a white cloth

Homemade Sugar Scrub

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Makes: 1.5 cups

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
  • Stir to combine.
  • Store in a glass container (essential oils will damage the plastic and metals change the properties of the oils).

Notes

1.  You can, of course, use other granulated sweeteners.  I just chose white sugar since I am not eating it and it's the least expensive.
2.  Any oil will work, but some oils have a stronger smell.  Choosing a good quality oil is important since some of it will remain on your skin.
3.  For essentials oils, there are so many wonderful scents and healing properties to choose from! Lavender, citrus (grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange), lemongrass, peppermint, ginger.....  I would for sure choose a high quality essential oil, though it will cost more, since you are leaving this on your skin as well.  Please check out my series on Which Essential Oils Company is Best?
 

To Use

1.  Take a small amount of the scrub with a small spoon.
2.  Rub all over your hands and fingertips (or feet, or wherever you'd like extra softness) for about 1 minute.
3.  Let sit on your hands for 3-4 minutes (enjoy this time to rest in your day :-)!)
4.  Rinse off and pat dry with a towel.
Tried this recipe?Mention @wholenewmom or tag #wholenewmom!

More Frugal DIY Body Care Recipes

If you're interested in more DIY personal care options, these might be of interest.

This homemade sugar scrub makes a fabulous gift!

I've included it in my Easy Mother's Day Gifts roundup.  I think you'll love what I've pulled together from all over the internet.

Don't Feel Like DIYing?

I'm all for saving money, but I'm also fine splurging sometimes. And well, I think I just might have found the perfect store-bought scrub for you (and me) to indulge in for those times when you don't feel like DIYing it.

It's Beautycounter's Lemongrass Body Polish.

One of my fellow BC consultants says it's the best one out there (and she's a self described scrub junkie)--she thinks due to the perfect ratio of scrub to oil. And I would agree.

The scent is also amazing. I sincerely can't stop smelling it and truly would like to reverse engineer it if I can.

Try it. You'll love it.

Have you ever used sugar scrubs?

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137 Comments

  1. Just my own personal experience using the sugar scrub on my feet...sitting on edge of tub it’s a good idea to rest your feet on a washcloth in bottom of tub. The first time I did it without? You’d have thought I came up with a new dance!! It is wonderful though!

  2. how long can we store this ? and should we store it in a fridge ? is there anything else that i need to keep in mind?

    1. The shelf life of the oil will determine the shelf life of the scrub, but you could get some extra shelf life time as well.

      1. how about shea butter added to the coconut oil and sugar. That would make it nice and creamy, do you think? I just dont like it so crumbly.

    1. Add beeswax to your oils. I use a wide variety of oils such as coconut, sweet almond, apricot, grapeseed..ect. I use a double boiler and melt all the oils and beeswax together. Then mix with your choice of exfoliat such as sugar or various types of salt. Research the different carrier oils to suit your needs.

  3. I am new to your blog Adrienne. I am intrigued by all the vast information you have compiled on essential oils. I am very new to the oil world, you could say just barley have my feet wet. I am with Young Living, however I signed up with no investigation of my own. I did not even think about many of the points you brought up in your series. So I kindly thank you for helping me jump start my thought process on things I need to be asking myself before I continue to buy old from Young Living or decide to make a switch to a new supplier.
    I do have a few questions for you if you could help, with your personal thoughts. Or experiences if you have has any... I was wondering if you have ever used a oil nebulizer the waterless and no heat machines. My other question is about oils and ingestion. I know young living has a select line of oils that are marked for consumption. But I was wondering if other pure, organic, and therapeutic oils can be ingested too. Either way how does a person tell which is safe to ingest or not. Does a oil company that meets the 10 criteria you talked about in your post about what to look for in an oil company help reassure the safety to ingest their oils? Then the last thing I have question / concern about is that I was told and read somewhere that it can be dangerous to mix some oils together? Is this true. What references would you recommend for a beginner like me. I am interested in oils for my family's health, diffusing, cleaning, skincare, diy
    Oh and not to forget:
    I made a Sugar Scrub it turned out so super wonderful..
    When I first started making sugar scrubs they all seemed super oily to me, especially after it sat for a few days. It seemed like all the oils came to the top. So I began to play with it a little. That is when I came up with a very thick and creamy whipped like version of sugar scrub. It is oh so very scrumptious.
    Kara's Scrumptious Sugar Scrub
    1/2 cup raw sugar (any sugar works)
    1/2 cup baking soda
    1 teaspoon vitamin E oil
    1/4 cup sunflower oil (or olive oil, grapeseed oil, etc...your choice really)
    1/4 cup coconut oil SOLID FORM
    15+/- Essential Oils of your choice (optional )
    Mix all together. You will get a whipped like consistency. You may add more or less of ingredients as you see fit. It seemed to make two 8oz. wide mouth jelly jars for me that were very full, with a little leftover.
    *My two favorite oils to use are Sunflower oil and Grapeseed oil as they both have very low oder unike olive oil. Plus I learned sunflower oil also has a comedogenic rating of 2, and grape seed is also rated as a 2. So that is another plus to use these two oils. I did however notice that coconut oil has a rating of 4, which is not too hot if you are going to use this as a body scrub.. So i would suggest looking at changing coconut oil to maybe Shea Butter which has a rating of 0 scale for comedogenic ratings is as follows: 0- won't clog your pores, 1- Low, 2- Moderately Low, 3- Moderate, 4- Fairly High, and 5- High...
    Just thought I would share what I have made so far and love.

    1. Hi there!

      Sorry for the delay in responding. Things have been busy and I've been under the weather. So here are my responses:

      1. Do you men a diffuser that doesn't use water?

      2. The issue w/ ingesting is safety and purity. I personally don't recommend it unless someone is under the care of a practitioner or aromatherapist. I will be writing more about that soon.

      If the oils are pure that is what you should be concerned about otherwise.

      3. As for mixing oils, there are no concerns about that that I am aware of. Some don't go well together as far as scent, however. Can you tell me where you heard that?

      Love the recipe - I woud just make sure to get the scrub off completely as that much baking soda can be problematic for skin. I hope to write on that soon as well.

      Thanks for sharing!

  4. You know, I've tried sugar scrubs, using extra fine granulated sugar and for some reason I just don't like the texture against my skin. Is it possible to use confectioners sugar with just a touch of granulated sugar added and make it more like a frosting texture - whipped with hard oils and beeswax, soy wax, shea, and the like?

    1. I don't think that confectioners will scrub at all but the small amount of granulated will still scrub your skin. Is it the sugar or the texture? Have you tried other scrubs that you like?

    1. Hi there. Thanks for the question - I just put a link in the post to the closest thing I could find. Hope that helps!

    1. Sometimes the oil separates. Mine is very thick and I keep it in the fridge but I have seen scrubs where it separates. Just stir and use.

  5. Your missing the big point, your comparison to a $2.00 cost to make can't be compared to someone who sales it for $18.00. For one thing, you are not making it for resell so there for you can compare the price. In the other hand, the person selling it for $18.00 is running a business with overhead cost not to mentioned their time, it is why they can justify their cost of $18.00.

    1. Hello "Mr. Wonderful". No, I don't think I am missing the big point. The point was that it is cheaper to make something yourself, typically. Of course you don't get the convenience of buying from someone else. It's a trade off of money for time. I hope that clarifies.

  6. Sounds like a really good recipe. Do you think I could use coconut oil, almond oil, or olive oil in place of the jojoba oil? Thanks!

    1. Yes, you could. Enjoy! Coconut will be thicker in cooler weather and will be solid in the fridge.