Nourishing Homemade Sugar Scrub

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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.

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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’d never tried a scrub until I was at an antique car show where a woman was selling beauty products and offering free 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).

I wondered what the big deal was.

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.

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.

Ingredients In 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 as scary of a 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

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 and I loved it–and realized that I just had to learn how to make these myself.

How Much Can You Save Making DIY Sugar Scrubs?

Here’s an outline of the money savings, based on prices at the time this post was originally published:

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 container because you can reuse it unless it’s for a gift.)

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 cheaper than having a scrub done in a spa.

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.

homemade sugar scrub in mason jar in gray blue tray.

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 even included it in my Easy Mother’s Day Gifts roundup along with other great ideas for Mom.

Don’t Feel Like DIYing?

I’m all for saving money, but I’m also fine splurging sometimes, and this scrub is simply the best I’ve found so far.

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 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. Hello. Thank you for posting this! I love making homemade gifts and I’m dying to make a spa gift basket for the woman in my family. I did have a question about the oils you can use, I hope you wouldn’t mind answering. I noticed that you can buy oils specifically as carriers for the essential oils. Such as grapeseed, coconut, olive, almond, etc. I have also seen in the stores that they have all the same oils in the baking department. They are for cooking though. Can those be used as well? Or do they need to be specifically for the skin? I see people use some of the coconut oils they find where the baking oils are and it confuses me. Like olive oil for instance. Thank you so very much!

    1. They can for sure be used. I think it’s best to use things on your skin that are edible b/c so many things pass through the skin direct to the blood.

  2. The ingredients in many skin and hair care products are absolutely disgusting and come from petrochemicals, which are the cheapest of the cheap ingredients you can find. That is why they use them. They can make products for pennies on the dollar and charge a king’s ransom to the ignorant (of which there are many)

    One day I was in a Bath And Body Works store because I was curious about their products since they are so popular. When I looked on the underside label of one of their facial scrub containers, or whatever it was, I noticed the ingredient was hidden and covered with another label that had some nonsense quote or something else written on it. Needless to say, the ingredient of this overpriced $12 facial scrub were similar to the ingredients listed for the product in this article — Yucky petrochemical, endocrine disrupting nonsense. They’re a big time scam.

    Based on their packaging alone, they obviously don’t want people to be educated and know what they are putting on their face or skin

    Much of this stuff can be made from wholesome, healthy simple ingredients you can whip up at home. And even if you are using expensive essential oils, often times it’s still cheaper than what you will find in many stores because the ingredients are natural and healthier and don’t require as much for efficacy.

  3. I was curious how long the sugar scrub lasts? Do you need to store in a special way? I am making a batch of 50 for my sisters baby shower favors and I want to let the guests know how long the sugar scrub stays good for.

    Any help would be awesome.
    Thank You,
    Kellie

    1. I’m sorry but I can’t make shelf life claims b/c of the difference in cleanliness and storing. I would think use the oil that you use as a base for how long it will keep. I keep mine in the fridge – thanks!

  4. Love this gift idea! So I linked it up in my Homemade Gifts-in-a-Jar guest post over at Keeper of the Home! Hope it brings some new friends your way! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you! 🙂 Kelly

  5. I made this with coconut oil and essential orange oil. I like to look at this website even though I’m 11 and the name is whole new mom.

    1. HI I’m 12. I love looking at mom blogs lol. I like this one and mommyshorts. I even follow mom Instagram accounts?

  6. This is an amazing recipe, and definitely one that I’m sure my mother-in-law will love this mother’s day. Thanks SO much for sharing!

  7. When i made sugar scrub, i made a mint one, and i got an organic mint tea and crushed it and stirred it into the sugar scrub, we tried it with earl grey tea, crushed vanilla and coffee beans, etc. It makes a nice twist on it 🙂

  8. Thanks for this info about making a scrub. I am trying to recreate a lemon-ginseng scrub that I get from a retailer. I am trying to find out what form of ginseng to use. The only essential oils that I can find are made in China- I don’t know how safe they are.

    Do you know if ginseng extract would work well? I question if it would mix with the oil, or separate like water. I am also considering a powdered form.

    Thanks for any tips!

    1. How interesting. I wonder why ginseng oil isn’t available. Maybe there’s a good reason? Was there EO in the product you’re trying to replicate?

      1. In the store-bought scrub they use ginseng extract, but there are about 30 other ingredients too, so I wasn’t sure how a simple combo of oil, extract, and sugar would work. I just thought it couldn’t hurt to ask 🙂

        1. I asked the oils company that I am working with and he said he’d check into it. I would think it should work- let me know!

  9. I am making some for my mother, and it has turned really runny and I tried some on my hands and I know have red spots all on my hands!! Is there something wrong with using vegetable oil?? Can I still give it to my mum?

    1. Mine wasn’t runny. Not sure why that should happen. I don’t like using vegetable oil because it isn’t a good quality typically but that is my opinion. Maybe you have the red spots for some other reason? Of course if you are concerned you need to use your own judgement. Maybe try making a smaller amount w a higher quality oil? or I would try putting some veg oil on your hands for a bit and see if you get the red spots. That way, if you do it w/ each ingredient, you will figure out what is causing the spots.

      1. Thank you for your reply, The red spots was nothing to do with it in the end. but mine has separated is that normal? should I take out some of the excess oil?

        1. I just mix mine up and use it. If you store it in the fridge it won’t separate. Plus it lasts a lot longer that way :). It’s no fun using rancid scrub on your skin :(.

      1. What size mason jar does this recipe fill? Using your measurements above does this fill a half pint? pint?

        I’m making as a gift and want to make sure I scale the recipe correctly. Thank you!

        1. I’m so sorry for not responding and being late…I’ve been swamped. I think just look at the ingredients to determine. Did you try it?

  10. Hi,
    Has anyone found out or asked a Dr. about the Sugar absorbing in the skin. For those of us who have to avoid sugar for health issues?
    Thanks!

      1. I know this is an older post but if sugar is an issue for anyone salt can be used in place of sugar. Just don’t use it on open cuts because it will sting. You can also purchase fine ground pumice online that is inexpensive, jojoba beads would work also but they are more expensive.

  11. I’ve had the same problem . keep a small container of baking soda in your
    shower and just sprinkle some around the shower floor. This doubles as a
    scrub for your feet and a slippery floor remover.

  12. sorry if this has been asked but I don’t always have time to read every comment. years ago I tried a sugar scrub and loved how it made my skin feel. The problem was my bath tub got really slippery. Kind of scared me cause I almost fell. Has this been a problem for anyone else and how did you deal with it?

  13. I know you said glass container and the first thing that came to mind was a mason jar but the no metal got me. Aren’t the lids of mason jars metal? Thanks for posting this though! I’m thinking of making some for my sister!

    1. Yes, this is a hard thing to think about. I am not too worried since the metal is just touching part of the mixture. But perhaps someone else could advise better. You can also buy plastic lids for mason jars if need be.

  14. Adrienne! I’ve been dabbling in making scrubs for Christmas gifts and I had a question: Does all olive oil have a strong smell? I’d really like to use olive oil but I wondered if there’s a certain type that would be less potent so the scrub wouldn’t smell just of olive oil. I made a tester today with extra virgin olive oil and added vanilla, but it didn’t smell of vanilla at all! Help? Suggestions?

    1. mmm…Not sure. Maybe add more vanilla? It’s not as strong as the essential oils. Regular olive oil won’t smell as strong. Let me know 🙂

  15. I have an extremely dry skin and was very eagerly searching for something which would really make my skin soft, smooth, remove tans, and at the same time be natural and harshless.

    Very excited to prepare this in the coming weekend. Could you please tell me if I can avoid the essential oil part and just make the scrub out of sugar and olive oil. And for how many days can I store it and in what temperatures.

    Good wishes, 🙂
    Pratichi

    1. Hi. Of course you can omit the oils. I just keep it in the fridge – you basically have to store it like olive oil. Once the oil is rancid you won’t want to use it. Hope you enjoy it!

  16. What is the shelf life of this scrub? Also, can u reccommend where to find the jars that u used? Will the metal lid change the properties in the scrub? Thanks!