Sugar may not be good for your insides, but a sugar scrub can be very good for your skin. Those expensive scrubs 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 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 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.
These 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
- 1 cup granulated sugar (white or brown)
- ½ cup olive oil (or coconut oil)
- essential oils (optional)
- Combine all the ingredients and stir to combine.
- Store in an airtight container, such as a wide-mouth mason jar.
In the shower, scrub your skin with 1 tablespoon of the mixture and rinse well. 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.
- Mint Chocolate Lip Scrub: I also recently came up with this flavor that will leave you with deliciously smooth lips. Get the recipe here.
- 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 a 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.
- Gingerbread Body Scrub: My favorite recipe to give at Christmas. Get the recipe here.
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 article was medically reviewed by Madiha Saeed, MD, a board certified family physician. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.
Ever made your own sugar scrub or facial products? What is your favorite combination? Let me know below!
Discussion (475 Comments)
What is a benefit from using sugar vs. coffee or salt?
Texture, sugar is usually softer on your face than salts, and any other grounds because it is much smaller (especially brown. White sugar is a little closer to a salt feeling) If you are using the scrub everyday on your face you’ll probably want a soft exfoliant because the harder ones take off more skin and can do camage over time. But for your body any of the above will work perfectlt. It all depends on what scents you favor.
I was just reading your post about after u have showers u get itchy? Do u find that the sugar scrubs helps with that? I have the same thing and it don’t matter how much lotion u use it don’t help much at all
Great ideas – thank you! 🙂
Just made this with lavender oil, my face feels amazing, lovely and soft.
I made my one with sugar, cinnamon, coffee grinds and olive oil. Just fantastic! My skin feels so soft and not dry at all. Normally my skin will get dry and itchy after a shower even if I do lather myself in lotion. Gives me ideas .. I bet this could be turned into awesome Birthday and Christmas gifts for my friends and family.
How many parts of each are you using in this recipe? I am hoping to make it ASAP-it sounds great!!! Thanks…
What brand of Vit E and Almond Oil do you use? Hard to trust brands on amazon.
Staci 'Grainne' Corcoran
NOW foods brand makes great quality products, you can get it on Amazon.
I am a doTERRA wellness advocate but buy mostly for personal use. If i need oil and cant buy it quick enough I use NOW brand from our health food store and I love it!
What kind of olive oil do I need for the face scrub??
What an easy way to get scrubbed, and cheap too. Very good idea. Thanks.
I use coffee grounds to make my scrubs… wakes me up in the morning too 🙂
At least something can wake you up (coffee grounds)
Used or fresh grounds?
I use used grounds. What’s important is the coarseness of coffee but not substitute coffee with sand or things like that. Coffee, like sugar is skin friendly. The aroma of the coffee is a bonus which gives the skin its fresh scent.
how do you keep the coffee grounds and rest of ingredients from going moldy?
Is it possible to store the scrub? Or use it immediately?
In a covered container or Ziploc, then store in the fridge. This will keep for weeks. Saving your daily coffee grounds will be too much, tough, if you do this.
So do you just use the coffee ground in the place of the sugar in the amount stated in the recipe above?
You can add citric acid to any product to maintain shelf life. Your grocery store may even cover it. There are also certain essential oils that maintain freshness as well. 🙂
This is what I’m wondering; I made some sugar scrub a few weeks ago, and it smells gross now! I used coconut oil that was food-grade; maybe that was my mistake? I want to know before I go making a bunch for Christmas gifts!
Have you figured anything out Barb? How to make it last longer? I was planning on making some this weekend as Christmas gifts, but haven’t ever done it before. I would hate to give a gift that goes bad quickly. Thanks!
Use Almond oil from GNC or Olive Oil, organic sugar and essential oils. Put sugar on jar then enough oil to saturate sugar and have a little extra in jar. Then add EOs I like Spearmint and Lemon EO myself but you can use any smell you like You can get EO at about any health food store. You can use 4 oz canning jars. I would not use any butters or hard oils on scrubs because they can clog drains. Never put anything that can spoil in any of my products. Never put water in scrubs or it is going to end up with mold in it or worse.
I just made and used this body scrub and my skin feels and looks fantastic! No more scaly legs..whoo hoo!
I bet the coffee scrub is refreshing in the mornings. Would you mind sharing your recipe?
Which one would your recommend for dry skin?
I’m going to make one with natural raw sugar, chamomile extract from tea, coconut oil, ground oatmeal, honey, and vanilla.
You are going to put water in your scrub??? That is asking for bacteria and mold to grow. If you want camomile then use the EO which has no water in it. I only make enough scrub to use once to keep water out of it from sink or shower.
I made sugar scrubs for my female friends for Christmas last year (2010). I found the cutest Christmas tree jars and made peppermint scrub…they came out so cute!
Can I have your recipe for the peppermint??(:
A cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of oil (coconut,grapeseed,sweet almond etc), about 10 drops of peppermint essential oil. =-)
Dous it remove pimples
Does anyone know a good thing to get rid of pimples I am really struggling in that area. And I need some help. It’s not that bad, but it would be good to know what helps get rid of pimples.
I am just starting make sugar scrubs for dry skin where do you get the different oils to put in them. Like the Vietnam e oils and the differnce fragrance. Is there any certain ones good for different things. Any advice would be awesome.
I have bought Vitamin E on Amazon but they also sell it at Trader Joe’s
You only should use T-50 vitamin E oil. It is a all natural plant based product. The kind you find in most health food stores is the same kind that is in capsules. The kind found in health food stores is not natural and is an irritant to the skin.
I make these with sea salt and they dont leave your tub sticky if you miss the rinsing =)
looking for s place to comment, hope this is correct.
I made the basic sugar scrub 1/2 white sugar 1/4 olive oil and I put about 30-40 drops of Rose absolute essential oil in it and I can barely even smell it. It’s made by “now” I got it at my local health/ nutrition store for $12.00. Is it the brand and that’s why I can’t smell it much. Also is it safe to add that much assential oil. What would be the max drops to use? Thank you in advance 🙂
There is no true rose Essential oil. Rose absolute is made from roses. It is very very expensive. What you bought was probably a jojoba oil with a super tiny amount of rose absolute in it. So little in fact you could add the whole bottle and essentially only be adding a half a drop of rose absolute to your mix. Use something like lavender essential oil. It’s very strong and is sold not diluted.
There is a true Rose Essential Oil. It can be purchased through YoungLiving.com. All of their oils are pure, therapeutice-grade oils.
Is it supposed to have a lot of oil because mine is super oily? And when i use it on my feet or hands the sugar comes off fast and all i can feel is the oil.
And cost way too much! Young Living is a MLM company – typically more expensive. I have found other therapeutic grade essential oils – just as good and MUCH cheaper than Young Living.
Young living and doterra carry it. It’s very expensive but worth the cost.
I have this Rose oil and allI need is a few drops for my scrub.
Actually there is a rise essebtial oil. A couple variations in species and they are very expensive but are different from absolutes in they are not solvent extracted. I have Hopewell Essebtial Oils Rose Otto (Rosa damascene) and is steam distilled from the flowers. I have the 5ml bottle which cost me approximately $65.00
ok thx it was awesome im going to try it
Now is a terrible brand. YOUNG LIVING is super expensive. Try plant therapy. Also perfectly pure, great oils, without the multi level marketing price.
WHY IS NOW A TERRIBLE BRAND? I like Rocky Mountain EOs I have gotten good EOs from wholesalers. I have some Planet Therapy EOs it is ok but not the best either. I have bought good EOs from a soap shop here to.
Frankly I do not like to put EO in my face scrubs. I have been making therapeutic body butters for some time now and use very little in that either. Most people are very happy I put only a few drops of Lemon EO in it because many people have issues with different EOs on their skin.
What exactly are you using for the fragrances in the body butters. My skin doesn’t do well with all EO’s but I still would like to make my own and have some type of scent to it without sacrificing my skin. 🙁
I put no fragrance at all there is no need to.
I am also wondering why NOW is a terrible EO brand? I bought peppermint, frankincense and lavender from a local health food store for lotion bars and they turned out amazing, especially for my first time making them.
After doing a bit of research, NOW was probably one of the better brands for its price point. I think that doTerra and YL are terribly overpriced when you can get the same quality for much less from other vendors.
was wondering the same thing about NOW. I have purchased a few different brands and it seems good to me.
The reason those brand of EOs are “over priced” is because they are indeed a higher quality of EOs. Those brands of EOs are used to not only scent homemade and natural products but also for all natural health care and are produced and tested at higher standards than any of the other EOs out there. Quality assurance is essential when you are using EOs for therapeutic and health care benefits so you will pay more to ensure quality and purity of those products. Other brands of EOs can use the same sourcing methods. A lot of EO companies only produce EOs for scent or aromatherapy purposes and can include fillers or synthetics which are not required to be disclosed on the labels.
One thing you have to remember YL and the other expensive EOs you buy through a rep that sells them is you are paying for the middle man (the rep that sells to you). They need to make money to. So if you buy these products at wholesale they are not as expensive. Frankly I like Rocky Mountain Oils. It was started by the brother of Gary Young. They both started YL and split.
I’ve done some research and turns out YL and doTerra actually and in reality are not much better than EOs that can be purchased from other vendors at a much lower price point. Thank you for your input though.
I use New Directions eo. They come in bulk with a minimum order of 100.00. I make soap to sell and use so I don’t mind the bulk order policy. Plus its easy to spend that much on eo! We have used this brand for years therapeutically, topically, universally.. I haven’t had a bad experience with this brand, and they have so many varieties its incredible. If you really want to explore scents in eo then this is the best I have found. I made my daughter “hay ” scented lotion! As far as price goes its about a 1/3 or even less than more expensive brands.
I buy many of the NOW products and have also found that they are a good quality for the price one pays. Their essential oils are fine for cosmetic purposes. BUT if you want a Pure, therapeutic, organic, & extremely high quality essential oil … in my opinion…. there is non better than Young Living. I have used them for almost 20 years and have not found a better quality product. Not because I have not tried!! But I continue to use Young Living when I need a therapeutic quality oil.
NOW is not 100% pure nor does it have to be to have that put on their label.
Unless it is organic, I would not use Now brand. Also distillation processes differ and affect the quality of the oil.
After researching, I found Rocky Mountain to be a good choice of eos.
I happen to like NOW glycerine oil. It was a bit pricey but worth it. I tried olive oil, baby oil, mineral oil and even canola oil. My favorite.is the glycerin. Tho I’m new at this and maybe used to much olive oil because it weighed down my brown sugar scrub and it was hard and felt very oily.. I do like baby oil with vit. E. It smells great so because of the high price of “Now” glycerine, I’ll probably use the baby oil. I’m new to this but had much fun making the brown sugar, honey, orange zest, white sugar with peppermint oil and a drop of food coloring and glycerine was a hit at Christmas gifts. I played with all the colors.Brown sugar and coffee with honey, vanilla extract and glycerine tho would be my favorite because I could use it all over and got compliments on my skin, especially my face. Thanks for the receipes. I’m a big fan of homemade body scrubs and have gotten my family using them too! Ive just got to find more essential oils. Thanks for all the advice and tips everyone. 🙂
Baby oil is mineral oil and is really not that great for human skin. It is used to clean hardwood floors after sanding and you would be much better off using Almond, apricot, or Avocado oil. Frankly I would not put lemon juice in anything I am not keeping in the fridge, and if it is in the fridge I would not keep it for more than 5 days. I use Lemon EO. I put just enough oil to cover sugar after stirring it in. I prefer organic sugar over brown sugar. Brown sugar is white sugar had molasses in it . IfI make it with brown sugar for my lips I just put enough oil in to wet the sugar.
Baby oil, sadly, is a petroleum product and NOT good for your skin. The same goes for mineral oil, Vaseline and a host of other skin softener so. Check the labels of the skin products you use and toss them out if they contain mineral oil. Your skin is the largest organ in your body and is so susceptible to toxins. You wouldn’t dream of slathering it with motor oil! Use natural products instead. ??
Glycerin is not an oil. it is a water soluble product used as a humectant in cosmetics. Baby oil is not a good choice for a sugar scrub. Avocado is a good choice, not to heavy. Use caution using some citrus essential oils on the skin add they can cause sun sensitivity. NOW essential oils are perfectly fine. And there is no such thing as therapeutic grade. You need only be concerned if you are using them for aroma therapy in which case you would want organic oils. Do Terra nor Young Living are organic.
Plant Therapy is a great source for high quality oils. Fast shipping, too.
So is Rocky Mountain Oils; I highly recommend it. The cost is very reasonable (As reasonable as it can be for 100% pure Essential Oils), and they work super well!
I just made some of this today and used it. Just plain Jane olive oil + sugar + lemon juice + lavander. It’s super fantastic. Made my legs super smooth and soft. Patted dry and let the oil absorb into my legs when I was done. Best thing is, it’s super cheap to make ! Thank you Wellnes Mama !
Young livings rose oil is 160$ a bottle (not diluted, 100%) if that gives you an idea of the concentration/dilution of the brand you bought.
Rose Absolute is NOT EO!!! As for YL they are good EOs but others have just as good. There is NO standard for EOs. So if they say it is theraputic grade there is no testing for that. An FYI, read the ingredients before buying. Blends often times have carrier oil in them. That is true for YL and every other company that makes EOs.
“NOW is not 100% pure nor does it have to be to have that put on their label.”
1. Yes, it is pure.
2. No, YL and DT oils are not better than others just because they’re more expensive. I know their salespeople are not comfortable hearing that, but it’s true. The mere fact that they ask their representatives to market them as “ingestible” makes me not trust a thing either company puts out there. There is no “safe” amount of ingestible essential oil, nor is there any science to prove that ingesting it can improve any health condition. They have taken a product that has existed for years – essential oil – and made it into a MLM scam.
3. There is no such thing as a measurement for “therapeutic grade” EOs. It’s a marketing term. There is no governing body that oversees this.
You go girl! You are spot on! These are my thoughts exactly!
Honestly everyone has there different links on companies. For me, I am not going to buy YL or DT on essential oil. I can find better quality or good quality cheaper then YL and DT. I don’t have the luxuries of spending 45 dollars on EO when I can get it elsewhere. Now is good and they are 100%. I also buy BioFinest which these two two companies make good essential oil and the price is good so I agree with Michelle.
Michelle speaks the truth! Some people have been brainwashed.
Are these scrubs safe to put on your face?
Yep, totally. I use a sugar scrub on my face almost every day, and never have to bother with moisturizing lotion anymore. My skin is no longer dry and chapped, just soft and smooth (above my beard at least) and my girlfriend loves it.
No no no please do NOT use a sugar scrub on your face! The skin on your face is VERY delicate and sugar granules can cause microtears in the skin–which can aggravate acne, cause breakouts and premature aging.
I agree Sam. I wonder what can be used instead? I know that the Simple (brand name) face scrub uses a special rice combination that is great for even sensitive skin.
klairdelys on YouTube has a nice rice facial scrub tutorial. I haven’t tried it myself, though. Don’t have the thing she uses to grind up the rice or access to pre-ground rice.
To Sam and Dawn I use a scrub that is gentle for the face and still good enough for the body. Its made with Ground oats. You just grind the dry oatmeal to make it fine so it doesn’t glog the drain. Recipe is this…
1 1/2 cups regular oatmeal ground with blender or food processor.
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
2 Tablespoons Honey
After grinding the oats, pour into bowl. Add rest of ingredients. If you want more honey add more!
Safe to use on face and body.a gentle but effective exfoliant
look for lemon and honey scrubs/remedies.
I use a borax, baking soda and essential oil mixture about 2 or 3 times a week. My skin is healthier, softer and smoorher than it has ever been in my life. It honestly looks 15 years younger and people who haven’t seen me in a while are amazed.
i use a face scrub of honey and cinnamon, i read it somewhere it takes away black dots on the face.
in the beginning it aches but then a i just eat the honey instead,
that drips down my face.
I’m confused because I just wrote down the Vanilla Lavender Facial Scrub which white sugar is part of the ingredients………..
I’ve been using a sugar scrub on my face for about a year now. This is the best my face has looked and has been the healthiest its been. I’ve been getting lots of compliments about it as well. I guess it all depends on your skin. I imagine if you have sensitive skin, it could cause issues.
I too have been using a sugar scrub on my face. Been doing it for about 6 months and the skin on my face has never felt better. I used to lie out in the sun – was a worshipper of the sun when I was in my teens and 20s. I have many sun spots and I swear they are fading in color and the bumps I have are leveling off. I have skin tags on my neck and those are wearing off as well. I want to start making my own sugar scrub and will use your recipe. I have the organic virgin coconut oil and hope to make it this coming week. My friend makes it and sells it. That’s where I first heard about sugar scrub. I love the way it feels on my face.
I would suggest using Baker’s Sugar, or blend your sugar to grind the particles. It’s much gentler on the face. And I usually mix the sugar with honey, because honey is a natural antibacterial agent. Rinsing well is essential.
Can I use any oil for the brown vanilla sugar scrub? I can’t find almond oil anywhere near me and I want to make some for mothers day.
Walmart have it where the vitamin are at.
Almond oil can be bought on Amazon. You can use coconut, olive, apricot, or avocado, but be careful what essential oils you use with it as some of the alternatives to almond oil have their own smell. You can always use coconut oil with organic cocoa powder for a Mounds bar scrub or add almond extract for an Almond Joy type scrub. Hope that helps!!
The coconut oil.. you using a liquid or solid coconut oil?
Coconut oil is solid In temp below around 60 and liquid when above. So in winter it’s solid in summer it’s liquid.
If you want to use coconut and live in colder climate, use fractionated coconut oil which always stays in liquid form. I live in California so I dont have the issue of it becoming solid.
I have had itchy skin at the summer time for all my life, my Mum called it prickly heat, Docs have not helped at all. The summer is a nightmare, its almost like my skin is allergic to my own sweat, and i break out in hives, scratching and clawing all night…..this year is unbearable, prob due to my age now….i tried a homemade sugar scrub last night, and OMG………it feels GREAT….got the best nights sleep in a long time, so i did a bit of research and have just made my own, using ideas from here and a few additions. Half sugar, half coffee grounds, olive oil, tbsp of honey and …………..stinging nettles!!!!!…..yup. stinging nettles……saw a woman years ago on tv, who said she only washed her face in yoghurt mixed with honey and blanched stinging nettles, so most of the sting is gone…!!!…what remains is a slight tingle, which fools the body into thinking more collagen is needed, so it produces more…….she was at least 65….and looked 30+……..im dying to try it. ive tried the yoghurt combo many times, but this is a new one…..x
I suffered with itchy skin for years until I quit using soaps or shampoos that contain any kind of sulfates. Just check the ingredients on the product. Most soaps and shampoos use sulfates because it increase the foaming action. However, there are many sulfate free shampoos and body washes!!
Do you have eczema or psoriasis, I have eczema and when I sweat I also have issues.
Here’s my favorite recipe:
2 parts cane sugar
2 parts milk powder
1 part almond oil
The milk powder is nourishing and softening to the skin. And it smells really good without essential oils!
I have a question I made my body scrub with coconut oil an coco butter an lemon an the zest but I put it in the fridge and it got really hard is that what it was to do? Then I was able to make it more like sugar crystals so I added a Lil more lemon an i added olive oil an now it came out fluffy I’ve never used coconut oil just olive oil an if I put it in the fridge will it harden again
Oils typically turn solid when refrigerated. Coconut oil turns solid at about 74 degrees F.
When I used the receipe that asks for the same amount of sugar and oil, my scrub was much to oily. So I tried half the oil as sugar and it was much better. I love the scrub receipes and give as gifts in pretty jars. Thank for sharing!
Are the oils in these recipes safe to go down the drain? Can I use fractionated coconut oil and is it safe for the drain?