Sugar scrubs are a wonderful addition to your body care routine. They help speed up the skin’s regeneration process revealing the smooth, younger layer that lies just below the outer skin.
As with any other skincare product, the key is to use one that is chemical-free. The sugar scrub recipes you’ll find below use all natural ingredients. They are easy to make in minutes and are easy on the wallet too.
How Do Sugar Scrubs Work
The two main ingredients in a sugar scrub are the sugar granules and a skin-friendly carrier oil. These two ingredients work together to exfoliate and moisturize the skin. The result? Softer, smoother skin and a more youthful glow with minimal effort.
Essential oils may be optional but they are a powerful addition in many of the sugar scrub recipes you’ll find below.
Here’s a look at how each of the ingredients works by themselves and together in a homemade sugar scrub with essential oils.
Sugar may not be good for our health but it is fantastic for our skin. Here’s why.
The pores on the skin tend to get clogged with oil buildup caused by moisturizers and lotions. This causes the skin to look dull and rough. When you use a sugar scrub, the tiny sugar granules unclog the pores and slough off the dead skin cells and environmental toxins from our face and body. This exfoliating action reveals the younger smoother skin that lies just below.
That’s not all though. Sugar has several other properties that make it great for use as a skin scrub.
In addition to being an amazingly gentle abrasive, sugar is also a pure natural source of Glycolic Acid, which is an alpha hydroxyl acid or AHA. Glycolic acid penetrates the skin and breaks down the glue that bonds dead, flaky skin together. At the same time, it also encourages cell turnover, generating fresher and healthier skin cells.
Sugar is also a natural humectant. It draws moisture from the environment into the skin, helping the skin to stay hydrated.
Carrier oils are pure vegetable oils. They are extracted by cold-pressing the fatty portions, usually the nuts, seeds, and kernels of certain plants. This cold-pressed extract is rich in emollients and nutrients that nourish and moisturize the skin.
Just using a carrier oil by itself is a fantastic moisturizer for the skin. When used along with sugar in a skin scrub, it protects the skin by softening the scrubbing action.
Coconut, Grapeseed, Almond, Jojoba, and Olive are the best carrier oils for use in sugar scrubs. These carrier oils contain vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids that naturally moisturize the skin so it stays smooth and supple. Coconut and Grapeseed are the lightest carrier oils and are perfect for use in face scrubs. Olive oil is greasier and heavier and is better suited for body and foot scrubs.
Essential oils are not the same as carrier oils. These oils are extracted by steam distilling various plant parts, most commonly the leaves, petals, stems, roots, and bark.
While using essential oils in a sugar scrub is optional, certain skin-friendly essential oils boost the actions of the sugar and carrier oil, making them a useful addition. Essential oils also gently scenting your homemade sugar scrub.
The most important thing to remember is never to use essential oils directly on your skin without a carrier oil. Essential oils are highly concentrated extracts and can cause skin irritation when applied to the skin directly. Always, always dilute essential oils in a carrier oil before topical application.
Benefits of Sugar Scrubs for the Skin
Removes Buildup & Flaky Skin– The granular nature of sugar acts provides a mechanical exfoliating action. As you rub it into your skin, it gently sloughs off the top layer of dead cells, revealing the newer, younger-looking layer of cells just underneath.
Unclogs Pores – The pores of our skin get clogged with excess oil, impurities and dirt. This makes the skin look dull and slugging. The abrasive nature of the sugar grains gently dislodges these substances and opens up the pores.
Brightens the Skin – The removal of buildup and dead flaky cells, and the unclogging of the pores leaves the skin looking younger, brighter, and more radiant.
Provides Gentle Exfoliation – Dry exfoliation can be harsh on the skin and can damage skin cells. Sugar scrubs offer a gentler alternative. The carrier oil in the sugar scrub allows the sugar to perform its exfoliating actions without damaging the skin.
Moisturizes as it Exfoliates – In addition to facilitating the scrubbing action of the sugar granules, the carrier oil also moisturizes the skin as it exfoliates.
Why Make Your Own Sugar Scrubs with Essential Oils?
There are several reasons why I recommend making your own sugar scrubs.
For one thing, it works out so much cheaper. To make enough for one use, all you need is a little sugar from your kitchen, a teaspoon of carrier oil and a few drops of essential oil.
The instructions for making your own sugar scrubs are incredibly simple.
Though simple, homemade sugar scrub recipes are incredibly versatile with countless variations. You can change any of the ingredients to suit your purpose and your unique skin type.
So, here’s the basic sugar scrub recipe with lots of ideas of how you can customize it for your skin. and also to use the ingredients you have on hand.
Basic Sugar Scrub Recipe
What You Need
- 1 cup Finely Granulated Sugar
- ½ cup Carrier Oil – add more if you prefer an oilier scrub, less if you prefer a drier scrub. Remember, you want the scrub to have the consistency of wet sand – neither too dry nor too wet.
- 4 drops Essential Oils – less is more when it comes to essential oils. Do not add more than the recommended amount.
- 1 Wide-Mouthed Glass Mason Jar or Cosmetic Container
Instructions for Making Your Own Sugar Scrub With Essential Oils
Mix the essential oil and carrier oil together. Doing this first ensures that the essential oil blends well with the carrier oil.
Add this mix to the sugar.
That’s it! Your sugar scrub is ready to use. Yes, it really is that simple to make your own sugar scrub with essential oil.
Store your homemade sugar scrub in a wide-mouth airtight glass container.
Before diving into the different sugar scrub recipes, here’s a short writeup about the best sugar, best carrier oils and best essential oils to use in your homemade sugar scrub recipe.
Best Sugar for Skin Scrubs
You can use any granulated sugar you have handy in your kitchen. Yes, that includes the regular white sugar, brown sugar, or superfine castor sugar.
All types of sugars have a similar chemical composition and offer the same benefits to the skin. The main difference lies in the size of the grains. The larger the sugar grains, the more exfoliating their action. Larger grains are also rougher on the skin and may damage delicate facial skin cells.
Use smaller grains when making sugar scrubs for your face and hands. For sensitive skin, use superfine sugar.
Keep the larger grains for making foot scrubs.
Brown sugar is my favorite for making sugar scrubs. It gives the scrub a delicious smell but because brown sugar is typically quite coarse, I mix it with superfine sugar to use in the scrub.
Alternatives to sugar – If for whatever reason, you do not want to use sugar, you can use oatmeal or almond meal instead. Both of these are soft and gentle and make excellent face scrubs.
Best Carrier Oil for Sugar Scrubs
Fractionated or virgin coconut oil, grapeseed oil, sweet almond oil, and olive oil are all excellent carrier oils for skin scrubs. Make sure to use only cold-pressed, organic oil for your homemade sugar scrubs. Regular cooking oils are refined in a way the removes some of their cosmetic benefits. Besides, they are often too heavy and will your skin looking dull and gluggy.
Fractionated or virgin coconut oil is my first choice for using in homemade sugar scrubs for the face. The oil is light enough that it moisturizes the skin without clogging the pores. It is also packed with antioxidants and also has anti-fungal properties, both of which are essential for supporting the skin.
Grapeseed oil is right up there with virgin coconut oil for use in sugar scrubs. It is a very light oil that gets absorbed into the skin quickly so it does not clog the pores. This makes it the best carrier oil for face sugar scrubs. The oil is also rich in antioxidants that are beneficial for the skin.
Sweet almond oil is very moisturizing. It is also rich in Vitamin E, which protects and heals the skin. However, although this oil is light enough to be used in a sugar scrub, it is a tad bit greasier than coconut and grapeseed oils. Sweet almond oil is great for dry to normal skin but avoid using it for oily skin. Do not use this oil if you have nut allergies.
Olive oil is highly moisturizing but is also the greasiest and heaviest of all four options. It is fantastic for foot scrubs but best avoided for face scrubs as it can clog pores.
Best Essential Oils for Sugar Scrubs
Essential oils add a lovely scent to your homemade sugar scrubs. Some oils also offer skin support as well as healing properties.
A few drops are all you need. Essential oils are highly concentrated and extremely potent. Adding too much can cause mild to severe skin irritation.
These are the best essential oils for sugar scrub recipes:
Lavender– Gentle, calming, and nurturing, lavender is one of the best essential oils for the skin. It has antifungal and antiseptic properties, helps balance moisture levels, and reduces redness and inflammation. Use lavender in sugar scrubs for sensitive skin.
Rose– The benefits of rose essential oil for the skin are well known. When used in a skin scrub, rose oil helps refine the tone and texture of the skin and slow down skin aging.
Geranium– Geranium essential oil regulates oil production and slows premature aging and wrinkles, leaving your skin with a healthy glow. Use geranium in anti-aging sugar scrubs.
Tea Tree– A natural astringent, tea tree is known for its anti-acne properties. Use this for acne-prone skin. Applying a sugar scrub with tea tree essential oil is very effective for deterring acne formation. However, you must be careful not to use it on inflamed acne as that can irritate it even more.
Chamomile– Chamomile essential oil has soothing, calming, and anti-inflammatory properties, all of which offer overall skin support. Chamomile makes a great addition to sugar scrubs for any type of skin, even sensitive skin.
Ylang Ylang– Ylang Ylang essential oil regulates oil production, encourages regeneration of skin cells, and boosts skin elasticity. It is great for use in skin scrubs for all skin types, especially for acne-prone skin.
Frankincense– Frankincense promotes cell growth which helps tighten the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and scars, giving the skin a more youthful appearance.
Clary Sage – Like chamomile, clary sage too has calming, soothing, and anti-inflammatory properties. It calms puffy skin and reduces signs of aging.
Patchouli – Like Frankincense, Patchouli also promotes cell growth which helps tighten the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and scars, giving the skin a more youthful appearance.
Sugar Scrub Recipes for Face, Hands, & Feet
Sugar Scrub Recipes for Flawless Skin
For a general sugar scrub for mix 1 cup grapeseed oil, ½ cup half and half brown and white sugar (fine grains), and any of these combinations of essential oils:
Vanilla Latte Sugar Scrub – Mix fractionated coconut oil, fine grain white sugar, 4 drops vanilla, and ¼ cup finely ground dry coffee. Coffee has a stimulating and tightening effect on the skin and is commonly used in anti-aging skin products.
Sugar Scrub Recipes for Soft Hands & Feet
All-Over Body Scrub Recipes
Use sweet almond oil and regular white sugar. To this add:
Store your homemade sugar scrub in a wide-mouth airtight glass container.