Sugar scrubs refresh and moisturize your skin, leaving a lovely fragrance behind. And why should you pay for a commercial product if you can make your own scrub at home? The ingredients are inexpensive, and you probably already have them in your pantry. After all, a sugar scrub is only sugar, a good oil, and if you want, a natural fragrance like rosewater or a few drops of essential oil.
Skin is the body’s largest filter, the barrier that shields us from the outside environment. It makes sense to protect it for your health, and keep it supple and smooth for beauty. That’s where sugar helps. It exfoliates (gently rubs away dead skin cells and dirt) and leaves the skin moist and smooth. You can safely use a face and body sugar scrub once a week.
Here’s how you make a sugar scrub. It should take all of two minutes.
I cup sugar
1 cup good-quality oil
For a body scub: 2-3 drops essential oil or a tablespoon rosewater (optional, see notes below.) For a facial scrub, leave out the essential oil.
I wide-mouth glass jar for storage
Mix the sugar and oil in the jar. Add the optional fragrance.
Store the sugar scrub, covered, in the refrigerator, up to two weeks or as long as the oil smells fresh.
Now that you have your sugar scrub, how do you use it?
That’s the luxurious part.
Enter your shower and let warm water stream over you for 5 minutes, to soften and warm the skin. You can wash with soap in the usual way before applying the scrub.
Take a small handful of sugar scrub into your palm and gently make circles with it on your skin, all over. No need to scrub hard. It will feel wonderful. Take particular care with your hands and feet.
Rinse off with warm, not hot, water.
Pat yourself dry, leaving a film of moisture on your skin. And if you’ve made a batch of your own herbal moisturizer, this is the time to smooth it on.
- White sugar works well, but brown sugar melts more easily.
- Use any good oil: olive, almond, avocado and coconut are favorites.
- Perfuming the oil is optional, but a very nice way to spoil yourself. I suggest essential oils of lavender, rose geranium or chamomile, which aren’t expensive and are known to be skin-friendly. Or use rosewater: a drop of the concentrated, oily product or a tablespoon of the more watery kind. If you really want to splash out, essential oil of rose, jasmine or ylang-ylang are exquisite. Do not apply an essential oil to the skin unless you know that it’s mild and safe. Citrus oils are too rough to apply to the face, but work well for the feet.
- I consider the only safe fragrance to use on the face is rosewater. Essential oils, and certainly commercial fragrances, are too strong to apply next to the eyes.
- You may halve the recipe quantity if you prefer to make a fresh scrub more often.
People with broken facial veins, sunburn, a rash or other skin irritation should not use a scrub.
People with acne may scrub with plain brown sugar and warm water twice or even three times a week.
The floor of your shower will be slippery with the oil. Take the safety precaution of putting a small towel down on the shower floor for you to stand on.
If you shave your legs, shave on a day when you haven’t done a sugar scrub. Or take sugaring to the next level and make your own sugar wax at home (see how we do it). Shaving or waxing just before or after a sugar scrub will feel prickly and irritated.
Photo of sugar scrub by Debra via Flickr.