Many people who start making their own skin and hair care products seem to start out with making scrubs. I know I was one of them back in the day as well! And that’s really not that strange – homemade body and face scrubs are super easy to make with ingredients that you probably already have at home! Plus, they are often so incredibly effective (and not to mention, pretty) that they will beat any storebought product any time.
I’m sure you’ve seen a zillion scrub recipes online before. But if you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I’m not really much of a recipe person. If I want to make something – be it a skin care product or dinner – I just look into my cupboards, see what I have, and combine stuff until I have something that looks and feels right. And now I want you to start experimenting as well! It can be a face scrub, body scrub, lip scrub, foot scrub, hand scrub, elbow scrub, cuticle scrub or eyelid scrub! Okay I don’t know if your eyelids need scrubbing, but hey’ why not give it a try anyway?
If you want to know more about what a scrub does to you, check out this old post of mineabout exfoliation. To make a scrub you really just need two ingredients; a scrubbing agent and a liquid. Here’s my guide to some of the best ingredients to use in homemade scrubs.
Scrubbing agents (left to right)
Salt A body scrub with salt feels so cleansing for skin and soul. DO Mix with an oil for a super easy scrub to be used every day or two. And try a foot scrub with salt! DON’T mix with water or milk as the salt will only melt. Also not suitable in face scrubs.
Coffee Although I love a good cup of coffee, I always get a bit disappointed when drinking coffee, because it is never as good as the smell of the freshly ground coffee beans. There’s nothing better than a coffee scrub to wake you up on a Monday morning, and I could swear the scrub is almost as invigorating as the actual drink. Here’s my own favorite coffee scrub. DO If you like, you can simply take the used grounds and mix up a quick scrub in the morning (although I have to say I do prefer freshly ground!) DON’T use coffee beans in face scrubs, they are a bit too coarse.
Charcoal Activated charcoal, or carbon, is a newly found friend. Activated charcoal can be bought at the pharmacist’s, and is not the same thing as regular charcoal. DO use activated charcoal if you have problem skin or feel like a detox. I love it especially in face scrubs.
Almonds or any other nut or seed can be ground up into a meal and used in body or face scrubs. You can grind it yourself in a food processor, or buy it at health stores. They’re great for any skin type, though especially dry skin, as they contain loads of healthy fats. DO Use finer meal for face scrubs, and possibly slightly coarser for body scrubs.
Baking soda microdermabrasions can really do wonders for your skin. DO use baking soda if you have any kind of problematic skin, especially if you’re suffering from acne or even acne scars, or if you just want to reliven dull looking skin. DON’T be tempted to use this too often, once a week is well enough! Also might be too harsh for the most sensitive skin types.
Sugar is one of the most classic homemade body scrub ingredients. Sugar contains AHA-acids, which will give you a chemical exfoliation as well as the physical scrubbing of dead skin cells. DO use in body scrubs, many people have completely stopped using soaps and use sugar scrubs instead! DON’T mix with water based ingredients, as the sugar will melt. Also try making a foot, hand or lip scrub with sugar. Unless you grind the sugar a bit, don’t use in face scrubs.
Cornflour and rice flour are great all-around scrub ingredients. Rice flour is slightly milder than cornflour, so use rice flour if you have sensitive skin and cornflour if you have oily and acre prone skin.
Oatmeal is another fantastic allround scrubbing agent. To read more about how fantastic oats are, read this post, where you’ll also find a couple of scrub recipes. DO Use ground-up rolled oats for a mild face or body scrub. DON’T If you mix with water it will be more porridge than scrub…
Liquid ingredients (clockwise starting at the top)
Honey is wonderful for all skin types and almost any skin problem. It cleanses, exfoliates and moisturizes skin. DO Mix with any scrubbing ingredient for an effective scrub for face, body, hands, feet, lips, you name it! Mix in another liquid to make it more runny.
Yogurt and other dairy products such as sour cream or buttermilk can be used in most kinds of scrubs. Dairy products also contain some AHA, just like sugar and will exfoliate and moisturize skin. DO use if you want a thicker scrub. Suitable for all skin types. DON’T save your dairy scrub, or keep it max a few days in the fridge. It’s best mixed fresh!
Orange blossom water Can be found at shops specializing in Middle Eastern goods. Great substitute for water, as it keeps longer than tap water. Also look for rose water or some other hydrolates, as they are called (you might find mint or lavender) DO Mix with any ingredient that isn’t water soluble. Suitable for all skin types.
Chamomile infusion and other infusions is another way to pimp your water. Just make a strong tea with some of your favorite herbs or green tea. DO use chamomile for any skin type (dry, sensitive, oily). Good herbs for oily skin include thyme, peppermint,sage. Dry skin: Calendula, rose, lavender. DON’T Keep a scrub with an infusion for more than one-two days in the fridge.
Milk can be used in any scrub as a sustitute for water. It’s soothing and moisturizing. DON’T keep a scrub with milk for more than a couple of days in the fridge.
Olive oil and other vegetable oils are great basic ingredients in a scrub that you can always count on for face and body scrubs. DO choose an oil that suits your skin type. See this list to get you started. You’ll probably find you don’t need to moisturize after using a scrub with oils – if you do, just take a few drops of the oil without the scrubbing agent and rub on.
Making a scrub: easy version
Once you’ve chosen your ingredients, here’s how to make a scrub.
Combine one scrubbing agent with one liquid ingredient.
I suggest simply making the scrub every time you’re going to use it. Keep one jar of the scrubbing agent, and one jar of the liquid in your bathroom (if using milk or other things that go off, do keep them in your fridge). Then mix the ingredients in the palm of your hand or in a small bowl every time you’re going to use it. Scrubs with honey, olive oil or orange blossom water can also be made in larger batches for yourself or as a gift.
About the measurements, like I said, I’m not much for recipes. And it really depends on how runny you want it, how fine the ingredients have been ground and a lot of other things. So just try! Make a small batch and if you like that, make a bigger one.
The liquid ingredient can also be plain tap water, just rub a scrubbing agent on face or body while in the shower and you have a scrub!
Making a scrub: advanced version
But what’s stopping us at just two ingredients? Let’s have MORE! You can mix up any amounts of these ingredients. Coffee-almond scrub with rose water and milk? Charcoal, sugar and oats with honey and olive oil? The possibilities are endless Only one thing to keep in mind: oil and water don’t mix. So don’t try to combine olive oil with rose water, that won’t work.
To add an extra zing to your scrub, add a few drops of an essential oil of your choice! Some ground herbs will also give a bit of a scrub. A little bit of fresh vanilla for scent perhaps?
Time to get active
To get you started, I have started a pinterest board where I’ve gathered some of my favourite scrubs of all kinds. Please check it out for inspiration. But remember to be experimental yourself! If you don’t try different things, you might never find the best scrub for you.
And now, I want to hear about your favorite scrubs! Did you try any of the combinations above? How did they work out for you? Let us know by commenting!
Did you blog about one of the scrub combinations mentioned above? Or do you have any other favorite scrub recipe online that you want to share? Post your it here by pressing “Add your link”.