The skin is your body’s largest organ. You’ve probably heard that before, but have you really thought about it? That means whatever you put on your skin is absorbed into your body and your lymph system. We’re looking at you, triethanolamine. (What is that?)
Recent news about many commercial scrubs being made from plastic microbeads got many people thinking about what goes down the drain, too – fish with microbeads in their flesh made headlines everywhere.
So it stands to reason: if your face scrub is natural enough to eat, it won’t do any harm to you or to fish. It’s a win win! Here’s a round up of my favourite sugar scrub recipes. Save your skin. Save the fish. And save some money, too!
The Basic Sugar Scrub Recipe
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup olive, almond or coconut oil
Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight jar. I prefer the ones with the little rubber rings like the one pictured right. They are easy to open and get a little scoop into.
I use about a tablespoon at a time, right in the shower. Starting with your décolletage, massage in small circles up and outwards, paying special attention to your jaw line and t-zone. Rinse well with warm water. Don’t worry, you won’t look like an oil slick! But your skin will feel beautifully soft, plump and moisturized. All this for pennies a treatment!
Variations on the Sugar Scrub
You can add all kinds of things to the sugar scrub to address your own situation:
Once your bananas have started to turn brown, they’re perfect additions to the sugar scrub. Bananas are choc full of potassium, zinc, and amino acids. These help bananas to hydrate and nourish your skin, protecting elasticity and even fighting off acne.
Add 1/2 cup of mashed banana to your sugar scrub and let it sit on your skin for several minutes before rubbing it in.
Lemon’s exfoliating and brightening powers are legendary. Its high percentage of Vitamin C works to brighten your skin over time (remember, natural products don’t produce the same results – or risks – as chemical bleaches. So use this one consistently for a few months before judging results.)
The citric acid in lemons also helps your sugar scrub to neutralize free radicals, and it functions as a natural exfoliator. It even helps to clear up blackheads!
To use: combine 1 tablespoon of lemon juice with two tablespoons of our sugar scrub recipe. Leave on for a minute after massaging it in to see full benefit. If you’d like to feel extra refreshed in the mornings, add some lemon zest to the mixture too – the smell will really energize you.
Honey has been a girls’ best friend since Cleopatra bathed in it. It’s a humectant, which means it attracts moisture to your skin. Straight honey is a great replacement for your daily cleanser. Got a zit? A honey mask can help it heal sooner. Have a scar? Honey can help it fade.
It’s important to note that the honey you buy in the beehive-shaped squeeze bottle is not going to do you much good though: it goes through a lot of heat pasteurizing before it hits the grocery store shelves, effectively killing off any of its healing phyto-nutrients. So check out your local health food store or farmer’s market for honey that is unpasteurized if you’re using it for skin care.
To use: combine one tablespoon of honey with one tablespoon sugar scrub. Let it sit on your skin for a few minutes to increase moisture and heal skin damage.
Not just a great option to keep your belly warm on a cold winter morning, using oatmeal on the outside of your body can also make you feel nourished. Oatmeal is a natural cleanser due to its high percentage of saponins (Scrabble word!). Additionally, it is known as a natural soother for inflammation, which makes it an excellent choice for people with redness like rosacea. And its texture is a gentle exfoliator too.
Add 1/4 cup oatmeal to 3 tablespoons of our basic sugar scrub, and follow the directions above for application.
Bonus: out of dry shampoo and got a case of the greasies? If your hair is blonde or white, you can brush ground oats through your hair just like you would use a commercial dry shampoo. Problem solved!
You may have heard that coffee can temporarily decrease the appearance of cellulite, but did you know it can also exfoliate your skin? You can add coffee to our sugar scrub recipe to fight oxidants, reduce swelling, and constrict inflammation.
To use: take 1 tablespoon warm coffee grounds (like the kind your pod-coffee maker produces) and mix it with three tablespoons of our scrub. Use it anywhere you need a little pick-me-up.
A word of caution: oil-based scrubs like this can make the shower floor slippery. Be careful!!
Have you tried other homemade sugar scrub recipes? Let us know in the comments below!