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Super Simple Sugar Scrub

body scrub
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Craft programs are some of our favorite things to share with library users and our Adult Programming Specialist Kelly suggests the following DIY Body Scrub as something to try at home with materials that you might have lying around.  Feel free to share photos of your results on the Library’s Instagram or Facebook pages.  Search @LibraryMahoningCounty to follow us for more book reviews, craft ideas, and more.

Body Scrubs – Information & Recipes

What are body scrubs?

Body scrubs are a popular spa treatment that leaves skin smooth and soft.  They exfoliate and remove dead skin, leaving a layer of oil that soaks in and moisturizes the skin. They should not be used in place of soap, but rather in place of moisturizer or lotion. It can be used anywhere on your body. As long as the ingredients are all edible (no soap dyes or soap scents, etc.) then the scrub can be used on the lips; however, do so at your own discretion.

What you need

  1. Exfoliant: A gritty substance of some sort… salt, sugar, coffee, etc.
  2. Carrier oil/Base oil: Holds the mixture together… sunflower oil, coconut oil, etc.
  3. Fragrance: Anything from essential oils, to spices that you buy at the grocery store.


  • Salt: sea, table, Epsom
  • Good for muscle relaxation
  • May need to grind coarse salts finely so it is not rough on skin
  • Sugar: brown or white
  • Gentler than salt
  • Ground coffee
  • Oatmeal
  • Gentle; good for dry, itchy skin
  • Other options:
  • Almond meal, flax meal, rice bran, wheat bran, ground nut shells

Carrier oil/Base oil: generally use ¼ – ½ cup carrier oil to every 1 cup exfoliant (approximate)

  • Avocado – Good for sensitive, irritated, severely dry/wrinkled skin
  • Coconut – Buy only virgin/unrefined coconut oil because it retains nutrients
  • Grape seed – Faint sweet odor, very thin; non-allergenic; good for oily or sensitive skin
  • Hazelnut – Sweet, nutty odor; thin
  • Jojoba – Good for all skin types; thin, non-greasy
  • Macadamia nut – Thick consistency; recommended for dry skin but good for all skin types
  • Olive – Good for dry or mature skin; anti-inflammatory; thick
  • Sunflower – Faint odor, thin consistency; more affordable
  • Sweet almond oil – Medium consistency

**Do NOT use a nut oil if you have a nut allergy 

Fragrance & Coloring

  1. Fragrance can be anything from spices to essential oils (depending on how much money you want to spend). You can use soap scents, available for purchase at craft stores. Those provide more of a variety to choose from, compared to extracts, and are less expensive than essential oils.
  2. Other fragrance oils such as ‘candle scents’ should not be used unless it specifies that it is ok to be used on the skin.
  3. Do not use food coloring to color your body scrub as it may stain your skin. Instead, use soap dye. Soap dye comes in many different colors and can be bought at any craft store.
  4. Watch the percentage of alcohol in your extracts.  As it may affect the fragrance, you may need to adjust how much you use.
  5. Toxic essential oils: bitter almond, buchu, boldo leaf, calamus, camphor, horseradish, hyssop, jaborandi leaf, mugwort, mustard, nightshade, pennyroyal, rue, sassafras, savin, savory, southernwood, stinging nettle, tansy, thuja, wintergreen, wormseed, wormwood
  6. Phototoxic essential oils: all citrus oils, angelica, bergamot, bitter orange, cumin, dill, grapefruit, lemon, lemon verbena, orange, mandarin, sweet orange, tagetes, tangerine, yuzu

Tips & Tricks

  • When using coconut oil… put the completed scrub into the freezer for about 30 minutes to form a more solid mixture (coconut oil remains solid until 76°F).
  • Watch the alcohol content on some extracts. If there is a large amount of alcohol in the extract, then use a very small amount or the smell of alcohol could become overbearing. It may take a few days for that smell to tame.
  • You can also use ground mustard seed, caramelized sugar, or other types of sugar or salt.
  • If using essential oils, do not apply directly to skin.  They are highly concentrated and can irritate the skin if used without a carrier oil.
  • Buy essential oils that come in dark bottles.  They can spoil if kept in any type of light.
  • If pregnant, consult your doctor before using certain essential oils as skin can be more sensitive during this time.
  • If making a scrub that calls for use of water, use distilled water to prolong the life of your scrub.
  • Keep the scrub sealed tightly with a lid when not in use to prevent the scrub from drying out.
  • If your scrub is too dry than just add more oil; if it is too wet than just add more sugar.

Different uses for specific scents & oils

  • Black pepper: tobacco addiction, detoxifying
  • Chamomile: stress, insomnia
  • Cinnamon or Ginger: boosting the immune system
  • Lavender: headaches, stress, bug bites
  • Mandarin (& other citrus fruits): very awakening
  • Peppermint: decreases anxiety and helps you to focus
  • Tea tree: anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral; good for bug bites & acne
  • Ylang-Ylang: healing, patience

**These uses are not FDA approved and should not be used in place of standard medical treatments

Shelf Life

Homemade body scrubs should be consumed within six months. Although the carrier oil that you use usually has a shelf life of one year, its contact with the rest of the ingredients causes it to lose some of its properties. Rather than the body scrub getting rancid, it is best to use it up before its expiration date.

Just in Case

How to unclog a drain with baking soda & vinegar:

  1. Pour a pot of boiling hot water down your drain.
  2. Dump in ½ cup baking soda. Let that sit for a few minutes.
  3. Pour a mixture of 1 cup vinegar and 1 cup very hot water down the drain, on top of the baking soda.
  4. Cover with a drain plug (to keep the reaction down below the drain surface), and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Flush one more time with a pot of boiling water.

Why this works: The baking soda and hot water treatment will loosen up any grimy sludge that’s hanging out at the bottom of your drain, and the explosive chemical reaction with the vinegar will jolt it all loose. Then one final super-hot-water rinse will make all the bad stuff go bye-bye.

Simple Body Scrub Recipes

  • 1 cup salt, sugar or other exfoliant 
  • 1/8 – 1/2 cup carrier oil.  The amount of oil used will vary, depending on the amount of other wet ingredients used (such as extracts, water, honey, etc.), as well as how oily or dry you want it.  Err on the side of caution, and start slow.  Add more if needed.
  • Fragrance, as desired.  Usually about 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon for extracts, or just a few drops for essential oils.
  • One 8 ounce container

Start by mixing the dry ingredients, if there is more than one. Then stir in the oil until mixture is smooth, but not goopy or wet. Add oils or scents until you have your desired fragrance and mix well. Spoon into a container/jar with tight-fitting lid.

Buttered Caramel Corn Scrub

½ c white sugar

½ c brown sugar

¼ c oil

¼ t caramel extract

¼ t imitation butter extract

Green Tea Scrub

1 c white sugar

1/8 c oil

1/16 – 1/8 c brewed green tea (cooled)

1 bag green tea (not brewed)

Margarita Salt Scrub

½ c salt

2 T oil

1-2 T tequila

Juice of 1 lime

Raspberry Cream Sugar Scrub

1 c white sugar

1/8 – 1/4 c oil

1/8 – 1/4 t raspberry extract

Red soap dye (as desired)

Lemon Poppy Seed Sugar Cookie Scrub

1 c white sugar
¼ c of oil

1 t Poppy seeds
¼ t lemon extract or a few drops  (1/8 – 1/4 t) of lemon soap scents

¼ t vanilla extract

Cinnamon Apple Pie Sugar Scrub

½ c white sugar

½ c brown sugar

 ¼ c oil

1/8 t apple soap scent

½ – 1 t cinnamon

Orange Creamsicle

1 c white sugar

¼ c oil

¼ – ½ t vanilla extract

¼ – ½ t orange extract

Vanilla Pumpkin Spice Sugar Scrub

½ c white sugar

½ c brown sugar

¼ c oil

¼ t pumpkin pie spice

¼ t vanilla

Peppermint Sugar Scrub

¼ c oil

1 c white sugar

½ t peppermint extract

(optional: separate scrub into equal parts, dye one half red with a red soap dye and leave the other white. Alternate colors when adding to your jar to make it look like a candy cane)

Vanilla Chai Tea Sugar Scrub

½ c brown sugar

½ c white sugar

¼ c oil

1 t honey

½ t cinnamon

1 t vanilla extract

Contents of 1 chai tea bags

Sugar Cookie Scrub


1 c Sugar
1 c Brown Sugar
1/8 – 1/2 c oil

1 t Vanilla
1 t Almond Oil


-Pour white sugar into small bowl.
-Pour brown sugar into another small bowl.
-Add half of the oil, almond and vanilla to each bowl.
-Optional: Mix in more oil (if you like a wet consistency).
-Add your sugars to the jar in alternating layers. Press your Sugar down with a spoon to compact.


More Scent Mixing Ideas

  • Almond and Coconut Candy: cocoa powder, coconut & almond extract extracts
  • Berries & Cream: vanilla, strawberry & raspberry extracts
  • Chocolate Covered Cherries: chocolate & cherry extracts
  • Cinnamon Roll: cinnamon spice & vanilla extract
  • French Vanilla Coffee: vanilla extract & coffee grinds
  • Lemon Pound Cake: lemon & vanilla extracts
  • Peppermint & Chocolate: peppermint extract & cocoa powder
  • Pink Lemonade: strawberry or raspberry & lemon extracts
  • Root Beer Float: root beer & vanilla extracts
  • Strawberry Pancakes: strawberry, butter & maple extract

…be inspired…

Almond, anise, banana, butter, caramel, cherry, chocolate, coconut,

coffee, hazelnut, lemon, maple, mint, orange, peppermint, pumpkin,

raspberry, root beer, rum, strawberry, vanilla, vanilla nut & butter


Kelly is a librarian at the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County. As the Adult Programming Specialist, her focus is bringing adults the library programs they love.  (Kids can’t have ALL the fun!).  She reads strictly nonfiction and picture books.  She believes that anything you could ever need or want is located somewhere in the library.  Including friends.