***Please note that we no longer recommend using coconut oil as it solidifies and can cause issues in drain pipes etc. Here are some alternatives... Avocado oil, jojoba oil, almond oil or olive oil***
I love homemade sugar scrubs! They are a great alternative to store-bought scrubs and exfoliants and a good way to ensure you aren't contributing to plastic waste through microbeads or plastic packaging. I started making my own sugar scrubs for after waxing care late last year (it helps with ingrown hairs), and it now has a permanent home in the shower. I use it as a body wash/exfoliant or just when I feel like I need some pampering. It is fabulous for dry skin and you can use it in the shower without needing to moisturise afterwards.
My homemade sugar-scrub is also my go-to zero waste gift for friends and family because it's handmade with love, smells so good you want to eat it (which you could if you really wanted to) and I can ensure that it's completely package and plastic free! (I guess I'll have to come up with another zero waste gift idea after this post...).
One of the things I love about making my own sugar scrubs is playing around with the ingredients to get a fragrance that works for you. My personal favourite which I am going to share with you is a Lavender & Vanilla Sugar Scrub, but you can substitute these for any of your own favourite essential oils, or even add in coffee grounds or coconut depending on what you feel like on the day.
- 1 cup of Raw Sugar
- 1/2 cup of Oil* (Avocado oil, jojoba oil, almond oil or shea butter)
- 15 drops of Lavender Essential Oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
I prefer the larger granulated sugar as I find it doesn't dissolve as much as the smaller granules when mixing, though I do tend to use finer grain sugar for coconut based scrubs. You can play around with it to see what you prefer, but the important thing is to use what you have in your cupboard before buying more.
The coconut oil I use is from my local bulk food store, Good For, as I can take my own glass containers along to re-fil, ensuring I don't create any more waste. If your bulk store doesn't have coconut oil or if you don't have access to a bulk store, the local supermarket will usually have coconut oil in glass jars (basically just try and avoid buying it in plastic if you can).
Yes, the vanilla essence I am currently using is in a plastic bottle, but this is from before I went plastic-free. If you follow me on Instagram you will know it is important to not get rid of things if they are still usable, regardless of whether they are "non-sustainable" or not - use what you already have. When I have finished this bottle I will top up at the bulk store to avoid bringing more plastic into our home.
The essential oil I'm using is by doTERRA, which was gifted to me by my mother-in-law. You can pick up essential oils from a number of places but make sure you check the ingredients and have a smell before you buy. Some of them smell horrible because they are cheap and filled with nasty fake stuff. I suggest getting it from somewhere like Pure Nature or a health store.
Hopefully, your oil is in a glass jar and not plastic. Depending on the temperature outside it may be solid, so if it is, heat the glass jar in a hot water bath either in your sink or in a pot of boiling water on the stove. Alternatively, you can put the glass jar in the microwave (remove lid first) and do short 30 second intervals until you have enough liquid. Please be careful doing this part, I don't want anyone getting hurt in the making of this.
In a medium-size bowl mix all the ingredients together. If it looks too runny add more sugar but make sure it is not too dry as the coconut oil will solidify again. Have a smell and add extra lavender or vanilla depending on your preference.
Once you are happy with the consistency and fragrance, put it into a jar and voila, you have your very own home-made sugar scrub! For convenience, I use a recycled plastic scooper to scoop it out of the jar, but hands are just as good! You may also find that you need to mix it up every now and then depending on the temperature. At the moment it is pretty warm, so the coconut oil is liquid and sits at the bottom of the jar.
Coffee-based scrub, reduce the amount of sugar to 1/2 cup and add 1/2 cup of fresh or used coffee grounds. Vanilla essence is optional.
Coconut & Lime alternative, reduce the amount of sugar to 3/4 cup and add 1/4 cup of shredded coconut (or similar). Change the lavender to lime essential oil. Lime zest optional.
Peppermint, ditch the vanilla and switch the lavender for peppermint oil. I would start with 10 drops and see how you go, but be careful not to use too much.
Hope you enjoy this as much as I do and please let me know how it goes.