By Audra, Contributing Writer
I love being pampered. Manicures, pedicures, massages, facials–I love treating my body and my skin well, giving myself moments to breathe and relax and just be a girl. However, I also love having money in my bank account. Sometimes these two loves seem somewhat contradictory.
One of the best ways I’ve found to pamper myself without breaking the bank is to incorporate those girly moments into my everyday routine using homemade body scrubs. They’re so simple to make, cost a fraction of what you would pay for them conventionally, and I’ve found them to be just as effective (often more effective) as the store-bought scrubs that used to be my favorites.
You only need three things to get started, and the beauty is that there’s a solid chance you already have all three of them in your kitchen.
I”ve used a variety of carrier oils in my homemade scrubs; trial and error continuously brings me back to these three favorites.
- Coconut Oil — Unrefined coconut oil retains its lightly tropical scent, and it’s compatible with a wide range of other scents. Since coconut oil remains solid at temperatures below 76 degrees, I’ve found it to be slightly less messy in application, as well. One thing to be aware of: depending on your skin type, it may take awhile for it to be absorbed into your skin. I most frequently use coconut oil scrubs before bed.
- Sweet Almond Oil — Sweet almond oil is very lightly scented, which makes it a great choice if you don’t love the smell of coconut. It also soaks in rapidly, which makes it a great choice for use in the morning or during the day. It’s also one of the more inexpensive oils to purchase, which makes it a great option if you’re on a budget.
- Grapeseed Oil — Grapeseed oil has no scent, absorbs quickly. It is also hypoallergenic, which makes it a great option for those with sensitive skin. On that note, if you have sensitive skin, also be aware that certain ingredients used in homemade scrubs to give them their scent may cause irritation.
I’ve used various types of sugars and salts in scrubs. All are are excellent scrubbing agents, but can’t necessarily be used interchangeably in any scrub.
- Granulated Sugar — This is an excellent all-purpose sugar that can be used in most any scrub.
- Raw Sugar — Raw sugar is typically more coarse, so I exercise more caution in using it. If you use raw sugar exclusively in a recipe, it would probably be best for use on thick-skinned areas such as feet, knees, and elbows. However, I often find myself throwing in a couple of tablespoons of raw sugar into my granulated sugar recipes. It adds some good visual interest to your scrub.
- Table Salt — Table salt granules are slightly more fine than granulated sugar, so I tend to use it as the scrubbing agent for facial scrubs. Anytime you’re using a scrub on your face however, make sure to use a gentle hand.
- Epsom Salts — Epsom salt is my absolute favorite for foot scrubs. Great for relieving muscle aches, I love to use these kinds of scrubs after soaking my feet at the end of a long day.
This is the fun part. I”ve been known to use everything from organic essential oils to ground cinnamon to orange zest in my scrubs. Literally anything goes here, and it all goes according to your personal taste. Here are a few of my favorite combinations:
- Peppermint Mocha — Finely ground coffee, cocoa powder, peppermint essential oil
- Vanilla Lavender — Vanilla extract, lavender essential oil
- Citrus Splash — Lemon essential oil, orange essential oil, grapefruit essential oil, orange zest
Finding the right scent for you as well as the right balance between scents is a wonderfully individual process. I tend to like lighter scents, so I use a lighter hand with this part of the recipe. However, when I make these scrubs for my mama, who should honestly have a part-time job at Bath and Body Works, I use a slightly heavier hand. It’s a lot of trial and error, but a lot of fun in the process.
Creating Your Scrub
It”s difficult to give a hard-and-fast recipe, since everyone”s preference is a little different. I generally start my scrub with 1 part oil to 2 parts sugar. Depending on what kinds of oils I use, solid versus liquid, sometimes I end up adding a little more sugar or a little more oil. The best way to figure out that ratio is to test it; wet your hands and apply a little of your scrub to them. Does the scrub seem too thick? Add more oil. Too runny? Add more sugar. My recommendation, based on experience, is to get this ratio the way you want it and then add your scents. I generally make my scrubs in a large bowl and then transfer them to either a glass mason jar, if I”m planning to use them at the bathroom sink, or a plastic container, if I”m planning to use them in the tub or shower.
These scrubs are a great customizable way to pamper yourself at home every day. They also make fantastic gifts!