Easy Hand & Body Sugar Scrub

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This customizable, boutique-worthy scrub is effective, economical, and smells good enough to eat. It also makes a thoughtful gift that can be made in minutes!

 

 

Dry, cracked, or otherwise flaky skin isn’t the most exciting topic of conversation, although I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who deals with it.  But guess what?  I have the easiest, non-greasy, 100% gift-worthy way to combat this nagging problem. Soft, delicious-smelling skin is just two (or three if you’re feeling adventurous!) ingredients away.

Because I do A LOT of dishes (in hot water, without gloves, no less), I keep a jar of this fragrant mixture by my sink year-round.  It’s a moisturizer and exfoliant all in one, and it couldn’t be simpler to make.

The funny thing is, when Barlean’s asked me to create a holiday gift using coconut oil, I got busy creating something altogether new.  I spent several hours making lotion, lotion bars, and even scored the secret recipe for homemade chapstick from a good friend’s daughter who truly makes the best lip balm I’ve ever used.  (She even named it — Happy Chappy.  Don’t you love that?)

As it turned out, the lotion and lotions bars felt too greasy.  Nobody wants to leave a trail of smudge marks after using hand cream, and I decided to guard the Happy Chappy trade secret just a little longer. 😉

The answer to the holiday-themed request was literally at my fingertips.  I figured if I rely on this simple scrub daily, maybe others would, too.  Plus, of all my ideas, this offers the most accessibility; it can be made with what you likely have on hand, or can access easily, and is perfect for gift giving.

DRY, CRACKED HANDS FROM LOTS OF WASHING? This easy scrub will cure them. Easy to customize and perfect for gift giving, too.

Winter’s cold air and low humidity always exacerbates dry skin.  And here’s a fun fact:  Did you know that skin is the body’s largest organ?  So why not use something pure and natural as a remedy?  I use this scrub mostly for my hands, but it will put and end to dry elbows, legs, feet, etc.  Note: If you store the jar in the shower and take a long, hot shower, the prolonged heat may melt the coconut oil.  Not to worry.  Just give it a quick stir and it’ll be good to go.

Easy, customizable & so effective. If your skin is dry and cracked, this will cure it! Perfect for gift giving, too.

For an inexpensive, effective fix for dry skin, keep this all-natural scrub beside by your sink or shower all year long.  After using, your skin will feel soft but not greasy, and a mild yet delightful aroma will linger.

❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️

Helpful tips and options:

  • Essential oils provide a lovely way to customize the scent. That said, experimenting with the extracts you already have in your spice cabinet is a great way to work with what you have.
  • I’ve created all sorts of flavors like chai spice, café latte, and pink lemonade, but my favorites are truly the simplest ones. Around the holidays, peppermint always seems fitting.  Vanilla and vanilla-almond are two of my year-round favorites.
  • I’ve also experimented with the ratio of sugar to coconut oil and provide a range of choices.  The lesser amount of sugar provides excellent moisture and light exfoliation.  The higher amount of sugar makes for a looser scrub with more abrasiveness.  When my hands are drier, I like more sugar.  You can start on the low end and then test and add more sugar if desired.  Or aim for something in the middle!
  • In order to keep things sterile, I recommend using a spoon to scoop out the scrub.
  • If this sounds good enough to eat, it is!  (To be honest, I’ve sampled on occasion, and I once stirred some into my tea.😳)
  • See the recipe notes section for a few more ideas.
Easy, customizable & so effective. If your skin is dry and cracked, this will cure it! Perfect for gift giving, too.
Easy Hand & Body Sugar Scrub
Yield: 1 1/2 cups (2 cups with the extra exfoliation option described in the notes section)
This customizable, boutique-worthy scrub is effective, economical, and smells good enough to eat!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup granulated or brown sugar*
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, softened but not melted**
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon vanilla, almond, or peppermint extract (or another extract of choice; may substitute 10-15 drops, more or less as desired, of your favorite essential oils)

 

Directions
  1. In a medium-size bowl, mash together the sugar and coconut oil.
  2. Stir in the optional extract or essential oil. Adjust the amount for the desired scent.  (Note: if using extracts, take caution not to add too much more as the alcohol in some extracts may be detectable.)
  3. Spoon into a glass container with a tight-fitting lid to maintain the freshness and fragrance. The scrub will keep for a couple of months–if it lasts that long!

 

Notes and Tips

*I’ve used just about every sugar imaginable for this scrub, and plain old granulated sugar is my favorite, followed by light brown sugar. First, the aroma will be slightly different based on which you choose: the scent of coconut and any extracts or essential oils used carries a little better with white sugar. The caramel notes of brown sugar add a warmer element—choose based on personal preference or what you have on hand. Secondly, a coarser sugar may be used if you like a rougher feel to the scrub. I find, however, that the finer grains of granulated and basic brown sugar are perfect for exfoliating. I’ve tried sanding sugar for the extra sparkle, although the grains are even finer than that of granulated sugar, so they don’t exfoliate quite as well. Do feel free to experiment.

*For extra exfoliation, you can add up to 50% (or 1/2 cup) more sugar.  The scrub will become slightly looser as more sugar is added, but the extra abrasion is nice when skin is particularly dry or flaky.

**Coconut oil is solid below 76 degrees F and liquid above that.  At room temperature, you will likely be able to mash it easily with a fork. If your home is on the cool side and the oil seems too firm to work with, either place it in a warm spot for a few minutes or heat just long enough in the microwave to soften. You can work with melted oil, although the warmth can melt the sugar crystals, which we want for their light abrasive quality.

**If you don’t care for the scent of coconut oil or wish to highlight another scent through the addition of essential oils, use a culinary coconut oil that has no scent.

The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

Coconut oil is an excellent natural moisturizer with a mildly tropical scent, but for those who prefer no scent, Barlean’s makes a culinary option that is flavor- and scent-free.  When either are used in a scrub, the result is super soft skin with no greasy residue.

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Comments

  1. Gail

    Ann, Can you purchase Barlean’s Coconut Oil locally? I was at Giant today and did not see it. This will make some nice Christmas gifts for several people on my list. Thanks for the recipe.

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Gail, I’ve seen it at SaveMart but haven’t been there recently. To be sure, you might want to call before driving over, just to make sure they have it in stock. Coincidentally, I just gave a jar as a birthday gift earlier today!

      Reply
  2. Cindy

    Ann – I am excited to try this recipe and make my own sugar scrub! I’ve been moisturizing daily with coconut oil for five years and my skin is soooooo soft! I save so much money on body lotion because a tub of coconut oil lasts me quite a while.

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Lisa, I actually found these jars at the grocery store. You can also find Mason jars or similar jars at craft stores, Walmart, Target, and online. Here’s what I use: https://www.amazon.com/Ball-Mason-Wide-Mouth-Half/dp/B00E0MXMXG/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1512743775&sr=8-6&keywords=ball+8+oz+canning+jars and there is a slightly smaller version of this. The jars come with a two-piece canning lid, but you can buy the white, plastic lids if you prefer. (Link follows) Just make sure that you buy wide mouth lids if you’re using wide mouth jars. https://www.amazon.com/Ball-Wide-Mouth-Plastic-Storage-8-Count/dp/B000SSN3L2/ref=pd_sim_201_4?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B000SSN3L2&pd_rd_r=EXC84SG72HTV8Q94HJCP&pd_rd_w=D8zsJ&pd_rd_wg=Xvaz8&psc=1&refRID=EXC84SG72HTV8Q94HJCP

      Reply
    2. Melinda

      Hi Lisa,
      I bought a case of mason jar at Winco if you have one never you or not far. It’s a great place to stock up on a lot of stuff in bluck. They have all shapes and sizes of jars for canning at reasonable prices.

      Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      I’ve tried this with scrub with avocado oil, and it works well. The texture is slightly different, and I do think coconut oil moisturizes a bit better. All that is to say that I think the liquid version will be fine to use, and since it’s room temp it won’t melt the sugar.

      Reply
  3. Amy Post author

    I made this yesterday and am in love! I think I’ve washed my hands 20 times (ok…maybe only 10-12 times) to soak in the moisture. My hands feel so soft and I love the smell!

    Reply
  4. Caroline

    I made this with a group of nieces and daughters at a family get together this afternoon. It’s easy yet special and everyone loved the end result. Thank you for a terrific project with lasting benefits!

    Reply
  5. Libby Post author

    I made a half dozen jars to give as gifts and the feedback has been fabulous. I used peppermint extract from the grocery store and it smelled divine when mixed with the coconut oil. Thank you for a gift idea that was very well received!

    Reply
      1. Ann Post author

        I haven’t added candy canes to the scrub, but I have packaged peppermint scrub with a red bow and a candy cane tied on. I’ve also added a drop or two of red food coloring to make the scrub lightly pink. It adds a little extra holiday appeal!

        Reply
  6. Helen Post author

    This is a great sugar scrub. We’re going to let our Sunday school kids make it this week at church to give to their moms!

    Reply
    1. Melinda

      Helen,
      Oh lucky Mom’s they will feel very special. The kid will have a great time. Super easy, great idea. Kudos Helen.

      Reply
  7. Lesley van Tunen

    Your scrub is absolutely delightful.
    I made it as described, only using coconut sugar instead of white sugar and the smell is delicious. It left my skin feeling soft, but not oily.
    Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  8. J. Smith

    I believe this info is incorrect.
    Coconut oil is solid above 76 degrees and liquid below. This is on your website and I believe this is the reverse coconut is solid below 76 degrees and liquid above

    Reply
      1. Wei

        Strange Q, but how do you use a sugar scrub after washing hands? Do you rub hands and fingers with it while they are wet, and then brush off the sugar and go, or do you rinse the mixture off after rubbing? Or does it go on dry hands?

        I feel silly asking but I have only used it in the shower and rinsed it off. Your comment about using it frequently after washing dishes etc had me curious! Thanks!

        Reply
        1. Ann Post author

          Not a strange question at all, Wei! I keep a jar by my kitchen sink as a reminder to use it. Then I tend to grab it when I need to wash off my hands, scooping a small amount onto my dry hands, rubbing it all around, and then rinsing with warm or cool water. Using it on dry skin makes for slightly better exfoliation than with wet skin, but you can try it both ways. Hope that helps!

          Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      That’s a great question, Chaton. I haven’t tried to make a scrub that lathers, but it would be fun to experiment. I think castille soap could work really well and wouldn’t hesitate to try. If you do try, please report back!

      Reply
    2. Melinda

      Hi Chaton,
      I know everyone uses castille soap, because it is supposed to be natrual and unsented, but I find it to be offensive smelling and not much lather to it. I bought a gallon once, because it was recommended to make bath gels that I was going to make for xmas gifts. I made two to test it out and didn’t make any more. I wind up throwing those away. I was so disappointed I couldn’t give them as gifts and gave the rest of the castille soap away. I dont like the smell or the way it lathers or doesn’t lather. I would rather use soft soap, unscented or ivory, unscented or anything else, but castille soap. It might just be me, but I find the smell of it offenive. You just can’t cover it up.

      Reply
  9. Amy

    FYI: This is also a great activity to do at a child’s Birthday party and instead of a boring goodie bag, the guests get to bring home something useful that they made themselves 🙂

    Reply
  10. Delcia Cook

    Thank you,
    I am doing hand scrub jars for a fall women’s retreat and this is the perfect recipe, easy, as I need 50 jars. I am using baby food jars, but I want to give them your recipe. They will be putting their own flavors, and I will be buying the essential oil & flavoring, cannot wait to try the cafe latte.

    Hope I can get you again to let you know how everyone like the scrub.

    Reply
  11. Dayon

    I am needing to make 8 jars of this, each one approximately 8oz. Normal jars basically. What measurements do you recommend I use?

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      If you multiply the recipe by 6, you’ll get a yield of 9 cups. That’s a little more that you need but multiplying by 5 will leave you a little under. I’d aim for 6 cups of sugar and 3 cups of oil. Hope that helps and that everyone enjoys!

      Reply
  12. Lydia Marija Filipasic

    I love making a variety of sugar scrubs and give them out to school staff, church ladies, friends and family.
    I tried the Sweet Almond oil 1 tablespoon, 1 TBS Coconut oil non- scented, 1 TBS Olive oil, 1 TBS honey with 1/2 brown sugar and 1/2 white sugar. Is this a good ratio.

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Lydia, I think sweet almond oil would be especially lovely! As for the ratio, I like the amounts stated in the recipe, but I’ve made scrubs with equal parts sugar and oil and that works well for a milder scrub. It really comes down to personal preference. I haven’t made a scrub with honey (although I’m intrigued!) but if the texture seems a little crumbly with the ratios you mention, you can simply add a little more oil. I hope that helps…and I’m sure everyone will enjoy!

      Reply
  13. Krista Blackwell

    I find staight olive oil to be a bit too heavy for my skin. Adding sweet almond oil does the trick. And makes it great for lips.

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Barbara, This will be such a lovely shower favor! The scrub will last for several months. When stored in a cool room, it will firm up slightly compared to the creamier texture when first mixed but still looks, smells and works wonderfully well.

      Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Dana, I’m guessing you mean essential oils, and you can absolutely do that. I mention that 10-15 drops would be a good amount, but you may certainly adjust this up or down based on personal preference.

      Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Vaughan, you can do that. Just go very lightly because you don’t want it to stain your hands or anything else. I’ve made a “candy cane” version for Christmas and added just a few drops of red food coloring.

      Reply
  14. Kate

    Hi Ann,

    Thank you so much for this simple recipe. As an essential oil enthusiast who loves coconut oil, I can’t wait to try it!

    I’m wondering how it holds up in hot summer months? I use coconut oil on my skin year-round, and it always ends up in liquid form in my bathroom during the summer. If I leave this sugar scrub in my bathroom to use on my legs, will the hot summer months cause the sugar crystals to melt (therefore losing its exfoliating ability)? If so, any tips to prevent this?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Kate, I keep a jar of this by my kitchen sink all year round, and even when my regular coconut oil turns liquid, the sugar keeps this fairly firm. That said, we do use our AC before things get too steamy! The heat and humidity from the shower would make the mixture more likely to melt when stored in the bathroom, but if you use air conditioning to keep things from getting too hot, the sugar shouldn’t dissolve. I hope this is helpful. Feel free to report back!

      Reply
      1. Debbie

        FYI…I keep mine on the edge of the tub (year-round, in hot & steamy middle GA) and sugar does not “melt”/dissolve. I never measured, but now I have a recipe… thank you!

        Reply
  15. Debbie

    Wouldn’t brown sugar [molasses + “white” sugar] and/or honey (reader comment] make the scrub sticky? Just wondering.

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Good question, Debbie! Molasses and honey would be sticky, although sugar is also sticky if not rinsed off. I would forego honey or another syrup simply because they wouldn’t have the mildly abrasive/exfoliant quality that a granular sugar has.

      Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      If you have any concerns, Narda, limit the use to the shower (and don’t use on the bottom of your feet) or use it in the sink as a hand scrub. Hot water will remove any residue, but if you have a slippery tub, it’s not worth risking a fall.

      Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      I’m not sure where you live, Linda, but I’ve seen it at SaveMart. (If local and to be sure, you might want to call before making a special trip.) It’s also available online, although you could substitute another brand if you prefer.

      Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      I like to use glass, but you could absolutely use food grade plastic or a tin designed for this type of product.

      Reply
  16. Robin

    I made this today and I loved it. I did use the liquid coconut oil and added a bit of liquid lanolin. I tried it and it is awesome. Thx for the recipe.

    Reply
  17. Jamie

    This is a terrific recipe and a great holilday gift to make yourself. I’ve been searching for something that’s not edible (cookies, fudge etc) to make and give to friends and family.

    I found clear plastic jars with screw on tops at Amazon.com. Then no worries about a breakable container in the bathroom or at kitchen sink.

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Carolyn, I wouldn’t use it on the bottom of your feet if you’re standing on a slippery, wet floor, but it shouldn’t pose a problem when using a judicious amount elsewhere, as the hot water should wash any residual from your skin right down the drain. If you have any doubt, however, save it for use as a hand scrub.

      Reply
  18. E

    I made this for a friend and she loved it. The consistency is smooth and so amazing, I definitely recommended this recipe!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Thank you for the fabulous endorsement. It was so thoughtful of you to make this for friend, and I’m thrilled she loved it!

      Reply
  19. Laurie

    Can’t wait to try. Love the idea and directions. I know what my 4 daughters and 3 daughter-in-laws are getting in their stockings this year!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      You can find the jars in the canning aisle of many large grocery stores and stores like Target and Walmart as well as online and in craft stores.

      Reply
  20. Annette Howell

    I just made it and used it. Love it my hands and body feel 20 years younger. Giving this as a gift to all the ladies in my family. Ty

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      I love your 20 year description, Annette. It is amazing how something so simple works so well. I’m happy you’ll be making a gift out of this and appreciate your comment!

      Reply