Easy Hand & Body Sugar Scrub

By Ann Fulton

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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
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 1 1/2 cups
This customizable, boutique-worthy scrub is effective, economical, and smells good enough to eat! (Yields 2 cups with the extra exfoliation option described in the notes section)
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.

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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. 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
  1. 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
  2. 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
    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
  3. 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
  4. 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
    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
    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

      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
  5. 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

          It’s been a while since I made a chai variation and I never cemented the recipe. I used a combination of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. I think I also made one batch with a chai tea bag but the aroma wasn’t as strong. I wouldn’t hesitate to add your pie spices and cardamom to taste…or rather to smell!

          Reply
  6. 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
    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
    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

      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
  7. 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
  8. 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