Monday, December 7, 2009

DIY Sugar Scrub; Sans Chemicals!

With the entrance of the snow, also comes dry, arid weather. Prior to moving to Vernon BC, I thought I knew what "dry" was. After a few years of seasonal eczema on fantastic places like my forehead, I realized that the regular "moisturizer" wasn't going to cut it. 

That's when I discovered sugar scrubs. The first was from Aveda and I adored how soft and moisturized it left my skin. Close to thirty dollars in the hole for this magical product I had to admit that I couldn't afford to use their scrub regularly. I had just started to read ingredients on my beauty products, so checked out the sugar scrub. You'd assume- "sugar scrub" would imply, well natural ingredients. That's what you could assume by reading the list on their website: 

Amyris, Avocado oil, bay leaf, Caribbean cane sugar (ahem- fair trade?), Coconut oil, Lime, Passionfruit oil, Salt, Vetiver.

Right, what about the other 30 ingredients on the container?? Are they just for show... since they aren't listed anywhere on the website I'm assuming they're just taking up space on the bottle... right? *cough*. We all know how I feel about misleading the consumer in this "I'm green" crap.

As soon as I finished the scrub I set about to see if I could actually make my own. Honestly, I assumed that there was a reason for all the extra synthetic chemicals, like it would start to smell like rotten socks within a few days. I had my doubts I wouldn't just create a moldy mess that would cause major breakouts (ok, a bit dramatic, but it happens! the catastrophizing I mean). 

I found a recipe on Make Your Own Cosmetics (awesome site) and was... successful!! Perfectly so! Oddly enough, my scrub was JUST as moisturizing, yummy smelling (if not better!) and exfoliating as Aveda's. The difference; mine had ZERO synthetic chemicals, and less ingredients than their "fake" list above. One batch will last for a few weeks with no weird smell and doesn't need to be refrigerated. I can now say no weird rashes or death-mold has grown from not having supposedly necessary preservatives. 

I also love that once you buy a bit of the ingredients in bulk you can make different scents or consistencies. I've even made candycane versions with natural dyes and layers as a Christmas gift.

Sugar Scrub Basic Recipe:
3/4 cup of fair trade organic brown sugar (adds a nice smell, but white would do)
1/4 cup of epsom salts
2 tbsp of local (organic) honey
4 tbsp of sweet almond oil (jojoba=rejuvinating, grapeseed= less oily)
essential oil to scent

Epsom salts and the oils are easy to find at any local health food store. My favourite essential oils include cinnamon and clove, but I've found some yummy cacoa extract that smell delish!

Mix together and store in a glass resealable container (I like anchor, you can find them at Canadian Tire or the Superstore). Be very careful when you shower as the tub could be slippery afterwards! I usually keep mine in the shower area so that I remember to use it a few times a week (frequent exfoliating isn't so fantastic for your delicate skin!).

Really what I've started doing is just generally mixing stuff together to the consistency that I like, but then I'm haphazard like that...


article and photos copyright of EcoYogini at


  1. mmmm this sounds divine! will definately give this a try, have just noticed some of that seasonal dryness appearing too :) thanks for sharing x

  2. Eczema...I know it well...though I tend to get it on the tops of my feet...and it seems to be more a result of dampness than dryness...then, it's probably just the immune system with my psoriasis...don't even get me started on that...let's just say biking in jeans=really bad idea; spandex DOES have its uses...really. Anyway, perhaps I'll try the sugar scrub thing...couldn't hurt...

  3. I want to try this! :) I looove Clove Essential oil... I forgot that I loved it & you just reminded me! xo

  4. Oh, you are so amazing and inspiring.

  5. Yep, its amazing isnt it! I make my own too, although I use olive oil rather than anything else.

    It is brilliant, I also add in a squeeze of lemon if I am planning on using it fairly quickl and I am rather generous with the honey.

    To get rid of the oil slick in the shower spray some vinegar mixed with what ever you use for washing up liquid, it all just wipes away!


  6. I tend to use a handful of sea salt and some almond oil but I might try a sugar scrub instead!

  7. Excellent!, I love this idea, and yes I agree the Aveda products are very expensive, this is a fantastic alternative, thank you!

  8. Thanks so much for posting the recipe! I am making soaps for Christmas gifts and I would love to also make sugar scrubs - what a great idea :)

  9. Wow! That is so awesome! I've been wanting to make sugar scrub for a while now, especially since my skin is flaking like snow. It's been between -8 and 10 degrees Fahrenheit around here for the past few days and the heaters are drying me out so badly!

    I've heard that honey is a natural preservative, so it makes sense that this would keep for a while. I think that's what stops a lot of people from making homemade cosmetics - their fear that it'll go bad too quickly. But if you use certain ingredients things should last between 3 weeks and 6 months (depending on the ingredients). And really - we should not be using things on our bodies (or ingesting things) that can sit on a shelf indefinitely!

    I'd love to see a pic of your candy cane scrub, btw!

  10. i'm excited to explore the make your own cosmetics website. i hope it's just what i've been looking for!

  11. Very awesome! I'll have to try it sometime.

    PS I'm posting tonight and I have a little link-love lined up for you because of your approval of (because I'm considering quitting the gym and doing yogaglo instead). Just an FYI!

  12. I love raw sugar and coconut oil, it is my fav. The honey is a great addition, I'll have to try that. A warning though, if you tend to have an oily face, don't put honey it. I broke out big time the last time I did that:)

  13. ooooh, this would make wonderful x-mas/solstice presents! thanks for finding this recipe, trying it out and posting!

  14. Okay, I'm totally going to try this...I hadn't realized it might actually keep longer than a week or so (I was envisioning having to mix the scrub up every time I wanted to use some), and having a vat of the stuff right by the shower would only add a minute or two to my total shower time...

    Thank you thank you thank you! (If I try using it on my kids, I just won't tell them what's in it, or they'll start eating it!)


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