How-to make your own body scrubs

by Kate on April 18, 2010

Natural beauty has come a long way since tipping raw eggs on your hair and squashed bananas on your face. Not that I am saying they are bad, I’m just not into that kind of thing. What I have enjoyed creating and using (and loving the benefits of it not costing the earth) is making my own shower gels, bath remedies, hand lotions, and the topic of today: body scrubs.

I just love that clean, fresh feeling you get when your skin has been gently exfoliated and beneath that tired, dull, sallow complexion there’s a new you looking back in the mirror. I have tried many body scrubs (and facial) in the past. Some have left my skin feeling that the exfoliation has come from me being dragged behind a pick-up down a dirt track at 40MPH.  Others were sharp and way too tingly. When I did come across that perfect scrub, it found it cost a mountain of gold to achieve that smooth, rosy glow.

One day I took it upon myself to create the best I could with natural products bought from the supermarket, my garden (when I was in the UK) and my supply of essential oils and vegetable carrier oils.  The list could be endless and so could the price if you are new to purchasing essential oils.  The price is linked to how easy it is to produce the essential oil held within the plant, flower, resin, seed, root, leaf, peel, or petal. For example a yield of lavender will produce a lot more oil than that of say, rose or jasmine.  A ton of petals from these beauties will only produce around a kilo of oil.  If produced organically, then expect the price to go higher.  Essentially (ha see what I did there!) you will get what you pay for.  Always buy oils with their Latin name on the bottle, it should state ‘essential oil’ on the bottle*, and the bottle itself should should be dark in colour.  Either amber, blue, or dark green to protect the precious liquid from light. They should also have an integral dropper in the top of the bottle to stop you from pouring the contents (and your money) down the drain.

Okay so now you know what to look for when buying your oils, same applies to the carrier, or vegetable oil of choice.  I would never buy a vegetable oil from the supermarket for this purpose.  Most have been heat treated and pressed multiple times to produce a ‘standard’ colour and biggest yield from source. Carrier oils should be cold pressed and for best, first pressed for their nutrients. Popular choices and some of my favourites are jojoba, sweet almond, grape seed, macadamia nut, peach or apricot kernel oils and evening primrose oil. Their odour should be neutral. FYI their price may and should vary also due to the same reasons as essential oils.

Background info given – now for the exciting bit, choosing your oils and ingredients to make your own body scrub.

Base to chose from:

  • sea salt
  • fine oats
  • sugar

Carrier oils:

  • grape seed
  • jojoba
  • sweet almond


  • lavender flowers
  • chamomile heads
  • spearmint
  • peppermint leaves**

Essential oils:

  • juniper – cleansing and detoxifying
  • grapefruit – refreshing and uplifting
  • spearmint – clearing and rejuvenating
  • lavender – soothing and calming (to name but a few properties)
  • bergamot – Zesty and refreshing
  • petitgrain – Rejuvenating and cleansing
  • frankincense – Calming and focusing, excellent for the skin
  • geranium – Balancing and harmonising
  • rosemary – Stimulating and invigorating
  • rosewood – Calm and fresh

I realize that the above descriptions do not do many of the oils justice.  I practiced for 10 years professionally and still use my oils at home.  There are many ways to describe the effects and benefits of essential oils, but I have tried to give you an idea of what to go for when buying.

Now to put all that information into a pot of yummy-ness (not to be eaten of course!)

For about 300 g of base (salt or oats) add 200ml of chosen carrier oil then add no more than 20 drops and I mean NO MORE, of your essential oils.  I often use a combination of 3 or 4 oils maximum.  Rarely just one.  You will have to play around with how many drops of each.  What you will find is that some oils are simply more powerful in their aroma than others – it’s called the odour intensity.  The stronger the smell, the less you use.

So let me give you an example of a recipe and then you can go and play to your hearts content:

300 g sea salt

200 ml jojoba oil

6 drops grapefruit essential oil

4 drops junpier essential oil

8 drops petitgrain essential oil

2 drops bergamot essential oil

Mix together, add in your flowers or herbs at this point if you are using them.  Store in dark glass jar for up to a month then discard.

TIP: When in the shower, wash, then step aside from the cascading water to use scrub, step back into flow to wash the scrub away. Your skin will have a fine film of oil, do not worry, just gently pat your skin dry to leave it feeling super smooth and soft. Use once a week, or more on dry knees and feet.

It goes without saying that sea salt is probably not a good thing to use on your face, but super fine oats are great.

Important information: some oils can irritate the skin, some should not be used during pregnancy and others with medical conditions such as high blood pressure.  However in the case of body scrubs they are used in small quantities and applied and washed off very quickly.  If you should fall into any of these categories do your research!

* in the case of rose, neroli (orange flower) and jasmine they are often diluted into a carrier oil of jojoba (pronounced ho-ho ba).  This is not a bad thing, just makes the oil a little more affordable to the purse of many.

** Some of you will be lucky enough to wander into your garden to pick the flowers and herbs, others will have to take a trip to your nearest herbal/health food supplier.

So happy blending, mixing and smelling to you.


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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

maria April 18, 2010 at 5:40 pm

I love scrubs. These sound so fun to make. My elbows, knees and heels could really uses it too, now that summer is almost here. Thanks for the recipes and tips.


Kate April 19, 2010 at 6:58 am

you are welcome. Denver has paid it’s toll on my feet but I am not about to complain about all this sunshine and flip flops!


Helen April 18, 2010 at 8:21 pm

Man your smart Kate! Now I know why I enjoyed the body wash you made for me so much. I’ll only try this with a personal tutorial to make sure I get the right stuff!


Kate April 19, 2010 at 6:58 am

We can have a lot of fun when you are here next week!


Suzanne April 18, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Way cool, love to use scrubs and make them that will fun too, might be fun for a teenager slumber party activity:) Great photo too.


Kate April 19, 2010 at 7:00 am

I hadn’t thought about slumber parties, but you are right. It would make a great activity, shower gels are fun too. Just need a non scented version.Whole Foods do a good one and it’s not that expensive either, especially when compared to the price of all the other ‘natural’ ones on the market.


Emily April 26, 2010 at 6:18 pm

I have eczema on my hands and the salt always seemed to burn so I started using raw sugar instead. It is coarse and works just like the salt but without the sting. I prefer to use olive oil as we lived in Italy and we brought gallons home with us! And eucalyptus is great for the cold season!


Destri April 26, 2010 at 8:39 pm

I love sugar too! You can use it right after you shave and it doesn’t hurt!


Ja Legge February 14, 2012 at 5:49 am

I wish this article has a printer friendly??? ;o(


Destri February 14, 2012 at 8:35 am

Great idea, I’ll get on it!


Melissa March 15, 2012 at 6:51 am

For anyone interested in finding cheap essential oils, regular oils, lavender flowers, chamomile flowers, etc….I have found that is the place to go (for what I need anyway) It is much cheaper than I find at stores and even online. I have a referral code that will get you $10 off. It is free shipping on orders of $49 or more; otherwise, the shipping is just $4.99. (I always find at least $49 of stuff I need) Hope this helps someone :)


kate April 25, 2012 at 11:07 am

It is always great to get a margin, but like good coffee, wine etc essential oils are the price they are due to extraction methods, their own shelf life and quantity used at. therefore I am always rather dubious of ‘cheap’oils. There is no way of knowing how long they have been sitting on the shelf, the conditions they have been kept at etc. Never, ever buy essential oils in clear white glass, the sunlight will degrade the oil.
Expect to pay less for citrus, you will need more drops of citrus to say something like rose anyway. Middle prices for herby or woody oils and most expensive rose, neroli, jasmine. Not saying nah, just saying buyer beware!!!


kate April 25, 2012 at 11:08 am

Bargin, I mean Bargin….darn auto correct! sorry about that!!!


shaneesangel April 9, 2012 at 4:55 am

that was just too kind of you to share these wonderful body scrub remedies. really appreciate your effort.
More Homemade Body Scrubs


Sooz July 14, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Does anyone ever have an allergic reaction to the essential oils? I hate that even “natural” DIY concoctions can still cause a reaction on our skin/bodies as man mad fragrances. I would love to just use all natural, homemade “products” . Thanks in advance! :D


kate March 22, 2013 at 7:39 pm

anyone can be allegoric to anything at anytime! Sucks doesn’t it, but it’s true! Plus people can tend to be bit over zealous with adding ‘extra’ drops when less is better than more!


Andy Lee April 7, 2014 at 10:38 am

Be careful of Lavender. I know a lot of people use lavender on their skin, but for a lot of people it is an irritant. Also, be careful using lavender products on the skin when exposed to sunlight (esp. the face). Lavender and sun, do not go together well.

Being a person with sensitive skin, I know “natural” doesn’t always mean “good”.


KoolAid August 28, 2012 at 1:31 pm

I made some for my girlfriend and she said the salt disintegrated. Now I didn’t measure just went for consistency.

I used:
Coarse Sea Salt
Olive oil

What went wrong? I stored them in a mason jar out of sunlight.


kate March 22, 2013 at 7:41 pm

Coarse salt is definitely better than fine, but long term storage will let the salt to dissolve. Sorry about that, sometimes it can be trial and error. And believe me I have had many errors!


Shelley July 16, 2013 at 10:52 pm

When you say “fine oats”, are these oats you have ground up? If so, what type of oats do you use (1 min, 2 min, 5 min, or 10 min?)
Thanks :)


julia July 19, 2013 at 11:46 am

my daughter is always hooking me up to sites. i am happy that she does. Love making things at home and experimenting.


dara August 17, 2013 at 11:21 pm

I was wondering if you could male anything with eggs, bananas, salt, sugar, and oats. Take any ingredients out, and it doesn’t have to be a scrub. Thank you.


Jamie January 17, 2014 at 10:01 am

Why are you discarding within a month? I thought it should have a shelf life of at least a year? Of course fresh is anyways best.


Diane March 5, 2014 at 3:52 pm

I use baby oil, flowers, spices (like rosemary) and sugar. What a smell and it works great…


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