What would a body scrub do for me?
"Homemade Body Scrubs 101: The basic ingredients"
"All body scrubs, even ones you buy in the store, contain just three primary ingredients:
Homemade body scrubs are really easy to make. Whether you want to make them for yourself, or as gifts for your girlfriends or relatives, this page will show you how. I’ll cover how to make sugar scrubs, salt scrubs, oatmeal scrubs, coffee scrubs, and more.
1. An Exfoliant
Basically a gritty substance of some sort. Sugar and salt are the most common, and have the benefit that they dissolve in water so they don’t leave any mess in your bathtub.
Salt is great for relaxing your muscles. Some people prefer to use sea salt, because it is less processed than table salt, contains a wider variety of trace elements and minerals, and is said to be kinder on the skin. Personally I’ve tried sea salts, table salt, and epsom salts, and found all of them to be fine. Your mileage may vary depending on your skin type (mine is fairly normal, perhaps slightly dry). Whatever salt you use, I’d recommend grinding it finely, i.e. to a similar consistency to table salt, because coarse grains can feel a little too exfoliating.
Sugar feels slightly gentler on your skin than salt. You can use either brown or white sugar. I prefer brown, because it smells yummy, especially if you mix it with a little vanilla essential oil.
Ground coffee smells divine, and the caffeine may even have some benefits for your skin. Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, meaning that it causes blood vessels to constrict, so it can temporarily reduce varicose veins and rosacea. Intriguingly, experiments have shown that caffeine applied to the skin of mice makes them less likely to get skin cancer... but we don’t know yet whether this works for humans.
Oatmeal is the gentlest of the exfoliants. It is an emollient, meaning that it softens and hydrates your skin. People have used it for decades as an effective home remedy for dry, itchy skin. Unlike salt and sugar, you can use it with a bit of water instead of a carrier oil.
Other options include almond meal, flax meal (ground linseeds), rice bran, wheat bran, and ground nut shells. I haven’t tried any of these so I can’t really comment, though I’ve heard that ground nut shells can really be quite scratchy against your skin. (If you’d like to share your experience with any of these exfoliants, then get in touch .)
I have used sugar, almond meal and ground nut shells before in my homemade body scrubs. You probably know what the sugar feels like, but the almond meal is really nice- suggest you try it! It’s kind of soft, and it’s scrubby, and it leaves my skin nice and soft. Only problem is that it doesn’t dissolve in water so I always end up with a ring around my tub or on the floor of my shower. The ground nut shells were not a pleasant experience, to be honestly honest. It was too exfoliating for my skin and left it raw and sore. Although, it is pretty good for feet!
2. A Carrier Oil
Also called a base oil, the oil in a homemade body scrub holds the mixture together, and moisturises your skin. Most body scrub recipes use about 1/3 cup of oil for each cup of exfoliant. There are many carrier oils to choose from. Unless your skin is very dry, I’d recommend choosing an oil with a fairly thin consistency so that it will wash off easily and won’t leave your skin feeling too greasy. Some popular options are
Sunflower oil has a very faint odour, thin consistency, and penetrates well without leaving much of a residue. It is also one of the most affordable oils and has a shelf life of about 12 months. It is used in several commercially available body scrubs, including some manufactured by “Body Shop”, “Nourish”, and “Jason Natural”.
Sweet Almond Oil has a slightly sweet and nutty aroma, medium consistency, and absorbs fairly quickly. Shelf life is about 12 months.
Grape Seed Oil has a faint sweet odour, is very thin, and leaves a thin film on the skin. It has a shelf life of 6-12 months.
Hazelnut Oil has a sweet nutty odour, is quite thin, and leaves a film on the skin. Shelf life is about 12 months.
Kukui (Candle Nut) Oil has a light, sweet, nutty odour, a thin consistency, and absorbs well. Shelf life is about 12 months.
Macadamia Nut Oil has a nutty odour, thick consistency, and leaves a an oily film on your skin. Recommended for dry skin. Shelf life is about 12 months.
It goes without saying, but don’t use a nut oil if you have a nut allergy!
The easiest way to scent your homemade body scrub is with essential oils. Avoid “fragrance oils”, which are synthetic. Here are some essential oil combinations for different skin types, recommended by Carla Oates in her excellent book Feeding Your Skin. Each combination is intended to be diluted in ⅓ cup (approx 2½ oz) of carrier oil.
Fragrances for different skin types
Normal: 10 drops lavender, 6 geranium, 4 ylang-ylang
Oily: 8 drops sandalwood, 6 lemon, 6 lavender
Dry: 8 drops sandalwood, 6 geranium, 6 rose
Sensitive: 6 drops chamomile, 4 rose, 2 neroli
Dehydrated: 10 drops rose, 8 sandalwood, 2 patchoulli
Mature: 8 drops neroli, 6 frankincense, 6 ylang-ylang
Acne: 10 drops lemon, 10 cypress, 5 lavender
Devitalised: 10 drops geranium, 6 rose, 4 cypress
Broken capillaries: 8 drops rose, 6 chamomile, 6 cypress
*Note that certain essential oils should be avoided by pregnant women.
Have a go and experiment with your own combinations. But avoid getting undiluted essential oil on your skin - it is very concentrated and can cause irritation. For sensitive skin, avoid the following oils: basil, cinnamon, clove, lemon, lemongrass, tea-tree, thyme, citrus. Citrus oils in particular can cause sensitivity to sunlight.
Now that you know the basic ingredients, you can make up your own recipes for homemade body scrubs! But first, here are some starter recipes for you...
Easy Sugar Scrub Recipe
Yummy vanilla sugar homemade body scrub recipe
Easy Salt Scrub Recipe - Energizing and Grounding
Warning: Don’t use a salt scrub immediately after shaving your legs - it will sting! Instead, use the scrub before shaving. The oils left on your skin will lubricate the blade and make shaving smoother."
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