Come talk to us about homemade sugar scrub

My knees and elbows are in bad shape, partly due to neglect and partly due to my darn doctor messing with my Synthroid dosage. So I just threw together a scrub for them with two parts sugar, one part coconut oil, and a few drops of lavender essential oil.

I remember that Rushgeekgirl said she’d made scrubs for Christmas and that her recipe had done AMAZING things. So what WAS that recipe exactly?

Also, has anybody made cold process soap?

Your scrub sounds nice. Did it solidify at room temperature because of the coconut oil? I’ve made simple scrubs with sugar or salt and jojoba oil. I don’t do it often enough- I’m such a sucker for store-bought (or online bought) bath products.

I’m a huge sucker for store-bought products too, but with the family living on a single salary they just aren’t in the budget. Plus, real lavender is one of my favorite scents in the world, and it’s almost impossible to find products that use it (EO is one of the exceptions).

Yes, it turned into a kind of stiff paste when it cooled down. I like it because it’s easier to apply that way. Melts pretty fast in the shower of course. The coconut oil has a nice coconutty scent that compliments the lavender wonderfully.

I’ve been making my own sugar scrub when I need it for a while now, seems to work great.

I fill my tin with plain sugar, and then fill it with olive oil (sometimes I mix in some water to see if it makes much of a difference, but haven’t noticed any yet) to where it becomes a constistancy that I like. Some people like it to be very grainy and some like it more gloopy. I stir it with a toothpick or whatever I have on hand to mix it with until it’s uniform in consistancy. I have some scented oils from my soap making kits and I put a couple of drops in, and if I’m feeling fancy a drop or two of soap coloring/dye.

Like I said, works great and it’s tons cheaper than buying it. One little tube of coloring and dye will last forever since you only use a couple drops at a time. Sometimes the scrub gets dry, but I just mix in a little water and it’s good to go again.

That sounds really nice.

I make salt scrubs and sugar scrubs. To be honest, it just depends on which I have copious quantities of around the house - I haven’t noticed a real difference between salt and sugar. Have you?

I usually use a base of canola and olive oils, with some rosehip seed oil and/or jojoba if I have it. But I’m intrigued by the coconut oil idea; I may try that next time.

Then comes the fun part - playing with essential oils!

Feet love peppermint. It’s just such a classic, why mess with it? Oh, but rosemary is sooooo nice for tired sore muscles, so yes, sometimes the feet and legs and shoulders get rosemary. Lavender and chamomile are wonderful for everywhere else, especially any rough reddened areas.

My favorite scent combo, whether it’s in scrubs or lotion or spray, is lavender, tangerine and ylang ylang. It’s sweet and fruity and just luscious.

For the menfolk (and yes, men will use a scrub if you use a manly scent and don’t put it in a pink container), sandlalwood is a classic. If I want to get him “in the mood,” I’ll mix sandalwood with some peru balsam (which smells more like vanilla than vanilla does, and it’s cheaper) and maybe just a hint of neroli or orange.

My most favorite soap ever was Liberty of London’s house brand in lavender eucalyptus. I’m sure there were many other scents in their mixture and I won’t re-create it… but since I just used the last drops of my lavender essential oil, I’ll order both next time and see how they smell together. Maybe only half as much eucalyptus as lavender.

By the way, if anyone could tell me that those Liberty soaps were actually another brand that is still available, I’d love to hear it.

Bah. Men make scrubs out of sand and vinegar, and scent them with the blood of their enemies. And maybe a little lavender. Y’know, for that crisp, fresh touch.


I added brown sugar, clear vanilla extract and pumpkin pie spice to the coconut oil and sugar. My daughter still swears by it! I have my own with nothing but sugar and coconut oil because something, maybe the cinnamon in the pie spice, irritated my skin a bit.

Vanilla extract sounds like a great idea. Fake vanilla’s smell morphs over time into something that smells, to me, like rotting pasta.

I’m finding that just coconut oil is a little stiff. I have to put it at the bottom of the shower to melt it so it’s usable.

I have a spoon I keep in the bathroom to scoop it out. It does get rather hard.

I was a cold-process soapmaker for years and years. Whatcha need to know?

I guess my first question is, how nice is the soap compared to commercial luxury soaps? Am I going to end up with a comparable or nicer product, or is it more like… erm… hand knit sweaters, to give a good example?

Second question, do animal fats really produce a nicer product? I hear people railing about how vegetable fat soap is junk and animal fats give the creamiest, gentlest lather. Is it true?

If you have a health food store nearby, pick up a bar or two of local handcrafted soap to try. Ignore the ones that are milled or French milled or glyverin, and look for ingredients that include olive oil high on the list. I like handmade soap far better than any corporate soap I’ve ever tried. It tends to be milder and less drying.
I rarely used animal fats in my soaps…most soapers I knew were vegetable oil only folks. Animal fats make for a slightly harder bar, I believe, but there are vegetable oils that will accomplish that as well.
The Soapmaker’s Companion is the only book you will ever need on the subject and I highly recommend it if you decide to try doing it. It’s a great hobby…not a great way to make a living, but a lot of fun and an economical way to mass-produce gifts for everyone you know. I’m happy to talk soap anytime, too!