Monday, September 17, 2012

Make your own body scrubs

Although soap does a great job of removing oil and dirt from your skin, it does not necessarily remove dead skin cells. To exfoliate your feet or your back, you can use a loofah, a natural sea sponge, a specially made buffing sponge, or a rough towel. A loofah can be grown in the garden, costing almost nothing and having no transportation costs. You can also use it for scrubbing pots and pans or your bathtub. It will even biodegrade in your compost pile when it is no longer useful.

There are natural substances that exfoliate just as well as expensive commercial products for the delicate skin on the face. My personal favorite is baking soda. That’s the whole ingredient list. I keep a one-cup plastic container of baking soda in my shower. A couple of times a week after washing my face with my homemade soap, I scoop up a tablespoon or two of baking soda with my fingers, rub it between my hands until it’s evenly spread out, and then I rub it across my face and neck. After three or four seconds of massaging all parts of my face and neck, I rinse off the baking soda in the shower. After my skin has dried, it is as soft and smooth as baby’s skin.

A sugar scrub, which contains oils, is good for dry skin. Sugar scrubs are used on the back, hands, and other extremities, but I know some women who swear by using a sugar scrub on the face for very dry or mature skin. When you use a sugar scrub, you can generally forget about using anything for moisturizing afterwards because your skin will absorb the oil in the scrub. To use a sugar scrub, scoop up about a tablespoon of it and rub it on the skin that you want to treat. Rinse with either plain water or soap, depending on how much of the oil you want left on your skin.

Some people prefer salt scrubs to sugar scrubs, but this is largely a matter of personal preference. Salt is reputed to draw out toxins and impurities. Keep in mind, however, that if you have any broken skin, salt will sting.

Keep a small amount of a homemade scrub in a jar on the bathroom counter for regular use, and store the rest of it in the refrigerator because most of these oils go rancid within a few months if left at room temperature.

Shea Butter Sugar Scrub

3 ounces shea butter
2 ounces grape seed oil
2 ounces apricot kernel oil
a few drops of essential oil (if desired)
2/3 cup sugar

   Weigh the butter and oils on a digital scale and mix together either by hand or with a mixer until well blended. Add the sugar and continue mixing until all the lumps are smoothed out.

Light Sugar Scrub

2 ounces castor oil
2 ounces apricot kernel oil
a few drops of essential oil (if desired)
1 cup sugar

   Weigh the oils on a digital scale, pour them into a bowl, and stir to mix. Add the sugar and stir until blended.
   Because castor oil is reputedly anti-fungal, this is a great scrub to use for your feet, especially when combined with tea tree oil or peppermint essential oil.

Salt Scrub

3 ounces sweet almond oil
2 ounces avocado oil
a few drops of essential oil (if desired)
1 cup natural sea salt (non-iodized)

   Weigh the oils on a digital scale, pour them into a bowl, and stir to mix. Add the salt and stir until blended.

Savings: Commercial scrubs can cost anywhere from $7 to $70 for a jar or tube, compared with the Salt Scrub recipe that will cost about $2 or the Light Sugar Scrub, which will cost $1 per batch. Using baking soda as a scrub will cost you less than a penny per use.

This is an excerpt from Ecothrify, which is in bookstores -- or you can order an autographed copy directly from me!


  1. Great recipes Deb. I make a salt scrub for my mail lady who leaves the empty container in my mailbox for refills! Please don't tell the US Post as she is a great mail lady and farm customer.

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