DIY Sugar Scrubs for Face and Body
It’s no secret that sugar isn’t great for our bodies. The average American consumes 20 teaspoons of sugar daily and between 150-170 pounds of sugar every year! Excess sugar consumption is linked to high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and is a major factor in heart disease. That’s bad news for those of us with a sweet tooth, but while sugar may not be ideal to put inside your body, it can work wonders for the health of your skin! A simple DIY sugar scrub is a great way to organically beautify and revitalize your skin without resorting to expensive treatments. Read on to discover the natural skin benefits of sugar and some of the best DIY sugar scrubs to add to your beauty routine.
Why Your Skin Will Love a Sugar Scrub
Still not sure if you’re ready to slather on the sweet stuff? Here are a few surprising ways that sugar is great for your skin.
We all know that exfoliation is key to a smooth, even complexion. But many commercially produced exfoliators use harsh, abrasive ingredients that do more harm than good. Even if your skin isn’t especially sensitive, using an overly coarse exfoliator can leave it looking and feeling tight, red and irritated. The key to properly exfoliating your skin is to gently remove dead skin cells to encourage cell turnover and make way for new, healthy cells. Sugar is an ideal exfoliator because it is a natural source of glycolic acid, which helps to break down and gently remove flaky, dry skin with just the right amount of abrasion, leaving skin feeling smooth and refreshed.
Sometimes a simple bar of soap just doesn’t cut it when it comes to having clean skin. The buildup of excess dirt and oils means that even after washing our face and body, blemish-causing bacteria often remains deep in our pores. As a natural, effective exfoliator, sugar can effectively clean what the average soap or cleanser leaves behind, keeping stubborn acne at bay and allowing for a clear, flawless complexion.
One of the best things about sugar is that it is a natural humectant. Rather than artificially hydrating dry skin like many topical moisturizers, sugar pulls moisture from the environment into your skin, leaving it naturally hydrated deep within, even after you wash the scrub off. And no need to worry about your skin feeling too oily or too dry: because sugar contains alphy-hydroxy and glycolic acid, it helps to naturally balance your skin’s pH and keep it looking healthy and radiant at all times.
It’s pleasantly surprising to learn that you have the ingredients for effective skin care in your own pantry! We all want the best for our skin, and sometimes that means shelling out the big bucks for the latest and greatest product to hit the beauty market. But when you can combine a few simple, natural ingredients—including plain old sugar—to create a sweet-smelling product that actually works, that’s something to get excited about!
10 Amazing Sugar Scrubs for your Face & Body
There’s no shortage of sugar scrub recipes out there in the blogosphere: a simple Google search will yield countless results. It’s hard to know which recipes are effective and which ones you should simply scroll past. We’ve compiled a list of ten sugar scrubs that use natural, nourishing ingredients, are easy to make and that are sure to help your skin look and feel beautiful from head to toe.
1. Lemon & Sugar Scrub
- 1/2 fresh lemon
- 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon organic honey
- 1 medium sized container with lid
Combine lemon juice and olive oil into a bowl and mix together. Add raw honey and stir to a medium-thick consistency. If it’s too thick, add a bit more honey; too thin, add more olive oil. Finally, add in the sugar and mix it all together. Store in an airtight container.
Bonus benefits. Lemon is packed with Vitamin C and will help to lighten up your complexion and reduce the appearance of dark spots. It’s also naturally astringent and cleansing, so it will aid in tightening pores, reducing their appearance and leaving you with a smooth, healthy glow.
2. Brown Sugar & Honey Scrub
- ½ cup Brown Sugar
- ½ cup raw honey
For this simple scrub, all you need to do is combine equal parts brown sugar and honey and mix to desired consistency. Store in a cool place in an airtight container.
Bonus benefits: Besides smelling (and tasting) delicious, honey possesses a trifecta of skin benefits. It’s a natural humectant, so it draws and locks in moisture to give you soft and supple skin all day long. Honey also contains antibacterial properties to fight acne-causing bacteria and prevent breakouts. Finally, the naturally occurring antioxidants in honey add an extra layer of protection from harmful free radicals, preventing premature wrinkles and age spots. Who knew honey was such a skin superstar?
3. Cucumber Sugar Scrub
- ¼ unpeeled cucumber (approx. 4 slices)
- ¾ cup white sugar
- 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
- 8-10 drops peppermint essential oil (optional)
In a blender or food processor, puree cucumber. Add the sugar and oil and blend until combined. If desired, stir in peppermint oil. Store in the fridge for maximum freshness.
Bonus benefits: We’ve all seen people place cucumber slices over their eyes while at a relaxing spa, right? Well, that’s because of their soothing nature. Using cucumber in a sugar scrub will help to calm irritated or sensitive skin while the sugar works to gently exfoliate and smooth rough spots. Peppermint essential oil gives a pleasant scent to create a relaxing and refreshing spa-like experience in your own home!
4. Coconut-Lime Sugar Scrub
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 1 cup white sugar
- Juice and zest from one lime
- 5 drops of coconut essential oil (optional)
Place the coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl and melt it. Add in sugar, lime juice, zest and coconut essential oil and stir until completely combined. Store in an airtight container.
Bonus benefits: Coconut oil is a skin-friendly ingredient that is showing up in more and more beauty products. Besides smelling great, it boasts powerful anti-aging and moisturizing properties. By plumping out wrinkles and increasing elasticity, coconut oil gives you a natural, youthful glow. Not only that, but it’s antifungal and antibacterial and can fend off unwanted breakouts and blemishes.
5. Chocolate Sugar Lip Scrub
- 3 Tablespoons white sugar
- 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
- 1 small drizzle honey
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl to create a paste. Thicken or thin to desired consistency with additional olive oil or sugar. Keep in a covered container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. To apply, gently apply the scrub to lips and let sit for up to 5 minutes. Rinse with warm water and follow with petroleum jelly or lip balm.
Bonus benefits: Don’t forget, your lips need some love too! If you can resist the delicious taste of this chocolatey scrub, your lips will thank you! Cocoa powder not only tastes yummy, it also is a great way to naturally detox and repair damaged skin cells. Your lips will feel conditioned and moisturized after using this delicious scrub.
6. Lip-plumping Cinnamon Sugar Scrub
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 Tablespoon raw honey
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an enclosed container. To use daily, wet your finger and rub scrub onto lips. Leave on for about 2 minutes and rinse thoroughly with warm water. Follow with your favorite lip balm.
Bonus benefits: The honey in this recipe has antiseptic and healing properties, so kiss your dry, cracked lips goodbye and say hello to a nourished, moisturized smile. One of the most common spices in just about anyone’s cupboard, cinnamon acts as a mild irritant to stimulate blood flow to the lips, giving them a fuller and rosier appearance. You’ll love its natural boosting effect to help plump up your pout.
7. Brown Sugar & Almond Oil Scrub
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup almond oil
- ½ teaspoon Vitamin E oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Blend all ingredients in a bowl and mix until fully combined. In a well-sealed container, this scrub will keep for up to 2 months. Keep it handy in your bathroom to use it while you shower or bathe.
Bonus benefits: Almond oil is great for cooking, but it also can work wonders for your skin. It’s been used as a beauty aid for many years, due to its deeply hydrating and nourishing nature. It’s hypoallergenic and very mild, so those with sensitive skin and who may suffer from dry skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema can find relief form almond oil. It’s also a good source of vitamin E, so it is essential to maintaining healthy, younger-looking skin. Combining this beneficial oil with the gentle exfoliating power of brown sugar leaves skin feeling soft and supple.
8. Maple Pumpkin Sugar Scrub
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/8 cup maple syrup
- 1/8 melted coconut oil
Combine all ingredients in a bowl; mix well. Store in the refrigerator in a mason jar or other closed container for up to a month.
Bonus benefits: Pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween! The popular fall gourds contain a ton of alpha hydroxyl acids (AHAs), which encourage rapid cell turnover for stronger, healthier skin. This makes pumpkin the perfect ingredient for this scrub recipe because as the sugar sloughs off unwanted dead skin cells, the pumpkin can encourage new ones to grow more quickly in their place. To add to that, Vitamin A within the pumpkin puree boosts collagen production and firms up sagging or aging skin.
9. Orange + Clove Sugar Scrub
- 1 cup sugar (brown or white)
- 1/8 cup coconut oil
- 10-15 drops clove essential oil
- 10-15 drops orange essential oil
Melt coconut oil and combine with all other ingredients in a small bowl. Mix until desired consistency is reached—add more oil to thin, more sugar to thicken. Store in a cool, dry place, or in the shower in a tightly covered container.
Bonus benefits: You’ll love the smell of this invigorating sugar scrub. The addition of clove and orange essential oils will help to brighten and tone your skin from head to toe and leave it smelling amazing!
Baking soda + Brown Sugar Foot Scrub
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon baking soda
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
You probably always have the ingredients for this scrub on hand, so it can be made in a pinch right before you take a shower. Combine equal parts brown sugar, baking soda, and olive oil in a small bowl and mix well. Scrub the mixture all over your feet using a washcloth or foot file, paying special attention to your heels and any rough spots before rinsing well with warm water.
Bonus benefits: Although this scrub is meant for use on your feet, it’s a great way to smooth out any other especially rough spots on your body, like elbows, hands, or knees. The baking soda acts as an extra exfoliator to tackle any stubborn calluses, while olive oil naturally moisturizes and softens dried or cracked skin.
For more sugar scrub recipes, check out this video from Kendra Atkins:
Try DIY for Skin TLC
Our skin has an important job to do—it’s our first defense against the elements and we want it to look and feel great. The next time your skin needs a little extra love, ditch the expensive store-bought scrubs and give DIY a try.
p.s. TLC stands for "tender loving care!"