how to: make homemade sugar scrub.

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This year for Christmas we’re doing a little less of everything. A little more homemade, a lot less commercial. My kids are getting a small smattering of presents {and I do mean small} and Viktor and I are keeping the gifts between us pretty basic and practical. I already bought myself the camera I wanted, the only thing left on my list is every available song from the Glee Soundtrack.

But I digress.

My point was that we’re keeping it simple. I’m not buying anything for friends and family, everything is going to be handmade. And I thought to myself *self, if you were getting a homemade present from someone, what would you want it to be?*, and the answer was obvious: sugar scrub. I’m easy to please.

I set about trying different ingredients from my kitchen to make a sugar scrub and I think I’ve found just the right combination. It’s only 4 ingredients, and one of them is optional.



So, let’s get started. This, by the way, is a fun craft to do with your kids. Mine are starting to get cabin fever and I’m needing every possible craft to keep them from killing each other on these dark, cold, winter days. Sugar scrub is a good activity. But I have to warn you, if you have someone like my Charming in your house, you’ll end up with sugar all. over. the. floor.

You need:

White Sugar
Brown Sugar

Olive Oil
Vanilla {totally optional, but yummy}

{notes: I dabbled with Baby Oil but the smell is pretty strong, and not everyone is as enamored with the baby smell as myself. I vote Olive Oil, which you can pick up at the dollar store}

Step 1: Find a container for the scrub

The sky is the limit, really. This is a washed-out container I’m recycling which actually held Trader Joe’s sugar scrub in its former life. I’m also using small Mason jelly jars and making lids out of scrapbook paper. Whatever you have on hand will do, thriftiness is the name of the game here.



Step 2: Measure Some Brown Sugar

You want your sugars to be equally mixed, so find out how much the container you’re using will hold and then measure equal amounts of sugars to fill.



Step 3: Add White Sugar


Step 4: Mix

This is a good job for small boys who are in danger of being thrown into a snowbank outside because of their wild ways. I’m projecting a little here, stay with me.

It should look like this when you’re done. You can use an electric mixer if you like, but I prefer child slave labor myself.

Step 5: Add to container

You could use a funnel if you’re organized, but I just used my measuring cups and it all worked out okay.

Isn’t it pretty? Fill it pretty full, the oil will tamper it down a lot and you don’t want to give a half-empty jar to your girlfriends, it’s tacky.

Step 6: Add Oil

This step requires patience. Pour it in and let it bubble down to the bottom, then pour in a little more, and so on and so forth. Mix it around with a spoon if you need to {I did}, it will speed up the process.

It looks like layers of sediment, doesn’t it? I kind of like it at this stage, the different colors add texture.


Step 7: Mix again

See how I’ve mixed it up with a spoon? At this point you can add more sugar and more oil until you’re happy with the result. Your happiness is paramount in all this, and don’t you forget it.


{Optional} Step 8: Add Vanilla

Since it’s optional I didn’t take photos. But, adding Vanilla adds a delicious scent. You can also add an essential oil if you’re so inclined, I might in my next batch.

Step 9: Dress it up

Add a bow for heaven’s sake, it’s Christmas. I got the ribbon at the Dollar Store, several spools in every color. Tie a nice little bow and you’re done. Isn’t it adorable?

I want one.

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Allison

Well, hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. We do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, crazy home remodel projects, and cool (yes, cool) DIY crafts you'll totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!

81 Comments

  1. kim @ mommyknows :

    I think I might add a little peppermint oil for a tingling feeling.

    • Allison :

      Oooh, I love that tingling feeling.

      :)

  2. Emily :

    I love this idea. I think that I will totally do this for all my friends. I dont' have much money this year…and I was so sad taht I wasn't going to get them anything…but this just might be the ticket. Thanks so much!

    • Allison :

      This exactly what I love about it. I had all this stuff in my pantry!

  3. Sarah :

    Love this. I have also seen people put oils like lavender, chamomile, peppermint, etc for scent.
    I think I will be making this. Can I put something in my own stocking?

    • Allison :

      I love the idea of lavender. I need all the calming I can get in my life.

  4. Petit Elefant :

    sue-donym,

    Mineral oil, yes! Thank you.

    Erin,

    Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

    kim,

    I love that idea. Peppermint oil is perfect for this season.

    Emily,

    As a girl, you really couldn't please me more than giving me a jar of homemade sugar scrub, and I mean that very seriously. You just won the golden ticket!

    Sarah,

    I'll definitely be making a batch with Lavender, perfect to use just before bed.

    p.s. I add things to my own stocking every year, Santa doesn't mind.

  5. sue-donym :

    What a great idea!

    You could also use mineral oil. No smell.

    • Allison :

      You’re brilliant like that Sue.

  6. Debbie Barr :

    I just made it, and I really like how soft my hands feel (success!) but I'm not a huge fan of the olive oil scent that I just couldn't mask, despite quite a bit of vanilla extract in. But after seeing Sue's comment, maybe I just need to try mineral oil…

  7. Debbie Barr :

    Also, I used dark brown sugar, and it was extra pretty. :)

  8. Erin :

    i had no idea making sugar scrub was so easy! thanks!

    • Allison :

      Seriously, I didn’t either until I did it. I always assumed it was for the tricky people.

  9. Laura Ferry-Jimenez :

    guess I know what I'll be buying tomorrow – my friends were going to get homemade jewelry, but not no more!!! thanks. :)

  10. Petit Elefant :

    Miranda,

    I'm doing other crunch-time crazy projects too. This one is so easy and fast it's almost criminal.

    Veeda,

    Thank you! Your story on DM yesterday was beautiful, I love your writing.

    Debbie,

    You definitely wouldn't have loved the batch I made with baby oil then! Mineral Oil it is. You can get Castor Oil as well.

    Laura,

    It's a great homemade gift, and so simple, your girlfriends will love you forever.

  11. Miranda :

    Dang…this is awesome. I'm hand making all of my gifts too! Maybe I should have decided to give everyone sugar scrub, because I'm in the middle of some crunch-time craziness right now.

  12. Veeda :

    I love sugar scrub. Fun tutorial!

  13. Terresa :

    Always wanted to make this stuff & now the secret is revealed! THanks for this post!

  14. marta :

    a.d.o.r.a.b.l.e.

  15. Marie {Make and Takes} :

    So easy it's ridiculous! My hands and feet are going to love you!! I think I'm going to make it for a girl cousin's retreat next week! They'll love it!

  16. Naomi :

    I actually bought a bunch of cute jars to do this with but haven't gotten around to it. Hmm.

  17. amy smart :

    I'm so glad you posted this! Some one gave me some of this stuff a few years ago and I've been wanting to concoct some ever since. Thanks!

  18. Petit Elefant :

    marta,

    Thank you! Also, easy, easy.

    Terresa,

    I'm sure there are a million variations, but this one is easy and uses ingredients in your kitchen so it's win-win!

    Amy,

    My kids are loving all my test batches, you can just whip it right up so fast! Glad you have the ingredients now to make it yourself!

    Marie,

    You could make this in your sleep. And make a Cricut tag to go on the outside with a ribbon!

    Naomi,

    Grab Roo, turn on some Christmas tunes and get to work! Seriously, you won't believe how easy, and fast.

    Natalie,

    I'm so glad you love it! Doesn't it smell divine?

  19. Natalie :

    Thanks so much for sharing this! I just threw some together and tested it out on my dry feet and hands only minutes later! What a fun idea, and because I used the suggested mineral oil and vanilla, it smells HEAVENLY!

  20. April Liewer :

    this is my new favorite blog. I want to be a cute crafty mommy too. Thanks for the recipe and all the awesomeness.

  21. Petit Elefant :

    April,

    What a sweet thing to say, thank you! I'm only crafty on good days, otherwise it's all just me.

  22. the mama monster :

    i just had to tell you that i was scrambling for gifts to take to the ladies i visit teach. when i saw your srcub i knew i had to make it. i added cinnamon and used mineral oil and they turned out yummy. i just used some in the shower and it worked so well and the smell is heaven. thanks!

  23. Petit Elefant :

    The Mama Monster,

    I'm so glad you tried it! Cinnamon is a really really good idea. Isn't it the yummiest?

  24. erin :

    My daughter and I made to body scrub and gave away on Christmas morn. to all the relatives. Loved it, and of course we made extra for us as well.

    • Allison :

      Oh I’m so happy you did!

  25. sup___gorgeous :

    this sounds silly. what is sugar scrub? and if I decide to make this how would i go on about using baby oil? i love the smell of babyoil.

    • Allison :

      Sugar scrub is an exfoliating scrub with moisturizer in it so you get it all done in one shot.

  26. Punctuation Mark :

    out the door to get the ingredients for some pampering this weekend!

    • Allison :

      You go!

  27. Giana :

    I love making sugar scrubs! I usually make my some for my mom every year. I'm going to try your recipe next time. I usually make mine with white sugar, vanilla, some yummy smelling tea and honey. Works great!

    • Allison :

      Honey, I totally need to add honey. :)

  28. Jenilee Holbert :

    I love this idea. Great for bday or mothers day gifts as well. I was wondering how long it lasted for? I would hate to give a huge jar to someone and it sits for a year and isnt good anymore. Just wondering!! Thanks!

    • Allison :

      It doesn’t last very long if you add vanilla, but I’ve had one at my kitchen sink for several months and it’s still good.

  29. Megan :

    Where did you get your cute little containers? I have five, literally, 5 friends who have had babies in the last month and a half. I think this would make a great "Welcome Home" gift for the mommies!

    • Allison :

      I used old mason jars and the little container is from an old lotion bottle I recycled.

  30. Claire :

    I just found your little blog and literally laughed out loud a number of times! I'm so excited to make this scrub and I'll be visiting your blog again!
    Claire

    • Allison :

      Claire,

      I’m so happy to hear it! Someone who understands my sense of humor.

  31. Christy :

    I think this would be pretty awesome with coconut oil, myself! :)
    Fantastic tutorial, thanks muchly! :D

    • Allison :

      Oh, I need to get some coconut oil, I hear it’s amazing for your skin!

      Glad you like the tutorials, I appreciate it.

  32. Alison@howdoesshe :

    Great!! You take wonderful pictures. I stumbled your post BTW!

    • Allison :

      Thank you so much Alison, I really appreciate it!

  33. rattimoth :

    its a gorgeous looking scrub and a great recipe.. if you don't add the vanilla, it will last indefinitely in a cool place.. but without a preservative (rosemary extract or optiphen) I wouldn't trust it more than a couple of months with vanilla or any other flavouring/essential oil in it, particularly in warmer climates.

    I do NOT write that to put your great scrub down.. its fabulous, and I am HUGE on home made, I just want to save some people the heartache of all that effort for something that might go bad :<

    Once you mix oil and any other liquid you NEED a preservative, so to prevent your family and friends opening a jar of mouldy scrub one day.. either leave out the flavouring (and lets face it, brown sugar smells GREAT!) or invest in a small jar of preservative.. look up soap supplies on the interwebs to find a seller in your own country.

    Seek peace

    Carol
    Chief Alchemist
    http://www.outbackpampering.com.au

    • Allison :

      Carol,

      thanks for all the great information, I really appreciate it! I think if I make smaller quantities with vanilla, I’ll be in good shape.

  34. PixieMuse :

    I've been making my own diy scrub kind of like this but never thought about putting it in a pretty jar(duh!), It looks so much more like a proper quality product in a jar with a bow!

    I wouldn't put mineral oil in it though, as I see some people say they do. Mineral oil is a by product of petroleum. Natural oils are so much healthier for skin, as they contain vitamins and anti oxidants and all sorts of good stuffs. Olive oil has tons of vitamin E, so it helps skin stay young!
    People who are concerned about the smell of olive oil can use sweet almond oil instead, as it hardly smells.

    • Allison :

      Almond oil I think is a really good solution!

      And doesn’t everything look better in a pretty jar? Totally.

  35. Anonymous :

    For the tingly feeling you can also use orange essential oil, and it smells great too.
    If you intend to recycle the container, don't use plastic since it absorbs the smell FOREVER, glass works fine.

    • Allison :

      What a great idea! I love the idea of all these different flavors of essential oils. Delicious.

  36. Anonymous :

    I just made this and loved it! it was great as a scrub and i didnt have to put on lotion afterwards because the oil mosturized my skin perfectly! thank you for this great idea!

    • Allison :

      Isn’t it delicious? So glad you like it.

  37. Emily G. :

    Ok, I'm a sugar scrub virgin. Is the idea that you get in the shower and get your skin damp before using?

    I kind of can't believe I have to ask … btw, I'm totally making this for my mom and MIL for Mother's Day, and end-of-the-year gifts for my sons' pre-K teachers. And, for all future teachers, I have a feeling.

    • Allison :

      You get wet, whether in the shower, or whether you keep it by the kitchen sink and do it to your hands after dishes.

      It scrubs and moisturizes at the same time. Miraculous.

    • Allison :

      Thanks so much, I appreciate it!

  38. keisha :

    hi! I really love this idea. It make me want to get started right away.

    • Allison :

      Do it, get started! You’ll love it.

  39. Michelle Hobson :

    I don’t recommend anyone using baby oil, or mineral oil (which is the main ingredient in baby oil) when making body scrubs…It is a derivative from petroleum, and is very drying to the skin….!!

    • Allison :

      Thanks Michelle.

  40. Joann :

    You can always use almond oil–and it adds its own special qualities–love the blog, the recipes, and the information….

    • Allison :

      Thanks Joann! Really appreciate that. :)

  41. Shannon :

    This is such a wonderful, lightly written how-to! I loved it! You are too cute!

    • Allison :

      Thanks Shannon!

  42. Selena :

    Hey I love this and me and my sister really wanna try this but what are the exact measurements for each ingrediant? Please write back… thanks :)

    • Allison :

      Selena use a cup of each sugar, a cup of oil, and a tablespoon of vanilla.

  43. shannon Holtzen :

    Hello,
    going to be making scrubs for the females on my gift list,cant wait to get started(mainly cause im gonna get one too!) But i was wondering how early in advance can i make them?Thanks!

    • Allison :

      Don’t make them more than a week in advance, the oil breaks down pretty fast.

  44. Karen Algeri :

    Thank you SO MUCH for this easy recipe!!! I’ve made it twice for myself now, but I do plan to make it for Christmas gifts this year. It made my skin super soft. I used almond oil (not much of a scent) and peppermint oil. I also tried it with dark brown sugar, but that seemed to have a “molasses” scent that nearly overpowered the peppermint. Anyway, this is the best idea ever!!! Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!

    • Allison :

      Peppermint is such a good idea, I love it.

      Happy Holidays to you too!

  45. Lindy :

    I just found your site through Tip Junkie (I am totally making dry shampoo) wanted to comment here though cause I have been making lemon sugar scrubs this year and wanted to try a brown sugar one! Thanks for the recipe :)

  46. Maggie Lunsford :

    I made this scrub and it’s WONDERFUL! Since I’m so in love with it I decided to make a couple of jars for Christmas presents. I put the idea on my blog and gave you credit! Love it! Thanks for sharing!

  47. Monica :

    I just made this and instead of vanilla extract I used coconut extract….it was intoxicating!!! Thanks for such a wonderful idea…now 8even though it’s way after Christmas!!) I’m going to make more for the ladies at work whom I haven’t seen since Dec 15…and I didn’t know what to get them!!!

  48. Melissa :

    I’m really excited to do this with my daughter and her friend-they had a sleepover-perfect activity for 12 year olds! I also love your motherly comments throughout-I’m totally in sync with your thoughts!

  49. Candace Park :

    I absolutely love this! I’m 16 and prone to mild acne in my T-zone, so I was desperate and tried so many different cleansers. This is super cheap and leaves my skin so soft! My mom even steals it.

    Thanks So Much!