Homemade Body Scrub

Have you ever made body scrub? I hadn’t, until a few days ago, and now I’m embarrassed that I ever bought the stuff. Five minutes of mixing together ingredients already in my pantry and what do you know? A wonderful spa treatment, made completely of natural and organic ingredients, for literally pennies a jar. I confess that I’m already somewhat addicted to the lavender sea salt scrub: the salt makes your muscles really warm & tingly (great for those of us who have been spending long hours standing at the kitchen counter wrapping gifts), while the lavender scent relaxes and soothes and the sunflower oil leaves your skin baby soft. It’s quite wonderful, and while my original idea was simply to give these as gifts, I know now that I’ll be making body scrub for myself from now on.

I made three varieties, detailed below. I haven’t tried the avocado oil scrub yet, although it smells divine, very invigorating with grapefruit and bitter orange, and just a hint of lavender as a base note. The brown sugar & vanilla scrub smells just like a sugar cookie and is a softer grain for a milder scrub. The possibilites are nearly endless however: varieties of salt, sugar, oil and essential oil abound, so it is easy to formulate your perfect scrub. Each batch makes about one 6-ounce jar, so it is also easy to prepare tailor-made varieities for friends & family, and a small, pretty jar of scrub makes a great stocking stuffer.

I originally got the idea from a hand lotion recipe at A Sonoma Garden (more on that to come!) and then Googled around for body scrub recipes. They are all about as simple as can be;  I started off using this sugar scrub recipe from Petit Elefant.  This is really a nice little treat for the holidays, for yourself, or someone you love. Give it a try!


Brown Sugar & Vanilla Bean Scrub


  • 1/4 cup (1 and 1/2 oz) brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1 and 1/2 oz) white sugar (organic evaporated cane juice)
  • 3 tbsp (about 1 oz) raw sugar (organic turbinado)
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • seeds from 1 vanilla bean OR 1 and 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Avocado & Citrus Sea Salt Scrub


  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) fine-grained sea salt
  • 2 tbsp (about 1 oz) coarse Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  • about 10 drops bitter orange essential oil
  • about 7 drops grapefruit essential oil
  • 2 drops lavender essential oil

Lavender Sea Salt Scrub


  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) fine-grained sea salt
  • 2 tbsp (about 1 oz) coarse Kosher salt
  • 5 tbsp sunflower oil
  • about 15 drops lavender essential oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried lavender buds


  1. Add ingredients to a small bowl.  Mix well with a rubber spatula, kneading several times to fully hydrate the salt/sugar. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes, so oil can fully saturate the grains; mix again and adjust amount of oil or salt/sugar if necessary (you want a thick slurry; the scrub should hold together if you pick up a dollop in your hand, but should not be so wet that oil is dripping off of a handful). Smell and adjust essential oils as necessary. Package in a clean jar. Top with bow. Make someone’s day.


  1. Practically endless. There is a whole rack of essential oils available at most health food stores (and certainly plenty to choose from at Mountain Rose Herbs). There are also plenty of base oils to choose from: olive, grapeseed, sweet almond, walnut, safflower to name a few, not to mention varieties of sugar & salt.  Go wild.
  2. I imagine a peppermint essential oil version, with coarse sea salt, for a home-spa pedicure, and a coffee & chile pepper version, for stimulating circulation in tired muscles.


At room temperature, indefinitely. There are no preservatives in these scrubs, but with this high amount of sugar & salt, and not much else that can spoil, it seems unlikely that mold would become a problem. I’ll report back as I store these for longer.


Year round, but especially nice holiday gifts!


  1. Val

    Yum, thanks for this reminder. I haven’t done this in a while, nor have I made the equally easy salts, oils, or lip balm in a while. You might want to mention that these are more slippery than store-bought, but so much better!

  2. Kate

    I would love to do this with rosemary and grapefruit – but I have actual rosemary and grapefruit, not essential oils. Should I infuse the oil with the produce and then make the scrub? Can I incorporate grapefruit juice into this? Any thoughts?

    • Hi Kate,

      Infusing the oil sounds like a good idea: I would simmer the oil over very low heat, with rosemary & grapefruit rind, for about 5 min, then let sit overnight to steep.

      A scrub with minced rosemary & grapefruit zest would be pretty, but I would worry about shelf-life; can’t imagine it would last very long at room temp (although all that salt may preserve it for longer than I think). Ditto with the grapefruit juice I think.

      You could dry both rosemary leaves and grapefruit rind, mince finely and incorporate into a scrub (but you would sacrifice some intensity of aroma). You could also infuse the salt itself with rosemary by simply burying a few stems of rosemary in a jar of salt for a few days. Grapefruit rind might work as well; you could make up the scrub, bury grapefruit rinds in it for a few days (stored in the fridge) then pull out the rinds and store the scrub at room temp.

      Sounds wonderful – let us know how it goes!

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  4. i just found your blog and love this idea! i was wondering where you bought those jars? thanks and i’ve really been enjoying your blog.

    • Hi! Thank you for responding. I’ll have to keep an eye out at antique stores for jars from now on. Thank you for posting jars that can substitute for those ones and where to find them, it’s so helpful and I really appreciate it.

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  7. I have just had a go at this, well using this recipie as a base anyway. I used caster sugar as i thought it would be finer and kinder on my hands, i used grapeseed oil as i remember that being a good carrier oil for essential oils and added the lavender and lavender (dried) as i have lots of that due to stuffing felt hearts (for a little while atleast). I am hoping this is going to be successful and i plan to experiement between now and Christmas with lots of other varieties. Will be checking out your blog for other inspiring posts 🙂

  8. Melissa

    I really enjoy making my own custom salt/sugar scrubs! I just made a cocoa coffee brown sugar scub perfect for a morning pick me up “)

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  13. russ82

    Amazing. I’m definitely going to try this. I’m pretty sure my friends and family would love these. Thanks for sharing. What about the timing to prepare them? Let’s say I want to do this to give as Christmas gifts the 25th. When should I prepare them, when it’s the best time so they are ‘fresh’ by the time I give them? And for how long do you think you can store them without getting spoiled? Thanks for your advice! and all the best from Barcelona 🙂

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  15. syrliz

    can you put chillipeppers in a anti celilittis scrub.. i would think it will start blood running around the place it gets put on… i want to try it now…i will write later of it was a good idea..lol

    • I’d say caffeine – maybe finely ground coffee – would be a better bet. Most of the commercial anti-cellulite treatments (which, of course, have no real claims of working, fyi) include caffeine. And: coffee aroma in your morning shower! 🙂

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