How do I Choose the Best Body Scrub Recipe?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

The best body scrub recipe is one that is perfectly formulated for the area of the body where it will primarily be used and the type of skin that it is treating. A body scrub that will regularly be used on the feet, for example, should be made with a very strong exfoliant that can help to remove dead skin and thick callouses from the feet. One for the upper body and more delicate skin areas should be made with milder ingredients. If the product will be used on skin that is sensitive or is shaved on a regular basis, such as the legs, it is important to use a recipe that is made without salt, which can irritate the skin.

A sea salt body scrub.
A sea salt body scrub.

Two exfoliants that are often used in body scrubs are salt and sugar. For more delicate areas, a body scrub recipe should be made with an ingredient that has small crystals, such as table salt or white sugar. For areas of the body that need more intense exfoliation, sea salt or crushed rock sugar can be used. In some cases, multiple crystal sizes may be best.

A body scrub.
A body scrub.

Once the exfoliant has been chosen, the oil must be chosen for the recipe. The most common oils that are used in body scrubs are olive oil, almond oil, and jojoba oil. The choice between these three oils usually comes down to preferred scent. Depending on the quality of the olive oil, the smell of olives will range from light to intense. Almond oil usually has a sweet smell. Jojoba oil smells faintly of soap.

Coffee beans can be ground and added to a homemade body scrub.
Coffee beans can be ground and added to a homemade body scrub.

The two essential ingredients in a body scrub recipe are the exfoliant — the sugar or salt — and the emollient, which comes in the form of one of the oils described above. People who prefer to use body products with as little scent as possible may prefer a recipe with only these two ingredients. For those who like to scent their bath products, essential oils can be added to the recipe.

Lavender is a popular addition to body scrubs due to its pleasant, relaxing scent.
Lavender is a popular addition to body scrubs due to its pleasant, relaxing scent.

Common oils that are added to body scrub are vanilla, lavender, rosemary, lemon, and jasmine. These oils all have different aromatherapeutic properties. When choosing a scent, consider both personal preference of fragrances and the different benefits that the oils can offer. It is also nice to blend the oils to create a signature scent.

Almond oil is a popular ingredient in body scrubs.
Almond oil is a popular ingredient in body scrubs.
Olive oil, when combined with sugar or sea salt, makes an inexpensive yet effective homemade body scrub.
Olive oil, when combined with sugar or sea salt, makes an inexpensive yet effective homemade body scrub.
Sensitive skin may respond well to a white sugar scrub because it is a less harsh exfoliator than salt.
Sensitive skin may respond well to a white sugar scrub because it is a less harsh exfoliator than salt.
Table salt can be used in scrubs made for more delicate areas like the face.
Table salt can be used in scrubs made for more delicate areas like the face.
Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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Discussion Comments


My favorite body scrub recipe has coconut oil, brown sugar and vanilla essence. It smells divine! I love using this after a long day at work or a tiring weekend, it's so relaxing and almost has a therapeutic effect.

No matter which ingredients you're using, I think you should add an extract or essence for the scent as well. You can make different ones based on your mood. For example, you can add mint essence for a refreshing, awakening effect or lavender for a total relaxation. It's like a scrub and aromatherapy in one!

When you use my recipe with brown sugar though, use it only once a week. The first time I made this, I used it three days in a row and my skin was literally flaking off. It was too much! Now I do it once a week or once in two weeks and it works great.


@LisaLou-- I guess it depends on which ingredients you're using, but the ones I've made with oatmeal and coarse salt have lasted for a really long time. You can keep it closed in a bottle for months, it doesn't require refrigeration.

But I personally think it's better to make it in small amounts and use it right away. That way you can also try different recipes and see which you like best. If you have a favorite, then you can make more and bottle it for long-term use.

I think you could also buy preservative ingredients you can include in the scrub if you want to extend it's life. I've never used any, but it's an option.


@LisaLou-- If salt and sugar is too rough for your skin, you can use ground coffee as well. I just mix ground coffee with some kind of oil- usually olive oil or coconut oil and just rub it on my skin. I do this several times a week before a bath or during my shower and it's great. It exfoliates and also moisturizes.

I used to use sugar but I felt that it was too rough on my skin, so I switched to ground coffee which is much better. You can also use certain fruit seeds like papaya seeds or thickly ground spices like turmeric.

Olive oil and ground turmeric is a great scrub for the face. It's gentle and it helps prevent acne because turmeric has antiseptic properties.

I don't like including too many ingredients in my olive oil body scrub recipe. It's not necessary and consumes more time.


Does anyone know of a good oatmeal body scrub recipe that a man could use?

My doctor has suggested that I start using an oatmeal body scrub to help with my eczema, as my skin is so sore and dry it is driving me nuts. I know the doctor tries to help me with medication and creams, but I really want to start finding some natural solutions to my problems.

From what I have been reading oatmeal is supposed to be great for troubled skin. Unfortunately the oatmeal scrubs I have seen in the stores have been really expensive and I can't afford them right now.


@Mae82 - If you need a great bath scrub you can follow my favorite sea salt body scrub recipe. All you need is some Baleine sea salt, about a cup is great. Just add that to a bowl. Next up is to add a 1/2 cup of a massage oil that you really like. I would suggest that if you have dry, itchy skin that you use sweet almond oil, as it does a great job of providing relief to sore skin.

Lastly add in some essential oil in whatever scent strikes your fancy. You can use around 5-15 drops depending on how strong you want your aroma to be. I prefer to use rosemary as it stimulates my skin. Mix everything well and your scrub is ready to go.


What is the easiest way to make a sea salt scrub?

I have been getting really dry skin during the winter and feel like I need a good salt body scrub recipe to fix up my legs so they don't look so flaky. I find that when my legs are too dry they make putting on panty hose a nightmare. Nothing is worse than trying to pull silk over dry skin.

In addition to just a good exfoliation, I really need something added to my salt scrub that will take some of the itchiness out of my dry skin. I am constantly scratching and it is starting to drive me crazy.


@LisaLou - I have a yummy natural body scrub recipe that uses sugar. This is really easy to make and will leave your skin feeling very soft and smooth.

All I do is mix together 1/2 cup of white sugar, brown sugar and 1/3 cup of oil. Use can use any type of oil you have on hand - olive oil works just as well as any of them. You may need to use a little bit more oil depending on the consistency you want.

Depending on what you have, you can also use just one kind of sugar. I just like the blend of both sugars in this scrub.

Add some liquid Vitamin E either from a bottle or from capsules, and about a teaspoon of vanilla. If I have honey on hand, I also squeeze in a little bit of that.

This does not need to be refrigerated, but is best if used up in a short time. The recipe is easy to cut in half if you just want to start out with a little bit.


I am looking for an easy sugar body scrub recipe. I have used body scrubs with coarse salt, but am looking for something that is not as abrasive.

I have seen body scrubs in some retail stores and salons, and think it would be a lot nicer to make them myself.

How soon do scrubs like these need to be used up, and do they need to be kept in the refrigerator?


Making your own body scrubs can be inexpensive and they make fantastic gifts. Every time I give a body scrub as a gift, it is always received well.

I use either almond oil or apricot kernel oil, sea salt, and like to scent mine with essential oils. Lavender makes a great one to use after a bath or shower right before bed.

This can help you relax and fall asleep easier. I usually include my homemade body scrub recipe and a candle or book along with the body scrub.

When many friends realize how easy they are to make, they will start to make their own from the recipe that I include with their gift.

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