How to Make Your Own Salt & Sugar Scrubs

regenerating salt scrubAs I mentioned in my post What’s the Big Deal with Bath Salts?, we have been sold the idea that we can only get awesome beauty benefits with store bought products. The real truth is that there are many bath and beauty products we can make ourselves with very simple ingredients.

Salt and sugar scrubs are no exception. They are one of the easiest beauty products to make yourself and you can probably throw some together with items in your kitchen right now! Salt or sugar scrubs make a great easy handmade gift. Simply buy some canning jars and create handmade labels and you have an easy luxurious gift.

I think of these scrubs as the ultimate in luxurious home body treatments. I once got an all over salt scrub at a local spa and it was a phenomenal experience. Now I can do them myself at home anytime I like.

How Salt & Sugar Scrubs Work

Basically the salt or sugar is exfoliating and whatever oil you include is moisturizing. Salt is rougher so it makes a wonderful foot scrub or scalp scrub. I use Epsom salt as a base for my salt foot scrubs because of it’s wonderful beneficial properties. Sugar is finer so it works well as a body scrub, and any sugar will do. I stay away from processed sugars in my food, but I use them regularly in my sugar scrubs. You can also mix salt and sugars together for a nice scrub with different textures.

Facial Scrubs

Your face is very sensitive, so be careful using scrubs on this delicate area. You could definitely use a sugar scrub on your face but rub gently and be sure the carrier oil and essential oils are all safe for use on your face. Stay away from any broken skin.

Carrier Oils

There are many great carrier oils out there. Extra virgin olive oil and grapeseed oil are probably the least expensive and easiest to find, but both have a distinctive smell. I like to use grapeseed in my foot scrubs because it contains antioxidants. Grapeseed is a great shaving oil as well because it’s not too thick.

Jojoba is my favorite face or body oil because it’s the closest to our own body’s oil so it absorbs very easily into your skin. Jojoba is more expensive than some of the other carrier oils, so I like to use it mainly in my face oils.

Sweet almond oil is also a great body or face oil that doesn’t leave an oily feeling behind. Since it is a nut byproduct, it can activate allergies. Sweet almond is great for baby massage oil, but I discontinued using it in baby products for fear of activating allergies.

Coconut oil also makes a fantastic body oil, but it is solid at room temperature. Simply put the coconut oil in a bowl of warm water or put it in a double boiler on very low heat to get it into a liquid form before adding to your scrubs. Coconut oil is what I primarily use as a hair oil and body moisturizer. I use it in scrubs to add depth and texture.

There are several other great carrier oils that can be used in salt or sugar scrubs. Avocado, apricot kernel, macadamia nut, sunflower, safflower, palm and hazelnut are a few other commonly used oils.

Essential Oils in Your Scrubs

Essential oils are a wonderful addition to your scrubs because they mask the scent of the carrier oils and they add a nice aroma. Many essential oils can be irritating to your skin, so do a little homework and start with small amounts.

Lavender is a good essential oil that is safe for most people. I’d definitely recommend it as a staple in your essential oil collection. I like to use peppermint in many of my handmade products. Peppermint has a nice fragrance and gives your skin a tingly feeling. It’s invigorating! Rosemary is another nice invigorating oil.

There are also some wonderful citrus scents (such as lime, lemon, sweet orange, orange, bergamot, grapefruit) that are not expensive and add a nice smell to handmade scrubs. Please be careful with citrus oils though, because they do cause your skin to be photosensitive (overly sensitive to the sun). I love citrus oils, but often use them in foot scrubs or hand scrubs rather than body scrubs for that reason.


purifying sugar scrubDIY SUGAR OR SALT SCRUBS


1 cup of Salt or Sugar

4 TBSP of Carrier Oil (See above suggestions)



Essential Oil (10-20 drops)

Ground Dried Flowers (Approximately 1 tsp – messy but nice) – I like to match up my flowers with my essential oils

Coffee or Cocoa Powder (1tsp) – This can get a little messy but both coffee and cocoa powder are a great additive in scrubs, and they add a nice smell.

Colors/Dyes - Many store-bought scrubs contain artificial dyes which I stay away from. I use natural dyes for my products whether for personal use or to sell. I love using fine Himalayan pink salt in my salt scrubs for the texture as well as the pink color. I also use approximately 1/2 tsp beet root powder in my Christmas and Valentine’s Day salt/sugar scrubs to add color.

Honey – Honey is a great additive in homemade scrubs. It’s wonderfully soothing to skin and highly antibacterial.

Extracts – Extracts are a good way to add scent without breaking the bank. Vanilla essential oil is quite pricey so I like to make brown sugar vanilla scrub with a mixture of vanilla essential oil as well as vanilla extract.



*NOTE: Water is alive, so if you get water into your scrubs, you are creating a breeding ground for bacteria. You can also use fresh flowers and fresh juices if you are using your scrubs immediately, but any fresh ingredients will rot so keep that in mind.



Smooth onto feet or body in a circular motion, focusing on rough areas. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.

Your skin will be left feeling soft and moisturized. Your tub will be left slippery so be sure to clean it out well!


I purchase most of my containers from Sunburst Bottle. Most companies that sell glass bottles require large minimum purchases, but Sunburst does not. Their shipping prices for me (from West to East coast of US) are very high (sometimes shipping is as much or more than my orders), but even with the added cost of shipping their prices still beat anywhere local.

You can easily re-purpose glass containers of your own, but you will want to replace the lids. I like to re-use spaghetti sauce jars, pickle jars and other similar containers. Just wash the container then boil in water to sterilize. Be sure the container is completely dry before putting any other products in it.

Check out my current sugar scrubs and salt scrubs for sale or make your own and tell me about it in the comments!


* All information is for educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

About Toni South

I am a mom who has become a fanatic about handmade bath and beauty products after much research into the toxic chemicals that I was surrounding myself with. I am striving to educate others as I learn myself. I'm an experimenter, learner and teacher!

5 Responses to How to Make Your Own Salt & Sugar Scrubs

  1. Angela October 29, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

    What do you use to preserve ingredients and I heard there is a liquid you can put in the product so if it gets wet in shower it wont grow bacteria. Do you use it in your products? Thanks Angela

    • Toni South October 30, 2013 at 4:02 pm #

      Hi Angela, the preservative is a sticky issue for me and the reason I haven’t done lotions or anything with water other than for my own personal use. On the scrubs, I always tell people to be sure and keep water out of it, and that it’s best to use a scoop or spoon instead of dirty hands. Personally I keep my scrub in the shower so it ends up getting water in it, but I go through it pretty quickly so I haven’t had issues with mold yet. The problem with preservatives is that there is no such thing (yet) as a natural preservative, only synthetic ones. Most of the preservatives out there have some really questionable effects to say the least which is why I stay away from parabens, phthalates, etc. You can put an antioxidant like rosemary extract ( or vitamin e ( in products to make them last a little longer, but they won’t act as a true preservative. I’ve made some small batches of lotions and other water based products, but I keep them in the fridge to make them last longer. I’ve used both vitamin e and rosemary extract in products.

  2. Mandy December 2, 2014 at 10:06 am #

    What is a natural way of dying the salt or sugar scrub either a light green or an orange color or yellow? Just to make it match the essential oils that I am going to be putting in it?

    • Toni South January 11, 2015 at 10:51 pm #

      Hi Mandy,
      Annatto infused oil will give you a yellow-orange color. You could use a clay to get a light green color like French Green, but it won’t be a true green – more like a brownish green. Spirulina infused oil would also give you a green tint!


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