May 16, 2020 at 05:25PM
Ah, the body scrub: An important yet oft-overlooked step in your skin care routine. You might be familiar with the benefits of a regular exfoliating game, but body scrubs do more than slough off dead skin cells: They’re also great for encouraging circulation. Similar to dry brushing, scrubbing in circular motions can help rejuvenate your skin—a delicious feeling, especially if you’re sitting at a makeshift home desk all day.
And while there are plenty of market options to invest in, it’s actually quite easy to make your own luxurious blend at home. But the best part? Body scrubs take only minutes to make, perhaps the best project if you’ve just dipped your toe into the DIY waters. DIY newbies, this one’s for you:
How to make your own body scrub.
Every body scrub has two simple components: a physical exfoliant and an emollient. As long as you have those two, you can create a body scrub out of virtually anything (and mix-and-match as you please).
The physical exfoliant is perhaps the most important (after all, you’re primarily using the body scrub to exfoliate!). That said, take a peek into your kitchen and see if you have some granular ingredients on hand; those include sugar (both brown or white work well), coffee grounds, or salt (either coarse, medium, fine, or a mix). Choose your own adventure here—you can’t really go wrong.
In terms of the emollient, that’s typically a carrier oil (think olive oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, or grapeseed oil), as it provides moisturizing properties to the scrub. It’s also what helps give the body scrub its pasty consistency, according to Marisa Plescia, research scientist at clean beauty e-tailer NakedPoppy.
Once you have all the ingredients at the ready, the process takes just minutes:
- Place 1 cup of the physical exfoliant in a mixing bowl.
- Add in your carrier oil 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing in between additions.
- Keep adding tablespoons of oil until it forms that familiar paste. “Usually this will require between 3 and 6 tablespoons,” says Plescia.
- When it’s at the right consistency, feel free to slather it on immediately or store the mixture in a cool, dry area.
So you’ve got the basics down: 3 ways to spice it up.
Once you’ve got the basic recipe down, why not jazz it up with some fun add-ons? Like many other DIY projects, you can enhance the body scrub experience by adding in some extra good-for-you ingredients:
- For even extra exfoliation, Plescia recommends adding in a gentle chemical exfoliant to the mix. Opt for fruit enzymes, like pineapple or papaya—those naturally exfoliate the skin, plus they provide a hint of yummy fragrance. You can also add in a tiny bit (“A teaspoon or even less,” Plescia says) of apple cider vinegar, if you don’t have either of the aforementioned fruits. ACV is naturally full of AHAs, specifically lactic, citric, and malic acids, which can give your body scrub that chemical boost.
- For a more moisturizing experience, may we suggest adding in some honey? “Honey is a wonderful ingredient to add since it is a natural humectant, meaning it helps skin retain moisture,” Jana Blankenship, product formulator and founder of the natural beauty brand Captain Blankenship, explains. That said, if you’re facing some dry skin, you’ll want to have some honey on hand: Your scrub will lift dead skin cells and buildup while simultaneously locking in moisture.
- You can, of course, drop in some essential oils if you’re looking for a certain scent. Just be very careful with these, as a little definitely goes a long way: Essential oils can potentially cause some irritation when used at high levels.
Tips and warnings.
First up: If you’re using salt, make sure it’s not too harsh for your skin. “Coarse sea salt can be great for exfoliating rough feet but can be a bit too tough for more sensitive parts of the body,” says Blankenship. Plescia agrees: “Although a body scrub can lead to healthier and smoother skin, it can also cause some skin irritation and redness if you use physical exfoliants that are too coarse.” So you might want to stick with finer granules, especially if you have sensitive skin.
In terms of when to scrub, Blankenship mentions it’s best to use in the shower, especially before shaving. “Exfoliating before shaving will lead to the smoothest shave ever,” she adds. Just make sure to follow that exfoliation with another emollient (like a body oil or moisturizer) post-shower; for extra-soft skin, you’ll want to lock in the moisture right off the bat.
However, be mindful of how much you’re scrubbing. Feeling like a product formulator can be rather exciting (we get it—DIY projects can bring so much joy), but know your limits; scrubbing every time you shower can run the risk of irritation. “Overly frequent use or rubbing too hard can aggravate your skin,” Plescia says.
Finally, a word on storage: You’ll want to keep your body scrub in a dry place with a tight lid. While you might want to keep it in the shower (to easily dip your fingers in the jar whenever you please), Blankenship says exposing your scrub to water will easily lead to mold. As we know, a moist mixture can quickly become breeding ground for bacteria, especially all-natural formulas that don’t include any preservatives. That said, find a drier spot to store: “I like to scoop some into a small bowl and bring it in the shower with me,” Blankenship adds.
The DIY body scrub may be a simple venture, but there’s so much room for creativity (and room for trial and error, might we add). Feel like enhancing the exfoliation? Chuck in your AHAs. Looking for a sensory experience? Use coffee grounds as your granules and add in some vanilla oil for a spa-grade scrub. The possibilities are endless here—just make sure to always do a patch test before slathering on the mixture. The result should leave you with fresh, luminous skin, just in time for summer to roll around.
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