How to Make Homemade Scrubs
Ever wanted to know how to make homemade scrubs? This simple bath and body tutorial will tell you how to make homemade scrubs for yourself or to sell and how to size them perfectly from the start to fit into your desired container! Whether you’re making homemade body scrubs, facial scrubs or homemade salt or sugar scrubs this DIY will get you started.
How to make homemade scrubs from scratch.
While you don’t have to have a digital scale to make your own homemade scrubs, it’s highly recommended that you buy one. A digital scale will especially come in handy if you want to recreate your homemade scrub recipes exactly or want to make a large batch to fill multiple same size containers of your choosing either to sell or as DIY wedding favors for example.
I also find that using graduated transfer pipettes comes in handy when you need to measure out essential oils or fragrances in small quantities. You can use a digital scale for this as well, but there will be times when you need to switch to smaller increments of measure, like grams rather than ounces for smaller sized scrubs. Graduated transfer pipettes allow for accurate liquid measurements when using the weight of a product doesn’t quite work, for example, if the amount of essential oil you’re using is less than a gram.
What to do.
1. Begin by choosing your container. For my homemade scrubs recipes that were created for this article I used an 8 oz. plastic low profile jar with a straight sided lid. Pantry jars also work great for homemade scrubs!
2. Determine the dry ingredients you’ll be using for your scrub. This may include sugar, cosmetic salts, pumice powder, ground walnut shell powder, apricot kernel meal, poppy seeds, etc. – ingredients that would be used for exfoliation. You may also want to include other ingredients like powdered flower botanicals or cosmetic clays for their skin care properties. You can also use things like activated charcoal powder for acne prone skin.
3. If you are using two dry ingredients in equal quantity, fill your container you’ve chosen half way with the first dry ingredient. Place a large glass bowl onto your digital scale and hit tare. Now fill the glass bowl with dry ingredient number one. Record how much this ingredient in the amount poured into your bowl weighs in your unit of choice – either ounces or grams – on paper for your recipe.
4. Repeat step three for your second dry ingredient hitting tare on your scale before adding the next ingredient so you can record the amount used. (Likewise if you want three equal ingredients roughly fill the container you are using one third of the way with each ingredient. Or for two thirds one ingredient and one third another, it would work the same way.)
5. Now choose the oil(s) you’d like to use for your homemade scrub recipe. You’ll want to choose the oils that have the skin care properties you’re looking for in your final body scrub. If you don’t want a homemade scrub that leaves a heavy or oily feeling residue on your skin after rinsing, the opt for dry oils like fractionated coconut oil, hemp seed oil, and rosehip seed oil. Or combine a dry oil with a lesser amount of a heavier oil, like olive. You can also choose to use part or all cosmetic butters depending on your personal preferences.
If you are using a butter or butters, melt the butter(s) first separately in different containers.
Hit tare on your scale. Now slowly pour the oil(s) or butter(s) of your choice into the dry ingredients one at a time, whisking with a fork as you go.
6. Once you pour and mix the first ingredient in, record the weight of that ingredient. Press tare on the digital scale and add your second oil or butter, whisking as you go. Record the amount of oil or butter used.
7. Repeat the process of adding and recording the amount of oil and/or butter used until your scrub reaches your desired consistency.
8. Now tally the weight of all of the ingredients used so far. This will determine the amount of fragrance oil or essential oil you’ll need to scent your scrub.
If you are using a fragrance oil to scent your homemade scrub recipe be sure to first choose a skin safe fragrance oil. Follow the supplier’s information on the maximum safe usage for using the fragrance oil in your scrubs. For most fragrance oils I would recommend using up to 3% of your total product weight in fragrance oil. So if your scrub weighs 10 oz., you would multiply 10 x .03 for .3 oz. of fragrance oil. Use less for a lighter scent or the max for a heavier fragrance.
For essential oils you’d also need to follow manufacturer guidelines. You will also use a lesser amount of essential oils as they are more potent. I recommend not exceeding 1 – 1.5% of essential oil(s). Or a good rule of thumb for small batches is up to 12 drops per ounce. This is where your graduated transfer pipettes come in handy for smaller scrub recipes. 20 drops of essential oil is equal to about 1 mL. For a 10 oz. scrub you can use up to 120 drops of essential oil or 6 mL essential oil. 1% of 10 oz. is .1 oz. essential oil (.01 x 10=.1) and 1.5% is .15 oz. (.015 x 10=.15) essential oil. When adding your essential oil in mL also be sure to tare out the weight on your scale first so you can record the weight in case you are wanting to make a much larger batch down the road. This will allow you to easily double, triple or even quadruple your recipe and get the exact same homemade scrub recipe no matter how you scale it.
9. Whisk your choice of fragrance oil or essential oil into your homemade scrub until it’s fully incorporated, then spoon the final scrub into the container of your choice.
10. Now simply screw the lid on your homemade scrub and label as desired!
A few tips and notes.
Should you choose to use water based products in your homemade scrub recipe in lieu of some of the oil – such as aloe vera gel – add it the same as you would the oil(s) or melted butter(s) in step 5. However, keep in mind that when using any sort of water based product in your homemade scrub recipe, you MUST use a preservative.
You can help extend the shelf life of the oils in your scrub by adding antioxidants like rosemary extract or vitamin E oil. Keep in mind antioxidants will NOT preserve your homemade scrubs or prevent the growth of bacteria, mold or fungus that can thrive in products where water is introduced. Antioxidants will only help to prevent your oils from going rancid. Despite popular myth, grapefruit seed extract does not take the place of a proper preservative. In addition, ingredients like tea tree oil – which is naturally anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral also should not be used in lieu of a proper preservative as for it to be effective it would have to be used in quantities much higher than what is considered skin safe.
Keep in mind that some essential oils can cause skin irritation or sensitivity or should not be used by women who are pregnant. Be sure to fully research all of your essential oils you intend to use so you are informed and what is safe for the intended recipient.
Ready for some homemade scrub recipes?
Here are two easy homemade scrub recipes to help get you started. The first is a simple four ingredient scrub formulated by my amazing day job co-worker, Samantha. She chose rosehip seed oil for her homemade scrub recipe as it left her skin feeling soft but not greasy after use. It was scented with a vanilla & fig fragrance oil but, of course, you can choose your own favorite fragrance.
The second I created with a sugar and salt combo and lightly scented with the fresh fragrance of lemongrass and basil. This homemade scrub is the same one pictured in this tutorial in the first two photographs.
Vanilla & Fig Sugar Scrub Recipe
Weigh out the dry ingredients, using a digital scale, into a glass bowl. Mix with a fork.
Now weigh out the rosehip seed oil and fragrance oil and whisk into the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined.
Spoon into an 8 oz. container of your choice.
Lemon & Basil Body Scrub Recipe
Using a digital scale, weigh out the Epsom salt and sugar into a glass bowl. Mix with a fork.
Next weigh out the rosehip seed oil (or other carrier oil of your choice) and whisk into the dry ingredients until fully coated.
Using a clean graduated transfer pipette for each essential oil, measure out the lemongrass and sweet basil essential oils and whisk in the scrub.
Now spoon the body scrub into an 8 oz. container of your choice.
For even more of my homemade body scrub recipes, visit Rebecca’s Soap Delicatessen here. You can also follow me on Pinterest for collections of my favorite bath and beauty recipes from around the web.
(Psst. You can find the clear square glass candle jar featured in my top scrub photograph at SKS Bottle & Packaging here.)