Saturday, January 25, 2014

DIY Sugar Scrub

Whether you are stuck with colder or warmer than typical weather this winter, I bet many of you are suffering the same difficulty I always face this time of year--- dry skin. I always had normal to oily skin growing up but as I've aged (and moved to less temperate climates) I have found that winter tends to play havoc with my skin. It feels dry and rough and I look like I'm starting to transform into an alligator. It's itchy and uncomfortable and over-the-counter lotions rarely make much of a difference.

As I've been delving into the "real food" world, you start to realize that what you put on your body is as important as what you put in.  Many popular beauty products and cleaners are unfortunately chock full of harmful or irritating chemicals. Thankfully I've also discovered that making many of your own products (and therefore controlling the ingredient list) is often surprisingly simple!

For this entry, I'm starting with my favorite wintertime dry skin treatment-- a sugar scrub. If you've got dry skin and never tried this, you'll love it! The tiny grains of sugar gently exfoliate any dry skin and the oil in the mix will leave you feeling smooth and hydrated. To this simple base, you can customize to your personal preferences for fragrance and texture.With a little work in the craft room to decorate your jar, this also becomes an easy (and appreciated) gift. A short search on Pinterest (or the web) will yield a ton of amazing decorating and label ideas!

For most effective results, in your shower, soap up/shampoo, etc. first and rinse off. Then apply a generous handful of scrub to dry areas of skin. Gently rub in circles and rinse off. BE CAREFUL as the oils in the scrub can occasionally make the shower floor slick! Pat yourself dry (don't rub) and let the oil soak into your skin. This treatment is also great as part of your home manicure/pedicure process!

Last winter I kept my jar of scrub on a shelf just outside the shower. It lasted easily 3 months before the last dregs of sugar hardened up too much to use.

Next week I'll follow up with my recipe for a great homemade body butter to really hydrate and heal that skin!

Basic Sugar Scrub:

*1 clean and empty jar with lid (any size!)
*3 parts sugar (white or brown)
*1 part oil (something that is unprocessed and stays liquid at room temperature-- almond, avocado or olive oil are good choices)
*essential oil fragrance of your choosing (about 10 drops +/- per cup of sugar)

Start with a volume of sugar that is slightly less than your jar. For this example, my jar holds 1 cup and I filled it to about 7/8. This will allow the sugar to stay fluffy and not be compacted (which can lead to hardening and crystallization.


In a mixing bowl, slowly stir in oil until mixture is the consistency of wet sand. Add a few drops of your chosen essential oil and incorporate completely. Spoon mixture into jar.

Notes: Almond oil is great for the skin and has very little fragrance but may cause reaction in someone with tree nut allergies. If you choose to use olive oil, just be aware that it does carry quite a bit of its own fragrance into the final mix.

Fun combinations- here are a few I've already tried:
1) White sugar, almond oil, red sugar crystals (just a teaspoonful!) and peppermint essential oil. Very refreshing/invigorating and wintery!
2) Brown sugar, almond oil, vanilla essential oil. (Relaxing/calming) 
3) Brown sugar, almond oil, dash of powdered ginger, dash of cinnamon, vanilla essential oil (gingerbread)
4) White sugar, almond oil, orange essential oil (Energizing)

Some ideas to try in the future:
Lavender essential oil to use for a relaxing fragrance
Grapefruit or tea tree for energizing/refreshing
Floral essential oil (like rose) for a light, feminine fragrance

Decorating your jar-- have fun labeling your jar--- sky's the limit! You can paint, modge-podge, washi-tape or any other craft technique that will be at least water resistant. For the example above, I just printed a quick design on regular computer paper, cut it out and sealed it. I didn't have actual Mod-Podge but instead just brushed a thin layer of craft glue over the top to seal it in.
As always, please feel free to comment below. I'd love to hear how this worked for you or if you have any fun combinations you've tried!

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