So what can you use that really cleans but scrubs naturally? The grains of both sugar and salt are natural exfoliates. Just add some herbs and oil and you’re ready to go. Since salt is more abrasive, it should be used when doing serious exfoliation such as feet or elbows. Sugar is best for sensitive skin or more fragile/dry skin such as lips or face. When adding to an oil, such as grapeseed or olive oil, sugar is a fantastic natural exfoliate. It's full of glycolic acid, which helps to naturally break down dead skin cells and decrease fine lines.
Here are the basic recipes to craft your own sugar or salt scrub:
- Sugar: 3 Tbsp
- Herbs: 5 tsp
- Oil: 5 tsp
- Salt: 2 Tbsp
- Herbs: 3 tsp
- Oil: 5 tsp
Mix sugar/salt and dried herbs well before adding oil. Store in a glass container on counter for up to 2 months; keep dry to avoid spoilage (scoop out with clean & dry hands).
Allow your final mixture to sit for at least a few days before using - so the herbs have a chance to infuse in the oil and sugar/salt for a bit.
We prefer dried herbs, as they are not likely to spoil when mixed in the oil and when ground, they blend nicely with the sugar or salt due to similar sizes - so you can get the herbs evenly distributed in your mixture.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis): annual but reseeds, 12 –18 inches; also known as pot marigold; use the bright orange & yellow flowers including bract; very good for skin—healing & soothing for all skin types and all skin issues (rashes, cuts, scrapes, eczema, etc.)
There are two varieties, both work well in an herbal scrub, so feel free to use what you are growing or can easily get.
- Roman (Anthemis nobilis) – perennial, 6 inches, ground cover, common garden lawn in England, somewhat bitter tasting, great in bath teas, spritz/toner, hair rinses, etc. Use flowers.
- German (Matricaria chamomilla) –annual, self seeds, 18 inches, use flowers, soothing & delicious, common in herbal teas. Good for insomnia, upset stomach and stress; makes great spritz/toner and hair rinse
Lavender (Lavandula spp.): Perennial bush, anti-bacterial, repels insects, calming aromatherapy; soothing for skin—can help heal & prevent acne
Roses (Rosa spp.): Perennial bush, many varieties in size, color and fragrance; use petals in skin care & soaps; great astringent & toner/splash, helps tighten and tone skin, smooth wrinkles & fine lines
Sage (Salvia berggarten): Perennial, 2-3 feet, variety of colors some with different scents and flavors, helps skin regenerate & smooth out fine lines, cleansing so good for oily skin & hair, antioxidant; nice toner/splash, can use as deodorant
Olive – popular and readily available, a natural moisturizer; contains vitamins A, D, E, and K. Vitamin E has been shown to be beneficial for the skin.
Grapeseed - oil penetrates your skin quickly and doesn't leave your skin feeling oily; good moisturizer; can also tighten pores, help heal acne and reduce the appearance of scars. ** Grapeseed oil that's cold-pressed or expeller-pressed does not use chemical solvents or high heat during processing. It's a better choice than oil made with solvents.
Almond - moisturizing effects may be especially helpful for people who have dry or sensitive skin; packed with vitamin E, which may help protect the skin from sun damage and premature aging.
Coconut - potential benefits include reducing inflammation; as a moisturizer and helping heal wounds; possesses antimicrobial properties that can help treat acne and protect skin from harmful bacteria. Note - someting to keep in mind if you select this oil, it may solidfy in cold temps or melt in warmer temps.
A few others we like as well - apricot and jojoba.
You can also infuse dried herbs into your oil to create an herbal infused oil (pictured below), before blending it with your sugar or salt. While it might be possible to leave the herbs in the oil, then blend with sugar or salt - it will very likely throw off the ratios we provided above - as the herbs will retain some oil. So you might need to experiment with increasing your sugar or salt quantities in the recipe.