Spa in the Kitchen: Sugar Scrubs

CATEGORIES: Sara, Spa and Body

If you’re here for the first time today, this post is part of a week long spa feature. Check here for more info, and don’t forget to enter to win some great spa products!

Of all the homemade beauty treatments in the world, sugar scrubs are my favorite. Maybe it’s because I have such a sweet tooth and slathering sugar all over my body somehow connects to that 🙂 The great thing is that almost everyone has the basic ingredients for a sugar scrub in their kitchen all the time. It’s so easy and so cheap to whip up and the results are AMAZING. If you’ve never tried it you’ll be amazed at how soft your skin can be. The little granules of sugar rub off all of those dead skin cells leaving the fresh, baby soft kind behind and then the oil seeps in and makes it velvety soft.

The basic ingredients for a sugar scrub are Sugar + Oil. Told you it was easy. You can use any skin-safe oil. Oils suitable for massage work well for sugar scrubs. I personally always use olive oil, but there are lots of options. You can also play around with the sugars. Plain white sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar. When you find a sugar/oil mixture you like, add some fragrance. Herbs, spices, and essential oils work great. I love white sugar with lavender buds and a few drops of lemon essential oil.

My favorite however, is one that smells like something fresh from the oven (is anyone surprised??) So here’s my recipe for a sweet and spicy brown sugar scrub. Rub this all over, and try not to lick yourself.

Sweet and Spicy Sugar Scrub

1/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C white sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t ground cloves
Oil: olive oil*, almond oil, grape seed oil, apricot oil, jojoba, etc.
optional: a few drops of essential oil, such as cinnamon

*I use olive oil for my sugar scrubs, which does have a scent. If the smell bothers you, try a “light” olive oil which has a milder taste and smell. Or just use a different type of oil all together.

Directions: Combine everything but oil in a bowl and then add in oil and stir to combine. I suggest starting with just part of the oil and adding it until it’s the consistency you want it. Store in a container with a lid. I suggest keeping it in the fridge if you have left overs, it should last quite a while. Stop using it if it smells gross 🙂

For Use: Soap off in the shower so you have clean skin. Stir the sugar scrub and then massage into skin in circular motions for several minutes. I use it from my neck all the way down to my toes. After rinsing, if your skin feels too oily you can use a little bit of soap to wash it off. I personally leave it. By the time I finish my shower it doesn’t feel too oily anymore and it adds to the benefits of a sugar scrub. It will trap in the moisture and make your skin so soft and smooth. After you get out of the shower, slather on some lotion and try to keep everyone from touching you!

I’ve made these scrubs for gifts before. For the holidays, this brown sugar scrub is perfect. Add a little cinnamon essential oil to make it even better. Pop it in a cute jar with a ribbon and a label with instructions and you’ve got one awesome (and unique) little surprise for someone. (Note: these jars are just for cuteness- they are not actually “canned” and sealed)

Now I know you all have sugar and oil. Go make some sugar scrub now! Your skin will thank you!

Any other tips for soft skin??

I loved one reader’s tip yesterday about sprinkling sugar on a half of a grape fruit and then using it to massage your skin. A citrus scrub- doesn’t that sound amazing?? I tried it with the other half of my orange from my smoothie and loved it. And I totally licked my arm. She also puts a layer of marbles in the bottom of her favorite foot soak so it doubles as a massage. Thanks Stephanie for those great tips!

Other Spa in the Kitchen Features:
Hair Treatment


  1. I’m totally going to make little spa packages for all my friends for Christmas this year!! What a great way to save some money and give something awesome! Thanks!

  2. Thanks for putting up those extra tips at the end from yesterday’s comments. I hadn’t read them, but they sound great!

    This scrub looks wonderful! I will definitely try it, and if I am as impressed as I think I’ll be it will definitely make the Christmas gift giving list this year. Thank you!

  3. I’ve heard of this “sugar and oil” scrub. It must work wonders. I love the cute little jar–I’ll be on the lookout for those:) Great tips there at the end too! Thanks!

  4. I’m no good with creativity. If I did this as a gift for teacher’s, what would be fun/cute/creative instructions to put on the jar?

    I can’t just give it, without trying it myself. So, darn it, I’ll have to make some for me first. Ah, the sacrifices I make for my kids.

  5. With the sun starting to play havoc with my skin, I am looking forward to keeping it soft and beautiful! Thanks

  6. Heading out the door for a girlfriend weekend. Guess I’ll have to stop by the grocery to be the most popular one!

  7. I have made some of my own sugar scrubs before and loved them! I can’t wait to try this! I also wanted to invite you to stop by my blog and see the wonderful giveaway I have along with my new blog look! A very whimsy Birdie Bag and cupcake pincushion~looks good enough to eat! lol


  8. We made peppermint bath salts with our Young Women for Christmas last year. The sugar scrub is a great idea for this Christams!

  9. I have totally done the citrus scrub you described and it is amazing on dry thighs and arms! meloniew a t g m a i l d o t c o m

  10. Fun! I love the citrus scrub idea too. And, if you have some leftovers, you could totally spread it on top of some toast! 🙂

  11. So now that spa week is almost over you’ll come back to us on cafemom right? lol. I know you’ve been working hard….we miss you!

  12. Yea! I made some of this up tonight and can’t wait to try it tomorrow morning in the shower. I *love* spa stuff, but it’s always so expensive and so many times it just doesn’t seem to do what they say it will, at least not as well, so I’m very excited to try out the recipes you’ve posted this week. In fact, I may go try out the oatmeal exfoliating facial from Tuesday right now!

  13. i made these as christmas presents for my grandma, great-grandma and mother-in-law to be! they all loved it! thanks for the great idea!

  14. Here I am again. Last year I made this for my friends for Chistmas. They loved it!. Even there husbands liked it. They ask for it again this year.. Thank you…

  15. This stuff is great. I just made a half batch for myself to test it and I love it…I smell like cinnamon and my skin is super soft. 😀 I really want to give this as gifts. Do you think it'd do okay being shipped?

  16. I just wanted to let everyone know that I found a 12 pack of the little jars at Ace Hardware for about $8!! I know they have them at Walmart in 4 packs, but if you are gonna make a bunch it's good to get the big pack:) ENJOY!!!

  17. Had to comment again about how great this stuff is. I work with a lot of polymer clay, making jewelry and charms, and some of the clay tends to "stain" my hands, especially red clay (can't tell you how many batches of white clay I've turned pink by working with it right after working with red.) So, I always have to wash my hands after working with red clay, but even that doesn't completely remove the red stains. But I tried the sugar scrub today and it worked great! It took all the red off my hands without actually hurting my skin. PLUS, my hands tend to get really dried out after working with a lot of clay, since the clay sort of absorbs some of the moisture from my skin, so the olive oil in the scrub helped re-moisturize my hands.

  18. I know this post has been here a while, but I thought I would add my two cents and answer a question. Victoria asked how long these will keep: the oils usually have a shelf life of about six months. The exception is the Jojoba oil. It lasts practically forever, that's why it's so much more expensive than the others. (I'm currently studying Massage Therapy, so I'm eager to share what I learn with anyone who will listen) 🙂 Aloe Vera oil is also wonderful to mix in with scrubs.

    I love this.
    I love this,
    I just got out of the shower after putting this on. really sara? REALLY?
    I feel like a freaking Cinnabon.
    I love that feeling.
    You know I always hated those vanilla lotions and stuff, it smelled fake to me, but I adore this because it actually smells like sugar and cinnamon…Cause it IS actual sugar and cinnamon. WOAH?!!??
    This was an answer to a major problem of mine. I get really bad razor burn, and I though the sugar would irritate it. But I took a chance and my legs feel AMAZING and look wonderful to. I am officially keeping this little tub of magic in my shower from now on. I love you. You are my new best friend. haha:)

  20. I have been flying (Flight Attendant) for years… In-flight we get very creative with foods and activities (during down time of course). We did something similar to your brown sugar scrub…

    Standing over the aft galley trash can we would use left over lemons (for tea) and limes (margaritas) squeeze them in our hands rub that all over our hands and wrists, another FA would sprinkle 4 packets of sugar in our hand, we would rub it all in until the sugar basically melted and exfoliated our tired hands… The other FA would slowly pour a can of soda water over our hands to rinse… The finale was free hotel lotion (usually the smelly bath and body works ones from the good hotels)

    I will definitely make your scrub as gifts to friends!! Thanks so much!

  21. I used to own my own body/candle shop. I love sugar scrubs. Add a little honey to this if you have some handy. Honey has an antibacterial property that helps clean out the pores and keep acne at bay………smells heavenly in the scrub too 🙂

  22. Love this! I want to make a coffee one. Will start experimenting.
    Also, I buy olive oils from Queen Creek AZ and they have many flavors even chocolate so you would not have to add fragrance.

  23. Just made up a couple batches to give to friends. I got a little bit messy filling the jars so I went ahead and rubbed it into my hands and rinsed. One word: HEAVENLY! This is my “go to” from now on.

  24. I SO wish I had found this years ago! This year is a little money slim. I think this is gonna make a couple of wonderful last minute Christmas presents. I was wondering if there might be a way to turn this into a citrus scrub though? May have to play around with some scents and smells and textures. Thank you so much!

  25. I’ve known this because I’m a cosmetology but I think that everyone will love this little trick just as much as I do. On the days that you shave your legs use this scrub first. Then shave. Don’t worry you will still have the same moisturizing affect but the benefit is is that the scrub will exfoliate eliminating all the dead stuff first. Then shaving will go further in the exfoliating process giving you a closer shave. AND OF COURSE THE SMOOTHEST LEGS EVER!!!

  26. I tried the brown sugar/olive oil combo scrub and my skin was so nice after the shower. Today I made a brown sugar/coconut oil/a slice of squeezed lemon juice combo and I have to say I loved it even more than my first attempt. Didn’t even need lotion. This is my go-to scrub when I need a little TLC. Thanks for letting me find your site.

  27. Ive been using a sugar scrub for years now and my boyfriend uses it for his feet. It gives me the most amazing soft skin. I use soap and a scrubby all over and rinse off. Then I use the sugar scrub all over. (no worries about the nether regions laddies its good for after shaving to keep razor burn away too) Then I rinse off with warm/hot water, grab my towel and pat dry. I let the majority of me air dry while I’m putting on my make-up.The results? Velvety soft skin.
    All I use is
    Raw sugar and olive oil. In a container I fill it about 3/4 full with raw sugar granules and pour in extra virgin olive oil. (both the sugar and olive oil are non processed, no bleach or extra additives)Only pour in enough olive oil so that the sugar and olive oil are equal in the container. Mix them gently adding more oil if needed. Thats it. I add a few drops (Lavender) essential oil to my mixture but its not necessary . I use it on my face even after I scrub it with soap. Pat it dry too . No need for expensive lotions. Its all I use and no wrinkles.

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