Skip to Content

DIY Sugar Scrub

DIY Sugar Scrub


Last Updated on September 11, 2020

Exfoliation is important. I wonder how many times I use that phrase on the blog. “______ is important.” A lot of things are important, but I learned about exfoliating the hard way. 

I think I’ve learned about skin care the hard way in general. I had it really easy in high school.

My skin was perfect without even trying, but as we discussed in my charcoal face mask post, things changed in college.

So, I’ve gone through a lot of trial and error. And apparently, if you don’t exfoliate, dead skin cells clog your pores. Ew. 

Lesson. Learned.

I bought something based on the recommendation of a roommate, but I’m pretty sure it was in almost everyone’s college shower caddy – St. Ive’s Apricot Scrub. Ahhhh, yes. College memories. I’m sure many of you have used this product.

During this phase I crossed over into the realm of over exfoliation. There’s a fine line people. 

So, let’s talk about some ingredients….

Water, Juglans Regia (Walnut) Shell Powder, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Zea Mays (Corn) Kernel Meal, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Triethanolamine, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Fruit Extract, Cetyl Acetate, Carbomer, Polysorbate 60, Ceteareth-20, Acetylated Lanolin Alcohol, PPG-2 Methyl Ether, Phenethyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Methylisothiazolinone, Fragrance, Titanium Dioxide 

The apricot scrub is full of highly abrasive and comedogenic ingredients. I can’t find one decent ingredient on this list. 

Walnut shell powder will cause tiny tears on your skin causing horrible inflammation. When pores are inflamed they swell, which closes the top. It completely cuts off all oxygen leaving a breeding ground for bacteria. 

Propylene Glycol is is toxic in high doses.

Corn Kernel Meal is basically cornstarch. Would you like to rub cornstarch on your face? Definitely comedogenic.

You get the picture. I’m not a huge fan of this product. Especially when you can make something cheaper and better for your skin. 

But, at least, AT LEAST it didn’t have microbeads. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT use anything with microbeads. A. it tears your face up. B.

It’s micro plastic and it goes into the ocean where fish gobble it up. Our water filtration systems cannot remove microbeads. If you have anything with microbeads in your house, do me a huge favor and throw it away. Yeah. Yeah, I said it. 

THROW IT AWAY. It. Is. Important. 

Don’t exfoliate every day. I exfoliate twice a week. And, after exfoliating I balance my pH with a rose water or aloe toner. Then I just add a touch of moisture with a homemade face cream that is to die for! 

But first, let’s talk about the scrub. It contains sugar, raw honey, lemon zest, lemon juice, and oil.  

Sugar is the exfoliant. It’s also helps your skin retain moisture. You’re going to want a very fine grain like classic white sugar or brown sugar. Brown sugar is best for those with sensitive skin because it’s the softest. 

Raw Unrefined Raw Honey really helps to balance this scrub. It’s not only a powerful anti-bacterial like green tea it’s also a moisturizer and helps neutralize your pH which is very important when we get to the more acidic ingredients. 

Lemon Zest this really doesn’t do anything except make the scrub smell/taste amazing…. I mean you shouldn’t eat this, but if you happen to lick your lips while you’re scrubbing away – it’s freaking delicious. 

Lemon Juice is pretty acidic, but is high in vitamin C. It’s used as an astringent in this scrub. It will help lighten scars and even your complexion. It will also help tighten skin and brighten. Either my skin is translucent or my capillaries are too close to my skin, but no matter what I need some evening; because my skin can be pink and splotchy. This really helps even things out.

Sweet Almond Oil is high in vitamin E which is very soothing. It’s also antibacterial and the best oil for dry skin. It provides great moisture and won’t clog your pores. There’s also enough acid from the lemon to cut the oil so your skin doesn’t remain oily after you wash the scrub away. 

Sugar Scrub

  • 1 Cup of Sugar 
  • 1/3 Cup of Sweet Almond Oil (or Olive Oil both high in vitamin E)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Raw Unrefined Honey
  • The Zest of 1 Lemon
  • The Juice of Half the Lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons of An Optional Add-In*

*Additional add-ins:

  • Dried Rosemary: Grind it very fine. Rosemary improves circulation and kills bacteria. 
  • Dried Green Tea: A fabulous anti-inflammatory that helps reduce redness.
  • Crushed Rose Petals: Contains high amounts of vitamin C and smells amazing.

Mix all of the ingredients in a small jar. Make sure you zest the lemon before you juice it. Keep the mixture in the fridge. 

Splash your face with warm water. Take a tablespoon of your scrub and gently massage in circles.

The warm water on your face will start to dissolve the sugar so it will lose part of its abrasiveness. After about a minute, rinse your face thoroughly. Make sure to use a toner to balance your pH. 

It’s that simple. It only takes a couple of minutes to whip up! Make to store it in the fridge. 

What are some of your favorite ingredients to exfoliate with? 

Join The Conversation

Share Your Thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. This looks great. What is its shelf life like? I made a body scrub out of used coffee grounds and coconut oil and kept it in an airtight container in the bathroom thinking that would do the trick only to find it went mouldy after a couple of weeks, so now I make up a small amount fresh every time I want to use it, which is a bit of a pain! Maybe I’ll try keeping that in the fridge too.

    1. Coffee grounds are very susceptible to mold unless they have been completely dried out. Without the lemon it will last for months in the fridge. All of the ingredients are shelf stable. The lemon does put that natural element in there which reduces the shelf life. The lemon isn’t necessary. So you could leave it out or just squeeze a drop in your hand after you pull out the scrub. I like it because it cuts the oil.

  2. I made and used this last night and my skin feels so smooth! I skipped the lemon because I didn’t have one, and used raw sugar because that’s what I had, but it was amazing! I’m already looking forward to when I can use it again.
    Thanks for the recipe!

  3. Finally made this last week – absolutely love it! Better than the far more expensive and toxic version I just used up.


  4. hi! will you share more about the rose water you use? diy? or do you have one that your purchase. at this point i would prefer to purchase one.

  5. Have you tried using witch hazel as a toner? I’ve never been one to use toner in my skin care ritual and just trying to work out the best one to use from the different natural websites I read.