Sunday, September 14, 2008

Luxury on the cheap: spa scrubs for next to nothing!

OK, I know this belongs on the "Cheap Tricks" blog ( ), but I couldn't resist sharing it here first. It will get to the "Cheap Tricks" blog as soon as I am finished with the “How to” series there.

Anyway, if you like the delicious feel of those spa body scrubs…or would like to be able to gift your friends or family with such a luxurious token of your esteem (but you don't relish spending the money), I've just discovered how easy—and inexpensive!—it is to make them yourself!

You see, Dear Hubby had a problem with skin infections (not unusual for a diabetic) and he has uncommonly tough skin. As a result, pores get blocked easily and then infections occur. A couple of years ago I bought a body scrub product for him to try and the result was amazing! As long as he exfoliates his skin in the affected areas two or three times a week, the problem is kept at bay. But finding scrubs at a reasonable cost that don't have "girly" smells has been a challenge...until now.

I found several recipes for scrubs and I went out and bought some ingredients. I wasn’t happy with any of the recipes as they were, but with a little experimenting, I came up with a winner!

The ingredients are easy to find and the tools are most likely already in your kitchen:

Salt: most recipes call for sea salt, which is a bit coarse and rough. You can use a finer ground salt or, if you want a super scrub for those scaly elbows and rough heels, use kosher salt. Buy it in the bulk kilo bags for the best savings.

Carrier oils: These are the oils into which the salt and fragrance is suspended and should be available in your supermarket. Buy in litre or larger bottles for long-term savings
Grapeseed oil
Avocado oil
Mineral oil (unscented baby oil)

Food colouring: entirely optional, but if you make up more than one fragrance, a bit of colouring keyed to the fragrance will help you distinguish between otherwise identical-looking batches. Food colouring typically comes in 4 colours: red, yellow, green, blue. You can make purple by combining red and blue; orange is a combination of red and yellow. Small bottles are all that is needed since you will only use a few drops per batch.

Essential oils: these fragranced oils are available at any aromatherapy shop and in some large pharmacies. Since only a few drops are needed for a batch, large quantities are unnecessary, although if you plan to make a lot of this stuff, it will be more economical to buy larger than 10 ml bottles. Most women will like the floral scents, and for men you can use citrus, herb, or sandalwood. You can also buy fragrance blends or blend them yourself.

A medium-sized glass or ceramic bowl
Plastic or metal spoon
Measuring spoons
Plastic screw-top jars or zip-top freezer bags.

To make a 1 cup/250 ml batch you will need:
1 cup (250 ml) salt
4-6 tablespoons carrier oil
2-5 drops food colouring (optional)
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon essential oil

Gather your ingredients and tools

The best way to measure is to scantly fill your storage container with the salt, then pour the salt into the bowl.

Add the carrier oil. Start with 4 tablespoons, mix well, then test with your fingers. If it feels too “dry,” add more oil, one tablespoon at a time, until you like the feel of it.

Next, add the essential oil: just a couple of drops. Stir well, then sniff the bowl for fragrance. Remember, it should not be strong, just a hint of scent.

Now add the food colouring and stir.

Spoon the mixture into your storage container. It took 4 drops of yellow food colouring to achieve this lovely golden shade.

To use:
Sitting on the edge of the tub will minimize the mess. Scoop some of the salt crystals into your hand and rub over dry, rough skin. The salt crystals will exfoliate while the oils will soften and scent the skin. Rinse thoroughly. Remember that this is a body scrub only…it is too abrasive for the face…and don’t forget that oil is slippery, so be careful in the tub or shower.

This mixture does not need refrigeration and has an indefinite shelf life

By coming up with creative packaging, this scrub can be used for Christmas, birthday, or Mother’s Day gifts, even gifts to bridesmaids or for a bridal shower. Using scented baby oil for the carrier oil will give it a baby-fresh scent that might appeal to a new mother. Be sure to tie on a little card with instructions…believe it or not, there are still lots of people out there who have never experienced the luxury of a fragrant salt scrub!


  1. Hey, I'm going to add this to my Squidoo lens on homemade beauty products. You've got very clear instructions here. Thanks for saving me the time of writing it up myself!

  2. be careful someone doesn't think you are stealing business and doing irreparable harm to the spa-trade!!!! great recipe and instructions - thanks


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