DIY Brown Sugar Vanilla Lip Scrub

Lip scrub in a small jar on wood table.

sitriel / Getty Images

In the dead of winter, chapped lips seem unavoidable. So, a gentle scrub may be in order, to exfoliate away dead and dry skin. I got hooked on lip scrubs because they feel so nice, like a mini massage for my mouth.

You can spend over $20.00 for a tiny pot of Fresh’s Sugar Lip Scrub or similar products. Making your own not only saves you money, it can also save you from any concerns about the chemicals on the ingredients list. Plus, this edible version has just three ingredients!

You need two basic elements for your lip scrub: oil and sugar. The oils moisturize while the sugar crystals exfoliate. There are many recipes out there on the web, but I chose these ingredients in an effort to make a scrub that has a texture and smell similar to Fresh’s product. You could also make a scrub with white sugar, or substitute the coconut oil with olive oil, jojoba oil or almond oil—or even combine oils.

The vanilla adds a nice smell and flavor, and may also add some benefits as an antioxidant—although I couldn’t find any scientific research to back up that claim. Sugar also has anti-bacterial properties (which is why it’s used to preserve food), but again I didn’t find any research that shows this to have any benefits for your skin—but it does ensure that your scrub can have a decent shelf live.

I was tempted to use lavender essential oil, but learned that it’s potentially toxic to ingest and the University of Maryland Medical Center recommends not putting it on your lips. Good to know!

To Make

Brown sugar in a measuring cup.

Michelle Arnold / EyeEm / Getty Images

1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract (about 4 to 5 drops)

Makes 1 small jar.


brown sugar lip scrub recipe

Magaret Badore / Treehugger

In a small bowl, combine the three ingredients and mix thoroughly. The sugar should be completely moist, a bit like fine wet sand. You can always add a bit more oil to achieve the ideal consistency, or if it ever dries out. Transfer your scrub to a small jar or whatever vessel you’d like to store it in.

To Use

A woman rubs sugar across her lips.

Sarah Charlier / EyeEm / Getty Images

Moisten lips with warm water. Use a pea-size ball of scrub and gently rub it across your lips. You can remove the scrub by either rinsing it directly off with warm water or rubbing it off with a wet wash cloth for a bit of bonus exfoliation. If your lips are feeling more sensitive I’d recommend the former.

It’s totally OK to accidentally taste it, but I’m pretty sure just licking it all off will undo all the oily goodness that you want to moisturize your lips. Although it does taste great!