8 Homemade Salt and Sugar Body Scrubs

A woman makes homemade body scrubs with organic ingredients on a wood counter.

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Of all the trendy beauty treatments you can make at home, DIY salt and sugar scrubs are arguably the easiest and the most effective. While conventional scrubs often use polluting plastic microbeads and harsh synthetic chemicals for exfoliation, homemade alternatives use only natural ingredients. And who doesn't already have salt and sugar on hand?

Salt is a natural antibacterial that creates mild abrasive friction when rubbed against skin. That friction strips the skin of dead cells and helps boost circulation. On the other hand, sugar is a natural source of glycolic acid, which breaks down the stuff that bonds skin cells together. Sugar is less abrasive than salt, and brown sugar is less abrasive than pure cane sugar. Raw sugar is the coarsest sugar of all. In most DIY recipes, you can use either sugar or salt.

Here are eight chemical-free salt and sugar scrub recipes using natural ingredients you probably already have at home.

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Banana Sugar Scrub

Hands mashing a banana in a stainless steel bowl

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Banana is a great ingredient to pair with sugar in a scrub because it's rich in potassium and vitamins A, B, and E. These nutrients help nourish fresh skin once the dead stuff has been sloughed off. Plus, it's a great way to put browning fruit to use.

To make a banana sugar scrub, mash one ripe banana with a fork, stopping before it becomes liquidy. Then, stir in three tablespoons of granulated sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract or essential oil (optional). Gently massage the scrub on any dry patches—preferably while skin is damp—and rinse with warm water when finished.

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No-Frills Sugar Scrub

Homemade sugar scrub in glass jar on wood surface

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When you don't have any fresh ingredients at home, you can still whip up an effective scrub with nothing but a dollop of coconut oil and sugar (pure cane, brown, raw—whatever you have). Additions like mint, lavender, and citrus give DIY recipes extra oomph but aren't required for a classic scrub.

Simply mash together a half cup of coconut oil with a cup of your choice of sugar. The coconut oil should be soft but not melted. You can complete the entire process in about 30 seconds from start to finish.

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Tomato Sugar Scrub

Jar of tomato scrub next to raw tomato and juice
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The enzymes in tomatoes work with sugar to gently remove deadness and restore your skin's glow. The acidic fruits are high in potassium, vitamin C, and lycopene, which helps fight free radicals, as a bonus. The easiest way to make a tomato sugar scrub is to simply slice a tomato (pro tip: chilled tomatoes are extra soothing), sprinkle it with sugar, and rub the whole thing on your skin. For a product you can store away and keep using for a few days, rather, extract the juices from a tomato and mix it with enough granulated sugar to form a thick paste.

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Green Tea Sugar Scrub

Jars of tea and homemade scrub surrounded by tea leaves
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Green tea is a beloved anti-inflammatory that's often used to reduce undereye swelling and redness. It's especially soothing and brimming with antioxidants that can help repair damaged skin cells while you scrub. Try this recipe for very gentle and refreshing exfoliation.

Steep two bags of green tea in a half cup of hot (but not boiling) water. While it steeps, mash together a cup of brown sugar and 1/4 cup softened coconut oil. Wait until the tea has cooled completely before adding it to the sugar and coconut oil mixture, as hot tea will melt the sugar. Add more coconut oil or sugar to reach a thick-but-not-too-crumbly consistency. Massage into damp skin and rinse immediately when finished.

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Minty Sugar Lip Scrub

Jar of sugar scrub with mint leaves on wooden surface
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One of the biggest topical benefits of mint is its astringent properties, which cleanse, tighten pores, and tone skin naturally. Mint itself is potent enough to cut through dead skin cells, and combined with caster sugar, it has double the power.

For this refreshing lip scrub, you can use either jojoba oil or olive oil (note that jojoba oil is not comedogenic but olive oil is). Combine enough oil with a cup of sugar to make a smooth paste. The amount of oil depends on which you use, as olive oil is heavier than jojoba oil. Add up to 10 drops of peppermint essential oil to finish it off, then massage the mixture gently into your lips, rinsing when finished.

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Rosemary Lemon Salt Scrub

Rosemary sprig on salt scrub surrounded by lemon and melon

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Lemon juice contains high levels of citric acid, a member of the alpha hydroxy family of molecules commonly used for exfoliation. Rosemary, lemon's partner in this recipe, is soothing and helps to relieve redness and swelling—two side effects that could occur if you scrub too hard with abrasive sugar.


  • 2 cups coconut oil, softened
  • 1 cup Epsom salt
  • 15 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • Juice of half a lemon


  1. Mix together the coconut oil and salt.
  2. Stir in essential oil, chopped rosemary, and lemon juice.
  3. Massage into skin gently, rinsing when finished.
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Lavender Sea Salt Scrub

Lavender salt scrub in bowl on wooden surface
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The very act of exfoliating is inherently calming, but a touch of aromatherapy can make it even more so. Lavender is one of those scents that can immediately put you in a serene state of mind. Plus, it's a natural moisturizer and antibacterial.

To make this soothing lavender sea salt scrub, mix together half a cup of sea salt, 1/4 to 1/3 cup of sweet almond oil—depending on how course you want it to be—four drops of lavender essential oil, and a sprinkling of lavender blossoms (optional, but great for aesthetics).

how to make lavender sea salt scrub illustration

Treehugger / Ellen Lindner

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Citrus Salt or Sugar Scrub

Woman zesting a lime surrounded by salt scrub ingredients

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All citrus fruits contain the same exfoliating acid as lemons and therefore make for highly effective scrub ingredients. This punchy product is great for reviving the skin and senses after a morning shower. Just combine a teaspoon of zest from the citrus fruit of your liking—lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, or a combination—with a half cup of sea salt or course sugar and your choice of oil. Jojoba, almond, and olive are common choices.