Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sugar And Spice

Sugar Scrub Recipe! 

So, as promised, here is the first of several blog posts with recipes and ideas for your own homemade skin care!
For this one, as you might have guessed from the title, it's all about sugar scrubs!  Sugar scrubs have become quite popular, partly because of exposure from some big name retail stores, but also because they contain as few as two ingredients which most people already have in their kitchen.  Also, because sugar easily dissolves in water, this makes it ideal for sensitive skin that may need exfoliation, but might find other scrubs too harsh.  The sugar crystals have the wonderful ability to exfoliate while dissolving too fast to over exfoliate and become harsh.  Sharing a recipe for sugar scrub is a bit less than exciting, since you can go online and find many recipes that will deliver wonderful results and leave your skin smooth and moisturized.  So for this post what I would like to do is share a basic recipe, and then share several tips for different types of scrubs from all my trial and error batches over the years.

Basic Sugar Scrub

2 to 4 parts sugar
1 part oil
essential oil or fragrance oil as needed for scent
Mix the ingredients in a bowl, and place them into jars or containers to use or give away!

Now for the tweaking!
The first thing you need to decide is how much "scrubbiness" do you want from your sugar scrub?  Is this for tough skin, like the bottom of your feet, or calloused hands that are used to working in the garden every day or is it for sensitive hand, your face, or your legs?  If you want a courser grit, go with white sugar.  If you want a smoother more gentle scrub, go with brown.  The crystals in brown sugar are finer, and much more gentle on sensitive skin.  (also the molasses in brown sugar is great for your skin too!)

Second, how much oil to scrub ratio do you like?  If you love the scrubs where the oil rises to the top and the scrub falls to the bottom, start with 2 parts sugar to 1 part oil.  If you don't like the hassle of mixing, and want your scrub to stay more on the mixed side of things, start with 4 parts sugar to 1 part oil.  The great thing about sugar scrubs is you can always add more oil or more sugar to your batch as you go.

Now for the type of oil you use.  If you have really dry skin, and want a thicker oil that won't rinse of easily, try using one or a mixture of several oils such as sweet almond oil, olive oil, avocado oil, oil castor oil.  If you REALLY want your oils thick and creamy you can throw in some butters too.  You can melt the butters in whatever oils you decide to use for your scrub.  Butters like shea butter, cocoa butter, and almond butter are great choices.  But if you are looking for a lighter scrub that will leave your skin soft and moisturized but not oily or sticky (like for a facial scrub or any scrub for oily skin) try using oils like grape seed, apricot seed, or jojoba.
Also, here is another trick if you are trying to make a "lighter" scrub.  Mix some fine sea salt in with your sugar.  The salt helps cut through the oil when you are rinsing.  Also, if you are making the scrub for your face or other acne prone areas, the sea salt helps kill bacteria and prevent or clear up existing acne.  Usually the main complaint that comes with sugar scrub is that it is too oily to use on your face, or just in general for oily skin.  Sea salt can help solve this problem.  Also you can get the "real salt" or other sea salt brands that contain lots of minerals which are great for your skin too!  Start with 1/8 a part of salt to each 1 part of sugar.  For example: if you are using 2 cups of sugar use 1/4 cup fine sea salt.   If you are using a light oil, and still think the scrub is too oily you can add a bit more sea salt to the mixture.   Don't use regular table salt, the grains are too large and can scratch sensitive skin.  Another great benefit of salt is it helps preserve your scrub.  Sugar scrubs can mold if left for too long, and adding some sea salt to the mix will help ward off any unwanted bacteria that you might have on your hands and accidentally add to the jar when using your scrub.  Also you can add some baking soda in to help cut the oil, and kill unwanted bacteria on the skin.  And it's fine texture can add some depth to a sugar scrub as well.

Now for the fragrance.   This depends on your taste, and where the scrub is going to be used.  There is no exact science here, just add essential oils till it has reached the fragrance you like.  But do remember, always make your scrub smell stronger than you think it should.  It is nice to have a little fragrance left on your skin after you use a scrub, and most of it will be rinsed off, so it needs to be stronger than you think it should be so that some of that yummy goodness will be left on your skin once you are done using it.  As far as which oils to use, that depends on what the scrub is for.  If it is for your feet, peppermint is always a great choice, but if you are using it on your face, peppermint can really wreak some havoc on the eyes, so sticking with a lighter oil like lavender or ylang ylang is a better choice.  Or you can use your favorite fragrance oil if you don't want to go with essential oils, but always use a little less if the scrub is designed for the face, those fragrance oils can be a bit unforgiving if you get them in your eyes.  Or, if you prefer to not use fragrance oils, you can add spices, like cinnamon or ginger to give it a light pleasant fragrance.  You can also add some honey for a nice fragrance and also great healing properties that are wonderful for every skin type.

And here is one final little twist.  If you like a thicker scrub that does not separate, try adding some clay to it.  Kaolin clay, Rhassoul clay, or any other cosmetic clays make a great thickener and help keep the oil from separating.  It stabilizes the oil, and adds minerals to the scrub that are great for all skin types.  Also, if you are making a facial scrub you can have an added mud mask in the same product.  Simply use the scrub on your face as you usually would, but then instead of rinsing it off when the sugar has dissolved, let it sit on your face until it dries and let your skin soak up all the great minerals from the clay.  I would recommend only using this as a mud mask too if you have put some sea salt in your mask.  Otherwise letting the sugar sit on your face might cause an acne breakout if you are prone to breakouts.

And that's about all there is to it!  It is so simple, super easy, and best of all very inexpensive!

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