How to Make Exfoliating Salt Scrubs and Sugar Scrubs | DIY Holiday Gifts Using Essential Oils

Welcome to part three of my DIY Holiday Gifts Using Essential Oils series. In this article I will be discussing how to craft extremely easy and luxurious feeling DIY sugar and salt scrubs with essential oils. I will also discuss the benefits of these scrubs and how to choose the perfect essential oils to include in them. These scrubs make beautiful gifts your friends and family will love, and they also help to nurture radiant healthy skin.
You can find more simple and economical gift ideas using essential oils below.

Find Part 1 of my DIY Holiday Gifts Using Essential Oils Series here: How to Make Lotion Bars to Moisturize Dry Skin | DIY Holiday Gifts Using Essential Oils
Find Part 2 of my DIY Holiday Gifts Using Essential Oils Series here: How to Make Non-Toxic Air Fresheners and Linen Sprays | DIY Holiday Gifts Using Essential Oils

Why Make Your Own Salt and Sugar Scrubs?

Crafting your own salt and sugar scrubs at home offers a range of benefits, making it a personalized, cost-effective, and nourishing addition to your skincare routine. With the ability to customize ingredients based on your skin type and preferences, you gain control over natural and organic choices, avoiding preservatives commonly found in commercial products. This DIY approach is budget-friendly, allows for fresh formulations without preservatives, and provides an opportunity for aromatherapy benefits through personalized aromas. The process is both fun and educational, enabling experimentation with various ingredients while contributing to sustainability by reducing packaging waste. Creating your own scrubs aligns with a minimalist beauty routine, offering a mindful and connected approach to self-care. Additionally, these homemade scrubs make thoughtful, customizable gifts for friends and family.

Why Do These Scrubs Make Excellent Gifts? 

Receiving a DIY salt or sugar scrub as a gift is a special experience for several reasons. The personalized care demonstrated through customization to match the recipient's skin type and scent preferences adds a thoughtful touch. The unique formulation allows for addressing specific skincare needs, offering a tailor-made solution. With customizable scents providing aromatherapy benefits, the scrub becomes a sensory delight. The appeal extends to the eco-friendly nature of DIY gifts. Offering a touch of luxury without the hefty price tag, these scrubs present an affordable, yet indulgent skincare treat.

Benefits of Salt and Sugar Scrubs

These lovely concoctions are designed for application from the neck down and they offer more than just a moment of pampering. Salt scrubs, with their gentle exfoliating properties, promote circulation and help reveal a radiant complexion, while sugar scrubs, known for their moisturizing properties, cater to sensitive skin, leaving it soft and smooth. I do not recommend using these scrubs on the delicate skin of your face, I have found them to be much too abrasive for that.

Benefits of Salt Scrubs

Using a salt scrub can offer numerous benefits for your skin, creating a revitalizing and nourishing experience. 

Here are some key advantages: 
  • Salt scrubs act as natural exfoliants, helping to remove dead skin cells and unclog pores. 
  • The granular texture of salt promotes blood circulation when massaged onto the skin. This increased blood flow can aid in the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to skin cells/
  • Himalayan Sea Salt has detoxifying properties. That help draw out impurities from the skin, leaving it refreshed and revitalized.
  • Salt scrubs, when combined with moisturizing ingredients like fractionated coconut oil, can provide intense hydration. The scrubbing action removes dead skin cells, allowing the moisturizing elements to penetrate and nourish the skin.
  • Salt scrubs can help prevent and reduce ingrown hairs. The exfoliating action clears away dead skin, allowing hair to grow freely.
  • Salt scrubs contribute to more even skin tone by reducing the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation. The exfoliation process encourages the turnover of skin cells, revealing fresh, new skin.
  • Exfoliating with a salt scrub can prepare the skin for other skincare treatments, such as applying lotions or serums. The removal of dead skin allows subsequent products to be more effectively absorbed. 

Benefits of Sugar Scrub

Sugar scrubs provide a gentle yet effective way to exfoliate and nourish the skin. 

Here are some key advantages of using sugar scrubs:
  • Sugar serves as a natural exfoliant that is gentler on the skin compared to some coarser salts. It helps to slough off dead skin cells, promoting a smoother and softer complexion.
  • Sugar scrubs are generally softer than salt scrubs, making them a preferable choice for individuals with sensitive or delicate skin. 
  • Sugar is a natural humectant, meaning it draws moisture from the environment into the skin. When used in scrubs with moisturizing ingredients like fractionated coconut oil, sugar helps hydrate and lock in moisture, leaving the skin supple.
  • Regular use of sugar scrubs contributes to a more even skin tone by helping to fade dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and sun damage. The exfoliation process encourages the turnover of skin cells.
  • By removing dead skin cells, sugar scrubs prepare the skin to better absorb subsequent skincare products, such as lotions, serums, or moisturizers. This can maximize the effectiveness of these products.
  • Sugar scrubs can be effective in preventing and reducing ingrown hairs. 

Salt vs. Sugar

The primary distinctions between salt and sugar scrubs lie in their exfoliation intensity and composition. Salt scrubs, with coarser granules, offer a more intense exfoliation. The mineral content in Himalayan Sea Salt contributes to detoxification and skin rejuvenation. On the other hand, sugar scrubs, featuring finer granules, provide a gentler exfoliation, ideal for individuals with sensitive or delicate skin. Sugar's natural humectant properties make these scrubs hydrating, and their softer texture is well-suited for more sensitive areas. The choice between salt and sugar scrubs often comes down to personal preference, skin type, and the desired exfoliation level.

Himalayan Sea Salt vs. Table Salt

You will notice that salt scrub recipe below calls specifically for Himalayan Sea Salt – table salt is not a suitable substitution in this recipe. Table salt is not a suitable substitution for Himalayan sea salt in salt scrubs due to several factors:
Mineral Content
  • Himalayan Sea Salt: Contains a variety of trace minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and calcium. These minerals are absorbed through the skin. 
  • Table Salt: Undergoes heavy processing, resulting in the removal of most minerals. It primarily consists of sodium chloride, lacking the mineral diversity found in Himalayan sea salt.
Skincare Benefits
  • Himalayan Sea Salt: The minerals present contribute to a more nourishing and rejuvenating skincare routine.
  • Table Salt: Due to its highly refined nature and potential additives, table salt lacks the beneficial properties associated with Himalayan Sea Salt.

Basic Sugar Scrub Recipe

  • Begin by combining the fine sugar, fractionated coconut oil, and doTERRA essential oils in a bowl.
  • The resulting mixture becomes a sensory delight, ready to be applied to damp skin.
  • Gently exfoliate the body from the neck down, unveiling soft, smooth, and hydrated skin.

Basic Salt Scrub Recipe

  • Merge the pink fine grain Himalayan Sea Salt, fractionated coconut oil, and doTERRA essential oils in a bowl.
  • Assemble this aromatic symphony, ready to be applied to damp skin for a revitalizing exfoliation.
  • Gently massage the scrub into the body from the neck down, allowing it to reveal soft, smooth, and hydrated skin.

How to Store Your Scrubs

Use airtight containers to shield your scrubs from external influences. During application, employ a spoon rather than wet hands to prevent water from compromising the mixture – water will melt the sugar and salt in scrubs.

Recommended Essential Oil Combinations

Each essential oil and combination chosen for your scrub contributes not only a distinct fragrance but also offers therapeutic benefits. Below you will find some of my favorite oils and oil combinations to use, I have also included a little bit about the benefits of each oil. 
  • Renowned for its versatility
  • Soothing and rejuvenating properties
  • Enhances skin health and promotes anti-aging effects
Frankincense and Lavender:
  • Synergistic blend for heightened soothing effects
  • Calms the skin and promotes a serene ambiance
Frankincense and Grapefruit:
  • Supports the lymphatic system
  • Invigorates and refreshes the senses
  • Elevates the overall skincare experience
Frankincense and Peppermint:
  • Invigorating and refreshing
  • Enhances focus and revitalizes the skin
Frankincense and Lemongrass:
  • Soothes sore muscles
  • Adds a comforting layer to the scrub
  • Invigorates the senses
Douglas Fir and Grapefruit:
  • Invigorates the respiratory system
  • Supports lymphatic function
  • Refreshes and enlivens the scrubbing experience
Eucalyptus and Lavender:
  • Creates a spa-like atmosphere
  • Promotes relaxation and stress relief
  • Soothes the mind and body
Copaiba and Lavender:
  • Calming and soothing to the skin
  • Alleviates anxious feelings
  • Enhances a sense of tranquility
Cinnamon, Ginger, and Wild Orange:
  • Warming and circulation-promoting blend
  • Adds an aromatic delight to the scrub
  • Invigorates and stimulates the senses
Citrus Bloom:
  • Floral and uplifting essence
  • Brings a burst of freshness to the routine
  • Elevates the overall scrubbing experience
  • Supports metabolic health and adipose tissue
  • Pleasant aroma with minty and fruity notes
  • Adds a unique and beneficial dimension to the scrub
  • Formulated to support anxious feelings
  • Calming and balancing properties
  • Promotes a relaxed and centered state of mind
  • Grounding and balancing blend
  • Evokes feelings of tranquility and calmness
  • Harmonizes mind and body
I hope you enjoy making these salt and sugar scrubs as much as I do. I have made these for friends and family as gifts for years and they are always a hit. Pair a scrub with one of my edible DIY gifts using essential oils, if you enjoy gifting food items check out this article for some inspiration: 15 Edible Holiday Gifts Infused with Essential Oils. For more winter holiday DIY ideas using essential oils check out this article: 32 DIY Holiday Gifts Using Essential Oils.

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