Do- It-Yourself Body Scrub Basics NicoleMcGruder Beauty Recently, I treated myself to a scrub at a local spa which ran about $100 without the tip. This is considered a deal in comparison to a lot of the other spas in town. I was looking forward to getting pampered but was not impressed with the price tag nor the secret tubs of who knows what that was being slathered all over me. I absolutely love the way my Bed Bath and Beyond scrubs left me feeling so silky, but even that a little jar of heaven set me back $25 for 25 oz. As I journey to lead a healthier life with safer products and more thoughtful purchasing decisions, I began to research how to make my own body scrubs. I dare use the word “research,” as I was surprised at how simple it was to create a customized scrub expressly for my skin type and my fragrance affinity. No chemicals, and all natural. It doesn’t get much better than that. You only need three basic ingredients for a scrub that will have you smoother than a baby’s bottom: an exfoliant, an oil, and a fragrance (if you desire). EXFOLIANT This is the ingredient that helps to slough of that dry skin revealing your hidden smoothness. Salt is great for relaxing your muscles. Sea salt is a lot coarser than regular table salt, but some people like the fact that sea salt possesses trace elements and minerals and that it gets rid of impurities. Epsom salt is another good option because of its beneficial mineral compound of sulphate (which flushes toxins) and magnesium (which calms inflammation). Sugar is a bit less abrasive than salt. White, brown, or even coconut are options. If you have sensitive skin, you might want to use brown or coconut since they are a little finer in texture. Personally, I like the two latter because they smell so scrumptious. Ground coffee is another popular option because it’s chock full of other benefits, such as being known to making skin appear tighter, preventing premature skin aging, being rich in antioxidants, and even (TEMPORARILY) reducing the appearance of cellulite. Other options are available such as different types of meals and ground nut shells, but the ones that I am focusing on are those that I believe can be found in everyone’s cupboard. OIL Oil is the primary liquid in the scrub. It’s function is to soften and moisturize skin. Coconut oil has been found to be naturally antibacterial, a fantastic moisturizer and great for dermatitis. It’s effective in both increasing hydration and reducing water loss in the skin. Olive oil contains key antioxidants that when topically applied have been shown to protect the skin from premature skin aging. Almond oil has a “magical” property of keeping the skin moisturized at all times. It also has a calming effect on those who may be suffering skin inflammation. It’s super absorbent (less greasy) and it has a lightening property that can help minimize and remove dark discoloration from the skin. Grapeseed oil is often a choice for those with oily skin, as it known for helping to regulate natural oil production. Other pros include being full of antioxidants and also Vitamin C- nature’s skin brightener. Safflower oil is a potent hydrator and the ideal choice for those with sensitive, dry skin, according to livestrong.com. It’s also chock full of essential vitamins and is helpful in treating eczema, psoriasis, and acne. Sunflower oil is a great source of vitamin E for the skin. The vitamin E serves as an emollient that traps moisture inside the skin thereby keeping it hydrated longer. Vitamin E is also known to fight against damage done by free radicals. FRAGRANCE This is where we engage the sense of smell and bring the whole scrub experience to another level. Just a few drops and you’ll smell like you just floated out of the spa. Vanilla Extract Rose Essential Oil can combat acne and reduce rosacea. Cinnamon fights the signs of acne and also slows the signs of aging. Thyme is known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties – which is why its gaining popularity as an at-home acne remedy. Basil is a “wake me up” fragrance. Many claim that will improve the tone of your skin. (And a host of others) Citrus Essential oils (lemon, grapefruit, etc.) like the other natural fragrances will make you smell great but keep in mind that citrus can increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun, so don’t forget to don that sunscreen if you’re using citrus. Experiment with the multitude of essential oils out there and find out which ones really speak to your heart. Use 8-1o drops depending on your preference. If you have sensitive skin, you might want to make a small batch and only use on a small area to see how you tolerate it. Some people don’t like additional fragrance which is fine and doesn’t impact the overall efficacy of the scrub. WARNING: Do not use any essential oils undiluted directly on skin. It can cause serious irritation and other adverse reactions. Putting it all together. You can reuse a jar that you already have or buy an inexpensive jar from Target, Walmart or the dollar store. A pretty label and a piece of twine can help dress it up, but I’m so busy that I pat myself on the back just for making a batch, so I really don’t fuss over decorating them too much. Most scrub recipes call for a 2:1 ratio- 2 parts exfoliant, 1 part oil, and about 8 to 10 drops of fragrance. But remember that this is your baby. Adjust according to your preference. Some people like theirs a little drier, some a little oilier. Combine different exfoliants, use a mixture of oils. Make your own customized masterpiece. Mix your selected ingredients together and get ready to be downright supple. Rub all over all over your body (except your face as you may find some of those exfoliants a little too coarse). Rinse thoroughly. NOTE: The shower floor can get very slippery. I recommend sitting and using extreme care when maneuvering around the shower. Be sure to clean very thoroughly so the next person doesn’t slip. It might seem like a no-brainer, but the shower floor gets extremely slippery. The scrubs will keep for five to six months in a sealed container at room temperature. Some people keep longer, but it really depends on the ingredients you add. Need a little kick start to becoming irresistible to the touch? Get eight summertime scrubs that will have those legs (and feet) looking picture perfect. Please let me know how these scrubs worked for you in the comments below.