Homemade Body Scrub: DIY Body Scrub to Moisturize & Exfoliate Dry Skin

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Homemade Body Scrub

Exfoliate and moisturize dry skin with these homemade body scrub recipes. This DIY body scrub is great to use at home and makes a nice gift.

I give a Basic Homemade Body Scrub recipe and a few creative ideas for making several types of DIY body scrub.

Why Make a DIY Body Scrub?

The DIY monster in me came alive again last week so I developed a recipe for making my own pumpkin spice sugar scrub.


To illustrate, I remember purchasing a similar body scrub for my sister a few years ago that was priced between $15-$20! And that is a lot of money for something you can make at home for far less.

In contrast, my mom was the lucky recipient of the fabulous pumpkin spice homemade body scrub that cost less than $1 to make. And she loved the smell along with the way it made her skin feel.


Commercial body scrubs used to use microbeads until Congress banned them in the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015.

Microbeads are tiny pieces of plastic found in many health and beauty products, including soap and body scrubs. Congress passed this law to address concerns about microbeads in the water supply.[1]

Microbeads are just one example of unnecessary ingredients in commercial body scrubs. And because making our own is so simple and inexpensive, it just makes sense.

Homemade Body Scrub to Moisturize and Exfoliate Dry Skin

With cold weather approaching this moisturizing and exfoliating scrub will make a killer gift this winter. It’s a big help with dry skin! It was so simple that I began to experiment using different sugars, Epsom salt, a variety of carrier oils, and essential oils.

I recommend applying your DIY body scrub after taking a shower. This is when your skin is best able to realize the benefits of the scrub.

Feel free to get creative and fancy when making these scrubs; here is the basic recipe I used to make a few batches.

DIY Body Scrub Recipe

This is my base body scrub recipe; additions are below.

Add Epsom salts or sugar to a bowl and slowly begin stirring in the oil until the mixture is smooth, but not goopy. (You may not need the full cup of oil.) Add essential oil and any other fun additions and mix well. Spoon into a decorative container or glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.

Note: You can also use sea salt but I prefer Epsom salt because it contains magnesium. You can also use jojoba oil or even coconut oil. The coconut oil or almond oil may feel greasy, so jojoba may be a better choice.

I used this basic homemade body scrub recipe to make to following awesome scrubs:

Warm Vanilla Sugar Body Scrub for Sensitive Skin

Use vanilla essential oil -OR- 2 Tbsp. vanilla extract.

Lemon Salt Body Scrub

Use lemon essential oil and add 1 Tablespoon of lemon zest.

Grapefruit Mint Salt Scrub

Use grapefruit essential oil and 1 Tbsp of grapefruit zest.

I can’t wait to make several more batches and experiment with some more scents including peppermint, lemon-eucalyptus, and sweet orange-lavender.

How To Use Your DIY Body Scrub 

  1. It’s always best to use a scrub after a shower because your skin is soft and best able to absorb the ingredients of the scrub. If you’re just applying it to your hands then run them under warm water for 5 minutes.
  2. Gently rub on the scrub in circular motions.
  3. Rinse thoroughly to remove scrub and dead skin cells.
  4. Lastly, you will want to apply lotion immediately after drying your skin.

Tips and Ideas for A Great Scrub

The yummy concoctions you can create are limitless. Note: Olive oil is not the best carrier oil for some homemade body scrub formulas because it has a strong fragrance. If you think olive oil will be overpowering in a delicately scented body scrub, choose one of the other carrier oils.

I also love being able to use different sugars or Epsom salts – mainly because I had a huge bag of Epsom salts under the bathroom sink that was not getting used. (My organic cane sugar is not cheap!) Choose sugar for fine-grain homemade body scrub, and Epsom salts for a larger grain scrub.

Feel free to include other beneficial ingredients like citrus, vitamin E oil, or coffee grounds! Much of the fun and benefit of DIY projects is that you can customize them to your likes and needs.

Makes a Great Gift

The oil will separate in some of these scrubs, so it’s a good idea to attach a small spoon if giving it away as a gift.

My mom received one of these as a “just because” gift. I was also able to give two body scrubs as birthday gifts this week, and another as a housewarming gift!  I think these luxurious body scrubs will make the PERFECT holiday gift for friends and family. They are so simple to throw together. And they make a beautiful addition to a gift basket and are great as a stand-alone gift.

Give hand scrubs to keep by the kitchen sink or a pampering homemade body scrub to use in the bathtub. Mix up a few of these this holiday season to give away as last-minute I-didn’t-know-you-were-getting-me-something gifts. You will look ultra-prepared, crafty, AND thoughtful!

Have you ever made a homemade body scrub? How did you like it?



  1. The Microbead-Free Waters Act: FAQs. November 2017. U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

About Betsy Jabs

Betsy holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Master's degree in Counseling, and for nearly a decade worked as an elementary counselor. In 2011 she left her counseling career to pursue healthy living. She loves using DIY Natural as a way to educate people to depend on themselves to nourish their bodies and live happier healthier lives. Connect with Betsy on Facebookand Twitter.

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  1. Carol L says

    Rosehip seed oil is so great for skin; especially older skin. I would use that for the base of my scrub…it is however, advised to keep it in the refrigerator as is does go rancid a bit faster than other oils.

  2. Kimberly says

    Not only does your body scrub sound like a great gift for gardeners, but for the mechanic as well! My husband buys something in an orange plastic jug to scrub oil, grease, and vehicle fluids and goop. This has to be safer, cheaper and do the job.

  3. Bonnie says

    Mine pumpkin spice smelled great before I added safflower oil……. how can I freshen it before I give it away??


    • Betsy Jabs says

      Hmmm…was the oil rancid, or just too overpowering? I wonder if a little baking soda would absorb some of the scent. You may even try adding more scent. Something complimentary like vanilla, or even a little cocoa powder. Just some ideas…not sure what the outcome will be though. Let me know if you figure anything out!

  4. Angie Meche says

    I am still new and learning every day! I just made my first batch. I made a half batch since it’s the first one. I used EVOO and put 4 drops of lavender and just barely over a teaspoon of home made vanilla extract. I may play with it after letting it ‘sit’ overnight. The smell is fine, but could be kicked up. I realize the olive oil contributes to that too.

    I used it on a very rough elbow to test it. Nice! Left a little of the dead skin, but it was in really bad shape, so I am pleased.

    You talked about using lemon and some other citrus oils. What are your thoughts around phototoxicity? I found this article and wondered how you felt about it.

    It sounds like you haven’t had any issues so far.

    THANKS for everything! I used my last name since I found another Angie and an Angela already here! 🙂

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Yes, citrus oils are phototoxic, meaning they can make skin more sensitive when exposed to sunlight. However, when used in a body scrub, things are getting rinsed or even washed with soap after use, so the oils are not remaining on the skin. Essential oils usually need anywhere from 30-90 minutes to be fully absorbed into the skin. If you’re still worried about it you can easily avoid using citrus oils and replace with any other oils you like. Thanks for bringing this up!

  5. Genevieve says

    I was reading through everyone’s questions and I wish i had before making my small batches…however, I just wanted some clarifications regarding shell life for these scrubs?

    I used grapeseed oil in the first batch, olive oil in the second. I did’t add any vitamin E or Rosemary E.O., and I’m hoping to give these as gifts for the holiday season (roughly 7 weeks away). Should I refregirate them? Or are they good until then?


    • Betsy Jabs says

      It’s hard to give an exact shelf life for these scrubs since there are so many different combinations of ingredients you could use. However, in my experience they last at least several months. The good news is that you have plenty of time to add Vitamin E oil to the batches you already mixed up if you want. Refrigeration will also extend shelf life.

  6. erica says

    how about a facial scrub? i’m using mary kay’s microderm stuff, but would love to make my own…would sugar be too rough to use?

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Depending on your skin, sugar may be too large/rough for your face. I like to use baking soda mixed with a little water to form a paste, since I have a sensitive face. If you use sugar, consider mixing it with a creamy, nourishing oil like coconut oil. Remember to rub gently. 🙂

    • Faye Creech says

      For a facial scrub, I just put a little cornmeal on a wet wash cloth and go over my face, Rinse and then put Moringa oil on my face. Mary Kay Microderm is too abrasive for my skin.

  7. Gracie says

    How about using coconut oil? Would that be too thick or something? I just love coconut oil and use it a lot for my skin.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Coconut oil will be great for these scrubs! I haven’t played around with it in these sugar/salt scrubs, so I don’t know if the measurements would be different in the recipe. Play around with it and let us know how it goes! 🙂

  8. Misty says

    I plan to make a peppermint and rosemary sugar scrub. I will be making these as gifts and would like to know what base oil and sugar to use so they will last. I don’t want the sugar to dissolve. Great site and thank you for the info!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      The trick is to make small batches for gifts. A little goes a long way, and they will go bad over time. I think olive oil has the longest shelf life (1-2 years), but can be overpowering in some mixtures. Brown sugar is good for its larger granules. Consider using a natural preservative to extend shelf life…a little Vitamin E oil or rosemary essential oil will preserve, but not indefinitely.

  9. Natalie says

    All I had on hand was canola oil, so I thought I’d give it a try. I used the oil, brown sugar and pumpkin pie spices. I ended up smelling like salad dressing! Was that due to the canola oil? Would I have better results with a different oil?

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Yes, chances are good your body scrub will take on the scent of the oil used, so choose accordingly. Olive oil is another one you want to be careful with…sometimes it works well, but sometimes it really conflicts with the overall scent you’re going for. Grapeseed, safflower, sunflower, jojoba, and sweet almond oil are all good ones for these scrubs that won’t leave you smelling like a salad. 😉

    • Betsy Jabs says

      These scrubs are exfoliating, so everyday use could leave your skin a little irritated or raw. Once a week should do the trick to slough off dead skin. 🙂