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I don’t Want no scrubs…Oh wait
So Pinterest, (love it) is full of amazing scrub recipes (which I have tried a lot of why not see my Winter Snow Body Scrub or Sweet Orange Body Scrub with free printable labels!)
But here is where I wanted to talk about scrub basics:
Realistically the more organic you go, the better because at the end of the day it is going on your skin.
Those with sensitive skin should be really careful or what they put into the scrub because (depending on the mixture) they can be quite abrasive.
Additionally always check for any allergies beforehand either by applying a small amount onto a discreet place e.g. inner elbow or behind the ear and allow 24 hours (it won’t always do the trick but it’s better than smothering yourself in it and regretting that in A & E.
Fundamentally a scrub is:
- A base
- An abrasive
With Optional extras
- A smell
- Aromatherapy herb for other uses
Things to Consider:
Sugar or salt? – These are the exfoliating agents that will help remove the dead skin and give you a fresh feeling once you’re done. Both have different uses and you can use different sugar types for varying abrasions depending on what you’re after.
Shanda de Vries has written a great article on the benefits and uses of each which you should check out here (I found it very informative).
Coconut oil or Olive oil? – These are the liquid bases that will hold everything together, the two are similar in texture when melted although I find olive oil feels “less heavy” I’m not sure that’s a thing but that’s how I describe it. I use coconut oil if I am trying to use compliment smells and if I am using lighter fragrances I use olive oil (it doesn’t really have a scent on it’s own so doesn’t interfere)
There are other alternatives that I have seen in recipes but haven’t tried yet, these are: baby oil, clear glycerin, unscented bath oil but these don’t seem as organic but if that’s all you have they will do in a pinch I’m sure
To herb or not to herb? – I have added herbs to my scrubs depending on its uses – for example lavender has a relaxing scent so add this to a smaller sugar granule and you have a soothing evening scrub. However if you’re a morning person (I will never understand you weird wonderful creatures) then add citrus fruits e.g. lemon zest or lime essential oil
*Herbs can be tricky because not all are made for the skin even if you like the smell so I’ve made a small guide of things to watch out for.*
Essential oils – These (unlike the name suggests) are optional, some people like the smell of coconut enough to not add anything else – some prefer unscented. I am a bit more high maintenance and like a bit of cutesy smell (pfft
sue me don’t I can’t afford it :p ).
Colouring – Now sugar and coconut oil is always going to be white (or brown if using brown sugar) so to make things aesthetically pleasing (and to tell mixtures apart by looking at them) some will chose to use food colouring. I have used many colours and made the mistake of using too much (wayyyy too much) and it can stain tiles etc. so use sparingly. There is nothing wrong with adding a drop at a time.
Vitamins – You can add extras such as vitamin E drops etc into the scrub concoction – I personally feel they work better in hand made creams (see mine here add link) but each to their own
Containment – I tend to re-purpose jars with a good seal (making sure they are thoroughly Clean/steamed before use to prevent cross contamination), you can also use other types of cosmetic containers but be wary that using natural ingredients does mean there is a shelf life.
*Note: Although jars make the best gifts they are not practical for the shower so i scoop into a small bowl before I hop in to avoid breaking the jar (which I almost definitely will) *
Shelf Life – As soon as you start to add preservatives you take out some of the goodness (in my opinion). I have found the scrubs I make can last up to 2 months (honestly I find it’s best to do small batches at a time and use them as and when as they are so simple to make). I’ve never kept a batch longer than 2 months so I’m uncertain past then but you shouldn’t need to make that much anyway. If you have too much left over and it goes off then tweak the amounts and make less next time.
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