If the only thing you use in the shower is soap or body wash, you’re missing an important step: exfoliation. An exfoliating body scrub will slough off dead skin cells, keeping your skin smoother and less flakey. Plus, it helps prevent body acne, makes hair removal easier and less painful, and makes moisturizer work better.
Many people skip body scrubs because it’s just another product to buy, but you can easily make your own scrubs at home, which is cheap and eco-friendly. There are dozens of recipes for DIY body scrubs available online, ranging from super simple to more complex, but many can be made entirely from products you already have at home. There are generally two types of must-have ingredients in any scrub: something rough and granulated to act as the exfoliating agent and something like oil to soften it and hold it together.
The two most common exfoliating agents are common kitchen items: sugar and salt. The right choice depends on your preferences and how sensitive your skin is, but regular granulated sugar, raw sugar, and caster sugar are all effective, as are standard table salt, sea salt, kosher salt, Himalayan salt, and also Epsom salt. Used coffee grounds make a great exfoliating agent as well (just save them from your morning coffee!). This option has the added benefit of using up something that’s a waste product and would otherwise be thrown away, although it’s admittedly a little messier than the others. Plus, caffeine helps to reduce the appearance of cellulite, giving coffee scrubs another benefit (as long as your coffee isn’t decaf).
Once you’ve chosen an exfoliating agent, you’ll need to mix it with the oil of your choice, and again, there are many different options. Coconut oil and olive oil are the most common, but nearly any type will work, and jojoba, almond, and avocado oils are great as well. Coconut butter or shea butter will also work, and liquid glycerin is a good alternative for people with sensitive skin or severe acne. Mashed-up banana is another option if you want to avoid using oil, although it’s a little more difficult to use (and might have a stronger smell than you want).
You can make a quick two-ingredient scrub by mixing together just an exfoliating agent and an oil, but there are plenty of extra ingredients you might want to add as well. Lemon juice, lemon or orange zest, raw honey, and green tea are commonly added. Different types of herbs can be included in a scrub as well, such as thyme and rosemary. Lastly, you can add any type of essential oil to your scrub. They all have different therapeutic properties and benefits, so it’s worth looking at what your most important needs are. Alternatively, just pick your favorite scent to guarantee you’ll end up with a great-smelling scrub!