Scrub It Off


When it comes to our waistlines, we know that just a little bit of sugar is best — but what about when it comes to our skin? It turns out that sugar is a natural exfoliant and a sweet alternative to more aggressive and abrasive skin care products. Sugar scrubs, even inexpensive homemade ones, can remove dry, flaky skin cells and promote a smooth, radiant glow.

“I love sugar scrubs,” said Shannon Ford, owner of BellaDae Spa on Hilton Head Island. “Exfoliating is one of the most important things we can do for our skin. Hydrating is second. As we age, we do not shed (dead skin cells) as fast or as much. Cells build up and give us dull, crepey skin. A sugar scrub removes dead skin cells, allows our skin to look plumper, and helps us better accept hydration because it enables oils and lotions to penetrate better.”

Sugar scrubs can be used from head to toe, Ford said, adding that this is one beauty treatment that doesn’t have to be expensive. When making sugar scrubs at home, she said, coconut oil helps create a thick and rich scrub, while oils like jojoba and almost are lighter. She recommends a 2:1 sugar-to-oil ratio for scrubs.

Sugar Scrubs2“Sugar scrubs were mainly created for the body, namely our feet, arms and legs, but can also be lovely on the face,” Ford said. “Homemade is just as good as store-bought and can be customized to specifically address your needs and preferences.”

Homemade sugar scrubs require five basic supplies, all readily available at area grocery stores or online:

  • Coconut, jojoba or almond oil.
  • Granulated sugar (white or brown).
  • High-quality essential oils (I like doTERRA).
  • Mason jars or other air-tight storage options.
  • Small wooden spoons or scoops.


Note: This recipe is great for the back of the legs.

1 cup ground coffee
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup almond oil
1 teaspoon vitamin E oil
10 drops wild orange essential oil

Combine ingredients in a jar. To use, wet the skin. Use a small wooden spoon to scoop out scrub and apply to targeted area. Rub in small circles, spending 30 seconds to a minute on each area. Rinse.


Note: I like to apply this recipe like a lymphatic massage after my morning workout.

1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup jojoba oil
Zest of 1 lemon
10 drops peppermint essential oil

Combine ingredients in a jar. To apply, wet the skin and scoop out the scrub. Apply to arms and chest and use a dry wash cloth to scrub toward your heart. Wet wash cloth and repeat, rinsing off the scrub.


Note: I treat myself to this scrub every night. It helps with relaxing before bed and preventing dry, cracked feet.

1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 teabags of chamomile tea (dry)
10 drops lavender essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a jar. To use, wet feet in a foot bath. Scoop out the scrub and apply to feet and ankles, rubbing it between the toes and focusing on specific problem areas like bunions or dry heels. Soak feet for a few minutes in foot bath and then towel dry.

Becca Edwards is a wellness professional, freelance writer, and owner of b.e.WELL+b.e.CREATIVE (