A homemade face scrub should definitely form part of your essential skincare kit!
Natural face scrubs are easy to make, usually cost a lot less than the store-bought ones, and contain no nasty chemicals.
Whether you want to cure acne and get smaller pores or want to turn dry, flaky skin into healthy-looking and smooth skin, you have the option to do so. All you need to do is find the perfect recipe for your skin type, buy a few ingredients, and blend them together.
The great thing with homemade face scrubs is that they are so cheap to make, you can experiment with making a few different ones to find out what works best for you!
Chemicals in Skincare
There are plenty of face scrubs readily available on the shelves of most shops, so why take the time to make your own? Because not only is it often a lot cheaper, you also know exactly what you put in your own face scrubs.
In regular skincare products, there are plenty of ingredients that are potentially harmful to both you and the environment.
That’s not to say that all natural and homemade skincare products are good for you either—your skin can become irritated by lots of natural ingredients too, so you need to find out what works for your skin and in what amounts.
Do your research carefully.
Many chemicals in skincare products that are deemed dangerous are completely harmless in small amounts. Often people get alarmed by the word chemicals, or even metals, as metals such as copper are extremely toxic in large amounts. However, they are completely harmless and even necessary for the body in small amounts, and people don’t always make the distinction between the two.
No one knows how bad skincare chemicals are for you, though—especially if you use them day in and day out for many years. Some of them can possibly cause hormone disruption, cancer, and toxicity. Also, some pollute the environment at large.
The chemicals that there are some concerns around include: butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), diethanolamine (DEA), phthalates dibutyl phthalate (DBP), dimethyl phthalate (DMP), diethyl phthalate (DEP), formaldehyde (formaldehyde releasers: bronopol, DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, and quaternium-15), fragrance, PEGs (polyethylene glycol or ceteareth), parabens (specifically propyl-, isopropyl-, butyl-, and isobutyl- parabens), sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate, synthetic colors, siloxane (ingredients ending in -siloxane or -methicone) and triclosan. (7)
There are also contaminants that can create harmful by-products. Contaminants include diethanolamine (DEA), coal tar, formaldehyde, butane and isobutane, petroleum distillates, talcum, polyethylene glycol/ceteareth, and nitrosamines. (7)
These kinds of chemicals aren’t only potentially harmful to your health at large, some can also cause contact dermatitis if you have sensitive skin.
Different Skin Types
To make the perfect face scrub for your skin, you should choose ingredients that support your skin type.
As a general rule there are four different skin types:
- Combination (dry and oily)
Mix ‘n’ Match for Your Skin Type
To have some fun when experimenting with DIY skincare, you can invent your own recipes! Try combining different ingredients to see what works best for you.
What you need is some sort of moisturizer (oil) and an exfoliant. Great moisturizers include coconut oil, argan oil (good for all skin types), rosehip seed oil (great for oily skin), extra virgin olive oil (good for dry skin), marula oil (good for dry and sensitive skin), and jojoba oil (good for all skin types and acne). (6) (8)
As for exfoliants, mild ones would be ground oatmeal, cornmeal, or baking soda (when NOT combined with an acid), while coarser ones include sea salt, coffee, and sugar.
If you have sensitive skin, then use exfoliants that are gentle on your skin, avoid strong acids—especially for long periods of time—and go light on essential oils. Also, bear in mind that citrus oils make your skin more sensitive to light.
If you want to add essential oils, lemongrass, eucalyptus, peppermint, and orange oil were effective against 22 out of 22 bacterial strands in one study, while eucalyptus and peppermint oils were effective against 11 out of 11 fungi. Lavender, tea tree oil, and clove oil have all been used to fight acne.
Be careful with essential oils, as you need very little and some people develop contact dermatitis. Do patch tests when using oils you’ve never tried before and always dilute them properly with other ingredients. (9)
Other ingredients you can try adding are kefir or yogurt (the healthy bacteria in them are good for your skin) and honey. These have been used for centuries as ingredients in homemade skincare products. (7)
When using a face scrub, be sure to wet your face first—it should be damp. Then gently massage the face scrub into your skin. Depending on the ingredients, you can let it sit for a few minutes to sink in, then rinse.
After rinsing, gently pat your face with a towel, then apply a moisturizer to suit your skin type. Alternatively, you can put on some honey that you then rinse off, before applying the moisturizer. You can also use some fresh aloe vera before you apply the moisturizer.
If you use ingredients you may be allergic to, such as different oils and essential oils, then do a patch test before using it on your entire face.
1. Sensitive Skin Face Scrub
A great cleanser for sensitive skin is baking soda, which has a low pH. Mixed with a little bit of water, it creates a great cleaning agent.
All you need for this recipe is one tablespoon of baking soda and enough water (spring water is likely to have more minerals than your average tap water and contain fewer chemicals) to form a paste. (1)
2. Acne Scrub
Lemon juice alone can actually be a great facial scrub if you want to get rid of acne or oily skin, or if you simply want smaller pores and fewer blackheads.
If mixed with a little bit of baking soda, lemon juice becomes even more potent. You can, for example, substitute half of the water for lemon juice in the recipe above (but please don’t use that every day or keep it on your skin for long, as it’s very strong).
If you want to exfoliate properly, just add some sugar to the lemon juice and give yourself a good scrub. Alternatively, add some coconut oil to have a moisturizer in there that’s good for oily skin. Bear in mind, lemon is a strong acid and should not stay on your skin for long—rub it in and wash it off! (2)
After scrubbing your face with lemon, apply some honey and wait a minute or two for the healing benefits of the honey to set in, before rinsing it off.
Remember that if you dry your skin out too much, it will only compensate by producing too much oil! That’s why it’s important to apply a moisturizer after scrubbing your face.
Alternatively, before applying a moisturizer, you can start by applying a little bit of aloe vera to help heal the skin.
3. Healing Sugar Scrub
This DIY skincare recipe couldn’t be any easier—simply mix one part sugar with one part raw honey. To have enough for one face scrub, you likely need about half a tablespoon of each. (1)
Honey has powerful anti-bacterial properties and has been used in skincare routines since ancient times. If you suffer from acne, try adding one drop of an essential oil known to combat acne, such as clove oil (be sure to dilute it properly, as it’s very strong), lavender oil, or tea tree oil (please note that some suffer allergic reactions to tea tree oil, so test on a small patch of skin first).
4. Makeup Remover Scrub
It’s a well-known fact that coconut oil is one of the best natural makeup removers there are. And the great thing about coconut oil is that it works with dry skin, oily skin, wrinkles, and acne! Most coconut oils are relatively close to the pH level of human skin, providing pH balance as well.
If you want to scrub your face at the same time as removing makeup, simply add two parts of sea salt or Himalayan salt to one part of melted (or at least creamy) coconut oil. Make sure the salt isn’t too coarsely ground—you want a fine grind so as not to hurt your skin. (1)
You can add a drop or two of an essential oil that’s good for your skin to this mixture if you like, such as the above-mentioned acne-fighting essential oils, or some others with antibacterial properties, like rosemary or oregano. Or why not good-smelling oils like orange and rose?
5. Simple Sugar Scrub
Don’t have the money for a honey and sugar scrub?
No worries—if you’re just looking to exfoliate the skin, simply mix one teaspoon of sugar with two drops of water, or a few drops of olive oil (or other nourishing oil, like jojoba) if you want to moisturize the skin. Again, you can add a drop of essential oil if desired. (3)
6. Chocolate Sugar Scrub
Ever wanted to smell like chocolate cake? All you need is some homemade face scrub!
Simply combine 1/4 cup of brown sugar (the exfoliant), 1/8 cup of olive oil (moisturizer), 1 tbsp cocoa, and 1/4 tsp vanilla. Perfect to use before a date when you want to smell divine! Just be sure to rinse off all the cacao before you leave home… (3)
7. Oatmeal Lavender Scrub for Sensitive Skin
Lavender has a calming effect on the mind, and oatmeal is said to have anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also very gentle on the skin.
So on a day, you are feeling frazzled, try mixing 1/2 cup of ground oatmeal with 1/4 cup dry lavender flower buds, 1/4 cup of powdered milk, and 1 tsp cornmeal (omit if you want it to be even gentler on your skin), and apply it on damp skin. Give yourself a good scrub and then rinse it off. (4)
8. Lemon and Sugar Face Scrub
If you want to smell more like lemon meringue and less like chocolate cake, then this is the recipe for you! As you can tell, it also has a lot of the ingredients previously mentioned that work wonders on your skin. Lemon is sure to leave your skin looking bright, and the scent will also leave you feeling bright!
Blend together the juice of 1/2 lemon, 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, 1 tbsp of olive oil, and 1 tbsp of honey (raw for best effect). (3)
9. Coffee Scrub
Coffee isn’t only a great drink, perfect for the compost, an excellent meat tenderizer, and an ingredient in a plethora of dessert recipes, it’s also a great exfoliant that’s rich in oils that will nourish your skin.
If you use the coffee grounds from your morning coffee, it will be less oily, however, as the oils will have evaporated into the water.
For a simple homemade face scrub that’s all natural, mix together 1/3 tsp extra virgin olive oil (or other oil of choice), 1 tsp raw honey, and 1 1/2 tsp coffee grounds. (5)
10. Blueberry Scrub
Like the taste and smell of blueberries? Lucky for you they’re good for the skin too!
For a simple blueberry DIY face scrub that’s all natural, mix 1/2 cup of fresh blueberries with 2 tbsp of honey and 1–2 tbsp of sugar in a food processor. Then massage it into your skin and rinse! (3)
Be sure not to wear anything that you’re scared of having destroyed by food stains when using this scrub, as blueberries tend to leave nasty ones!
11. Grapefruit Scrub
Grapefruits are packed full of healthy nutrients that are good for your skin too!
You can use grapefruit essential oil (and other citrus essential oils) to get limonoids that may help prevent skin cancer, but for a fresh face scrub, try using the juice of half a grapefruit, 1 cup of sugar, and 3 tablespoons of avocado oil.
It’s a scrub that will leave you feeling rejuvenated!
There is an infinite number of recipes one can create for face scrubs; the important thing is finding the ingredients/combination of ingredients that work for your skin type.
So have fun experimenting and try different oils, exfoliants, and extras in your scrubs!