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Homemade Sugar Scrub

Buff away dry skin and reveal a radiant glow with this DIY Homemade Sugar Scrub! It requires just two simple ingredients and is non-toxic, eco-friendly, and edible. This gentle exfoliant leaves your skin feeling soft, smooth, and nourished. Plus, it makes great gifts!

side angle view of sugar scrub in a jar with wooden spoon and items surrounding.

This is my all-time favorite DIY sugar scrub recipe and I have been using it for years. Whether after a soak in the tub or the end of a shower, it scruffs away dead skin cells leaving me with freshly exfoliated and moisturized skin.

I want to share with you how easy it is to make your own exfoliating scrub from scratch with simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. It’s a budget-friendly way to get spa-worthy results, better than expensive store-bought scrubs, and will leave your skin glowing, soft, and supple!

Sugar Scrub Benefits

  • Smoother, softer skin: Regular use helps to remove dead skin cells, revealing smoother, softer skin.
  • Improved skin texture: Exfoliating can help to improve skin texture by unclogging pores and removing impurities.
  • Enhanced skin hydration: The oil’s moisturizing effect helps to hydrate and nourish the skin, leaving it feeling soft and supple.
  • Brighter skin tone: Scrubs can help promote cell turnover, which can lead to a brighter, more even skin tone.

Get your glow on and feel the difference after the first use!

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top down view of 3 different sugars in bowls.

What Kind of Sugar Can I Use?

Sugar is a natural humectant, which helps to lock in moisture and hydrate your skin, making it the perfect base for our homemade sugar scrub. There are three main types of sugar you can choose from:

  • Pure cane brown sugar is the least abrasive making it a good choice for sensitive skin and facial scrubs. Since it is the gentlest, a brown sugar scrub can be used up to 4 times a week.
  • Pure cane sugar (unrefined white) is good for all skin types and contains essential nutrients to feed the skin. It can be used 2 – 3 times per week.
  • Turbinado sugar (raw) is naturally the coarsest due to its large granules and makes for a great body scrub. It is the least processed of the three sugars and holds the most essential minerals. Body scrubs made with raw sugar can be used up to 2 times a week.

Personally, I prefer pure cane and brown sugar. Both are great for sloughing and not too irritating. I encourage you to try the different types to see what works best for your skin type.

top down view of oils used to make homemade sugar scrub.

What Type Of Oils Can I Use?

When I started making my own exfoliating scrubs, I used extra virgin olive oil because it’s a pantry staple and always on hand. Now that I make it regularly, I like to use other oils such as avocado and sweet almond oil.

Here are some great oils to consider for various skin types:

Apricot Oil absorbs well, is non-greasy, and works as an enriching emollient, perfect for soothing skin and preventing dryness. Best suited for sensitive, dry, and mature skin types.

Avocado Oil is heavy in texture yet soothing and leaves no greasy residue. Avocado oil supports skin elasticity, it’s nutrient-rich, hydrating, and great for mature skin.

Coconut Oil is moisturizing and conditioning and has antiviral and antibacterial properties. Look for unrefined coconut oil. You can also use Fractioned Coconut Oil, which is non-greasy.

Grapeseed Oil naturally contains vitamin E and fatty acids that retain and moisturize the skin. It’s non-comedogenic so it doesn’t clog pores and is a good choice for those with acne-prone or oily skin types.

Hazelnut Oil is a pale amber oil with a pleasant smell, similar to almond oil. Because of its astringent qualities, this oil is beneficial for oily skin. It will also absorb quickly and is useful as a base for oily or acne-prone skin.

Hemp Seed Oil is conditioning and regenerative. It is perfect for moisturizing dry, damaged skin and works well for eczema and psoriasis. It reduces skin aging and is anti-inflammatory. Hemp seed oil penetrates the skin quickly.

Jojoba Oil (pronounced ho-ho-ba) has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. It’s odorless, non-greasy, and penetrates quickly. This is a good moisturizing conditioner and nourishes all skin types.

Olive Oil penetrates deeply into the skin, making it good for overly dry skin. One reason olive oil is so powerful is that it’s a “humectant,” which means it draws moisture into your skin. It also is good for soothing dry, itchy skin.

Sesame Oil is rich in vitamins and minerals. It is recommended for psoriasis, eczema, and arthritis and as a skin softener.

Sweet Almond Oil is rich in vitamins E and K, which help skin regenerate and maintain elasticity. It is also a natural UV blocker and promotes better circulation. It absorbs quickly without leaving an oily residue and is a good choice for all skin types.

Walnut Oil has good moisturizing, anti-aging, regenerative, emollient, and toning properties.

top down view of small glass ball jar, sugar and oil in measuring cups, and washcloth.

How To Make Sugar Scrub

Place 1 cup of sugar in a small to medium-sized container, add 5 tablespoons of oil, and mix well. Add 1 to 2 more tablespoons as needed. You will use anywhere from 5 – 8 tablespoons per cup of sugar, depending on the oil and sugar.

The consistency should be sandy, not soupy. If the mix is too soupy, the sugars will dissolve in a day or two and not slough the skin as well, but you will get added moisture from the oil. If it’s too soupy, add more sugar.

Recommended equipment: I like to use glass Weck, Ball, or these 8 oz. wide-mouth Kerr jars. You can buy regular glass containers with lids that are easy to open, don’t rust when stored in the shower, and are good for gifting.

Ways To Use an Exfoliating Scrub

Shower: After showering, lightly pat your skin with a dry towel, leaving a little moisture. Scoop up about 1 – 2 tablespoons in the palm of your hand and apply the sugar scrub to sections of the body, gently rubbing in a circular motion. Rinse off the excess sugar granules when done. You can safely use this edible sugar scrub on your entire body.

Bath: For the best results, I find a nice soak in the bathtub first, for at least 20 minutes, works wonderfully. Soaking in the tub softens the outer layers of the skin, making it easier to exfoliate and scuff off dead skin cells. Once you are done soaking, lightly pat your skin with a dry towel, and apply the scrub in a circular motion anywhere on your body. Rinse off when done. You’ll be left with beautiful, glowing, soft, and supple skin!

Hands: When your hands feel dry or you just want to moisturize and exfoliate. Scoop out 1 to 2 tablespoons and place it in the palm of your hand. Gently rub your hands together, back and front, and in between the fingers. Rinse with warm water and pat dry with a towel.

Storage Tips

I like to keep my tightly sealed exfoliating scrub right in the shower caddy, so it’s always handy. If you prefer, you can keep it in a cabinet and pull it out when ready to use. I find it’s best used within 1 month.

side angle view of sugar scrub in a jar with wooden spoon and items surrounding.


Do you use sugar scrub before or after body wash?

We recommend using a sugar scrub after cleansing the body with any type of soap or body wash. This way you don’t wash off the moisturizing oil that is left on the skin after using a body scrub. Use your scrub at the very end of showering or bathing, and then give yourself a quick rinse before stepping out to remove any sugar granules.

How often should you use a sugar scrub?

You can safely use a sugar scrub 3 – 4 times a week.

Can I add Flavors or Smells?

Yes, you can make a variety of body scrubs with different flavors and smells by using essential oils, preferably food grade. I’ve been using Viva Doria’s assortment of orange, lemon, grapefruit, lavender, spearmint, peppermint, bergamot, and eucalyptus. Rose and patchouli would also be great! For pantry items, use alcohol-free vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, lemon juice, etc. See more about how to use them in the recipe card below.

For a relaxing and luxurious body scrub, take a look at my Lavender Body Scrub!

Do I Need to Add a Preservative?

No, since this sugar body scrub doesn’t contain any water, you don’t need to mix in any kind of added preservative.

side angle view of sugar scrub in a jar with wooden spoon and items surrounding.

If you try this homemade scrub, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.



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5 from 25 reviews

Get ready for beautifully soft, glowing skin! This edible DIY Sugar Scrub is easy to make and will leave your skin incredibly soft and supple. Give your body a treat with our homemade exfoliating scrub!


Units Scale


  • 1 cup sugar of choice (organic pure cane, brown pure cane, turbinado, etc.)
  • 5 – 8 tablespoons oil (sweet almond oil, jojoba, or extra virgin olive oil)

optional ingredients:

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract w/o alcohol
  • few drops of vitamin E oil
  • 1/2 small lemon, juice of
  • or a few drops of your favorite essential oils such as spearmint, lemon, lavender, grapefruit, etc (see notes)


Mix: Place sugar in a small/medium-sized container, add 5 tablespoons of oil, and mix well. Add 1 to 3 tablespoons of oil more as needed. You want the consistency to be sandy, not soupy. If the mix is too soupy, the sugars will dissolve in a day or two and not slough the skin as well, but you will still get added moisture from the oil.

To Use: After showering, pat the skin dry and gently rub the sugar scrub in a circular motion over your body. Rinse well. I find it works best after soaking in the tub for at least 20 minutes. Soaking first will help soften the skin, allowing the scrub to work at its best and leaving your skin soft and supple!

It can be used 2 – 4 times a week (depending on the sugar type).

Store: Sugar scrub should be sealed to keep moisture out when not in use. Keep it on a shower caddy or in a cabinet. It is best used within 1 month.


Do not consume if adding essential oils, or research before you do to make sure they are ingestible, especially if you are pregnant. We recommend food grade essential oils.

More flavors and smells to consider: Essential oils – add a few drops of orange, lemon, grapefruit, lavender, peppermint, spearmint, bergamot, rose, vanilla, eucalyptus, or patchouli. I like these Viva Doria from Amazon. Alternatively, add 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon or 1 – 2 teaspoons of culinary lavender.

UPDATED: This DIY scrub was originally posted in 2012 and updated in May 2024 with retesting and new photos.

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  1. Turned out wonderful. I have buds and leaves from infusing lavender oil. I tried to dehydrate but w the oil it wasn’t working. Found your sugar scrub and it was perfect for no waste processing lavender. Thank you.

  2. Could you use Vaseline in this with the brown sugar and vanilla extract?

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Yes, you can use Vaseline jelly with brown sugar and vanilla extract. Yes, the ratio of petroleum jelly to sugar will be much different than using oil and sugar. Start off by mixing equal parts of Vaseline jelly and sugar together in a small container or bowl. For a grainier scrub, add more sugar, and for a creamier scrub, add more Vaseline jelly. Add 3 – 4 drops of vanilla extract or your favorite essential oil, and mix well. I hope that helps!

    2. You could but please don’t. Vaseline is made from petroleum and is terrible for you. Use natural oil for the sake of your body and the earth.

  3. Can I add aloe gel, vitamin E and more than one oil? I have been thinking about trying these and I know that these can help the skin. But what I don’t know is if they can be used together.

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Great question, Rachel! You can add a few drops of vitamin E and use more than one oil in this sugar scrub recipe. In fact, you can make some creative aromas using any of the optional listed essential oils. I’m not sure about adding aloe gel, but it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try. Just add a little at a time. If your scrub gets to soupy, add more sugar. I hope that helps. Enjoy the body scrub!

  4. Hello,

    Would it be okay to add arrowroot powder, bentonite clay, or both to this recipe? If so, what would be the measurements?

    Thank you you for sharing, making this with my little girl as holiday gifts for the family 🥰

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Unfortunately, I’ve never tried either of those ingredients in the recipe, so I can’t say how much to use or even if it will work. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful, Felicia. I do hope you enjoy your project with your little one. Happy Holidays!

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