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3 DIY Stress-Relieving Sugar Scrub Recipes for Dry Skin

Updated: Jan 3

Woman enjoying a relaxing bath.

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My skin is dry all year long, and in the winter, it seems like dryness is unavoidable.

But I don’t like slathering on tons of chemical-laden lotions from the store since I know those chemicals will penetrate my skin right along with the moisturizing ingredients.

I prefer to use something more natural and choose nontoxic, food-grade ingredients when possible—like the following ingredients in my sugar scrub recipes for dry skin.

Sugar options

Body scrub exfoliates your skin, leaving it glowing and feeling silky smooth. I use regular granulated sugar in my scrubs, but you can try using brown sugar, organic cane sugar, or turbinado sugar if you like. (I find turbinado to be too coarse for my skin in general, but it’s great for a foot scrub.)

Oil choices

The oils in bath scrubs moisturize your body, trapping extra moisture from the shower or bath and locking it in place. I use olive, coconut, and almond oil in my bath scrubs. Sometimes, I’ll add a little shea butter or cocoa butter for an extra luxurious scrub.

Here’s a comparison of common oils to help you get started. You may already have one or more of these in your kitchen!

  • Apricot oil: Apricot kernel oil is great for sensitive or mature skin and contains high levels of vitamin A.

  • Coconut oil: Coconut oil has antiviral and antibacterial properties due to its lauric acid content. Use it to moisturize and condition dry skin.

  • Jojoba oil: Commonly used in hair care products, jojoba oil absorbs quickly and is non-greasy; it’s actually a liquid wax.

  • Olive oil: Olive oil is a humectant (it draws moisture into the skin) that penetrates deeply into the skin’s layers. According to The Olive Oil Source, “Olive Oil contains the largest percentage of squalene among the common vegetable oils.” Squalene occurs naturally in human sebum—a natural lubricant.

  • Sweet almond oil: Sweet almond oil helps skin maintain elasticity and improves skin tone. It is high in vitamins E and K and is reported to be a natural UV blocker.

Essential oils and blends

If you add essential oils to your sugar scrub, you can have a wonderful aromatherapy experience in your shower or bath. I recommend going light on the essential oils at first unless you already know that they won’t irritate your skin.

Essential oils vary in strength depending on the brand, how the essential oil was extracted, and how long it has been sitting on the shelf. You can adjust the recommended number of essential oil drops if needed.

Here are some of my favorite stress-reducing essential oil blends.

Eucalyptus and spearmint

Bath & Body Works nailed this combination when they created their Stress Relief Eucalyptus Spearmint body care line. I love the bright notes of spearmint, which I find less irritating to my sensitive skin than peppermint essential oil.


Lavender is possibly the most commonly used essential oil for stress relief and the first that comes to mind when we think of a relaxing scent. Try combining it with sweet orange for a citrusy note or vanilla for a sweet, earthy scent.

Sandalwood and clary sage

Clary sage has an earthy, herbaceous fragrance that compliments the warm notes of sandalwood.

Bergamot and lime

Bergamot has a fruity, sweet, uplifting fragrance that pairs well with the refreshing citrus aroma of lime.

Color me relaxed

What can you use to add a hint of color to your sugar scrub? To keep your creation natural, add small amounts of powdered herbs and flowers, beetroot powder, matcha green tea, or mica. Start with ¼–½ teaspoon and add more as desired.

Some ingredients, like dried hibiscus petals or freeze-dried blueberries, can be ground to a powder in a mortar and pestle. These ingredients will add flecks of color to your scrub blend instead of turning the whole mixture into another shade.

The recipes

Now that we have the ingredients out of the way, let’s move on to the recipes! Feel free to experiment with different oil combinations, sugars, and your own favorite essential oil blends.

You don’t need to add a preservative since we aren’t using water or water-containing ingredients.

For all of the recipes, you’ll need a mixing bowl, mixing spoon, and jars with lids to package your finished scrub. These recipes are for small batches, but you can double or triple the recipe to upsize it for gift-giving or to use as party favors.

Basic sugar scrub recipe

This unscented sugar scrub uses two food-grade ingredients: oil and sugar. Now, I’m not suggesting that you eat this sugar scrub—but isn’t it nice knowing that it’s safe enough to be edible?

1 cup granulated sugar

¼ cup olive oil or coconut oil

If you choose coconut oil, you may need to soften it to mix it with a spoon. If your house is warm or you’re using fractionated coconut oil, go ahead and stir away!

Combine both ingredients in a small bowl. Stir well to blend, and scoop into a small jar. Cap it with a lid, and store at room temperature for up to one month.

Note: If your mixture is too dry, add a little more oil. If it’s too wet, add a little more sugar.

Easy 3-ingredient body scrub with essential oil

This simple bath scrub only requires three ingredients. Change up the essential oils to customize the fragrance to fit your mood.

¾ cup coconut oil

3 cups sugar

15 drops essential oil or a total of 15 drops essential oil blend (I used 8 drops spearmint and 7 drops eucalyptus.)

Soften the coconut oil just enough to make it easy to stir with a spoon or whip with a hand blender. Combine the coconut oil, sugar, and essential oil. Blend well, and spoon into small jars. Top with a lid, and store at room temperature for up to one month.

Simply luxurious sugar scrub

Get ready to indulge your senses in this soothing lavender scrub! This shea butter sugar scrub is sure to give you a mini spa experience at home.

Shea butter contains several fatty acids—linoleic, palmitic, oleic, and stearic—and acts as an emollient, hydrating and softening dry skin.

⅛ cup shea butter

⅛ cup sweet almond oil

¼ cup coconut oil

2 cups sugar

10 drops lavender essential oil or your choice of another fragrance

One vitamin E capsule (break open and squeeze)

Natural colorant

Gently warm the shea butter, almond oil, and coconut oil over low heat until they just begin to melt. Remove them from the heat as soon as you notice a melting effect; stir well to continue the melting process and thoroughly blend the oils.

Allow the oils to cool to room temperature before adding the sugar, vitamin E oil, essential oil, and colorant. Add just enough colorant to bring the mixture to the desired shade (I used ½ teaspoon of powdered hibiscus blossoms to add dark pink flecks to my lavender-scented sugar scrub.)

Spoon the mixture into small jars, top with a snug-fitting lid, and store at room temperature for up to one month.

Get creative

Although I like to use white sugar (it’s cheap!) in my body scrub recipe, you can substitute sea salt if you prefer. Use what you have readily available—there’s no need to spend money or go hunting for exotic ingredients unless that’s what makes you happy.

If you use finely ground sugar or sea salt, you can leave out the essential oils and use these recipes for an amazing lip scrub or facial exfoliant, too!

Want more stress-relieving bath suggestions? Check out these bubble bath ideas to wash your worries away!

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