On a rainy, gray Sunday afternoon in Seattle, I found myself cleaning out my pantry. As I neared the back of my baking section, I found expired shredded coconut. Another wasted purchase I thought as I was about to toss the flakes into the compost. Right as the first flake fell and as I saw the expired sugar on the counter, I wondered if I could make something out of the two?
Having the afternoon free, I pulled out my NutriBullet and started to experiment. Recently, I had run out of body scrub and wondered if I could blend the coconut into an exfoliant. Not only would this save money if I was successful, but body scrub is one of the only products I cannot get in bulk at Public Goods and Services (where I have my own containers filled each month to save in the amount of plastic I throw away).
The afternoon flew by, it was the first time in months I had not spent my Sunday afternoon in front of a screen and years since I had crafted. After much experimenting (and fun creating) I found the perfect recipe, with LOTS of flexibility. Below are the steps I used, the lessons I learned, and links to the ingredients/products I used (if you don’t already have these in your pantry).
Take a break from your screens with a fun project that saves money (and plastic) with the below Step-by-Step DYI Guide for Making Homemade Sugar and Coconut Body Scrub.
Step 1: Key Ingredients
There are really only 2 main ingredients:
…but many variations and optional additions:
- Coconut Flakes (blended)
- Essential Oils
- Vitamin E
- Dried Extras for Garnish (Lavender, Rose Petals, Cinnamon Sticks, Dehydrated Oranges, etc.)
- Spoons and Twine
- Plastic Jars
- Food Coloring <– after a lot of browsing, this one is Vegan, Baby Friendly, Gluten Free, Natural, Skin Safe Food Grade Coloring (planning to also use them for baking!)
- NutriBullet or Food Processor
- Hot Glue Gun with Glue Sticks
Step 2: Experimenting
Start with your base of coconut oil and sugar, I found that using a 2:1 sugar to coconut oil mixture was best (example 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup coconut oil) but feel free to experiment, adding a little of each until you get the desired feel. You cannot mess up, seriously, have fun and know that anything works!
To make mixing easier, you can melt the coconut oil (it actually will melt if you put it in the NutriBullet!) Note that if you decide to melt the coconut oil, it will harden but it takes sometime.
Once you have your base of sugar and coconut oil, now is when you can add blended coconut flakes or salt to add more exfoliant and texture. Below are some ideas from my time experimenting:
- Sensitive skin? Try blending the coconut flakes and sugar together so it is not so strong of an exfoliant. Note: If blending the granulated sugar on it’s own…it will turn into powered sugar (which I learned – I had no idea!) which will not offer any exfoliation but is great to add as a “filler” if there is too much coconut oil and you are wanting a less intense exfoliation experience.
- Add Vitamin E or Rosehip Oil (or another oil) to the scrub for an all natural anti-aging moisturizing treatment and extra oil is great for sensitive skin.
- Experiment with smell combinations, like lavender, orange, sugar cookie or tea tree, to name some of my favorites. If you would like to go with a scent that does not work well with coconut, try coconut oil that does not smell like coconut (and leave out the coconut flakes) The coconut oil I use does not have the coconut smell (if you WANT the coconut smell, look for virgin coconut oil which has a distinct coconut smell and flavor). Here is a set of Essential Oils that works great for playing and experimenting.
- Ingredients: I wanted to use all natural and edible ingredients so I did not have to worry about the bowls I was using to mix or making contact with food on my counter. I also wanted to use organic and vegan ingredients to be as natural as possible and ensure there were no chemicals or parabens included.
Step 3: Bottling
Once you have a final mixture, you can bottle the scrub into individual bottles (if gifting) or put into a refillable jar and store the rest of the scrub in the now empty coconut oil container. Get creative when bottling, add layers of scrub that has food color blended in or add dried blended coconut or lavender.
I learned a lot from my first batch and for the second batch corrected these, which made for a better product. Here are some of the “mistakes” I made with the first batch and what I learned for my second batch and beyond:
- Glass: For my first batch, all I had was old glass mason jars. These looked great, but can be dangerous using in the shower. I accidentally dropped mine and the jar cracked. For my second batch, I started using plastic jars that were BPA free and looked just as stylish. They also are better for gifting, as they are light and safe for shipping.
- Container: Again, the mason jar I used looked great but in addition to being unsafe, it also was not functional. My hands did not fit very far into the jar so I could only get about half of the scrub out. Moving to a smaller 4 oz or 8 oz jar made it so I could reach all the scrub.
- Coconut Flakes: In my first batch I put layers of coconut flakes in the scrub and also on top. These flakes were not blended and ended up getting stuck in my shower and sink drain – not good. For my next batch, I made sure to not include any flakes in the scrub to ensure they did not get stuck in the drain.
- Brown Sugar: Like the coconut flakes, I included brown sugar in the layers to give the scrub dimension but realized when using that the brown sugar hardens, making it really hard to get your fingers through the layers to the scrub beneath. For my second batch, I put the brown sugar at the bottom to add dimension and to ensure all the scrub is reachable.
Step 4: Creating
My favorite part! I spent most of the afternoon crafting and creating different jars that I planned to use as gifts and Christmas presents. I tried to make every jar different so I could see what one I liked the best, it seemed that there were endless ways to “dress” the jars.
When I did not tie the spoon onto the jar, I used a hot glue gun which was great for any mistakes (just peal off and start over). When I gift these, I plan to let the person know they can just peal off the spoon to use. If you plan to use a hot glue gun I recommend getting some of these to protect your fingers (my poor fingers would have loved to have these as I tended to always touch the glue before it had cooled.)
For the lids, I used hot glue and then sprinkled dried flowers and coconut flakes on the top. Since my second batch, I have added Rose Petals, Cinnamon Sticks, Dehydrated Oranges, Glitter, and even Fake Gold Flakes (thanks for the idea Meg!) I also started dripping more essential oils (scents) on the top so when they are opened, it is clear what the scent is. Again, there is no wrong way to dress up the jars, have fun and get crazy!
Step 5: Enjoying!
Not a wrong way to enjoy your creation either but here are some ways I have been using my Homemade Sugar + Coconut Body Scrub:
Inexpensive and Heart Felt Gift: In the past I had purchased similar body scrubs for friends and family for $25+. Using this recipe and products, the cost per jar is under $10 but also these are fun to create and I think mean more given the time and love put into each jar.
Kitchen: I keep a jar next to the sink so my hands can have some extra love during the dry, increased hand-washing season. I use a jar that has an easy release lid. The scrub is great for getting hands extra clean and the coconut oil and vitamin e soothe and restore. Additionally, since the scrub is made from 100% edible ingredients, the scrub is safe to use in the kitchen and near dishes.
Shower: My favorite place to enjoy this scrub! For extra exfoliant, I sometimes use my “scrubby gloves” no idea if they have an actual name, haha, but that is what I call them. I love how the sugar and coconut remove a layer of dull, dry skin and the coconut oil and vitamin e moisturizes and leaves my skin with a slight shine. Perfect for dry winter days and since I actually created the scrub, I feel productive, proud, and creative; things I have not been feeling during COVID.
There you have it! My DYI guide to creating Homemade Sugar + Coconut Body Scrub. Share your ideas and creations below – I am excited to learn what others are creating and if this post was helpful.
*Note: Trying something new! The products that I used and am suggesting above are linked out to Amazon, so you can learn more and compare similar products. If you end up purchasing something I recommend or link to, as an Amazon Associate, I earn from those qualifying purchases. I love nothing more than helping people and being the voice I wish I had. I will never promote a product that I have not personally used.