The gorgeous weather we’ve been enjoying in SF has us thinking of spring, freshness, and renewal. But sadly, our bodies are still a bit stuck in our cold wintery ways. Well, no time like the present to say sayonara to dull dry skin by giving it some good old fashioned spring cleaning. It’s likely you have most of these homemade scrub ingredients in your pantry save for a few essential oils, which you can easily grab at a natural foods store or on darling Amazon. We love the idea of hosting a girls’ night putting these together, or whipping a few up as last minute party favors!


– jars

– white or evaporated cane sugar

– sugar in the raw

– sea salt

– Grapeseed, Olive, Almond, Apricot Kernel, or Avocado Oil. (We prefer Grapeseed because it’s more affordable and has a longer shelf life, but any of these will do – they are all great for the skin.)

– Vitamin E oil, which acts as a preservative, and prolongs the shelf life of the scrubs. It is also a great skin moisturizer and prevents and repairs free radical damage to our skin.

– essential oils for scent and aromatherapy (our fave brand is Aura Acacia)

Decorative Materials:

– glue gun

– construction paper or any leftover paper from old cards or even grocery bags

– white sticky labels

– ribbon

– hole puncher (if you plan to include a list of ingredients)

We’re serving up a super basic recipe, primed and ready for slight alterations depending on desired texture, available ingredients, and the size of your jars. As always, we encourage lots of improvisation! :)

Mix together:

– 1 cup sugar

– 1 cup salt

– 1 tsp Vitamin E Oil

– 1/4 to 1/2 cup of Grapeseed Oil (or your choice)

– 10 to 15 drops of your favorite essential oil

– optional: 1/2 cup honey (This will make it a little sticky, so if they are gifts it’s better to omit.)

For a little variety, you can definitely mix your scrubs differently. You can use only sugar by mixing the white and raw sugar, which is good for people who have cuts and scrapes, as salt can sting. You can mix salt and sugar (both sugars or just one, depending on whether you want a softer or coarser scrub), and last but not least, you can do an all salt one which is particularly good for softening up rough feet.

When selecting essential oils, it may simply come down to scents and aromas you like best. But, if you’re looking for a little aromatherapy, we recommend the following combinations:

For a calming after work scrub use Lavender and Chamomile, or even just Lavender. This one is great for gifts as most everyone enjoys the smell of fresh Lavender, and we all need help de-stressing.

For an invigorating energizing scrub, use Sweet Orange and Lemongrass. Or Sweet Orange and a little Orange Blossom Water. This one is sure to energize you for a full weekend of gallivanting.

For a therapeutic circulation enhancer for tired or swollen feet use Peppermint. This one works best with the solely sea salt scrub.

Now let’s make these jars a little more lovely.

If you’re buying labels, look for interesting shapes or even a set of “Hello, My Name Is” tags. If you’ve got labels already, we recommend cutting into whimsical shapes or simply rounding the edges.

To colorize the edge of your lid, use ribbon as trim. Simply place the jar on it’s side, run the glue gun on the lid, then place the ribbon of your choice on the glue and press it down to adhere. For larger jars, you could also use wash tape.

Whenever you give a scrub as a gift, it’s crucial to include a list of ingredients in case of allergies. It’s also crucial to make this list as adorable as possible. Grab your construction paper, write out ingredients, hole punch it up, and loop a ribbon through to attach to your jar. Bonus points if you have little wooden or metal spoons – attach them using tape or ribbon. And there you have it!

If made with Grapeseed Oil and Vitamin E oil, these scrubs will last from 3 to 6 months. With some of the other oils, we recommend using within 2 months. If you are giving them as gifts, be sure to warn receipients that salt can sting a little, and the oil in the scrubs can leave your tub slippery if not thoroughly washed out.

Ana Paliza-Brown is a professional chef, and the pastry chef at Txoko restaurant in San Francisco. She loves everything homemade, and believes that there is nothing more wonderful than home cooked meals prepared with both nourishment and flavor in mind, which she tries to inspire people in her blog Healthy Sazon.