How To Make Homemade Sugar Scrubs

Have some fun and learn easy DIY scrub recipes to get clear and clean skin.

Reviewed by Gabrielle Richens, Skin Therapist
By Kushneet Kukreja

One of the most important steps in a skincare routine is exfoliation. And, sugar crystals have become a new trend to exfoliate and cleanse the skin. But, how effective is sugar as a scrub? This article explains the benefits of using sugar as an exfoliant and how you can make sugar scrubs at home. Read on for more information.

Benefits Of Using A Sugar Scrub For The Skin

  • Research shows that sugar is high in glycolic acid and can be used effectively as a scrub due to its exfoliating properties (1) (2).
  • Sugar has been used to treat wounds since ancient times because it has antimicrobial properties (3). A study shows that sugar can treat fungi that cause mycoses (4).
  • Research shows that sugar gets dissolved when used with ethanol and glycerol, ingredients used often in skin care products (5). Thus, sugar, a water-soluble element, is easy to wash off even with plain water.
  • Anecdotal evidence suggests that sugar can enhance skin elasticity, treat photoaging damage, and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
  • Sugar also helps prevent the skin from becoming itchy in senile and eczematous dermatitis (6).
  • Sugar scrubs cleanse the skin effectively, give it a lifting effect, and prevent cellulite (7).
  • Sugar paired with cholesterol sulfate enhances the skin barrier function (8). It also protects the skin from damage and reduces the signs of aging like wrinkles.

So how do you use, prepare, and apply a sugar scrub? Scroll down for the answers.

How Is A Sugar Scrub Used?

Sugar crystals are well-known exfoliators in the skin care world. Many bloggers swear by sugar scrubs to improve skin appearance and health. The rough texture of the crystals helps remove dead skin cells, dirt, and product residue. As you massage the sugar crystals gently, the clogged pores clear up and your skin feels rejuvenated.

How To Apply A Sugar Scrub

  1. You can apply a sugar scrub either with a brush or your fingers. It is best to use soft brown sugar for the face.
  2. Make sure to cover the affected areas properly while applying a sugar scrub.
  3. Massage the scrub gently into your skin in small circular motions for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Wash it off with cold water to close your pores and keep them clean.
  5. It is best to use soft brown sugar for the face.

The skin on the face is sensitive and needs more care than the rest of the body. Thus, the scrubs you would use for your face are different from those you use for other areas. Here are a few sugar scrubs for the face that you can make right at home.

Homemade DIY Sugar Scrubs For The Face

1. Green Tea, Honey, And Sugar Scrub

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons of green tea leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 3-5 tablespoons of soft brown sugar
How To Prepare
  1. Brew some fresh green tea. Use tea leaves and not a teabag.
  2. Mix two tablespoons of the tea with the honey.
  3. Slowly add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, till you achieve a thick, paste-like consistency.
  4. Gently scrub your face using this paste in a circular motion.
  5. Wash it off with cold water.
How Often

Once a week.

Why It Works

Green tea is rich in antioxidants that are beneficial for improving the condition of the skin (9). Honey contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help the growth of healthy skin cells (10).

2. Coconut Oil, Lemon, And Sugar Scrub

Sugar, coconut oil, and lemon scrub

Shutterstock

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of soft brown sugar
  • 8-10 drops of lemon juice
How To Prepare
  1. Pour the coconut oil into a bowl and stir in the granulated sugar till you achieve a spreadable consistency.
  2. Add the lemon juice to this mixture and mix well.
  3. Gently scrub your face in a circular motion with this mixture.
  4. Wash it off with cold water.
How Often

Once a week.

Why It Works

Lemon contains vitamin C, which has many skin benefits. It improves skin elasticity and prevents the signs of aging and skin damage (11). Coconut oil is widely used as a moisturizer. It has been the go-to solution to repair dry and itchy skin since ancient times (12).

Note: Lemon juice is acidic in nature and people with sensitive skin may experience irritation. Hence, do a patch test before applying it to the face.

3. Almond And Sugar Face Scrub

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon almond meal
  • 1 tablespoon soft brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of almond oil
How To Prepare
  1. Mix the sugar, almond meal, and almond oil together.
  2. Scrub this mixture on your face gently in a circular motion.
  3. Wash it off with cold water.
How Often

Once a week.

Why It Works

Almonds are a rich source of vitamin E, which promotes the generation of healthy skin tissues (13). Almond may refresh and rejuvenate your skin.

4. Yogurt And Sugar Face Scrub

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup of fresh yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons of soft brown sugar
How To Prepare
  1. Mix the yogurt and the sugar.
  2. Apply this mixture to your face and scrub in a circular motion.
  3. Wash it off with water and pat your face dry.
How Often

Once a week.

Why It Works

Face packs containing yogurt improve skin elasticity, moisture, and brightness (14).

5. Banana And Sugar Face Scrub

Ingredients
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tablespoons of soft brown sugar
How To Prepare
  1. Crush the banana till you get a smooth consistency.
  2. Add the sugar and mix well to avoid the formation of lumps.
  3. Scrub your face with this mixture.
  4. Wash it off and pat dry.
How Often

Once a week.

Why It Works

Bananas are a real treat for the skin. They contain important nutrients that may improve skin health. Research shows that they can benefit your skin by improving its shine, manageability, and hydration (15).

6. Kiwi And Sugar Face Scrub

Sugar and kiwi face scrub

Shutterstock

Ingredients
  • 1 kiwi
  • 2 teaspoons of soft brown sugar
  • A few drops of sunflower oil
How To Prepare
  1. Crush the kiwi and blend it to get a smooth consistency.
  2. Add the sugar and oil and mix well.
  3. Apply this mixture to your face and scrub in a circular motion.
  4. Wash it off with water and pat your face dry.
How Often

Once a week.

Benefits

Kiwis are rich in antioxidants and help in preventing the overproduction of oil (16).

Sunflower oil is rich in vitamin E, which is useful for sensitive skin. It also contains linoleic acid, which is often used in skin care products (17). It also enhances the skin barrier function.

7. Coffee Face Scrub

Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons ground coffee
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
How To Prepare
  1. Mix the coffee, sugar, and grapeseed oil while stirring out any lumps.
  2. Apply this mixture to your face and scrub it in a circular motion.
  3. Wash it off with water
  4. Pat your face dry.
How Often

Once a week.

Why It Works

The caffeine present in coffee grounds acts as an antioxidant (18). Grapeseed oil contains flavonoids that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (19).

Homemade Sugar Scrubs For Lips

8. Cinnamon And Sugar Lip Scrub

Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
How To Prepare
  1. Mix these ingredients and store the mixture in an airtight container for multiple uses.
  2. Apply this scrub on the lips and rub gently.
  3. Wash it off with water.
How Often

Once a week.

Why It Works

Cinnamon works well for treating hyperpigmentation and also helps the lips look fuller in a natural way (20).

The glycolic acid in sugar cleanses your skin deeply. Coconut oil has hydrating properties that moisturize your skin (12). Honey is a humectant, which means it helps to hydrate and restore moisture levels. It has a soothing effect on the skin and keeps it young and wrinkle-free (21).

Homemade Sugar Scrubs For The Body

9. Chocolate Body Scrub

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup almond oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
How To Prepare
  1. Mix the dry ingredients.
  2. Add the almond oil and the vanilla extract to it and mix well.
  3. Apply the scrub onto your body and rub lightly in circular motions. Store the rest in an airtight container for later use.

How Often

Once a week.

Why It Works

Cocoa powder is rich in antioxidants and has anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties (22).

Almonds are a rich source of vitamin E, which promotes the generation of healthy skin tissues (13). Vanilla extract is rich in vitamins and minerals. It also has antioxidant properties. It nourishes your skin, soothes any irritation, improves skin tone, and slows down the aging process.

10. Oatmeal And Sugar Scrub

Sugar and oatmeal scrub

Shutterstock

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
How To Prepare
  1. Grind the oats coarsely. Add the oats, sugar, honey, and coconut oil to it.
  2. Use the scrub on your body to achieve soft, smooth skin.
How Often

Once a week.

Why It Works

Oatmeal works as a buffer and moisturizer for the skin (23). Sugar has glycolic acid that deeply cleanses your skin. Coconut oil moisturizes your skin (12). Honey is a natural humectant. It soothes and moisturizes your skin and keeps it young and wrinkle-free (21).

11. Gingerbread Sugar Scrub

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons almond oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
How To Prepare
  1. Mix the ingredients.
  2. Massage the scrub on your skin in a circular motion.
How Often

Use this scrub whenever your skin feels dull and dry.

Why It Works

Ginger is said to greatly benefit the skin. Research shows that it improves facial acne (25). Cinnamon is very effective in eliminating pigmentation (20). Almond oil is a rich source of Vitamin E, which is very beneficial for your skin (13). Coconut oil moisturizes your skin and makes it soft (12). Nutmeg is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredient that helps reverse the effects of photoaging (25).

12. Tomato Sugar Scrub

Ingredients
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
How To Prepare
  1. Crush the tomato and add the brown sugar to it.
  2. Apply this scrub on your body and massage in a circular motion.
How Often

Once a week.

Why It Works

Tomato contains antioxidants and lycopene, which help in the removal of tan (26).

13. Blueberry Scrub

Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup of blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
How To Prepare
  1. Clean and crush the blueberries.
  2. Add the sugar and honey to it.
  3. Scrub your body with this mixture.
How Often

Once a week.

Why It Works

Blueberries are a rich source of antioxidants and exhibit anti-inflammatory properties (27).

Honey moisturizes your skin and keeps it wrinkle-free (21).

14. Raspberry Lemon Scrub

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon
How To Prepare
  1. Wash and crush the raspberries.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the crushed raspberries.
  3. Massage this scrub into your skin in a circular motion.
How Often

1-2 times a week.

Why It Works

Coconut oil is an excellent moisturizer for your skin (13). Lemon juice cleanses and soothes the skin (28). Raspberries are a good source of vitamin C and manganese, which help prevent skin aging.

15. Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup coarse sugar
  • 1/2 cup fine white sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon cucumber juice
How To Prepare
  1. Mix the two types of sugars.
  2. Add the coconut oil and cucumber juice. Mix until the ingredients are blended well.
  3. Massage this scrub into your skin in a circular motion.
  4. You can store this scrub in a clean plastic container for a couple of days.
How Often

1-2 times a week.

Why It Works

Coconut oil has hydrating properties that moisturize your skin (12). Cucumber rejuvenates the skin and also improves your skin tone and moisture, reduces redness, and prevents water loss (29).

Homemade Sugar Scrubs For The Feet

16. Peppermint Sugar Scrub

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup soft brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mint juice
  • 1 teaspoon almond oil
  • 1-2 drops peppermint oil
How To Prepare
  1. Add the mint juice, almond oil, and peppermint to the sugar and mix gently.
  2. Apply this to your skin and scrub it in a circular motion.
  3. Wash it off with cold water.
How Often

Once a week.

Why It Works

This scrub containing peppermint and mint has restoring and stimulating properties. Peppermint cools the skin and reduces any inflammation and irritation (30). Almond oil contains essential nutrients that provide nourishment to the skin and smoothen and rejuvenate it (13).

17. Brown Sugar Scrub

Brown sugar scrub

Shutterstock

Ingredients
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or coconut oil
How To Prepare
  1. Mix the ingredients till they are properly blended.
  2. Take as much of the scrub as required and gently massage the skin with it.
  3. Store the rest of the scrub in an airtight container.
How Often

Once a week.

Why It Works

Sugar exfoliates the skin. Olive oil is added to the scrub to provide nourishment and soothe any irritation caused due to scrubbing (31).

18. Rosehip Sugar Scrub

Ingredients
  • 1 cup soft brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rosehip oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
How To Prepare
  1. To the cup of sugar, add rosehip oil and honey.
  2. Mix well.
  3. 3. Gently scrub your skin with it in a circular motion.
How Often

Once a week.

Why It Works

Rosehip oil offers protection against oxidative stress and inflammation (28). Honey has moisturizing properties that will leave your skin perfectly clean, soft, and glowing (21).

Homemade Sugar Scrubs For Cellulite

19. Coffee Sugar Scrub

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup coffee grounds
  • 1/2 cup soft brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut or olive oil
How To Prepare
  1. Mix the sugar with the coffee grounds.
  2. Add the oil to this mixture. This holds the scrub together and makes it easier to apply.
  3. Scrub your skin with this paste,
How Often

Once a week.

Why It Works

The caffeine present in the coffee grounds acts as an antioxidant. It also reduces the appearance of cellulite by preventing excessive accumulation of fat (18). The ingredients of this scrub work together to tighten and tone the skin.

20. Honey Sugar Scrub

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup soft brown sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons honey
How To Prepare
  1. Add the honey to the sugar and mix well till you obtain a thick consistency.
  2. If the scrub is too thin, add some more sugar to it. If it is too thick, add a little bit of honey to get the right consistency.
  3. Scrub your skin with this mixture, then wash it off with water,
How Often

1-2 times a week.

Why It Works

While the sugar exfoliates your skin, honey moisturizes it and keeps it wrinkle-free (21).

Homemade Sugar Scrubs For Hands

Your arms need to be exfoliated as well! Here are some of the best-smelling sugar scrubs suitable for your hands.

21. Lavender Scrub

Ingredients
  • 2 cups soft brown sugar
  • 1 cup almond oil
  • A few drops of lavender essential oil
How To Prepare
  1. Mix the ingredients in a bowl. You can store this scrub in a clean plastic container.
  2. Apply the paste to your hands and massage it into your skin gently.
  3. Wash it off with water.
How Often

1-2 times a week.

Why It Works

Adding lavender essential oil to this standard exfoliant and moisturizer duo will make you feel refreshed. It also has analgesic properties that will help relieve any muscle soreness and pains (32). Almond oil moisturizes your skin.

22. Vanilla Sugar Scrub

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • Vitamin E oil or capsule
How To Prepare
  1. Mix the oil, vanilla, honey, and vitamin E.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix both the types of sugars.
  3. Mix the liquid components with the sugar to obtain a scrub of thick consistency.
  4. You can also add a teaspoon of vitamin E to the scrub.
How Often

1-2 times a week.

Why It Works

The exfoliating benefits of sugar and the nourishment properties of the oil are well established.

Vanilla is often used in skin conditioning products (33). It also protects the skin and has antioxidant properties.

Homemade Sugar Scrubs For Legs

We care for our face a lot, but we tend to neglect our legs when we are in a hurry. Using these scrubs once a week will give your skin thorough cleansing and exfoliation.

23. Olive Oil Sugar Scrub

Olive oil and sugar for scrub

Shutterstock

Ingredients
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
How To Prepare
  1. Add the olive oil and orange zest to the sugar and mix well.
  2. You can add more olive oil if required. Use the quantity that is needed and store the rest of the scrub.
How Often

Once a week.

Why This Works

Olive oil nourishes your skin. Orange has vitamin C, which protects the skin from damage and aging (34). This is a simple yet very effective scrub for clean, glowing, and soft skin.

24. Candy Cane Scrub

Ingredients
  • A glass jar
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 cup finely ground candy cane powder
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • A few drops of essential oil
How To Prepare
  1. Add the olive oil and essential oil (peppermint oil works best) to the sugar. Mix well.
  2. In a glass jar, lay down a thick layer of the sugar-oil mixture. Top this with a thin layer of the crushed candy cane. Make sure to grind the candy cane to a very fine powder to avoid damaging your skin.
  3. Again, put the sugar-oil mixture on top of this. Follow it up with another layer of the candy cane powder.
  4. Continue this till you fill the jar.
  5. Take out two to three tablespoons of the scrub and massage on the skin.
How Often

Once a week

Why It Works

The main ingredient of candy cane is sugar. With the added essential and olive oils, this scrub smoothens your skin, removes dead cells, and provides the necessary nutrients required for optimum skin health.

Note: The rough nature of the granules in crushed candy cane may irritate your facial skin. Hence, always be gentle while using it. Also, be careful not to overuse.

25. Eucalyptus Sugar Scrub

Ingredients
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1-2 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
How To Prepare
  1. Mix the ingredients.
  2. Apply the scrub onto your skin in a circular motion.
How Often

Twice a week. 

Why It Works

Sugar has glycolic acid, which rejuvenates your skin. Coconut oil moisturizes your skin, and eucalyptus oil is said to have antifungal properties that help in fighting germs.

While using these scrubs here are some potential side effects you may face.

Side Effects Of A Sugar Scrub

  • Sugar crystals have a rough texture which may worsen irritation, rashes, and itchiness. If you have any skin issues, avoid using sugar crystals without consulting a dermatologist.
  • Sugar scrubs may aggravate eczema and other inflammatory skin conditions.
  • Sugar scrubs may cause redness, irritation, and dryness if massaged harshly on the skin. However, these reactions subside within a few days.
  • It is advised not to use sugar scrubs if you have sensitive skin as they may further irritate your skin and cause breakouts.

Exfoliation is an important part of your skincare routine and what better ingredient to use for natural exfoliation than sugar? Studies suggest that sugar has exfoliating properties that make it ideal for removing dead skin and grime. This is due to its high glycolic acid content. Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that works on the epidermal layers of the skin, dissolving the “cement-like” glue that holds dead cells together. This results in the sloughing off of dull, rough skin, whilst also increasing cellular renewal and collagen production. Additionally, sugar may treat fungal infections, boost skin barrier function, and prevent aging and skin damage. The best way to incorporate sugar into your skincare routine is to make your homemade sugar scrub. You can combine sugar with yogurt, banana, or coffee as per your needs. Exercise caution while using sugar on your skin as it can aggravate rashes and irritation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my homemade sugar scrub get hard?

Your homemade sugar scrub may get hard if it is stored for too long or if it is made with coconut oil and you keep it in a cool place.

How long does homemade sugar scrub last?

A DIY sugar scrub can last for a few months. However, you must store this sugar scrub in an airtight glass container. If you are careful not to get water in it, it can last up to 6 months.

Key Takeaways

  • The antimicrobial and exfoliating properties of sugar make it an excellent scrub.
  • Sugar scrubs may help cleanse the skin and enhance the skin barrier function.
  • You can make homemade sugar scrubs with different ingredients, like green tea, honey, coconut oil, honey, etc.
  • Avoid using sugar scrubs if you have sensitive skin as it may cause irritation or breakouts.
  • Don’t over exfoliate your skin, and use face scrubs only once a week.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

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Kushneet holds a postgraduate degree in biotechnology from Kingston University, London, and is an ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness &... more

Gabrielle Richens

(Skin Therapist)
Gabrielle Richens spent 20 years as a model with Elite Model Management. She is now a skin therapist, clean beauty... more

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