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Don’t Buy This: Stop Wasting Money on Fancy Body Scrubs

When you're trying to relax, the high price of store-bought body scrubs can make you even more stressed. Here's how to DIY some delicious ones at home using simple household ingredients like brown sugar, salt, and oatmeal.
Illustration by Lia Kantrowitz

If you are seeking refuge from a hectic day or just want to treat yourself, head to the tub and scrub those problems down the drain. A fragrant body scrub can purge those dead skin cells, make your skin feel smoother, and tantalize the senses with a comforting aroma.

Sure you could buy a fancy scrub at the store—costing anywhere from $100 at Neiman Marcus to as little as $5 at Target. But when you make a scrub yourself, it’s almost always cheaper and exactly what you want. Plus, making body scrubs is fun—a lot like making homemade playdough when you were a kid.


Before you start, find a clean glass container with a lid for storage and store your scrub in a dry area of your home to keep moisture out. Avoid flushing any non-soluble ingredients down the drain, as they may cause clogs, and be careful when you apply the scrubs as they can make the tub slippery.

Here are some recipes that are so delicious you’ll be tempted to eat them:

Brown sugar scrub

If you crave the sweet, comforting notes of brown sugar and vanilla, head to your kitchen to create some happiness. This recipe from Somewhat Simple mixes a cup of brown sugar with half a cup of coconut oil and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Total cost: about $3 versus $70 for a fancy store-bought version. For a variation, add honey to help moisturize your skin or substitute vegetable or olive oil if you don’t have coconut oil on hand.

Fruity sugar scrub

Fruit scrubs smell almost too good not to eat. While you could spend $50 for a store-bought version you can make this sugar blueberry scrub from Simply Stacie for $2. Puree half a cup of fresh or frozen blueberries in a food processor (or just mash them with a spoon), add a cup of sugar and one-eighth cup of coconut oil. Other tasty, sugar fruit scrubs use lemon zest, pineapple, mango or papaya. For fall, fulfill your pumpkin spice craving with this delightful pumpkin spice sugar scrub.

Peppermint salt scrub

If you feel a little off your game, a refreshing peppermint scrub might be an invigorating way to hit the reset button. Some store-bought ones cost as much as $75, but you can make your own using this recipe from Little Miss Dextrous for as little as $2. Just mix a quarter cup of Epsom salt, a quarter cup of coconut oil, and six drops of peppermint oil. Other refreshing salt scrubs include cucumber mint or eucalyptus and spearmint.

Green tea scrub

Some tout the health benefits of using or drinking green tea, but for the most part, scrubbing your bod with green tea can just make you feel oh so good. Green tea scrubs can cost $30 or more at stores, but you can make your own for $2 using this recipe from The Cup of Life. Combine half a cup of coconut oil with one and one-quarter cup sugar and green tea from one tea bag. Open the tea bag and mash leaves into the coconut oil and sugar concoction with a fork. No green tea in the house? Use black tea or try a coffee scrub with ginger.

Margarita salt scrub

Have cocktail time in the tub with this enticing non-alcoholic margarita body scrub from Sweet Occasion. Mix two cups of coarse sea salt with a cup fine ground sea salt, half a cup of coconut oil and the juice and zest from a lime. Combine the salts, add the zest, the juice, and finally the coconut oil. This scrub costs about $6 to make but will cost you double if you buy it. For a different cocktail scrub try this Piña Colada one.

Oatmeal honey scrub

Make a $3 oatmeal scrub (versus paying $46) that you can whip up in only five minutes. This recipe from Leggings ‘N’ Lattes has you blend half a cup of oats in a food processor for one minute before adding three-quarters of a cup of brown sugar, half a cup of white sugar, two tablespoons of honey and a quarter cup of olive oil. For a twist, try a coconut oatmeal or one with cinnamon and vanilla.

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