DIY Sugar Scrub: Coconut Oil and Caster Sugar

What is the best sugar for sugar scrub recipes?

DIY Sugar Scrub: Coconut Oil and Caster Sugar

Reading Time: 5 minutes

In this article on sugar scrubs using coconut oil, I will offer two different DIY sugar scrub coconut oil recipes. The benefit of using coconut oil in your sugar scrub is that you can whip the room-temperature, solid coconut oil to a light, creamy texture, allowing you to create a light and fluffy sugar scrub that leaves less oily residue. We will also discuss the best sugar for sugar scrub recipes, and I have formulated two recipes using different sugars: a coarser body sugar scrub using demerara sugar, and a sugar face scrub using finer, gentler caster sugar. In many ways, the best sugar for sugar scrub recipes depends on where you plan to use it. DIY sugar scrub coconut oil recipes require a very small amount of an effective preservative because of the wet environment it is repeatedly exposed to.  

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If you’re wondering how long does sugar scrub last, the presence or absence of a preservative is the biggest factor affecting that answer. Less than 24 hours is the answer, once the scrub has had as much as a single drop of water from your shower introduced to the container. That is unless you use a full-spectrum preservative to fight against contamination. For the purposes of this article, we will be using Phenonip preservative to protect our sugar scrubs from contamination. Phenonip contains phenoxyethanol, methylparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben, propylparaben, and isobutylparaben, and it is used in extremely small amounts to preserve your formulation from bacteria, molds, and fungi, and to protect your skin from infections.  

It is easy to learn how to make a sugar scrub from ingredients readily available at the supermarket. The only ingredient you will need to order is the preservative that prevents molds and bacteria from growing once the sugar scrub is exposed to moisture in the bath or shower. Make your own sugar scrub at home and seal in jars stored in a cool, dark location. You can add scents before storing or add it into each jar before use, mixing thoroughly before resealing.  

DIY Sugar Scrub for The Body 

  • 16 oz. demerara sugar 
  • 8 oz. coconut oil 
  • 2 oz. olive oil, sunflower oil, or raw sesame oil 
  • 0.25 oz. Phenonip preservative (optional but highly recommended)  
  • 0.25 oz. cosmetic-grade fragrance or skin-safe essential oils (optional) 

Using either a standing mixer with the whip attachment or a large bowl and a hand mixer, combine the coconut oil, preservative, and fragrance. Continue to whip until the coconut oil has become very light and fluffy. Slowly beat in the liquid oil. If using a stand mixer, change to the paddle attachment. If hand mixing, switch to a large spoon. Slowly add the sugar, a few ounces at a time, until fully incorporated. Scoop into jars and seal. Store in a cool, dark place until use. To use, scoop out a small amount and massage into warm, wet skin in the bath or shower. Once the sugar dissolves, rinse. 

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Measuring ingredients for the DIY sugar scrub: coconut oil, olive oil, and preservative.
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A finished DIY sugar scrub. Coconut oil, olive oil, sugar, and preservative blended together. Photo by Melanie Teegarden.

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DIY Sugar Face Scrub 

  • 2 oz. plain white granulated (caster) sugar  
  • 0.5 oz. coconut oil 
  • 0.5 oz. olive, sunflower, or rosehip oil 
  • 0.05 oz. Phenonip preservative (very much recommended, especially for face) 

With a spoon, slowly mix together the coconut and olive oils, mashing the coconut oil to blend. Switch to a hand mixer to beat out any remaining lumps and to fully incorporate the mixture. Switch back to a spoon and mix in the sugar a little at a time until a thick paste is formed. Store in a lidded jar. To use, scoop out a small amount and apply to damp face. With wet fingers, massage gently, avoiding the eye area, until sugar dissolves. Rinse with warm water.  

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When it comes to choosing the right sugar for your coconut oil sugar scrub, the area of the body and the size of the sugar granule both matter in your formulation. The rougher, tougher, thicker areas of skin — such as feet, knees, and elbows, can benefit from a larger grained sugar, such as coarse or sanding sugar. The larger crystals dissolve more slowly, giving you more time to scrub and massage away dead skin cells on these tougher areas. For the same reason, demerara sugar, another semi-coarse variety, is excellent for general body use. The mid-sized grains do not dissolve too quickly, allowing time for a thorough buffing. However, when making a facial scrub, a smaller grain size is what you want. A sugar scrub that melts quickly will prevent you from over scrubbing on the delicate facial area. Finer sugars are also good for the scrub that sits next to your sink for wintertime hands. The thinner skin on the backs of your hands will thank you for a rich sugar scrub packed with caster sugar.  

A finished DIY sugar scrub coconut oil recipe.

For each of the recipes included in this article, a small amount of liquid oils is used in addition to the coconut oil. This helps to soften the coconut oil in consistency to a level that more fully accepts the addition of the sugars. It also allows an opportunity to supplement the properties and benefits of coconut oil with the properties and benefits of another oil. Coconut oil by itself can be drying for some individuals. Moisture-rich olive oil can add moisturizing and emollient benefits to your sugar scrub, making it more appropriate for all skin types. Using light sunflower, rosehip, or raw sesame oils can allow you to lighten up the richness of the coconut oil and create a formula that leaves much less residual oil on your skin after rinsing. By experimenting with different liquid oils, you can find a formulation that suits you in texture, emollience, and moisture levels.  

Now that we have discussed oils, sugars, and the importance of using a preservative in bath and body products, you have everything you need to create luxurious coconut oil sugar scrubs to pamper every part of your body. All you need are a few common grocery store items and a reliable scale to craft gifts that will be welcome in the showers and by the sinks of your friends and neighbors. Enjoy the quick recipes and try experimenting on your own with different sugars and oils to achieve your own unique blend.  

Do you plan to make DIY sugar scrub coconut oil recipes? Will you make a facial blend or a body scrub? What oils and sugars will you choose? We would love to hear from you! 

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