As much as we treasure (read: hoard) our favorite, perfectly packaged skincare products, every so often we get the urge to rummage through our pantry and concoct an epic DIY formula. So, when our skin starts to beg for a new body scrub, we decided to keep our wallets closed and instead consult a few of our favorite dermatologists for their favorite recipes. And, damn, are we glad we did.
"You don't need to spend a fortune on a packaged scrub that's full of preservatives when you can make it yourself," says Dr. Shamban, M.D., dermatologist and co-host of YouTube series The Gist. "The best part about a DIY is that you're able to customize it to whatever your skin needs at the time, because sometimes your skin is rough and needs to be exfoliated, and sometimes it's dry and needs extra hydration."
Ahead, eight of our favorite DIY body scrub recipes, all of which are not only genuinely easy to create (even for complete newbies), but also incredibly effective. Get ready for your new favorite at-home spa treatment.
"Oats are naturally soothing and are rich in naturally occurring polysaccharides, which bind water and form a barrier to protect the skin," says naturopath and nutritionist, Anna Mitsios. "I love using olive oil on the body as it is rich in antioxidants and is ultra-nourishing."
1. Mix one cup of quick oats, 1/2 cups of brown sugar, 1/2 cups of olive oil, eight drops of your favorite essential oil in a bowl (we recommend grapefruit to enhance circulation), adding more essential oil if required.
2. Scoop out a small amount in a plastic container, which you take to the shower. Apply to the body in circulation motions at the end of your shower.
3. Rinse off, allowing some of the oil to linger on your skin. Store any remaining scrub in the fridge. It should last for at least five days.
Celebrity facialist to stars Lord Gavin McLeod Valentine, who counts Kim Kardashian-West and Julianne Moore as his clients, spilled the recipe he likes to use on a daily basis that contains sea salt, brown sugar, and one other special ingredient: "In this mix, I love to add honey," Valentine explains. "Honey is one of nature’s super healers, effective at treating a variety of skin concerns due to its naturally antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Honey is also known to help repair skin tissue and prevent against UV damage, in addition to targeting congested pores and bacterial build-up, which leads to body acne."
1. Combine 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/4 cup of sea salt, 1/2 cups of the oil of your choice, and two tablespoons of honey in a mixing bowl.
2. Mix thoroughly, adding more sugar, salt, or oil until the consistency feels right.
3. If desired, you can add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil to add an uplifting scent to awaken your senses for the day ahead or calm your mind for a good night’s sleep.
4. Once mixed, jump in the shower, apply evenly on dampened skin, brushing upwards towards the heart to increase blood and micro-circulation.
"When used correctly, coffee has many benefits for the skin because it's high in antioxidants" says the founder of nature-inspired skincare brand Arêmês Fermentis, Regan Schneider. "These antioxidants help protect skin from free radicals, increase blood flow, and fight against anti-aging effects. The large amount of caffeine in coffee can also stimulate blood flow and dilate blood vessels, which creates a huge tightening effect on the skin."
1. Add 1/2 cup of olive oil into a bowl.
2. Add one tablespoon of fine coffee grounds to the oil and mix thoroughly.
3. Add 1/4 teaspoon of liquid hand soap to the mixture and mix thoroughly.
4. Add 1-2 drops of essential oil of your choice.
5. Gently rub into the skin, rinse with warm water, and enjoy.
You may not have used 2-in-1 products since your adolescent days, but who's to say you can't rekindle that relationship? This recipe from the founder of holistic clean beauty line BELLA. Skin Beauty, Diana Shneider, can also double as a face scrub too. Now that's a win-win.
1. Mix four tablespoons of brown sugar, one tablespoon of clover honey, and 1/2 tablespoons of sweet almond oil in a bowl.
2. Add in four drops of lemon essential oil and three drops of orange essential oil to the bowl.
3. Stir and lather all over. Wash off with warm water when you're finished.
"Himalayan fine salt and coconut sugar are both raw and full of trace minerals, which add nutrients to boost the skin’s appearance," explains Sophie Oliver, founder of botanical skincare line Baie Botanique. So get ready to feel all sorts of things after seeing how gorgeous your skin looks post-scrub.
1. Mix four tablespoons of fine Himalayan pink salt, four tablespoons of coconut palm sugar, four tablespoons of extra virgin coconut oil (or substitute olive oil), four tablespoons of maple syrup, and two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice (pulp included) in a bowl.
2. Apply in a circular motion to wet skin, keeping some water nearby to apply to skin as needed to increase slip. Massage gently on your skin for 1-2 mins. Rinse and pat dry.
3. You should feel some tingling after as a result of the salt and lemon working their magic to exfoliate even after the scrub is removed, this is a good sign it means the ingredients have penetrated the skin and dead layers will continue to be broken down.
"This scrub and face mask is a great way to reduce inflammation and keep [your skin] hydrated and glowing," says Elizabeth Palomares-Michael, an aesthetician to Dr. Jason Emer in Beverly Hills. "This gentle scrub can be also left on for 15 min as a hydrating mask as well."
1. Mix and gently apply three tablespoons of oatmeal, two tablespoons of yogurt, and one tablespoon of honey to clean skin.
2. Work in a circular motion for two minutes then allow it to dry on the skin for 15 minutes.
3. Gently remove with a soft washcloth.
"The exfoliating aspect of this scrub comes from almonds, which are rich in both vitamin E and antioxidants,” says Dr. Shamban. "Plus, unlike some harsh scrubs, which irritate the skin and cause an overproduction of oil, this one uses olive oil and avocado to prevent that dryness, making it especially great for people with oily backs or shoulders," she says.
1. Using a coffee-bean grinder, grind 1/3 cup almonds into a rough powder. Alternatively, finely chop the almonds by hand.
2. Combine 1/2 cup olive oil with half an avocado (which will blast skin with vitamins B, C, E, and K) in a food processor until smooth.
3. Mix the almonds and the avocado mash in a bowl or jar, then add in two tablespoons of witch hazel (an astringent that’s loaded with antioxidants).
4. Smooth product over your skin, paying extra attention to oil-prone areas, and, as always, avoiding the face.
5. Rinse and dry skin, then slather on a moisturizer.
This DIY is a double whammy, thanks to its hero ingredient Epsom salt, which acts not only as a gentle exfoliant, but also as a tried-and-true muscle relaxant. “Epsom salts are high in magnesium sulfate, which directly relaxes muscle aches and pains,” says Dr. Shamban. The recipe also calls for green tea—one of the best antioxidants on the market, she adds—and lavender oil to create an incredibly relaxing and soothing body formula.
1. Combine 1/4 cup olive oil, five drops of pure essential lavender oil, three teaspoons of Epsom salt, and one teaspoon (roughly two tea bags' worth) of green tea in a bowl or jar.
2. Mix the ingredients until you’ve created a paste-like consistency, and don’t be afraid to add extra Epsom salt or olive oil, says Dr. Shamban. “Think of these DIYs as you would cookie batter—if the consistency is too runny, add more solid, and if it’s not runny enough, add more oil,” she suggests.
3. Avoiding the face, massage across your damp skin.
4. Rinse, dry, and wind the heck down.