When learning how to make bath scrubs with essential oils, you will discover that it is as simple as mixing carrier oils suited to your skin types with a granulated exfoliant, like sugar or salt.
Discover the needs of your skin type and work out the best selections for you. For example, do you need salt, sugar, or something gentler, like ground almonds? Then, we show what you can change if you have sensitive skin.
Explore the benefits of using bath scrubs, improving circulation, relieving tired muscles, and encouraging skin cell regeneration, leading to firmer, smoother, younger-looking skin. A bath scrub is a way to go if you want a glow that an angel would be proud of.
What Are Bath Scrubs With Essential Oils?
I love bath scrubs with essential oils; they are astonishingly easy to make once you understand the basic principles. You will wonder why you ever bothered to buy them from a store and will, no doubt, resolve never to again.
Natural bath scrubs are generally composed of granulated sugar or salt, enhanced by a luscious mix of carrier oils and wonderfully fragrant essential oils.
You can find recipes for bath scrubs with different exfoliators, such as apricot kernels or fine groundnut shells. Adding just the right natural exfoliators into your formulation to suit your needs is easy.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to find microplastic particles in place of natural products in store-bought exfoliators, especially cream-based ones... This is unacceptable as it leeches out of our wastewater systems and into the local waterways. In addition, it is harmful to the local wildlife and environment.
I encourage you to have a go at making your own and learn how to make bath scrubs with essential oils and other fabulous natural ingredients, and you won't need to buy these plastic-laden products. It is best for your skin, for you, and the environment.
Also Read: How to Make Bath Bombs at Home
Benefits of Making Bath Scrubs with Essential Oils
Bath scrubs are perfect for restoring your skin's natural glow and luminosity.
Removing Dead Skin Cells
The skin continually regenerates itself, layer upon layer. New layers form and old layers harden and start to die off. Hence, why we sometimes get that 'sloughing off of the old and dying skin. It happens all the time, and we don't even notice it. A particularly disturbing fact is that our house dust is at least 20-50% dead skin cells.
Bring on the bath scrub! Tell me more!
The exfoliating ingredients slough away the dead skin cells exposing all that beautiful fresh new, supple skin. Removing the dead skin cells then encourages the production of new skin cells, encouraging firmer and tighter skin, and keeping the skin looking plump, supple, and younger. Who wouldn't want that?
Once those dead skin cells are removed, the carrier and essential oils come into their own in several ways—more on this.
Generally, your pores open naturally in warm bath water, which means you can remove any dirt or bacteria and absorb more product than if your pores were clogged or closed.
This enhanced carrier and essential oils absorption should be capitalized upon to feed and nourish your skin. Additionally, it seals in goodness and protects your skin from all the pollution, free radicals, and dirt it gets bombarded with during the day.
Since you are exposing that brand new skin, which can be more vulnerable to sensitivity, we need to be very careful with oil choices. Start with more soothing oils to see what your wonderful fresh new skin can tolerate.
Rubbing and scrubbing your skin enhances blood circulation, which is great for its health and contributes to that luminous, rosy scrub rosy glow. It is all those blood capillaries under the surface of your skin celebrating the simulation you just gave them. So do it for your capillaries!
Also Read: How to Make Night Cream with Essential Oils
What Ingredients are Best to Use For Bath Scrubs?
There is a dizzying array of ingredients that you can use for bath scrubs. We will look at various choices and their benefits so that you can choose the best ingredients to suit your purposes.
Pick and choose the ingredients for their effects and the magic they can perform on your skin. It helps to understand the benefits of different ingredients and whether they store well or need to be used quickly after being made.
Understanding the benefits and limitations of our ingredients gives us control and knowledge of making bath scrubs from essential oils. We can make ranges to suit our needs and maybe our clients. They also make wonderful gifts for friends and family.
Salts - Which One Should I Choose?
Can I use any salt?
Well, no, not really.
I would avoid table salt because it has anti-caking agents that might dry or sensitize your skin. Stick to pure salts.
Dead Sea Salt
If you can get hold of Dead Sea Salt, it is packed to the gunnels with minerals and trace elements. They work from the inside out to promote healthy skin.
Some minerals you find in Dead Sea Salts are:
- Sodium relieves stiff muscles, reducing soreness and fatigue. It exfoliates dead skin cells, and it helps to detoxify the skin.
- Calcium, we all know how important it is to bone health, but did you know it also helps promote cell renewal? Calcium also facilitates hydration, and when our skin is hydrated, it helps to even out wrinkles & fine lines leaving our skin looking supple and radiant.
- Bromide is wonderful for calming nerves and reducing the stiffness in our muscles from tension. It helps to alleviate muscle cramping and is a wonderful repairing agent for skin cells.
- Potassium works dually, and while replenishing the water within our skin, it also aids in reducing water retention and alleviates puffy skin.
- Magnesium is well renowned for promoting the healing of the skin, soothing damaged skin, and relaxing tired and aching muscles. It is a great anti-inflammatory.
Those are just a few of Dead Sea Salt's 20+ minerals and trace elements as I said, well worth getting hold of some if you can.
Sea salt is also packed with minerals and trace elements. As a result, its makeup varies as widely as the places where the salt was processed.
The main component of sea salt is sodium chloride. In contrast, the remaining sea salt consists of other trace minerals, mostly potassium, calcium, and magnesium, found in natural seawater. You can see above the benefits of all those minerals to you and your skin.
Salt can also help prevent itchiness with very dry skin.
Pink Himalayan Rock Salt
Pink Himalayan Rock Salt contains a whopping 84 essential minerals and trace elements and helps us to promote a healthy Ph to our skin. In addition, it contains electrolytes - detoxing the body and assisting the kidneys. It also improves our adrenal and thyroid function.
While Epsom Salt is one that we all reach for when our muscles are aching after a long day, it is not a salt I would use for a Salt Scrub formulation. Instead, I would add it as a component for a salt scrub designed for muscle relaxation at a ratio of 1:4 - I part Epsom Salts to 4 parts Sea/Rock Salt.
Sugars - Which One Should I Choose?
You will need granulated sugar here; while liquid sugars are often used in some products, they always have an added exfoliating ingredient. Here, we want the exfoliant effect of the sugar itself.
Sugar does not have the same nutrient-packed density of minerals and trace elements as salt, but it still has its place as a bath scrub because it can be very hydrating for the skin.
I find the granules of sugar are less harsh on the skin, and as a person with very sensitive skin, it is my exfoliant of choice, especially for my face. Though often, I will make a mix of both sugar and salt for a body scrub.
White or Brown Sugar?
Honestly? It does not make much of a difference in your use. Although, there is a little difference in the size of the white sugar granulation, making it slightly more abrasive. This makes white sugar a good choice for a body scrub, and I opt for light brown sugar for my face. Then, of course, you get that beautiful caramelized scent that goes with brown sugar too.
Also Read: How to Make Body Butter with Essential Oils
Salt VS Sugar
Consider what you are trying to achieve when choosing between the two.
As you have read, salt is super packed with minerals and trace elements, which sugar, sadly, is not. So salt is your better choice if you want a scrub chock full of nutrients.
Salt is sharper-edged, so you get a better level of exfoliation. It is especially good at removing skin that feels dry and quite crusty. You need to go easy, though, and be aware of how often you use it with very dry skin because salt can dry the skin further if used too much.
Sugar, on the other hand, does not dry the skin. Therefore, it is a great choice for dry skin types. In addition, the finer granulation and less abrasive nature of sugar make it perfect for sensitive skin or the delicate skin of the face.
Can I Mix Salt and Sugar in a Bath Scrub?
Yes! You can. You can experiment with the ratios of salt to sugar, finding the perfect balance for your skin type and sensitivity.
For normal adult skin, I recommend a 1:1 or 50/50 as a good place to start.
I would generally use more salt in a body scrub and more sugar in a face scrub.
In a face scrub, the size of the granulation of the salt needs to be considered; you don't want the sharp natural pyramidic formulations of hand-dried sea salt; go for a very fine granulation. I have ground salt to fine dust in a coffee grinder before now, so you get the benefit of the salt without the extra abrasion.
Do not be afraid to experiment here; you can always try a mix using very small measurements, like ½ teaspoon, to try your ideas and formulations out. It will avoid waste and provide the perfect amount for patch testing.
What Else can I Add to My Bath Scrub?
When you buy cream exfoliators, they very often contain some form of granular exfoliation.
One of the most widely used in the cosmetic industry is the ground Apricot Kernel.
As I mentioned, many companies have been using unnecessary ground microplastics over the years, wreaking havoc with our waterways, the environment, and their effect on local wildlife.
I urge you to seek natural exfoliators; they are better for you and the environment. There is a fantastic array to choose from.
The main question about using these natural inclusions and exfoliators is whether they will store well.
You need to check with the supplier how the ground exfoliating product will affect the shelf life of your formulation and product.
You can get granulated bamboo, which many responsible and ethical companies are choosing nowadays because it is such a sustainable choice, that does not harm our environment. Using granulated bamboo, which is considered stable, is going to last much longer than, say, oats or ground almonds, which are considered unstable and prone to molding. These are best suited to making a small amount of 'one use' scrubs to be used immediately.
|Natural Exfoliating Ingredients|
|Stable - Longer shelf Life||Unstable - Need to use quickly|
|Granulated Bamboo||Ground Oats|
|Ground Walnut shells||Ground Almonds|
|Ground Apricot Kernels||Poppy Seeds|
|Ground Olive Pits||Coffee Grounds|
Before we look at all the wonderful carriers and essential oils we can use in our bath scrubs, I would like to mention the many virtues of using clays in your scrub.
Clays are normally associated with face masks, but they make a fabulous addition to bath scrubs. There is much wonderful and substantiated hype surrounding Bentonite Clay, and for a good reason. It has a list of benefits, that is, as long as your arm and I urge you to research using clays and consider adding a bit to boost those trace minerals and elements.
Do not stop at Bentonite clay; look at green and white clay, kaolin clay, red or Rhassoul clay, and fuller's earth. It will bring a whole new and exciting dimension to your bath scrubs.
They are one of the best ingredients for unclogging and cleaning your pores. I cannot rate them highly enough.
Also Read: How to Make Facial Toner with Essential Oils
Best Carrier Oils for Making DIY Bath Scrubs
This is yet another area of designing a formulation for a bath scrub where you need to ask - what am I trying to achieve?
Are you trying to create something deeply nourishing or soothing? Maybe create a scrub that is enlivening and deeply stimulating? Your choice of carrier oil here is just as important as whether to use salt or sugar.
As you have discovered, a person's skin type is important when designing a formulation. Therefore, the carrier oils you choose must suit both the skin and the outcome you are trying to achieve.
Not sure what skin type you have - check out this article on How to Make Face Serum With Essential Oils, which will help you define your skin type. Then come back to delve into this; you don't want to miss a thing!
Here is my quick ready reckoner for the best oils to use for your skin type, followed by a couple of articles that will give you much deeper information on the oil themselves for your particular skin type or project in mind.
*Remember, if you are allergic to nuts, some of these oils may not suit you; check first.
The Best Carrier Oils for Your Skin Type
|Carrier Oils||Oily Skin||Blemish Prone Skin||Dry Skin||Combination Skin||Dehydrated Skin|
|Coconut MCT Oil||❌||❌||✔️||❌||✔️|
|Sweet Almond Oil||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️|
Here are some links to articles on our blog that you might find useful in planning your formulations.
Do you have dry skin and wonder what you can use? This is sure to help answer some of those questions. What Carrier Oils Are Best For Dry Skin?
Are you looking to make a body-firming bath scrub? This will help with those ideas. 9 Best Carrier Oils For Skin Firming, Hydrating, And Maintaining Healthy Skin.
Are you making a face scrub and still unsure what carrier oils might be best? What Are The Best Carrier Oils For Face?
Can't see what you want? - Check out the special section on the blog for Carrier Oils; you are sure to find exactly what you need. Also, do not forget to check out the individual oils on our website for more information on their properties.
Which Are The Best Essential Oils to Use to Make a Bath Scrub?
We have to consider here that the whole point of a salt scrub is to ' slough off ' all that dead skin and expose all that beautiful delicate, soft, supple skin.
The key word here is delicate.
You may be used to using certain essential oils during your normal bathing routine with no issue. But quite often, people are surprised when they cannot tolerate the same kinds or strengths of oils in a bath scrub, and the difference is that this newly exposed skin can be quite delicate and extra sensitive.
If using a bath scrub is new to you, I would err you to the side of the gentler, more soothing oils.
I am leaving those more stimulating and enlivening oils for later experimentation.
Essential oils like Lavender, Chamomile, and Rose Geranium are perfect for trying in the first instance. Still, I would avoid oils that, while beautifully enlivening, could prove too much, like Lemon and Lime essential oils, which are usually always popular for stimulating bath scrubs.
If unsure, make a small amount and patch-test it for 24 hours.
Also Read: How to Make Scented Pine Cones with Essential Oils
How to Make Bath Scrubs With Essential Oils
What You Will Need:
- Non-reactive mixing bowl
- Stainless steel spoon
- Jar with a non-reactive lid - Glass preserving jars with rubber seals are perfect.
- Your choice of salts and sugars
- Carrier Oils
- Essential Oils
Ingredients - Optional Extras:
- Exfoliating agents like bamboo granules or ground apricot kernel
- Clay powder
Note - Always mix these thoroughly into your salt/sugar BEFORE adding any oil for a smooth and even distribution and to reduce the risk of clumping.
A Recipe For All Skin Types
- ¼ cup of Sea Salt - very fine ground
- ¼ cup of Sweet Almond Carrier Oil
- 3 drops of Lavender Essential Oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
- In a mixing bowl, combine ¼ cup of fine ground sea salt with ¼ cup of sweet almond oil
- Mix thoroughly with a spoon, ensuring all the salt is finely covered in the oil.
- Once combined, carefully add your drops of essential oils, and then thoroughly mix and combine again.
- This recipe will store for at least six months if kept in the dark at a consistent and ambient temperature. The only thing that will go 'off' is if the carrier oil turns rancid, which you will smell as soon as you open the jar. If that happens, simply discard and make a new batch.
My Favorite Recipe
I had fun with this because I have made some beautiful combinations over the years, and it made me go back through my notes to revisit all my favorites.
My absolute favorite has some more unusual ingredients, but don't let that put you off sourcing them and trying them yourself.
Many years ago, I fell in love with a Monoi De Tahiti product, which is as stunning as it sounds.
What is Monoi de Tahiti? It is sumptuous coconut oil steeped in highly fragrant and utterly luscious Tahitian Tiare or Gardenia flowers.
I once imported some from a lady who was a lone producer living in French Polynesia. It was the most profound and fragrant experience I can remember having with a product.
The fragrance was beyond magical, and the oil itself sublime. The lady even sent me a CD full of Tahitian music to enjoy with my oil. An experience I have never forgotten.
I also, by chance, came across some black Hawaiian salt around the same time, and I'm always up for something new in the kitchen, but after some experimentation, I found it was just as beautiful to use in a bath scrub.
Why not try my Tahitian Dream for yourself here?
Light Brown Sugar
Hawaiian Black Salt
Dead Sea Salt
Monoi De Tahiti Carrier
|Rosehip Carrier Oil||Argan Oil|
|½ cup||¼ Cup||¼ Cup||⅓ cup||⅓ cup||⅓ cup|
The Monoi de Tahiti can be solid at room temperature so mixing it with these other oils helps to keep the formulation easier to use and scoop out.
You could use a whole cup of the wonderfully fragrant Monoi de Tahiti and warm it gently before using it to melt the oil. I used to float mine in the warm bath water until enough was melted to scoop out and use. I did not find the need to add essential oils as I wanted to enjoy the fragrance of the Tiare flowers steeped in the oil.
But here is my recommendation for the oils to add if you so wish.
Tahitian Dream - Essential Oil Blend
Safety - Do not use it in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy; not suitable for children
8 drops of Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
1 drop of Patchouli Essential Oil
5 drops of Vanilla Absolute Oil
More Favorite Recipes
Here are a handful of delightful recipes for you to try; there are sure to be something to suit everyone.
Perfect for winding down after a tiring day or workout
|Sea Salt||Epsom Salt||Magnesium Flakes||Avocado Carrier Oil||Tamanu Carrier Oil|
|⅓ Cup||⅓ Cup||⅓ Cup||¾ Cup||¼ Cup|
Essential Oil Blend
Avoid it if you have a heart condition or hypertension.
Not suitable for children. Not suitable for use during pregnancy (Fennel)
3 drops of Rosemary Essential Oil
3 drops of Thyme Essential Oil
(Thymus vulgaris L.)
5 drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil
10 drops of Lavender Essential Oil
3 drops of Fennel Essential Oil
*Not suitable for sensitive skin.
Sensitive skin? This one is just for you
|Light brown Sugar||
Pink Himalayan Rock Salt.
Very fine ground
|Jojoba Oil||Kaolin Clay|
|¾ Cup||¼ Cup||1 Cup||1 tsp|
Essential Oil Blend
Safety - Do not use it in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy
10 drops of Lavender Essential Oil
10 drops of Rose Geranium of Essential Oil
(Pelargonium asperum var roseum)
This is for when you have that hot date and need to look buffed and polished to perfection and smell divine.
|½ cup of Light brown sugar||½ cup of Sea Salt||¼ cup of Bamboo granules||2 tsp of Bentonite Clay||½ cup of Jojoba Carrier Oil||⅓ cup of Argan Carrier Oil||⅓ cup of Rosehip Carrier Oil|
Essential Oil Blend
Safety - Do not use it in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy, not suitable for children
3 drops of Patchouli Essential Oil
3 drops of Vanilla Essential Oil
5 drops of Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil
2 drops of Cedarwood Essential Oil
2 drops of Palo Santo Essential Oil
10 drops of Sweet Orange Essential Oil
(Citrus sinensis L)
5 drops of Clary Sage Essential Oil
How Often Should I Use a Bath Scrub?
If you have sensitive skin, you should only be using bath scrubs once a week at the maximum.
Even those with normal skin should not use them more than once or twice a week.
While exfoliation has a wonderful effect on your skin and circulation, do it too often, and you could dry your skin out too much. It is best to avoid this if you can.
Sensitive Skin Alternatives
Suppose your skin is sensitive and reacts, even to the recipe above. For example, perhaps you cannot tolerate the more abrasive exfoliation of salt, sugar, and essential oils.
Try using a mix of oats, ground almonds, and even coffee grounds as exfoliants.
Natural yogurt is also wonderful in natural scrubs and is a great alternative to try, so you are not missing out on all the fun and amazing benefits of bath scrubs.
Stick to gentle essential oils like Lavender and Chamomile, perhaps adding just one to start with to see if you can tolerate that oil. If in doubt, always patch test for 24 hours.
I hope you realize there are as many combinations for bath scrubs as creative ideas. The only bounds are your imagination.
As you plan your formulations, always ask yourself, what am I trying to achieve, and what skin type am I dealing with? The answers to these two questions will have you focused and targeted on creating the perfect product for you, your clientele, and your friends and family.
You have found out that they are so simple to make and you cannot go far wrong that surely you have the confidence now to formulate your recipes?
Bath scrubs are perfect gifts for the holiday season, and I hope it will encourage you to have a go and learn how to make bath scrubs with essential oils and follow through on all your wonderfully creative ideas.
Also Read: How to Make Perfume with Essential Oils