Create indulgent salt scrubs for the ultimate DIY spa treatments at home.

By Edward Chamberlain-Bell

South Africans are fortunate because we enjoy relatively mild winters compared to the rest of the world. The nights might be cold but we can usually get around in a T-shirt and light sweater during the day. Unfortunately, the dry winters can leave your skin feeling stretched beyond breaking point because the air literally sucks moisture from your skin.

The solution: put it back!

The simplest way to restoring moisture to your skin is to use a moisturiser, but for any product to penetrate effectively you need to scrub away that dead skin, like an unwanted scab, so your moisturiser goes to work where it’s needed. Scrubbing also means you use less product- and you use it more effectively.

I don’t understand why people will spend hundreds of rands, or any money, for that matter, buying commercially made scrubs when the best scrubs can be made effortlessly and affordably with a few basic ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen cupboards. Scrubs can be made within a few minutes using natural ingredients that nourish you in body, mind and spirit. I know that sounds like an overstatement, but they truly do. I’ll explain why later.


How To Make A Basic Scrub

Combine a cup of salt with a cup of oil. Simple as that, you have a scrub.
The salt acts as a mechanical exfoliator to scrub away flakey skin while the oil lubricates and moisturises the skin. After a light shower your skin will feel deeply cleansed, refreshed and moisturised. I notice that woman don’t mind a light oily residue on their skin but men might prefer to wash it off more completely. Whichever you prefer is a matter of preference but your skin will still benefit. For added benefits you could follow-up with a body moisturiser or a richer body butter.
The most important rule when using a scrub, ironically enough, is not to scrub. The skin is only a few millimeters thick and quite delicate; it’s not like you’re not sanding down a hardwood floor, so use a light gentle motion to lightly polish the skin. When you’re ready to use your scrub, ideally before bathing or showering, grab a handful of your mixture and gently rub it all over your body for 5-10 minutes. Start from the ankles and move up towards the heart as this stimulates circulation. Leave your feet for last but don’t use a salt scrub on your face.

Oils can go rancid but highly unlikely with that much salt. I never make so much product that I ever have to worry about a scrub turning rancid.

How To Make A Luxury Scrub

Make a basic scrub, as mentioned above, but you can get creative with anything that you find in your kitchen. You can experiment with proportions according to your preference and until you get the ideal consistency.

In addition to oil, you can even use milk, cream or yogurt, which are rich in proteins and contain lactic acid, which acts as a chemical exfoliator. Lemon juice or vinegar are lighter alternatives which contain acetic acid and have antibacterial properties.
You can add oatmeal, cornmeal or small seeds to the salt but I find they gunk up the drain so not worth the effort required cleaning afterwards. Epsom salts can relieve stiff muscles (ideal for sportsmen) and baking powder can create a more refined exfoliation. Sugar is a gentler alternative to salt, if you don’t mind the stickiness, but by all means make a basic scrub, substituting the salt for sugar, for your face.

Essential oils are essential for a luxury scrub. Unleash your creativity by experimenting with your favourite essential oils for their fragrance and therapeutic benefits. Essential oils have an extremely powerful, albeit it equally subtle, affect on our moods and emotions.

Adding dried tea leaves adds visual appeal, texture and therapeutic benefits. Experiment with rooibos, green tea, herbal tea- if it comes in a tea bag you just have to snip the bag and mix the contents into your basic scrub. The same is true of adding finely chopped herbs: use fresh herbs for immediate use but dried herbs if you intend to keeping your scrub for an intended period. Your favourite spices like ginger or cinnamon are equally good.

Get creative with herbs, spices & essential oils to create your own skincare products at home.

How To Add Essential Oils To Your Scrub

Firstly, research the oils you intend using because they may be contraindicated if you are pregnant or suffer from a medical condition or interfere with your medications. A general rule of thumb when blending essential oils is 25-50 drops / 100ml of carrier oil. Avoid the temptation to add more than the recommended dose because excessive amounts of essential oils can irritate the skin or present a new range of problems.

Uplifting essential oils include orange, lemon, lemongrass, lime, peppermint, rosemary or thyme. Relaxing essential oils include soothing lavender, chamomile, ylang ylang, frankincense, bergamot.


How To Put It All Into Action
Quickly ‘n effortlessly … simply grab some scrub, scrub (obviously) and rinse. It should take you less than a minute or two and you’re good to go. If I’m really pushed for time but equally desperate for a scrub I will mix a handful of salt with body wash or sugar with facial cleanser so I can get two jobs within the time of one.

Benefits: Get the job done as quickly without losing any benefits.
Lavishly ‘n luxuriously … you want to go scrub-a-dub-dub in the tub; and go as far as you want to go to make it a hedonistic extravaganza: run a warm bath riddled with oils, bubbles and bath salts, turn down the lights and light up some candles, play some soothing music and get ready to indulge. Begin by gently exfoliating your body with your homemade scrub; going slowly and gently rather than trying to finish the job it as quickly as possible, before slipping into the bath and relaxing in the warmth of the water, inhaling the fragrance of the oils and allowing them to penetrate your skin and soothe your soul.

Benefits: Exfoliated skin absorbs moisture and essential oils far more effectively than just slapping on a moisturiser but taking the time to relax (or lavish) in a warm bath makes it a aroma-therapeutic treatment.

Finally, we are our most precious resource. Take time to look after yourself .

Connect with Edward on FacebookLinkedInTwitter and ChamberlainBell.com!

  1. Linda

    I like to add unrefined shea butter to my scrubs as it is highly moisturising and beneficial to the skin, also, it thickens the scrub somewhat. Shea butter in my body butter s is also essential to benefit from all its remarkable properties, best use unrefined.

    1. jozistyle

      That is a great tip, and thanks for sharing, Linda. Sometimes I would also like a thicker scrub but prefer to keep it as natural possible. I never thought of shea butter. I’m going to have to rewrite my article! Follow us on @JoziStyle for an updated version. 🙂

Comments are closed.

Editor's choice