by Lina Watanabe
Skin can feel drab and dry in the winter due to indoor heat, reduced water intake, or lack of breathability from clothing. A great way to give your skin a tune up or just a well-deserved spa moment during these winter months is by making a homemade scrub. The scrub will exfoliate any dead skin cells as well as moisturize your skin in a lasting, non-greasy way. The best part is, it can be made with standard kitchen ingredients and can be jazzed up with your imagination.
5 parts salt or sugar
2 parts oil
1-2 part herbs/spices
2-3 drops essential oil per ½ cup of batch if desired (use sparingly!)
Measure out your base salt or sugar into a bowl. Grind any larger herbs/ingredients that need to be a finer consistency and add to bowl. Stir and add oil to desired consistency (a little goes a long way). Add any essential oils in small drop doses and mix. Put in your container and cover immediately. Scrub away and use as frequently as you like!
Hints: I like to use small wide mouth canning jars but any jar with a lid will work—use what you have! Any type of salt (even Epsom), oil, or sugar will work, except extremely fine varieties. If using coconut oil, you will have to melt it on low heat. To determine the parts, I like to start out with 1 part equaling 1 tablespoon and go up or down based on the quantity I want to make. Use herbs from your spice cabinet, or if you don’t have dried herbs on hand, simply just open up some tea bags. Things that are slightly gritty, like small seeds such as poppy or sesame, ground cocoa nibs, and even quinoa work as exfoliants. I use a coffee grinder to crush any dry herbs, seeds, oatmeal, or any larger ingredients to a finer consistency before adding them to the mix. Essential oils are extremely concentrated and should always be diluted in a carrier oil or with other ingredients in drop doses. They can be irritating to the skin, so use them sparingly for added scent, only if desired. This scrub is not advised for use on the delicate skin of your face. Take extra caution as the oils may make the shower floor slippery.
Below are two of our favorite recipes—we love that every ingredient is medicinal in some way. Since the skin is our largest organ, all medicinal ingredients used will be absorbed, so try to use the best quality ingredients and opt for organic whenever possible. Feel free to play around with the ingredients based on what is available to you.
WAKE UP! BLEND
Sea salt is less processed than table salt and has 82 essential minerals and trace minerals from the ocean that can be absorbed through the skin. It is also great for drawing out toxins and improving circulation. Coffee is of course stimulating due to its caffeine content and sometimes all you need to perk up is its smell. Although it has a slew of actions internally, its astringency topically on the skin helps to constrict the pores. The acidity of the coffee can also help to exfoliate the skin. Jojoba oil is comprised of long chain fatty acids similar to our skin sebum so it is absorbed rapidly on contact. Peppermint has a stimulating smell, is antimicrobial, and soothing to the stomach.
5 parts sea salt (fine to medium coarseness)
2 parts jojoba oil
1 part spent coffee grounds
1 part dried peppermint leaves
2-3 drops organic peppermint essential oil per ½ cup of batch
WIND DOWN BLEND
Sometimes you need a wake-up boost and other times you need to recuperate from the day and relax. This recipe is perfect for winding down the mind and body. There are so many benefits to this one: sugar can help maintain a proper electrolyte balance, oatmeal is soothing, and rose petals are astringent and tighten pores, while the aromatics are very relaxing. Chamomile reduces inflammation and anxiety and sweet almond oil is emollient to the skin (please swap it out if you have tree nut allergies). Honey is a humectant, which seals in moisture to your skin creating a protective barrier to the outside world. We all know the lovely smell of lavender, but did you know it can also be sedative, and antimicrobial? Studies have shown its chemistry truly is relaxing on mind as well as the body.
5 parts sugar
1/3 part oatmeal
1/3 part dried rose petals
1/3 part dried chamomile flowers
1 part sweet almond oil
1 part honey
2-3 drops organic lavender essential oil per ½ cup of batch
Lina currently lives and works in Portland, Oregon. She is the proud owner of two small businesses: Wild Rose Healing herbal consultations & reiki on people and pets, as well as Botanica Apothecaria handmade herbal products. She is also co-owner of a bi-monthly herbal surprise box company called Florilegia. For more information or to schedule an in-person or distance session, please visit Wild Rose Healing.