Saturday, August 20, 2011

Things I love: Sugar scrubs

Not everything in your pantry has to be used in food, you know... some of it can go on your face! (and elbows, and heels...)

I've tried a number of homemade scrubs and exfoliants over the past few years. Living in a climate like Montreal's, my sensitive skin has to deal with heat and humidity in the summer and sub-zero temps and a severe lack of humidity in the winter. Even with spring and fall in there to cushion the blow, it can mean some serious season whiplash for your skin.
My first tries were with ground oatmeal, as I know it is often used to soothe irritated skin. Only, when I tried grinding oats down using a grinder or food processor, the resulting oatmeal felt, for lack of a better word, sharp. I would mix the oatmeal with a bit of baking soda and then add honey to make a scrub. While it smelled nice, it left my skin feeling a little angrier than before, which wasn't really what I was going for!

I then tried sugar scrubs. I had better luck with these, but many of the recipes I found called for oils (olive, almond, jojoba, etc). Now, nothing wrong with that... it would help my winter-ravaged skin retain a bit more moisture. The problem was more with using it... I do my scrubbing in the shower, so I can rinse it off easily. And what happens when you rinse oil off in the shower? A slick shower floor and you clinging for dear life to the shower curtain. Not good. I didn't know anything that would make the scrub spreadable like oil does, but not leave the shower slippery, so I continued to use oil in my scrubs, just making sure to use it only at the very end of the shower, then rinsing the tub well after.

Then, I found this recipe over at Joy the Baker: Coffee and Lavender Sugar Scrub. She walked through the steps of making a sugar scrub, only instead of using oil she recommends using liquid glycerin. Shh... *cups a hand to her ear* if you listen carefully, you can hear angels singing. That's right... glycerin is liquid like oil or honey and makes your scrub spread wonderfully, but rinses away squeaky clean, no oily residue! Jumpin' Jehoshaphat, I was all over that idea as soon as I read it.

I ran to the store, grabbed me some glycerin and whipped up a new batch of sugar scrub, this time using only three simple ingredients: granulated sugar, glycerin and a few drops of orange essential oil. I don't think the orange oil add any benefit other than smelling like a freshly cut orange first thing in the morning... very refreshing, but you can do without or use another scent if you prefer. Best of all, the scrub rinsed off leaving my skin feeling both softened and clean, and no slick whatsoever on the floor. It's official, I love this stuff. And every female I know will likely be getting some from me come Christmas! ;)

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