FTM Friday: Body Scrub Recipes (for all the people)

by Janelle Hanchett

Welcome to FTM Friday, and it’s actually posted ON FRIDAY. Somebody stop me. I’m obviously on fire.

Okay, body scrubs. The gateway drug. Let’s do this. (this is a very long post, because I’m talking about many things, so sorry.)

First I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I may have to turn in my DIY-wannabe-blogger card, but it’s worth it, for you guys.

You know why there are SO MANY RECIPES on the interweb for body products? And these brilliant bloggers seem to create recipes out of nowhere and they’re wonderful and gorgeous and you’re like “oh my god how do they come up with this shit and I’ll never be there and WHY EVEN TRY?”

Yeah. Lemmetellya something. The reason everybody is able to come up with recipes is because it doesn’t really matter what you put into these recipes, they pretty much always turn out.

With the exception of a fatal lip balm experiment, which we’ll discuss next Friday, and a few subpar (from an olfactory perspective) essential oil blends, I pretty much just throw shit together at random and somehow end up with something that impresses people. Too bad life isn’t more like that.

For example, body scrubs. Here’s the deal. You base them in sugar or salt. And you can use any freaking kind of sugar or salt. You’ll see recipes call for “raw organic turbinado sugar” or “pink Himalayan salts” or “coarse kosher salt,” but I’ve used all of the above and more and found that all of them work. The only difference between turbinado sugar and plain old white sugar is that the turbinado is coarse, and consequently a little rougher on the skin. Also you may need to add more or less oil depending on the type of sugar or salt you use. But mostly it’s all a matter of preference, not success.

Ya feel me?

And so you take your sugar or salt (and some have said they find salt drying, so again, it’s just preference) and you add what they call a “carrier oil” (look, I told you I was going to start from the beginning). Again, recipes will say “grapeseed” or “almond” or “olive” or “sunflower,” but the fact is you can use one of these or all of these (blend!) and the results are lovely. As you use the oils you find you like some more than others. For example, I made a scrub with sunflower oil and really didn’t like it. I found it too oily and filmy for me, but since I have a bottle I dilute it with grapeseed or olive. Also, olive oil has more odor than other oils, plus a color, which I don’t love in every scrub I make, so if I had to choose one oil as my favorite (in color, scent, price, and feel on my skin), I’d have to go with grapeseed. They sell it at Walmart for cheap. Horrors! Did she say “Walmart?” I know, I know. But sometimes, one must serve the devil.

You add enough oil to the sugar or salt that the mixture sticks together but isn’t dripping oil. Or maybe you like more oil; that’s cool too. Your call. But you don’t want the mixture not sticking together at all, because, well, it might be a little annoying to have to reach in the container 179 times to gather enough scrub to wash your body.

Then you add essential oil(s), in whatever blends you like. If you’re starting out, just buy peppermint and lavender. Then if you want to branch out, maybe buy rosemary and bergamot. If you want a little “starter kit” type thing, I can suggest this on Amazon. It’s $20.00 for 6 oils, and I’ve been happy with the quality. But I’m not a professional, so you’ve got to take everything I say with a grain of salt. Basically, if it smells good, I’m happy with it. Not very deep.

If you’re interested in essential oil blends and uses, I’ve found this website to be pretty useful, not to buy oils (they’re really expensive on that site), but rather to read about them. At the bottom of the page for each oil, there’s a list of complementary oils.

And so you’ll notice these recipes are vague. That’s because you can’t mess them up and I mean it. Well, if you dump 3 cups of oil into a cup of salt, you aren’t going to have a scrub, so…short of the cap falling off while you’re pouring, I promise you’re going to like what you get. So here are three of my favorites. After the recipes, we’ll talk for a minute about containers and “presentation.” Try not to get too excited.

The bottom two scrubs have been adapted from the following blogs: Local Kitchen and Coordinately Yours. I have no idea where the first one came from. Probably a fusion of fifty recipes. But it’s nice.

Peppermint Sugar Scrub

1 cup turbinado sugar

1 cup white sugar

(or 2 cups turbinado or white sugar)

3/4 – 1 cup carrier oil

5 – 10 drops peppermint essential oil

Optional: spoonful or 2 of honey (nice on the skin, holds scrub together nicely)

 Put all this stuff in a bowl, stir it up. Boom. Body scrub.


Lavender Mint Scrub

1 cup sugar or salt

½ – ¾ cup oil

10-15 drops lavender

3-5 drops peppermint

½ teaspoon or so of lavender flowers

 Put in bowl, stir, the end. You can also just make a wonderful lavender scrub by leaving the mint out. Plain lavender is one of my favorites.


Rosemary Mint Body Scrub

1 cup sugar or salt

½ – ¾ cup oil

10-15 drops rosemary

3-5 drops peppermint

½ teaspoon (or so) of dried rosemary

You know the rest.


Here are a couple Instagrammed photos of these scrubs. I like to use Instagram to mask the fact that I have no photography-related talent.

lavender mint body scrub

peppermint scrub, trying to show consistency

the lavender and rosemary scrubs together make an amazing gift

And now, containers. The easiest and cutest and cheapest ones I’ve found are jars. Mason jars, jam jars, whatever. I just save all the jars we use that seem like the right size. Now, some of you safety minded people are going to say um, glass in the SHOWER? To which I answer: “Yes.”

We will just hope the recipients of these gifts put them on the floor of the shower as opposed to up high (as I did in my shower, until one of them fell off its perch, nailed me in the shin and somehow didn’t break, but gave me the epiphany that perhaps GLASS was a BAD thing to set high in the shower).

You think I make this shit up, but I don’t. I’m really that sad.

But check it out: here’s how you’re going to get containers to accommodate your new body product obsession. You are going to drag your screaming offspring into every thrift and second hand store you know, and you’re going to waltz over to the glass section like you own the place, and you’re going to find craploads of containers that will work beautifully: swing-top jars that sell for $6.00 a piece at World Market (for .50), Mason jars, jam jars, hexagon jars, square jars. For cheap, baby. Cheap.

But what about the lids, you say? Ah, yeah. We’ll get to that in a moment.

After you’ve cleaned the place out of the jar collection, you’re going to walk over to the weird ass housewares section (where they chuck all the things) and you’re going to look for small, gift-sized baskets. And you’re going to buy those too. And after that, even though your children are even WORSE than before, and you’re 90% sure you’d rather die than remain the store, you’re going to walk over to the textiles section, and you’re going to buy cloth napkins that aren’t super stained. And then you can leave.

But you have to go to Target or Walmart or some local hardware store (if it has a baking section) and you will buy Mason jars “lids and bands” (here they are on Amazon), and you’re going to flip out cause check this out: pretty much all jars use the same damn lid. Boom. FTM. They are either “regular” or “wide mouth,” and that’s pretty much it. (For obvious reasons, I prefer “wide mouth.”) If you’re a lazy ass like me, and it irritates you that there are two pieces to the jar, you can super glue them together before using them. So much for chemical-free. Ha.

While buying those lids, you will also buy baker’s twine (sold in the same section as lids usually) or raffia. Also, you might want to buy this large funnel thing (in the jar section). It’s ridiculously helpful. Getting these scrubs into the jars is more annoying than you might think.

Please note the laundry pile in the background. That’s what I should be doing, but I’m NOT, because I’m making body scrubs.

Now you’re ready to make this:

The tag is a paper bag (I got that idea from somewhere but for the life of me I can’t remember where). I’m serious. NONE of this is my own idea. I have no ideas when it comes to this stuff.

And if it’s a gift for somebody you can make this, which I stole from A Sonoma Garden (along with the thrift-store-ransacking for napkins and containers and baskets).

So you make these scrubs and you wrap twine or raffia and add a tag and stick ‘em in a basket with a napkin and you give them to your friend, for her birthday or new baby or get well or whatevs.

And you feel like a badass crafty crunchy goddess, which is, of course, everybody’s goal, right?


(And tell me how it goes.)

19 Comments | Posted in FTM Friday | March 1, 2013
  • GG

    best tute ever!! i love love love it

    • renegademama

      Thanks, I’ve never written one before. Maybe next time I’ll be able to do it in under 1,500 words. 🙂

      • Marisa

        Naw, it wouldn’t be you if it were short.

  • Renee'

    Awesome – thanks for the info! I have wondered about making body scrubs and you just confirmed my thoughts that I could handle it! However, I have a big advantage over you. I have four shelves full of jars and lids in my fruit cellar in my basement. If you ever run out, you know where to get more!

    • renegademama

      Oh yeah. You can definitely handle it. And I’m a little jealous of your jar collection. Also you have a basement…you must not be in California!? I’ve always wished I had a basement.

  • Staycie

    Once I disappointedly realized you weren’t doing Friday posts for the FTM community (FTM: Female to Male transgendered folks) (You gotta admit the avatar is a bit misleading.) I was appeased and excited to find body scrub recipes. Body scrubs are very important. Happy scrubbing!

    • renegademama

      Staycie I SO wanted to mention the other (or perhaps we should say REAL) meaning for the acronym, but alas, I already made this post like 50 times too long…I’ll have to save that for next time. I’m hoping more people will think I meant “female to male,” and then they stick around! And yes, I guess our avatar is a bit gender neutral, but we love him/her anyway.

      Thank you! And welcome.

  • paige

    I did make some scrub based on your post last week! I used olive oil and I was not a fan. the odor and color bothered me too. also, I wrote about it on my blog, and how I felt oil. haha

    • renegademama

      I’ll read about it on your blog. I really like olive oil for hand salves and lotions though. But as a body scrub it felt a little heavy. Try almond or grapeseed.


  • Kate

    Ok, so I have been living in a cave most of my adult life (aka gradschool), and I’ve never been good at girly things. But I like stuff that smells nice, and I am intrigued by these body scrubs. But mostly because I’m wondering… what are they for? I mean, clearly, you use them to scrub your body. But is this something that happens before or after soap? Isn’t “body scrubbing” something that is usually done with a shower pouf? And, does anybody complain about the salt all over the bottom of your shower? I know, I’m clueless. Not a troll. Just wondering what feminine process I am clearly missing out on.

    • renegademama

      I would never think you’re a troll. Your question actually makes sense. I use it in place of soap. Actually, I haven’t used traditional soap (like a bar of it) in 2 months. I alternate between using this stuff (which I use more like as a treat to myself – like in the evening before I go to bed, to relax I’ll use the lavender, for calming effects) and a body wash I make with Castile soap. My lord I sound like a hippie.

      Anyway since I’ve stopped using soap I pretty much never need lotion anymore, except for my legs. Maybe because I shave?

      Anyway, the scrub is sort of just something to use in the shower, however you like. I just use my hand and let the coarseness of the salt or sugar “scrub” my body. It works like an exfoliant. And I have never had any problems with stuff in the shower. I just rinse it down the drain and I imagine it dissolves or gets carried away.

      If you try it, let me know what you think.

  • sara

    Fuck ya! My kid just moved to preschool so I need to give the toddler teachers “thank you for not selling my kid to hobos” gift and this is what its going to be. I am already the resident hippie cause I make muffins with whole wheat for breakfast so this will seal the deal.

    • renegademama

      I have a feeling your unshaven armpits and anarchist sense of humor already “sealed the deal,” my friend.

      [dude I will never not shave my armpits. I may be a hippie, but I just can’t go there. ya feel me?]

  • abi

    Try adding shea butter to your scrubs. It may eliminate the need for lotion after shaving. mountain rose herbs has it for a pretty good price (along with tons of other goodies). 🙂 Thanks for the recipes and the tutorial!

  • Renee

    Couldn’t get past the FTM. What does it mean? In trans-speak it means female-to-male, I don’t think that’s what you intended. #cantkeepupwithtextspeak 😀

  • Sara

    So just made some with bergamot essential oil (my hipster hubby makes his own moustache wax). Omg I cannot wait to shower tomorrow morning!!

  • Melanie

    FTM FTW!! I made sugar body scrub tonight and i do INDEED feel like a Badass Crafty Crunchy Goddess! THANK YOU! I used the first recipe, with grapeseed oil, 8 drops of peppermint, 10 drops of lavender, and jars from the Dollar Store. Can’t wait to try it out tomorrow morning. Am ALMOST ready to try the lip balm next, just going in search of containers tomorrow. Whoo hoo!!!!

  • Trackbacks

  • Trackback from FTM Friday: Hand Salve that Changes Lives - renegade mothering
    Friday, 15 March, 2013

    […] part? You can make it with three ingredients, or you can go nuts, and, just like the lip balm and body scrubs, short of dumping the entire olive oil bottle into your mixture, you pretty much can’t […]

  • Trackback from FTM Friday: Hand Salve that Changes Lives - FTM Fridays
    Sunday, 24 March, 2013

    […] part? You can make it with three ingredients, or you can go nuts, and, just like the lip balm and body scrubs, short of dumping the entire olive oil bottle into your mixture, you pretty much can’t […]

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