A DIY natural body scrub
Since our skin absorbs nutrients more effectively when it’s clean and clear of old layers, it makes good sense to maintain clean, hydrated skin through regular skin exfoliation. Body scrubs are a wonderful support system for the skin; the oils encourage rehydration while the natural essences and scents impart an all-over boost.
The right ingredients are vital to creating a memorable skin scrub. The beauty is that most can be found in the kitchen cupboard, as many skin nutrients come from food-grade sources. Pure ingredients are absorbed easily by our skin cells and utilised to speed up skin metabolism, repair and encourage growth, and cleanse and detoxify.
Daily scrubbing maintains healthy skin and circulation. Our skin acts as a barrier to the outside world, protecting our body’s organs and tissues from damage and infection. It also prevents loss of water and other body fluids and keeps the body temperature controlled. Toxins are flushed out, thereby releasing fluid retention and shedding dead cells from the skin’s surface. Afterwards, one’s skin feels smooth and radiant. Add a steam, sauna or wrap and you’ll feel even more rejuvenated.
During a scrub, the mix of water, spices and herbs is massaged into the body to, in turn, stimulate the metabolism and oxygenate the cells. Asia is home to a treasure chest of natural ingredients for a memorable scrub. After an oily Ayurvedic treatment in India, for instance, you may be rubbed down vigorously with a cleansing paste (ubtan) of ground lentils, flours and herbs to remove excess oil. Across Indonesia, time-tested recipes containing coffee beans, coconut, clay, ground pumice stone and honey are applied to exfoliate the skin. In Thailand, scrubs are often made of honey, seeds and rice to improve circulation, moisturise and tone.
Throughout Sri Lanka, components for scrubs include ground nuts and flours, while in Japan exotic ingredients include adzuki beans, buckwheat flour, rice bran, black sugar, pearl barley powder, soybean flour and various fruits, flowers, vegetables and green leaves. Indeed, in Japan, the ritual of the cleansing body scrub is as important as the bath itself.
How to scrub
Tools that aid the scrub are loofah mitts, silk mitts, natural wood brushes and even a simple waffle or cotton hand towel. Look for implements made from natural fabrics and unbleached woods. Dry-brush your skin every morning with strokes towards the heart.
For a wet scrub in the shower or bath, brush your skin towards the heart under cool to warm water until your skin turns slightly pink. Fill a muslin/cloth bag with exfoliating ingredients such as seaweed, rice bran, oats and adzuki bean powder and scrub your skin under the shower in small circular motions. Start at the feet and spiral upwards towards the legs, hands, arms and torso. Circular movements are recommended around the abdomen and breasts. After rinsing off a scrub, I recommend massaging your skin with an aromatherapy oil blend using upward strokes towards the heart.
Need further inspiration? Awaken your skin with ingredients made from earth’s treasure chest with the following recipes.
Invigorating detox salt scrub
- 4 tbsp fine sea salt
- 2 tbsp orange peel
- 2 tbsp sweet almond oil
- 4 drops each of grapefruit, orange and juniper essential oils
Methos: Blend all ingredients into a paste. Apply to the body in circular movements while you stand in the shower recess, then turn on the shower and rinse off.
Wake-me-up detox coffee scrub
- 3 tbsp ground coffee beans
- 1 tbsp fine rice flour
- 1 tbsp cinnamon powder
- 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
- about 6 tbsp water
Method: Blend all ingredients into a paste. Apply to the body in circular movements while you stand in the shower recess, then turn on the shower and rinse off.
Exotic detox sugar scrub
- 3 tbsp rice flour
- 3 tbsp raw sugar
- 8 drops blend of jasmine, frangipani and orange essential oil
- 60ml coconut oil
Method: Blend all ingredients to make a smooth paste. This exotic scrub leaves skin beautiful and soft.
Yin yang salt scrub
The cooling yin energy of cucumber feels refreshing while warming ginger is grounding and earthy. Blended here with nourishing sweet almond oil and mood-lifting lime, this easy-to-prepare recipe doubles as a skin hydrator.
- 2 tbsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely grated
- 2 tbsp cucumber, finely grated
- 2 tbsp almond oil
- zest 1 lime
Method: Blend all ingredients together in a bowl and apply pre-bathing or showering. Rinse in tepid water.
Classic salt glows
These nutrient-rich time-tested recipes will gently remove dead skin cells and improve circulation, leaving your skin feeling soft and cleansed. The recipe is deeply moisture-giving, so there’s no need to follow with a moisturiser.
- 3 tbsp fine natural sea salts
- 3 tbsp base oil such as sweet almond or macadamia
- a blend of three essential oils totalling 15 drops
Method: Stir essential oil into base oil. Blend in the salts and stir with a spatula in a glass or ceramic bowl until thoroughly mixed. Start the full body scrub using circular massage strokes, paying particular attention to the knees, elbows and heels. Complete with a shower or bath ritual.
Experiment with other oil blends, such as the ones below, according to your skin type and mood.
Dry skin: Sandalwood, lavender and geranium essential oils.
Oily skin: Cypress, lemon and ylang ylang essential oils.
Romance elixir: Ylang ylang, patchouli and orange essential oils.
Hangover elixir: Fennel, juniper and rosemary essential oils.