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How to Make an Emulsified Sugar Scrub

Emulsified Sugar Scrub


Let's face it, we all love a good scrub but the oiliness of the scrub can be a bit off-putting.

Exfloliating dead skin cells is always in fashion, no matter the season.  There are good reasons to do it, too.  Exfoliating  allows our bodies to get rid of dry skin, revealing new skin that is smoother and softer, and is more receptive to lotions and creams.  It makes the skin look younger and more toned, and it increases blood circulation, which in turn encourages cell regenation.

Scrubs are easy to make.  With a few ingredients, you can whip up a scrub in no time.  My favourite, quick mix hand scrub used to be made with just olive oil, sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice. I literaly used to stand by th basin and just mix enough in my hands.  This really did leave my hands feeling soft and smooth, but I could only do it for my hands.

In it's basic form, a scrub is made of exfloliants, to slough away dead skin cells and oils to provide lubrication, slip and glide for the exfoliant.  Anything else is an added bonus..but stll much needed added bonus, to take the srub from basic oil and sugar to a luxury  skincare product. An emulsified sugar scrub is like an exloliator and a lotion in one.  It is more structured and doesn't turn into an oily mess in hot weather.  It is easier to use.

Let's look at the ingredients we are going to use:

Exfoliants - There are a number of exfoliants that can be used.  I think this boils down to pesonal choice at the end of the day.  Exfoliants include, but are not limited to, sugar, salt, coffee grinds, poppyseeds, jojoba beads, ground stone fruit kernel like apricots, some nut shells etc. My favourites are sugar and salt.  Mostly becasue they are easily available, but also they offer just the right amount of exfoliation without hurting my skin. 

Oils - These offer emolliency as well as provide all that nourishment for the skin.  Many oils have anti-oxidant properties and impart many beneficial propeties on the skin.  For a traditional sugar scrub with no emulsifier I generally would go with a light, glidy oil like grapeseed oil or capric/caprylic triglyceride, but it doesn't matter (too much) when we are adding an emulsifier.  Any oil will do.  Butters provide rich texture, structure and  cushion.  So we are going to use both.

Cetyl Alcohol - This is a  fatty alcohol that is used in cosmetics to thicken creams and lotions.  We add it in an emaulsified scrub to provide emolliency and spreadability, as well as to give the scrub some body and fullness.  

Emulsifier - Although, technically a scrub doesn't need an emulsifier, to me it is still an essential. You may wonder why add an emulsifier if you will not be adding water to the scrub.  I will try my best to explain.  An emulsifier is an oil soluble ingredients that is used to make water and oil mix resulting into a lotion or cream or light spray etc.  We use it in an the scrub so that when water is introduced, we get that lotiony, creamy texture. 

Preservative - Even though there is no water in the scrub when it is made, it is inevitable that water will get in with use so a preservative is a must.  Water in the products can cause the product to become contaminated and to go bad - think mold and bacteria.  It is important to make safe products or use the product within a few days if you are not comfortable to use a preservative.  

Essential oils - We use essential oils in most of our products for their aroma and for their aromatherapy benifits.  Be careful not to use spice essential oils for this product as this may cause irritation (more on that some other day).

So, now that we have briefly looked at the ingredients, here is the Recipe for my Emulsified Scrub

Please note, you can use a single oil instead of the three different ones.  Essential oils can be omitted. Shea butter can be replaced with another soft butter like Mango butter. 

Makes 500g

Essentially, the recipe is 

19% Butters

58% Oils

10% Emulsifier

10% Cetyl Alcohol

1% Preservative

2% Essential Oil

 How to Make It

  1. Weigh emulsifier, cetyl alcohol, and butters in a heatproof bowl and heat using a doube boiler method until melted through.
  2. Weight the liquid oil/oils and add to the melted emulsifier/butters mix and stir well. 
  3. Put in the fridge or freezer to cool down and sart hardening
  4. When the top and sides of the mixture have hardned, remove from fridge/freezer and whip using a beater.  Whip until it looks fluffy (almost like stiff whipped shea butter).  
  5. Add the sugar and gently fold through thoroughly
  6. Add preservative and essential oil and mix them through.
  7. Pour into bottles
  8. Use and enjoy.





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