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With spring finally here, it’s time to banish dry, flaky skin from your body and get it glowing. One way to do this is by sloughing off dead skin cells with DIY body scrub bars. If you are ready to try your hand at making your own scrub bars, this is your ultimate guide.
Table of Contents
- What are Body Butter Scrub Bars?
- How do Body Butter Scrub Bars Work?
- 4 Reasons Why Body Butter Scrub Bars Are the Best
- Body Butter Scrub Bar Ingredients
- How to Use Body Scrub Bars
- DIY Bamboo Jasmine Body Butter Scrub Bars Recipe
- How to Create Different Variations of Body Butter Scrub Bars
- Looking for more recipes?
What are Body Butter Scrub Bars?
Body butter scrub bars (aka body scrub bars or exfoliating lotion bars) are solid bars of lotion enriched with natural exfoliants. They are used to exfoliate and moisturise your entire body simultaneously. While the blend of butter and oils nourish the skin, the natural exfoliants help remove dry, flaky skin, making it look more radiant. It’s a pretty clever idea when you think about it.
How do Body Butter Scrub Bars Work?
Harsh winter weather, central heating, and low humidity can cause the skin to lose moisture, making your skin look dull and flaky. Body scrub bars are great for sloughing off all that dead skin, and exfoliation helps your skin look healthy and smooth.
Body butter scrub bars are made with gentle but effective, natural exfoliants like ground coffee, ground almonds and bamboo powder. These natural exfoliants help remove dead skin cells from the body’s surface to buff the skin and stimulate blood flow.
In addition, moisturising ingredients like shea butter or cocoa butter in the scrub bars help nourish, soften, lubricate the skin and prevent dryness. Essential oils in the body scrub are added to address various skin needs, add fragrance and uplift the mind.
4 Reasons Why Body Butter Scrub Bars Are the Best
1. Exfoliating, Moisturising in One Step
Since you only have to apply one product to your skin, you can exfoliate and moisturise in one go.
2. Use Natural Ingredients
You can make your body scrub bars with natural ingredients like cocoa butter, shea butter, oils, extracts and exfoliants that are good for the body.
3. Easy To Master
Making body scrub bars is relatively simple. All you need is a mix of butter, oils, extracts, and exfoliants to create a solid bar. You can experiment with different ratios of oil and butter in order to find the texture, feel and smell you like best.
4. No Waste
The process used to make body scrub bars creates no waste. Unlike traditional scrubs that can be really messy to use, scrub bars pack all ingredients into one handy bar that fits into your palm and allows you to control how much of the product you use.
Body Butter Scrub Bar Ingredients
Body scrub bars, just like lotion bars, are brimming with nourishing wax, butter, oils, and actives. The main difference is that body butter scrub bars also include natural exfoliants such as ground almonds, oats, coffee and pumice.
Moisturising oils and butter
Oils and butter are the top moisturising ingredient for dry skin. They create an effective barrier between the skin and the environment protecting it, restoring its natural moisture levels and conditioning it.
When choosing the oils and butter for your scrub bars, you can select them based on their smell, colours, texture, feel, absorbency, effects, or sources.
For example, if you’d like your scrub bars to be extra moisturising, use high-quality ingredients like shea butter, kokum butter or babassu butter. Oils like olive, avocado or brazil nut are better for dry skin. In contrast, jojoba, apricot and rice bran oil are ideal for normal skin types. You can learn more about choosing oils by use and skin type here.
Let’s look at some of the most sought-after oils and butter.
Cocoa butter: Lightweight, fast absorbent with a moisturising effect, cocoa butter keeps the skin soft, smooth and moisturised, making it a perfect choice for dry skin. In addition, cocoa butter adds a frame to the bars making it an essential ingredient.
Shea butter: Softening and hydrating, shea butter helps improve the skin’s natural barrier and protect it from environmental stressors. It is known for its rich, creamy texture that melts quickly on the skin. If you find it too oily, swap it for drier mango butter.
Mango butter: Moisturising and packed with antioxidants, mango butter is a skin-friendly butter that is gentle on the skin and may also protect it from environmental damage. The butter’s soft texture and mild scent make it easy to work with.
Coconut oil is another popular ingredient associated with a multitude of skin benefits. Moisturising, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, coconut oil can improve your skin’s hydration, reduce inflammation, and even remedy acne.
Almond oil: Abundant in vitamin A, E, and essential fatty acids, almond oil, lubricates and moisturises dry skin, leaving it soft and supple.
Avocado oil: A creamy oil with a dense consistency, avocado oil adds beautiful green colour to the bars. Besides nourishing and conditioning the skin, avocado oil moisturises as well as protects.
Olive oil: A staple in the kitchen and bathroom, olive oil is a versatile, multi-purpose skin salve that can help not only combat dryness but also cleanse the skin, fight oxidative stress, and reduce signs of ageing.
Safflower oil: A lightweight oil that moisturises, soothes and softens the skin, an excellent choice for dry skin.
Sunflower oil: Highly absorbent, soothing and suitable for all skin types, sunflower oil, is highly effective in improving the skin’s hydration and the integrity of the skin’s outer layer, making it highly beneficial for dry skin.
These are just a few oils and butter you can use when making body scrub bars. There are many more emollients to choose from, including rice bran oil, apricot oil and grape seed oil.
Waxes in the body butter scrub bars are used to harden the bars but also to moisturise the skin and add a protective barrier between the skin and environmental stressors such as weather, pollutants and chemicals. There are various types of wax you can use in the bars, including:
Beeswax adds a frame to the bars and improves their hardness. In addition, beeswax prevents moisture loss, keeping the skin hydrated.
Candelilla Wax, a vegan alternative to beeswax, hardens the bars and binds cosmetic ingredients together. It also acts as a barrier, keeping skin hydrated and clear of scaly skin.
Carnauba Wax is a harder vegan wax derived from carnauba palm leaves. A high melting point makes it a suitable ingredient in scrub bars as it will help keep the bars stable even in a hot shower.
Exfoliating is an excellent way to improve your skin’s health and appearance. It helps clear dead skin cells, dirt and impurities. It also unblocks pores, allowing the active ingredients to absorb better into the skin.
When choosing exfoliants, you can go for granular exfoliants like salt, sugar, walnut shell powder and coffee or fine exfoliants such as bamboo powder and jojoba beads. For the best result, combine coarse and fine exfoliants. Blending exfoliants with various particle sizes will help buff the skin, resulting in a smoother finish.
My favourite body exfoliants include bamboo powder, ground almonds, oatmeal, ground coffee, pumice and ground orange peel.
Bamboo powder: Bamboo does a great job clearing impurities and dirt from the pores without irritating the skin. It is so gentle, in fact, that you can use it in your DIY face scrubs.
Ground Almonds: Ground almonds are another gentle but effective natural exfoliant that helps to remove dead skin cells and improve overall skin tone.
Ground oats: Oats have been used for centuries to soothe the skin. It is a natural exfoliator that leaves your skin soft and smooth, just like almond powder.
Ground coffee: Contains potent antioxidants that have a calming effect on the skin and help reduce redness and inflammation. It might even reduce the appearance of cellulite by improving blood flow under the skin.
Pumice powder: Lightweight and naturally abrasive pumice powder is derived from a naturally occurring volcanic rock and comes in different grain sizes. Whereas fine pumice powder is excellent for polishing, coarse pumice powder works best for hardened skin on feet.
Ground orange peel: Ground orange peel is another effective exfoliant. Massaging it to the skin helps clear the skin and brighten skin tone. You can choose between fine powder or more abrasive ground orange peel.
Adding essential oils to scrub bars is a great way to enhance the scent of your scrub bars, improve skin health and elevate your mind. The essential oils you can add to body butter scrub bars include:
Jasmine absolute is gorgeous oil made from jasmine flowers. Adding it to scrub bars can help ease anxiety, boost confidence, and restore energy.
Lavender essential oil: gentle and soothing; lavender oil has been used for centuries to relieve stress, calm the nerves and improve sleep.
Lime essential oil: refreshing, uplifting scent of lime oil blends beautifully with coconut oil. Adding it to your scrub bars will uplift your mood and leave the skin smelling wonderful.
Peppermint essential oil: bright and refreshing, peppermint is a great oil to use in body butter scrub bars. Adding it to your scrub bars will provide a cooling sensation.
Rosemary essential oil: A growing number of studies support its use in improving skin tone, reducing inflammation, and easing stress.
Sandalwood Amyris essential oil: one of the most beautifully scented essential oils, sandalwood oil is a natural aphrodisiac. Its sweet scent encourages feelings of love and enhances intimacy.
There are many other oils you can use to infuse your scrubs. Some butters, such as cocoa butter, shea butter, or coconut oil, have a robust scent and can be challenging to work with. Follow the links to learn what essential oils work well with them.
Colours are often added to make the bars more visually appealing. As scrub bars are oil-based, you can add colours to them using oil-soluble plant pigments, waxes, and natural oils or infuse oils with vibrant colours.
To add a shade of:
- Yellow or orange, use buriti oil or infuse sunflower oil with annatto seeds or saffron.
- Red, you can infuse your oils with paprika or alkanet. To make your bars pink, infuse the oil with red sandalwood.
- Green, use organic avocado oil, acai oil, hemp oil, or infuse oils with chlorella, nettle, spirulina, or spinach powder.
- Blue, consider german chamomile essential oil or blue tansy.
You can learn more about natural colourants used in skincare by visiting Formula Botanica’s blog post here.
Adding dried flowers, herbs or seeds to your scrubs will help to make your bar more visually pleasing. These are just a few picks to inspire you: dried lavender, rosebuds, calendula, herbs such as thyme or rosemary, ground almonds or oatmeal, dried orange peel or coffee beans.
How to Use Body Scrub Bars
STEP 1: Begin with a warm shower, allowing water to run over your skin for five to ten minutes. It will open up your pores and prepare your skin for cleansing.
Step 2: Gently rub the scrub bar in circular motions around your body, paying extra attention to the dry skin on your elbows and knees. Once the bar releases enough tiny particles, you can use the palm of your hands to massage the scrub into your skin. Please do not overdo it. Over-exfoliation will leave your skin red and irritated.
Step 3: Rinse with warm water and pat dry. Use once a week to prevent dry skin from building up and keep your skin soft.
DIY Bamboo Jasmine Body Butter Scrub Bars Recipe
DIY Bamboo Jasmine Body Butter Scrub BarsDifficulty: Beginner Formulator
The sweet, seductive smell of these bars is simple yet irresistible. Rich notes of coconut and jasmine give it a creamy, fruity quality. At the same time, the zingy lime cuts through the sweetness, keeping things crisp.
- Bring 2-3 cm of water to a simmer over low heat in a saucepan.
- Weigh out the cocoa butter, coconut oil and carnauba wax in a heat-resistant glass beaker and place it into the water bath to melt the ingredients.
- Weigh bamboo powder in another beaker and set aside.
- When fully melted, remove the oil mixture from the water bath and stir until it cools down slightly. Add bamboo powder and continue mixing to prevent graininess in the bars.
- Once the mixture’s temperature drops below 40°C, add vitamin E, jasmine absolute, essential oils, and preservative Eco. You can stir in a few dried petals of jasmine.
- Keep stirring until you notice the trace building up. Pour the mixture into the mould and allow the bars to set overnight.
- Once firm, remove them from the mould, label and store them in an airtight jar.
Skin Patch Test
- Carry out a skin patch test first before incorporating scrub bars into your skincare regimen. Although they may be well-tolerated by most, some people may be sensitive or even allergic to ingredients. Apply a small amount of the product onto a clear patch of skin. Somewhere you can leave it alone for 24-48 hours. If your skin turns red or itchy, or you experience any irritations, discontinue using the product.
round or oval silicone mould
Shelf life and storage
Body butter scrub bars should keep well for six to twelve months if stored well. Keep them away from direct sunlight in a dry, cool room or a draw. If they change colour, smell or texture, dispose of them and prepare a new batch.
How to Create Different Variations of Body Butter Scrub Bars
Don’t you love these scrubs? I sure do! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post and that it has inspired you to make your own scrub bars. Use this recipe as a guide, and experiment with different ingredients to create new variations. Your imagination is the limit.
Here are just a few scrub bar recipes to inspire you:
Coffee Body Butter Scrub Bars: coffee is a fantastic ingredient. It helps to stimulate blood circulation, clear pores and reduce the appearance of cellulite, leaving you with firmer, healthier-looking skin.
Rose Almond Body Butter Scrub Bars: Deep, rich scent of rose oil brings a sense of calm and relaxation but can also help reduce muscle tension. Massaging it to the skin can help you relieve stress and anxiety.
Lavender Oat Body Butter Scrub Bars: Use lavender oil to help balance and calm stressed and anxious minds. The exfoliating properties of ground oats help to revive dull skin.
Sweet Orange Peppermint Foot Scrub Bars: A blend of ground apricot kernels and dried orange peel is a fantastic remedy for hardened skin. Adding cooling peppermint oil will ease tired feet.
Pumice Avocado Scrub Bars For Silky Soft Feet: A blend of nourishing avocado oil and lightweight pumice powder work together to polish and soften rough, calloused skin. In addition, a combination of rosemary, peppermint and tea tree essential oil help refresh feet and keep foot odour at bay.
How can I make body scrub bars harder?
If you live in a hot climate, you might like to replace a small percentage of cocoa butter with beeswax or candelilla wax. It will harden the scrub bars and prevent them from softening.
How can I make body scrub bars less greasy?
If you don’t like the greasy feeling on the skin, you might want to replace shea butter with dry butter, like mango butter. Also, include fast-absorbing oils and arrowroot powder. It will make the bars less likely to leave a greasy residue on the skin.
Looking for more recipes?
If you are looking for even more scrub bar ideas, I have put together a handy ebook with 20 recipes you’ll find on Amazon. To purchase, click the link below.