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How to Make an Emulsified Sugar Scrub

emulsified sugar scrub
This coffee-scented scrub has 2 T of ground cardamom added in place of 1 ounce of sugar. Click on the photo to view it on Etsy.

It’s taken me two and a half years to get around to making sugar scrubs. I’m not really sure why…maybe because “emulsified” sounded intimidating…maybe because I rarely purchased them to use myself…or it could have just been laziness. Whatever the reason, I finally kicked myself in the pants and said “get on with it already!” I decided that having mostly soap wasn’t serving my customers as well as having a variety of products would. So I’ve been experimenting and gradually rolling out some new things.

And you know what? Customers have been expressing great interest in these new things! And emulsified sugar scrubs are actually super easy to make, so I don’t know what I why I was being so stubborn. If you’ve been intimidated by scrubs, now is the time to dive in and get your hands dirty. Or clean…

Emulsified Sugar Scrub Recipe and Instructions

Slowly heat the above ingredients just until melted. Allow to cool to under 122 degrees F. Then mix in the following:

  • .35 oz (0.1% to 0.5% <– that’s point five %, not a half %) Liquid Germall Plus
  • .65 oz (1%) Fragrance or Essential Oil

At this point, place the mixture in the refrigerator until it looks thickened and the bottom of the bowl doesn’t feel warm. Blend with a hand mixer until you have a pudding consistency. Now you can add your sugar.

  • Up to 64 oz of cane sugar
  • Up to 1/2 tsp mica if you choose to color your scrub. Mix the mica into your sugar before adding to your emulsion

Stir sugar into your emulsion until well incorporated, then spoon into jars. This recipe made 10 jars of scrub (9 oz each), with about 6 ounces left over. I split the batch in two and made two different fragrances. That left enough extra to offer a small tester jar of each at markets.

This is a very thick scrub, so there is no dripping oil when you use it. Feel free to experiment with the amount of sugar you use, in case you prefer a thinner scrub. You can add other exfoliants in place of some of the sugar, as well.

Don’t want to make it yourself? You can purchase one here.

Do you have a favorite sugar scrub? What additives do you like to use in yours? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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The Best Aluminum-Free Homemade Deodorant

homemade deodorant
image via i love images | Cultura | Getty Images

I have tried lots of different “crunchy” deodorant alternatives, with little success. Popular brands that you can buy don’t work for me, and any deodorant recipe that has baking soda in it irritates my skin. The two things that have worked the best for me in the past were 1) straight up milk of magnesia smeared on my pits, and 2) using some leftover lanolin salve that I had made for healing cracked skin and following it up with some homemade body powder to eliminate the stickiness of the salve. The milk of magnesia really did fight odor for pretty close to the entire day, and the salve did almost as good of a job (it was just kind of gross to apply). I figured the reason the lanolin salve worked so well was the tea tree oil in the recipe, so I thought I would try adding tea tree oil to the milk of magnesia and then put it in a handy dandy applicator to keep my hands clean and eliminate waste.

And you know what? This aluminum-free homemade deodorant works like a charm! I wasn’t sure if the tea tree would mix in or just float on top, but it mixed in just fine. I like using this so much better than the lanolin salve. And it’s portable, so I think I’ll make up a second bottle for my gym bag. I may even try out a few other fragrance combinations.

The Best Aluminum-Free Homemade Deodorant (with no baking soda!)

Directions: Add your tea tree to the empty deodorant bottle and fill it the rest of the way with milk of magnesia (shake it up before you pour it). Then insert the roller ball into the top of your bottle, shake and apply. You’ll want to shake the bottle before each application, because milk of magnesia tends to separate a little.

It literally takes about 5 minutes to make this deodorant, and it works really well! This makes me happy, because I refuse to go back to store-bought deodorant with aluminum. This girl is not having any part of breast cancer, thank you very much.

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Nourishing Facial Cleansing Grains Recipe

I’ve tried out a few different types of cleansing grains from various sources, and after awhile, I decided I’d like to try making my own. I really like the idea of making most of my own skincare products; and cleansing grains appeal to me because you don’t have to worry about spoilage, since they are made with only dry ingredients. I loosely based my recipe off the ingredients in my favorite of the cleansers I’ve tried –Brown Sugar Shop’s milk & honey cleansing grains. That recipe includes kaolin clay, oats, coconut milk powder, honey powder and lemon peel. Since I don’t know how much of each ingredient is used in their recipe, I referenced this Milk and Honey Cleansing Powder recipe to decide on my ingredient ratios, and mixed things up a little to suit my own tastes. Here is what I came up with:


Oatmeal, Milk and Honey Cleansing Grains Recipe

Yield: Just over 2 oz

The most difficult part of this recipe was grinding the orange peel by hand. It is very coarse, so I made sure to grind it as fine as possible. I purchased it locally, but you can also purchase powdered orange peel, which would save you some time and effort. After that part was finished, I just put all the ingredients into a bowl and stirred with a whisk until it was all combined. I funneled it into one of these pretty blue glass bottles and only had a little left over.

How to use cleansing grains

It’s easy, just splash water on your face and leave your hands wet; then put about a teaspoon of the product on your fingertips (I just eyeball it). Add a few more drops of water, rub your fingers together, and then apply to your face. The grains won’t be fully moisturized before you put it on your face, but your face is wet, so that will hydrate the rest of them. Now wash your face with it. Easy peasy.

The verdict: I love it. When developing your own recipes, you can’t always tell if it will be a flop or not. I really lucked out that my first try at this turned out so well. My face loves this stuff – it has the gentlest of exfoliation and leaves my skin feeling soft and moisturized.

I have since tweaked this recipe and now offer cleansing grains for sale here.

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Grapefruit Ginger Cold Process Salt Bar Recipe

I’m a member of a Facebook group with a bunch of other soap makers, and when I first joined the group, everyone was in the middle of a salt bar soap exchange. Salt bar? What the heck is that? So I read up on it a bit and decided that I must make some of these myself!

What Is A Salt Bar, Anyway?

Simply, it’s bar of soap that has sea salt added to it. The reason people do it, is for the properties the salt adds to the soap. Sea salt is full of minerals, and just as taking a salt bath can help to soothe pain and inflammation, it would seem that washing with a salt bar may have similar positive effects. I don’t know if I buy all of that, since you would soak in a salt bath for about 20 minutes or so, while soap is just washed away. However, the claim is also made that washing with a salt bar can regenerate and hydrate the skin, while removing toxins and impurities. I think this is more easily believed, since the salt is a bit exfoliating.

I learned a few things from my first couple of batches, and I wouldn’t make that first recipe again, for a few reasons – mainly because my superfat was too low. There is room for experimentation with these. You can use up to 100% coconut oil in a salt bar, and the same goes for the amount of salt you use – I prefer half my oil amount, but you can use up to 100% of your batter amount. The reason the coconut oil is so high, is that the salt reduces lather and coconut oil will still lather in salt water; and the reason the superfat is so high, is because the coconut oil can be drying. It’s all about balance.

The recipe below is a pretty standard salt bar recipe. Feel free to tweak it to your preference – but always run it through a soap calculator afterward, to make sure your lye amount is correct.

salt bar recipe

Grapefruit Ginger Salt Bar Soap Recipe
Yield: 1 pound

You’ll want to use a mold that has individual cavities (or a slab mold with dividers), because salt bars harden very quickly; and once your soap hard, you can’t cut it into bars without them crumbling all over the place.

Add your colorant to your oils and blend a bit before adding your lye water. Once your soap reaches trace, mix in the essential oils. Now stir in the salt (at this point, you should be using a spoon instead of a stick blender). As you are pouring the batter into your mold, make sure to keep stirring, so that the salt is distributed evenly, or you’ll end up with your first bars having very little salt and your last bars having lots!

I used yellow Brazilian clay to get this color, but any kind of soap colorant would work.

Salt Bar Variations

Cucumber & Aloe – I used about 35% aloe vera juice and 65% pureed cucumber in place of my lye water and left the soap unscented. The cucumber scent came through very faintly at first in the finished bars, but it faded over time. I would use a cucumber and aloe fragrance oil next time.

Soleseife – I learned that you could make a different kind of salt bar by dissolving the salt in your water before adding lye to it. I have tried this a couple of times, and I will talk about that in a future post.

Final Thoughts on Salt Bars

I would like to try making a salt bar with less coconut oil and see what happens. Either with one of my standard recipes or just using less coconut oil. I don’t think salt bars have to be 100% coconut oil and I intend to prove it. Have you ever tried salt bars? What did you think?

Sources: Lovin Soap and David Fisher

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Glycerin Soap Recipe – Adzuki Bean Body Polish Bars

adzuki glycerin soap recipeI am, first and foremost, a cold process soap maker.  It is what I learned to do first, and is my favorite kind of soap to make. However, it is very difficult to make clear soaps using the cold process method, and sometimes it is necessary to make a soap that is ready to use immediately. For these reasons, I decided I would like to master the art of melt pour soap, as well. After a few different experiments, I came up with a glycerin soap recipe that I think is worth sharing (and selling).

Not all melt and pour soap bases are created equal. Many of them contain detergents and chemicals, and using a base with these things would have gone against the ethics of my brand. So I sought out the highest quality bases I could find. It turns out, these are made by a company called SFIC. The only pitfall, in my opinion, is that they use palm oil. I do not purchase or use palm oil in my homemade soaps, but since SFIC uses sustainable palm, I feel comfortable that using their bases does not go against my personal beliefs regarding palm oil.

Okay, onto the recipe! I read that adzuki beans are amazing for the skin and I couldn’t wait to try them in a soap. After using a bar of this, I fell in love with the way my skin feels afterward.

Adzuki Bean Body Polish Glycerin Soap Recipe

Slowly melt the soap base in a microwave-safe glass container in 15 second bursts (be careful not to overheat). Once melted, add your adzuki bean powder slowly, mixing into your base a little at a time. If you add too much, too fast, you’ll get clumps. Once the mixture has thickened enough that your adzuki beans are suspended (not sinking or floating), add your fragrance oil. Mix the fragrance in thoroughly and then pour into four 4-oz mold cavities. Allow to cool overnight. After unmolding, wrap your bars in cling wrap to prevent sweating. You can hit the plastic with a heat gun for a few seconds to make it look a little cleaner, just make sure you don’t melt your soap!

I hope you like this recipe as much as I do, and if you have any other ways you like to use adzuki beans, I’d love for you to share in the comments.