It all started with the decision to finally achieve my goal of giving exclusively homemade Christmas gifts. I did some research (i.e.: pinteresting and blog surfing) and located a couple formulas for DIY lotion and shower scrubs. Five months later, you can find me making all of my own body wash, lotion, dish and laundry detergent, cleaning sprays, toothpaste, granola bars, and dog-sized superhero capes. Totally kidding about that last one… for now. You might wonder how I have so much free time, and think I’m crazy, but let’s not throw that word around until I show you the castle that my boyfriend built for my cat.
I’m not here to convince you to join my DIY domestics club. I only include this background because my little Christmas project was the ‘gateway drug’ that led me here. Homemade trumps store-bought products in healthfulness, sustainability, self-sufficiency, and cost – I can’t stop! I know that it sounds like a lot of work (it’s not), and a lot of supplies (not really), and a lot of hippie bullshit (just a little), but don’t leave me yet! You don’t have to make all of this stuff, but why not try to make something? It’s super fun – even more so with friends – and it’s a great way to eliminate a bunch of gross chemicals from your life and dramatically reduce your average weekly Target expenditure (trust me on this).
So plan a little spa night for yourself, or use the opportunity to make adorable and thoughtful gifts for your girl friends. Or both! Salt scrubs are a great place to start because:
They’re ridiculously simple and quick to make – you really can’t screw it up.
You probably already have some of the ingredients.
You can be experimental and adjust the formula to suit your preferences.
You have options galore, so the ‘recipe’ is very general. I have based this on four 8oz. portions so that you can experiment with fragrance combinations and share the results!
1-1 ½ cups sea salt
1 ½-2 cups almond oil (you can use any oil, I prefer almond)
1 bar of unscented castile soap. Any unscented soap is okay, but I prefer castile because it’s all natural and useful in a billion ways. You won’t find this ingredient in most recipes for salt scrubs – I add it because I find that just oil and salt leaves me feeling too…oily. The soap balances it out and gives it a cleaner finish.
Essential oils of your choice – see below for recommendations! Today I chose ginger and lemon.
Citrus zest if desired – lemon and orange are great, and have an energizing effect.
Dried herbs if desired. I adore thyme and rosemary, but perhaps you’d feel like a delicious roasted potato if you rubbed yourself down with herbs. Which still sounds spectacular to me, for the record.
Let’s do this!
1. Get your jar(s) ready.
Size is up to you, but I recommend smaller, wide mouth jars for easier access. With the quantities of ingredients above, four 8oz. wide mouth mason jars are perfect and they look lovely for gifting.
2. Add salt.
Fill about a third or a half of the container depending on your preference. I like a higher ratio of salt so I usually go closer to a half.
3. Grate the castile soap and add it to the jars.
I use the smaller grating option on my cheese grater. Anywhere from a healthy tablespoon to a quarter cup of grated soap per jar should be good.
If you’re using any citrus zest or dried herbs, throw those in now too.
4. Add oil.
Fill to about ¼ inch from the top of the jar with almond oil.
Are you still with me?
5. Add essential oil.
Choose one oil or combine a few! Go wild! For a relaxing effect, lavender and chamomile are excellent choices. For energy and alertness, choose citrus or mint. To emulate root vegetables, try thyme or basil! Seriously though, herb essential oils are wonderful and they pair beautifully with other essential oils.
Here are some suggested pairings:
peppermint + lavender
lemon + thyme
grapefruit + spearmint (add lime zest for a citrus mojito angle!)
ginger + orange
I recommend about 10 drops of essential oil per 8oz. container, but they vary in potency and this is also up to your personal taste. Maybe you want to load it up with half an ounce of patchouli oil and go shopping for corduroys, I don’t know. You’re the master of your own destiny – do what makes you feel good! Try to err on the side of too little though, you can always add more if needed.
6. There is no step 6! You’re done! Screw on the lids tightly and shake them up to combine – you’ll have to shake them before using too of course.
When I made these as gifts, I crafted a cute little tag that listed the ingredients and tied it onto the jars with twine along with a little wooden spoon. If you choose to do this, it’s a good idea to ask your pets for help with the twine.
I don’t think that I have made the exact same salt scrub twice yet. I’m always tweaking them a little bit each time I make them and trying new things. I hope you have fun with this! And for my next instructional installment: The Art and Science of Tailoring Superhero Capes for Dogs.