If you’re noticing your body needs some gentle exfoliation, this super simple vanilla sugar scrub will do the trick! It’s gentle and made with coconut oil so it’ll sink right into your skin. It’s totally safe enough to eat and we even make ours with REAL vanilla beans!
Keep scrolling to see 3 strategies to make your very own vanilla sugar scrub.
This is a sustainable sugar scrub!
Instead of heading to the store to buy a tub of body scrub, we make our own to use what we have and avoid plastic packaging.
You can easily source the sugar and coconut oil you need for this recipe at your local bulk food store. If not, you’ll likely be able to find them in plastic-free packaging like glass jars.
We make our own vanilla extract and once the extract is ready, we reuse the beans to make vanilla sugar and this vanilla sugar scrub! This ensures that every part of the vanilla beans we purchased gets used more than once.
Basic Sugar Scrub Recipe
The only thing you really need to know about making a sugar scrub is the proportions. You typically need a 2:1 ratio of sugar to oil or liquid.
For every 1 cup of sugar, you need 1/2 cup of oil.
How to make vanilla sugar scrub (3 ways!)
Now that you get the basics of making any sugar scrub, let’s talk about this one. Heavenly scented with real vanilla, it gently exfoliates while hydrating your skin.
There are 3 basic ways to make this depending on what you have in your kitchen!
Vanilla Sugar Scrub with Real Vanilla Bean
Blitz up 1 cup of white sugar, 1/2 cup of sugar, and 1/4 – 1/2 of a piece of vanilla bean in a food processor.
Vanilla Sugar Scrub with Vanilla Sugar
In this recipe, simply combine 1 cup of vanilla sugar and 1/2 cup of coconut oil in a container & stir.
No food processor or vanilla bean needed!
Vanilla Sugar Scrub with Vanilla Extract
If you don’t have vanilla beans or vanilla sugar around, you can certainly use your vanilla extract!
Combine 1 cup of white sugar, 1/3 cup of coconut oil, and 1 tsp of vanilla extract.
You need less oil than normal because of the liquid extract.
Customize your scent naturally
We are a (mostly) fragrance-free household, so we’re used to things either with no scent or just a subtle aroma. We love the smell of vanilla, but you can totally add to that with a few essential oils or common ingredients!
Lavender Vanilla Sugar Scrub
Add 10 drops of lavender oil to the base recipe (1 cup of sugar to 1/2 cup of oil)
Vanilla Mint Sugar Scrub
Add 10 drops of peppermint extract to the base recipe.
CInnamon vanilla sugar scrub
We typically do not use cinnamon essential oil topically as it can be very warming. Instead, you can add 1 tsp of cinnamon powder to the base recipe for a gentle, spiced scent. Add more if you want it really potent!
Vanilla Latte Sugar Scrub
This is a *great* way to use up some used coffee grounds and add some exfoliation! Use 1/4 cup of coffee grounds. You can reduce the sugar to 3/4 of a cup.
Do I have to use coconut oil?
We recommend using coconut oil as the base oil because it is so plentifully available and hydrating. It will also firm up while the scrub sets and make a nice thick paste.
You can absolutely use other oils or even mix two different types!
Here are some alternative oil options:
- Sweet almond oil
- Olive oil
We definitely want to try splitting the coconut oil with our Biossance squalane!
Tips for using coconut oil
We order our coconut oil from Azure Standard in a HUGE jar. To make it easy for cooking, we transfer it to a glass quart mason jar.
For this scrub, we actually melted the oil in the microwave before mixing the ingredients together.
This can make it easier to mix, but you will need to let it sit, harden, and then re-stir.
For a one-step process, just use a little elbow grease and mix them together! You could even stick the recipe in your stand mixer with the paddle to beat the oil into the sugar. That makes me hungry though…Good thing you can eat this!
How to make a bigger or smaller batch
Because we’re following a specific proportion, you can scale up or down endlessly!
Teensy weensy single serving:
1 tsp of sugar and 1/2 tsp of oil
Enough for a small jar (half pint):
1/2 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of oil
Mega batch for the holidays
4 cups of sugar and 2 cups of oil
Troubleshooting & Common Questions
This is too wet. How can I make the scrub dryer?
Some people prefer their sugar scrubs to be a bit more coarse. In that case, you can either reduce the amount of oil a bit or simply add more sugar! Add a tablespoon at a time until the mixture is exactly how you like it.
Can I use brown sugar instead?
We haven’t tried that, but you definitely can! You might not need quite as much oil since brown sugar is already so moist.
This is too gentle. How do I make it more exfoliating?
We feel like this mixture is pretty exfoliating, but we’re happy to help if you need more scrub power.
Consider dropping the amount of sugar to 3/4 cup and adding 1/4 cup of coarse salt or coffee grounds! Both have bigger, harder pieces and will do the trick!
How should I store my vanilla sugar scrub?
As you can tell, we’re mason jar people. We have this scrub in a small 4 oz jar by the kitchen sink and a pint jar in the shower. (Yes, we have a glass jar in the shower!)
We definitely advise you to be extremely cautious about bringing glass into the shower. We store ours in a contained section of our shower caddy with walls on all sides.
To be safe, you might want to find a plastic tub instead!
Clearly, this recipe is endlessly customizable! We hope you have fun playing around and enjoy the scrub!
Ready for some more DIYs? Here you go!