GIY Coconut Sugar Scrub

Two glass jars filled with body scrubs made of sugar and coconut oil. GIY Coconut Sugar Scrub

Coconut Oil wants to be your friend. It wants to be your friend inside and out. And it’s very good at both. One jar of Dr. Bronner’s Virgin Coconut Oil lives in my kitchen where it shows up in all manner of cooking.

My second jar of Dr. B’s Coconut Oil lives in my bathroom. It’s my go-to for shaving, make-up removing, hair masques, face masques, nail nourishing, cuticle softening, and moisturizing anything that needs to be moisturized. And is integral in a Coconut Sugar Scrub.

Simple coconut sugar scrub recipes

While there are endless variations of Coconut Sugar Scrubs, and I certainly didn’t come up with the concept, I’ve whipped up two very simple ones here (and included two more in the printable recipes in the right-hand column!): Peppermint Foot Scrub and Citrus Hand & Body Scrub. These scrubs exfoliate, soften, and moisturize. As an extra bonus, my kids tell me it tastes fabulous.

What’s in the coconut sugar scrubs?

Dr. Bronner's coconut oil, bowls of sugar, and essential oils on a brown countertop. GIY Coconut Sugar Scrub


Oh the choices! Granulated, Turbinado (aka “raw”), brown, superfine… Any of them work great in a scrub. Decide based on preference and purpose. The larger the crystal, the more exfoliating the scrub.

I use the larger Turbinado sugar for my Peppermint Foot Scrub because, frankly, it needs to work harder. However, this is too rough for the rest of me. Regular granulated sugar makes the best all-purpose scrub, as in my Citrus Hand and Body Scrub.

Virgin Coconut Oil

Part of the fun of using Coconut Oil is the fact that it melts at 75-77 °F (25-26 °C), which means it’s the closest thing to a thermometer in your pantry. Here in SoCal, where our daily temps swing 40 degrees, it can just about be your clock as well. Liquid or solid coconut oil works great.

To make this scrub, I started with liquid because it’s easier to mix in. Then, I refrigerated the finished scrub for about 30 minutes to solidify so that the sugar doesn’t sink to the bottom.

Essential oils (optional)

This is where you express yourself, vent your emotions, walk on the wild side. Choose the blend of essential oils that makes you happy and suits your purpose. Peppermint to invigorate, lavender to calm, citrus to inspire. Whatever works for you. Or none at all! A naked scrub in its simplest form. Just make sure they’re pure essential oils and not diluted in a carrier oil.

Citrus Hand and Body Scrub recipe

Citrus Hand and Body Scrub. GIY Coconut Sugar Scrub

2/3 c. (125 grams) granulated sugar

1/4 c. (60 mL) coconut oil (liquid)

20 drops sweet orange essential oil

10 drops lemon essential oil

Mix the ingredients together. Put it in a jar with a lid. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Peppermint Foot Scrub recipe

Peppermint Foot Scrub. GIY Coconut Sugar Scrub

2/3 c. (125 grams) Turbinado Sugar (a.k.a. “raw sugar”)

1/4 c. (60 mL) coconut oil (liquid)

20 drops peppermint essential oil

Mix the ingredients together. Put it in a jar with a lid. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Fancifying your sugar scrub

I was sorely tempted by the abundance of fantastic scrub recipes online.  Pumpkin spice? Peach Passion? Vanilla and Pear? Roasted Coffee?!! Bring it on!

And then I paused.

Sometimes “fancy” sinks the ship before it sails. A basic scrub of coconut oil and sugar works excellently for starters. And for a touch of fun, I added the simplest of essential oils.

But don’t let me stop you! Concoct away and let me know how it turns out.

Sugar scrub shelf life

My simple combination of sugar and oil will last a good long time – I’ll say more than a year, but I’ve always finished it before then, so I really don’t know the turning point.

Once you start adding in some of those fun little extra ingredients, the shelf life may drop. Not a big deal, just use it up more quickly or make smaller batches. Moisture promotes mold, so any ingredient with water content may perish sooner: fruits, fresh herbs, brewed tea, coffee grounds. You can add vitamin E oil (tocopherols) as a preservative, but still keep an eye on it. If it looks or smells not quite right, it’s time to whip up a new batch.

While this scrub is not meant to be eaten, isn’t it nice to know it wouldn’t hurt if you did?

Further reading

Download Now!

Body Scrub Recipes

Download these 4 GIY scrub recipes & find your favorite!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Isabelle – While certain essential oils can degrade certain plastics over time, PET (which is what Dr. Bronner’s Castile bottles are made from) are resilient.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Angela- There’s a good assortment of them available online, or check your local craft store.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi there- I think a mixture of baking soda with a little soap would be nice. Any sugar or salt would be too harsh on the face.

marijka says:

(1) Do you have a favorite brand of essential oils? I’m wary of most on Amazon since they seem to be too cheap to be pure, and Whole Foods is over an hour away. Finding the right ones is confusing. (2) Since coconut oil solidifies, it can clog your plumbing – especially when combined with hair, undissolved sugar, etc. I made the mistake of making my own scrub and had to call a plumber after a few months of use. Expensive! He also said folks scrubbing with coffee grounds has really helped his income. Oops!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Marijka- I generally buy Aura Cacia made by Frontier Natural Products. You’re right about coconut oil. Use it in moderation and with warm water and soap, the latter of which will help it emulsify and go down the drain easier.

Danielle says:

Hi Marijka! I’m a big fan of all things natural and all things Dr. Bronner. And I had the same problem with drains.

I now use Bio-Clean Drain Cleaner. It’s a “good bacteria” cleaner (no harsh chemicals). I try to use it once a month down all my drains, but life usually gets in the way and I do it once every 2-4 months. Works great to break down the natural fats and oils. Been using it for nearly 10 years (I am very sensitive to chemicals and HATE all chemical cleaners, like Drano).

For reference, my family uses Dr. Bronner’s unscented bar soap for everything (hands, body, hair) and Dr. Bronner’s coconut oil for face and make up remover. I clean with Sal Suds, vinegar and baking soda.

Hope this helps!

I get Bio-Clean Drain Cleaner on Amazon. One package lasts about a year for me.

Beach Day with Dr. Bronner's says:

[…] Coconut Oil, specifically my recipe for Coconut Sugar Scrub.  The sugar exfoliates and softens, and the coconut oil ensures skin is moisturized before all […]

Hannah Boles says:

How do you shave with the coconut oil? Can you do it in the shower without it running everywhere? Does it leave your skin raw feeling? I’ve tried just using the bar of soap as lather, but it leaves my skin so squeaky clean feeling, the razor doesn’t pull smoothly across the skin. I was wanted to try the shaving lotion or the sugar soap, but didn’t want to spend that money if I didn’t have to.

Myriam says:

hi! thanks for that recipe!

Do you think adding shredded sugared coconut is a good idea? I got way too much here I dont know what to do with it xD and I dont want it to go bad!


Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Myriam – Wow! Shredded sugared coconut sounds delicious! However, I don’t know that it will improve this scrub. You can freeze coconut for use later, though, so that it doesn’t go bad. I do that all the time.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Jasmina – It all depends on your skin and how damaged it is. If you’re maintaining healthy skin, once a week might be fine. If you have cracks and built up dead skin, every day might be needed for a while.

Laura says:

Hi Lisa,

In the winter at colder temperatures the mixture gets too hard I can’t even use it… what can I add to the scrub to make it easier to use? Almost oil?

Thank you

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Laura – Coconut oil is so susceptible to temperature that it does get rock hard in cold weather. You can scoop some out and hold it in your hand for a few moments to warm it. Another option is to make it with an oil that has a much lower freezing point. Hemp oil is awesome for our skin, but it would have to be kept in the fridge or else the hemp oil spoils. Perhaps olive oil?

Tj says:

If I’m making a lip scrub with coconut oil, honey, and cane sugar. What would the shelf life be? I’ve seen a few places that if you refrigerate, it will last two weeks. None of these products need to be refrigerated normally. So I’m just using to figure out an actual shelf life for this. I don’t want to refrigerate it.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Tj – I can’t give you a specific shelf life, but I agree that you wouldn’t want to refrigerate it. Both honey and sugar are actually preservatives of a sort, as long as there’s a lot of it in there. I would guess this would last a couple months out of the fridge. In the fridge, I would think even longer. The honey might crystalize, though. If you were concerned, you could make a larger batch, and the scoop some out into a small container that you refill as needed.

Tia says:

Do I use this after I shower with a DIY body wash that already has a mix of coconut oil and essential oil? Also, if I wanted to add Vitimin E oil to my scrub, how would I go about doing that?

Lisa Bronner says:

You would want to rinse this off after you use it. If your skin is still really dry after your coconut oil body wash, this would still probably help. If your skin already feels nourished, you’d probably be all right without it. For the vitamin E, the most cost effective way is to buy the vitamin E gel capsuls in the vitamin section. Just open one of those up and pour it in.

Carolyn Kimmerling says:

Oh my! I just tried your coconut sugar recipe for my face, and I am in love! I did not add essential oils, as they usually trigger my migraines. Coconut oil was something I knew I could use from an allergy perspective. Unfortunately as it is, the mixture smell good enough to eat! Thank you for sharing. I may try adding some fresh citrus peel next time I make it. Thank you again!

jane says:

Can I put in a squirt of lavender castille liquid saop in the coconut oil scrub?
Thanks in advance!

Lisa Bronner says:

Sure! But if it’s the lavender scent you’re going for, it will be more efficient to use pure lavender essential oil.

Reginald Fairfield Winthorpe III says:

hi, I use your site all the time, in a new customer and the Castille soap is awesome, I use it for everything

I’m trying to use the regular soap to make a good hand soap/scrub to use because it dries my hands out on its own. here’s what I have- a bottle of peppermint and eucalyptus soaps, organic cane sugar, coconut oil, olive oil, distilled water.

I’m told these are the right ingredients; but was wondering your advice on what proportions to use before I started. thanks in advance for your help!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Reginald – Those are all great ingredients. I’ve never put them all together. Cleansing and moisturizing at the same go can be tricky because the part of the product that cleans oil off our hands wants to snag the parts of the product that are trying to leave oil on your hands to moisturize. Your might be best served by keeping a moisturizer by your sink and using a bit after each hand wash. Also, if you make just a sugar scrub with coconut (or olive) oil and sugar and use it every evening, it will protect your hands throughout the day.

Alexander pope says:

I love this post.I usually use scrub mostly make with homemade remedies.To give my skin better treatment i moisturizer my skin with raw honey,coconut oil or coconut sugar scrub.COCONUT SUGAR SCRUB gives instant glow to our skin and treat well.Thanks for sharing.

Pancake Organics says:

Coconut sugar scrub is very useful for our face. I use it as a face moisturizer. My face is very clear as compare to previous days. All small black hats have removed from face with the help of this scrub. Thank you so much for this great info.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Elle – There are mixed opinions on this scrub for the face. Personally, I do use the white sugar scrub occasionally on my face and it works well for me. Some people have said it’s too abrasive and causes micro-rips in the skin. Perhaps if you use superfine sugar (or just put regular sugar in your food processor to make it more fine), that’ll make an even gentler scrub.

deb / liberated spaces says:

Baking soda added to a cleansing cream/wash provides a great gentle scrub, so I can only assume it may work well with coconut oil, too. What do you think?

John Marris says:

Hiii,,i am agree with your views.Coconut sugar scrub has many benefits which are useful for our skin and body also.I want to make this also at home.i will definitely accept your ideas.Thanks for sharing.

Melissa says:

Hi Lisa – I think I want coconut oil to be my friend, too. I usually shop for your products in stores, and haven’t seen the coconut oil in my area. It’s great to know that you offer it and I can get some online. Here’s a question about scrubs from a gal who loves them but never makes her own: Can I make a coconut oil/salt scrub? (I like the idea of the sugar scrubs, but my skin really loves the salt scrub I’ve been using for years.) Thanks!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Melissa – A salt scrub sounds awesome! That would work in the recipe too. I would imagine just sub out the sugar for the salt. Let me know how it works!

Granpa's wife says:

Hi Lisa, How do you apply your face masque of coconut oil ? Do you massage a generous amount onto your face and then wait a specific amount of time and wash off or only warm washcloth off ? Thank you

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi there – I should blog about this! I take a fairly small amount of coconut oil – around a pea-sized amount – and massage that into my skin. I usually end up sleeping with it on and washing it off in the morning, but if that doesn’t work into your plans, or if you’re concerned about getting oil on your pillow, you may want to wash it off after 10 minutes or so. I never seem to get it on my pillow, though, and after an all-night masque, my face feels fabulous. I wash it off with the Pure Castile soap, usually Tea Tree, but any will work great.

Wendy says:

Just started to use the coconut oil as a facial moisturizer but now I’m having an acne breakout!!! Will it get better as my skin adjusts? Anyone else reading have this problem? Thanks!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Wendy – If you’ve just switched to our castile soap and coconut oil, there is a detox that lasts a couple weeks. It certainly did for me. But then my face was clearer than ever after all that gunk came out. I only use the coconut oil at night because it is a very intensive, slightly heavier moisturizer, and I only use it about once a week.

Denyse says:

Lisa, I love your blog and have been following it for years! I have recently switched to organic pure unrefined coconut oil on my legs after everything else irritated them and it’s been amazing. I can’t believe how my skin just soaks it up and the results are amazing too, all the redness has diminished significantly.

I do have one question, a little off topic and I apologize for that …. I made my own body wash with a base of the baby hemp castille soap and I have a natural stone shower floor. The floor has developed a white haze after just a few days. How can I clean this off? I am beside myself that I have to abandon my body wash because I loved it so much but for the sake of my marriage, I have to get this haze off of the shower floor! Help?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Denyse – Isn’t coconut oil awesome?! I don’t know how I survived so long without it. About your shower floor, I’m guessing you have hard water. The Castile soap reacts with minerals in hard water and forms a white film, commonly called soap scum. It’s not actually soap residue, but the result of this reaction. Here’s a blog I wrote about it: I have hard water as well, and I still use the castile soap daily and clean with the recommendations in that post.

Patricia says:

How much simpler could it be? Thank you! I’m curious though about how to use it (does that sound dumb?). So I get in the shower, wash then scrub? Scrub then wash the oil off? I am looking forward to enjoying the moisturizing benefits of the coconut oil (and does it ever smell good!) but what about my poor towel?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Patricia – Not a dumb question at all! There are different benefits to different ways of using this. One way is to get wet and then scrub down with the Sugar Scrub. Rinse off and then lightly wash with soap. This would eliminate coconut oil residue, and thus less possibility of it on your towel. The other method is to wash yourself, rinse, and then use the sugar scrub, then rinse in the warm water. Personally, I opt for the later option because I want the coconut oil to keep on moisturizing. Also, I find that warm water does a great job of rinsing off excess coconut oil. I don’t find a great amount of it on my towels. When I use this just on my hands, I use the scrub, rinse in warm water, and barely pat my hands dry so as to leave the maximum amount of oil on my hands. Hope this helps!

JJ says:

My wife has been making her own scrubs and didn’t want her face feeling very oily when putting her makeup on so when she makes her scrubs she now puts a couple drops of Johnson baby wash and finds that works really well. Again, all in preference 🙂

deb / liberated spaces says:

Your mention of coconut oil as a makeup remover is the best tip I’ve read in weeks. Thank you for creating a dose of ease and clarity in my bathroom cabinet and routine!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Deb – You are very welcome! I have a post coming up specifically about coconut oil as a make-up remover. Best remover ever!

deb / liberated spaces says:

Lisa, I anxiously await this post and aim to share it.

Denise says:

I keep a large jar of coconut oil in our bathroom next to the sink. I use it as a face moisturizer (as soon as I step out of the shower). I rub it all over my face and mouth too. You can’t do that with the majority of the moisturizers on the market. Great for so many things. 🙂

About Lisa Bronner

My grandfather was Dr. Bronner, my family makes soap, and I share ways to use it plus tips on greener living.

Learn about my book, Soap & Soul!

Learn More

Print Now!

Body Scrub Recipes

Download these 4 GIY scrub recipes & find your favorite!