Home News 14 Homemade Face Scrubs From Pantry Ingredients

14 Homemade Face Scrubs From Pantry Ingredients

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Simple homemade face scrubs are the perfect recipes to attempt if you’re new to do-it-yourself skin care. The ingredients are inexpensive and easy to find. In fact, you probably have most of them in your kitchen already, and it’s so fun to use what you already have. Plus, diy face scrubs are really hard to mess up!

Exfoliation just might be the most underrated step in skin and body care of all time! That’s a grand statement to make, but it’s very true. Exfoliation is key to the effectiveness of every other step in our skincare regimen.

Without exfoliating, we won’t know our skin’s potential. But it’s easy to get wrong—too much, too little, wrong technique, etc. This guide will help you learn how to exfoliate your face the right way!

Face Scrub

What is exfoliation?

Exfoliation is the physical and/or chemical removal of the outermost layer of dead skin. It’s generally accomplished in one of two ways:

Physical exfoliation

Physical exfoliation can be done by your dermatologist, medical aesthetician, or at home with homemade scrubs, wherein certain tools are used to manually scrub off the dead skin and open up pores (e.g., facial scrubs, gommage, ultrasonic devices).

Chemical exfoliation

Chemical exfoliation uses products containing alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA), such as glycolic acid or lactic acid, and beta hydroxy acids (BHA), such as salicylic acid. Such compounds help dissolve and loosen the bonds that connect the dead skin cells together [source].

Sometimes you will find AHAs in peels, serums, and even in some moisturizers. When the dead skin cells are adherent, they clog pores and lead to cosmetically displeasing acne breakouts. Both physical and chemical exfoliation techniques are helpful to incorporate into our weekly routines since they each serve a different purpose and act synergistically to achieve the best results.

Why do we need to exfoliate?

Dead skin, makeup, sweat, oil, and free radicals (another term for toxins in the body) all take a serious toll on our skin. And age makes an impact on this process, as well.

When we are kids, our skin does a fabulous job of sloughing off those layers. But as we get older, it gets tougher for our skin to do the job on its own, and our self-exfoliation rate slows down.

We also don’t make fresh skin as quickly, and the dead layers stay around on the surface a little too long. These dead skin cells hold onto irregular pigment particles, making our skin appear dull, uneven, and blemished.

Our pores also end up getting clogged with these sticky cells, causing blemishes. We could end up with acne and uneven pigmentation, in addition to a lackluster, dull appearance. So this is why we exfoliate—to help our skin do its job!

The benefits of exfoliation

Exfoliation can help:

brighten skin

—even out skin tone for a better complexion

—prevent and manage breakouts

—alleviate pore clogging

hydrate and moisturize new skin

Exfoliation can help every item in your skincare routine work as intended, from serums to body lotions. When dead skin cells are not exfoliated properly, they actually insulate your healthy skin below and keep it from absorbing the active ingredients in your skincare regimen.

By properly exfoliating in moderation, without irritating your skin, you will minimize breakouts, have a more even tone, optimize absorption of the active ingredients in your skincare routine, and stimulate the stem cells at the base of your skin to renew themselves naturally.

Tips for using a natural face exfoliator

Use before bed: Nighttime is the best time for a good scrub. This allows your skincare products to better absorb while you sleep.

Start clean: Use a natural face cleanser first to remove surface oil and makeup. The skin doesn’t have to be dry if you’ve just washed your face or taken a shower.

Be gentle: The goal with any facial exfoliant is to gently lift off dead skin cells without abrading healthy skin. Facial scrubs typically use finer ingredients so as not to scratch, irritate, or damage the skin. If your face burns or is red, you are being too aggressive.

Apply in circles: Scrubs should be applied gently and in circular motions using your lightest touch, avoiding the eye area.

Be consistent: Most people find that 1–3 times a week is sufficient for exfoliation, but this will change with age, hormones, climates, and seasons. Be patient and consistent in your skincare regimen to get the best long-term results.

14 Homemade Face Scrub Recipes

Play around and find your personal best scrub recipe using some of the easy to make ideas below. In general, to make your own recipe you need a tablespoon or two of a scrubbing agent combined with a liquid or oil then add in any extras to give your scrub a boost. Give any one of these simple facial scrubs a try—most with two ingredients or less!—your skin will feel soft and smooth.

Dry Skin Facial Scrubs

Dry Skin Facial Scrub Recipes

Key ingredients

Exfoliants: Brown sugar, ground coffee and ground almonds will leave dry skin nourished and hydrated will the fine grains gently buff the skin.

Liquid: Coconut oil contains fats that moisturize, while its lauric acid protects and softens skin. Or try a yogurt scrub base. The lactic acid cleanses the skin while the fats and proteins pump up fine lines.

Enhancers: Avocados are full of good fats that moisturize dry skin. Or try raw honey, which draws in moisture. Strawberries and lemon juice add a dose of natural vitamin C.

1. Dry Skin Honey & Brown Sugar Face Scrub

Honey and sugar are natural humectants (moisture preservers) that make a gentle scrub to buff away flakes, clear out pores, and lock in moisture. Sugar scrubs are common for body exfoliation and finer textured sugars can be used for making diy face scrubs, just remember to be gentle.

—1 tablespoon brown sugar (the finer, the better)
—1 tablespoon honey, preferably raw

Mix the brown sugar and honey together. Then with clean fingertips, very gently apply the scrub to your face in small circular motions to aid in the exfoliation process without damaging the skin. Rinse with warm water and use a washcloth to remove any residual honey, if needed.

2. Perk Up Parched Skin with a Coffee Face Scrub

Leftover coffee grounds are mild enough to use for all over the body scrub—even on sensitive areas like the face. Plus, the used grounds are still chock full of caffeine and antioxidants [source] that reduce puffiness and leave the skin looking perky and toned.

—1 tablespoon used coffee grounds
—1 tablespoon oil (coconut oil, olive oil, or rosehip)

Talk about reduce, reuse, and recycle! Don’t throw away the used coffee grounds after making your morning brew. Just add 1 tablespoon of oil to them, and you’ve got a gentle, collagen-boosting scrub ready to go. Coffee scrubs (with added essential oil) are also great for cellulite-prone areas of the body [source].

3. Hydrate Skin with Almond Jojoba Scrub

Another easy to find kitchen ingredient is raw almonds, which makes a soothing and hydrating cleansing scrub. While you will need to grind them very finely in a coffee grinder or food processor, the end result will be skin smoother than when you started. Jojoba oil is non-comedogenic and great to use on oily skin prone to breakouts. 

—12 raw almonds
—1–2 tablespoons jojoba oil

After grinding the raw almonds to a fine powder, add in the jojoba oil and gently apply in circular motions. Remove with a warm washcloth. 

Brighten Complexion with Berry + Olive Oil Scrub

4. Brighten Complexion with Berry + Olive Oil Scrub

Strawberries and lemons are both sources of vitamin C, which helps fade skin discoloration and boost radiance. The brown sugar sloughs away dry skin flakes and olive oil replenishes moisture. Feel free to polish your lips as well!

—4 ripe strawberries, mashed
—3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
—1/4 cup brown sugar
—Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Combine ingredients and apply to damp skin twice a week. Rinse and follow with moisturizer.

5. Smooth Dry Patches With Sage Polish

This scrub whisks away unwanted dry patches while sage’s vitamin A helps generate new skin cells for softer, healthier skin. Oats soothes irritation and olive oil’s fatty acids hydrate.

—1 teaspoon chopped sage
—2 tablespoons oatmeal
—2 tablespoons olive oil

Combine ingredients and massage into damp skin for 1 minute, then rinse.

DIY Face Scrubs for Oily Skin

Oily Skin DIY Face Scrubs

Key ingredients

Exfoliant: Baking soda and rice flour not only have a super-fine texture, they also help curb excess oil.

Liquid: Egg whites are your friend, addressing oil while also firming and tightening—bonus!

Enhancers: Turn to turmeric when you want to beat breakouts and fade acne scars. Or try a tomato or citrus infusion for added vitamin C.

6. Baking Soda Facial Scrub Add-In

With its superfine texture, baking soda acts like an at-home microdermabrasion for all skin types. This inexpensive ingredient also absorbs excess oil, so it’s especially helpful for oily skin.

—1 teaspoon baking soda
—Your regular liquid skin cleanser

Possibly the easiest scrub to make, just add 1 teaspoon of baking soda into a small amount of your regular cleanser, and you’ve just made your product work double duty as an exfoliating cleanser.

7. Brightening Rice Flour Facial Scrub

Ground rice powder makes an excellent cleanser for brightening complexions and lightening skin discolorations. Brown rice flour scrubs help polish away dead skin cells and helps lessen the appearance of acne marks for acne-prone skin. Plus it has oil-absorbing and anti-inflammatory benefits that help benefit both oily skin and sensitive skin. Combine with a tablespoon of ground almonds if you’re battling aging.

—2 tablespoons brown rice
—1 egg white

Using a coffee grinder, grind brown rice grains until fine. Add an egg white and whip to create a paste. Then gently massage the scrub into the skin in small circular motions to dislodge dead cells. Rinse with warm water to remove.

8. Glowing Skin Turmeric Scrub

Despite its reputation for staining whatever it comes into contact with, turmeric actually works to even out your natural skin tone. The spice’s texture provides excellent exfoliation and helps regulate skin’s oil production, making it great for acne-prone skin. Chickpea flour helps speed up cell turnover to reveal new, glowing skin below while the fatty acids in almond oil leave the complexion looking instantly dewy and youthful.

—2 tablespoons chickpea flour
—1/2 teaspoon turmeric
—2 tablespoons sweet almond oil

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl, and stir to combine. Using clean hands, massage over clean, damp skin with fingertips starting with your chin and working upward in small circles. Rinse and follow with moisturizer.

If you experience any skin discoloration from the turmeric, don’t fret, it’s not permanent! Rinse again with water or use a gentle cleanser (like this rice milk one) to remove any yellow tint.

Tomato Acne Scrub

9. Banish Blemishes with a Tomato Scrub

Tomatoes are full of blemish busting vitamin A, which speeds up cell turnover to reveal a clear complexion. Plus they’re a natural oil-controlling astringent.

—1 half of a tomato
—1/2 teaspoon sugar

Sprinkle sugar over the juicy flesh of the tomato. Move the sugar-covered fruit over your face, paying special attention to your nose, forehead and chin. Let the juice sit for 5 minutes then rinse and pat dry.

10. Nix Acne with Nutmeg Scrub

The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of nutmeg help reduce redness and unclog pores. The baking soda and lactic acid in whole milk provide help whisk away dry skin and excess oil.

—1-2 tablespoons whole milk
—1/2 tablespoon ground nutmeg
—1/2 tablespoon baking soda

Combine whole milk, nutmeg and in a bowl and use your middle and ring fingers, gently massaging into the skin, avoiding the eye area. Feel free to concentrate on the décolleté area as well. After a few passes, rinse with warm water and follow with moisturizer.

11. Unclog Pores with Orange Peel Scrub

If your skin is prone to congestion and clogged pores, add a pinch of dried orange peel to your face wash. The citrus oils—all found in the fruit’s peel—break down dead skin cells while the grainy texture provides gentle physical exfoliation.

—Peels from 2-3 oranges, dried
—Regular liquid facial cleanser

Let peels air-dry in a sunny window for a few days then grind them in a coffee or spice grinder until you have a fine consistency. Add a small amount to your regular facial cleanser 2-3 times a week.

Homemade Face Scrubs for Sensitive or Inflamed Skin

DIY Scrubs for Sensitive or Inflamed Skin

Key ingredients

Exfoliant: Oats are perfect for this skin type. Use them whole or grind them into a fine powder. Flaxseeds are another gentle and anti-inflammatory scrub base.

Liquid: Aloe vera is great for keeping skin clear and healthy, on top of reducing inflammation.

Enhancers: Add a bit of honey to calm red or irritated skin, plus it draws in moisture.

12. The Best Exfoliator for Sensitive Skin Is Oatmeal

Soothing and anti-inflammatory oats are ideal for sensitive skin. Ground oats gently unclog pores while their natural saponins cleanse and absorb dirt and oil.

—1/2 cup old-fashioned oats (uncooked)
—Water

In a blender, pulse the dry oats until finely ground. Place a pinch of the ground oats into the palm of your hand, then add water until a paste forms. Gently massage into your face and neck. Store the ground oats in an airtight container for later use.

Bonus: Instead of water, you can use milk or yogurt, both of which have lactic acid as a chemical exfoliant. Or add apple cider vinegar that contains malic acid for brightening properties.

13. Soothing Aloe Vera Gel & Sugar Facial Scrub 

Superfine sugar is a great kitchen ingredient to add to your scrub, the finer in grit, the better for your skin. Aloe vera is known to be soothing and healing [source] for all skin types, even acne-prone skin. It is a highly moisturizing, hydrating gel, yet it doesn’t clog pores, so even the oiliest of skins can benefit. Learn how to make your own aloe vera gel to save even more money.

—1 tablespoon aloe vera gel
—a sprinkle of superfine sugar

Combine the two ingredients, and after gently massaging them into your skin, leave the mixture on for a few extra minutes and then rinse well to remove. 

14. Reduce Inflammation with Flax Seed Homemade Face Scrub

Flax seeds are both anti-inflammatory internally and externally [source]. You can add a number of options to a handful of flax seeds and create a scrub so simple and effective. You’ll get a gel-like consistency that’s gentle yet effective at removing dead skin cells.

—1 teaspoon ground flax seeds or flaxseed meal
—1 tablespoon carrier ingredient (aloe vera gel, yogurt, honey)

Mix well with a mortar and pestle and then remove with warm water. 

Want more facial scrubs customized for dry, oily, mature, and sensitive skin. Don’t let parched, dry skin get in the way of your glow!

This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Haley, a board-certified dermatologist with extensive experience in medical, cosmetic, and surgical dermatology. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice, and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

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