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Turn an Old Lotion or Body Wash into a Body Scrub

So you bought a lotion or body wash, but after a while you stopped loving it. Now you have this half-used cosmetic product that’s destined for the landfill. It’s easy to turn an old lotion or body wash into a body scrub.

Pink body scrub in jar on white surface

Lotions make a rich, moisturizing body scrub while body washes make a cleansing one. These can actually be much better than a lot of store-bought body scrubs because you get to control scent and texture.

How to make your own body scrub

The basic rule is to mix a tablespoon of your exfoliant per cup of lotion or body wash. The exfoliants you might want to try include:

  • Used coffee grounds. Seriously, used coffee grounds make a fantastic exfoliating skin scrub. The grounds have a nice texture. The caffeine – if you use caffeine – helps tighten skin.
  • Ground walnut or almond shells. If you have a coffee grinder or food processor (I love my Ninja Express) that can grind these up into tiny little specks, you can do this yourself. Just stop grinding before it turns into a paste). Otherwise, you can buy ground walnut shells. This makes for a fairly intense scrub which may be too rough for some sensitive skin. It is awesome on rough and dry skin. And you’re making good use of something that would otherwise go to waste.
  • Ground oatmeal. Probably the best choice for sensitive skin. Oatmeal makes for a rather fine scrub – still very effective, but gentle, and with all the soothing anti-itch, anti-redness properties of oatmeal.
  • Ground apricot kernels. You can buy apricot kernels as a food item, and they look just like almonds. Grind them up in your food processor, and they make for a very intense scrub.
  • Corn meal. Another fairly gentle option for people with sensitive skin.
  • Coarse salt. A really popular as a body scrub ingredient right now. It can be drying, so it’s only recommended for oily skin. It’s a happy medium between intense scrubs and very gentle ones.
  • Coarse raw sugar. If your skin is too dry for salt, try sugar. Another really popular ingredient which works for combination and dry skin. The sugar polishes without dehydrating.

That’s really all you need to do – add your ingredients together, and have fun. But if you want, you can also add:

  • Vitamins. Break open and pour in a couple of capsules of Vitamin E. Or crush Vitamin A tablets and/or chewable Vitamin C, and mix that up in your scrub.
  • Essential oils. Check out my post about using oils in skin care. It’s important to do research rather than just add what smells nice. For example, lavender essential oil is drying. That makes it great as an acne spot treatment, but not ideal for dry skin. Start with just a drop or two – you’ll be shocked how much scent some oils provide. Vanilla extract is a great choice, too.