3 DIY Exfoliating Facial Scrubs with Essential Oils

Updated: Feb 27, 2019

An exfoliating facial scrub is one of the most important steps when it comes to skincare. As we age, the skin doesn't naturally exfoliate as often, so it needs a little help. There are several benefits of exfoliating your skin. The immediate benefit to using an exfoliating scrub is that it removes dead skin and encourages skin cell renewal, for younger looking skin.

If you incorporate an exfoliating facial scrub into your skincare regimen once a week, the long term benefits include a reduction of dark spots, scars, fine lines, and wrinkles. The addition of essential oils to these facial scrubs provides added benefits like blemish fighting and pore minimizing. With these easy-to-make DIY exfoliating face scrubs, you'll enjoy glowing, younger-looking skin with the added bonus of a fun and relaxing at-home spa day.

I've created three different DIY exfoliating facial scrubs to meet different skincare needs and to match different skin types. Each scrub is formulated with an essential oil to enhance those skincare benefits. Though you could omit them and just use the first two ingredients for a basic exfoliating treatment if you have a sensitivity to any of these essential oils.

With each of these, combine the ingredients in a small bowl. You may add a little water if you need to adjust the consistency. Apply evenly to clean skin that has been rinsed with warm water. Gently scrub into skin in small, circular motions and leave on for 10 minutes for a facial mask, then rinse and follow with a serum and gentle moisturizer. Test in a small area first and discontinue use if irritation occurs.

1. Baking Soda + Honey + Tea Tree Oil for Oily/Acne Prone Skin

  • 2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 2 drops tea tree essential oil

Baking soda, though it's a very fine powder, is extremely effective at exfoliating the skin. Due to its alkaline properties, it can cause dryness, so I wouldn't recommend it if you have dry skin. If you suffer from oily and acne-prone skin, however, it can help to absorb and clear away excess oil. Related: 10 Benefits of Baking Soda for Hair, Skin, and Body

For the right consistency and some added skincare benefits, mix the baking soda with honey, which has a calming and moisturizing effect, as well as anti-bacterial properties to help fight blemishes. If you need to treat acne on a regular basis, a few drops of tea tree oil added to this scrub will really bump up the anti-bacterial benefits. Be careful to only add a drop or two at the most, because it can cause dryness.

2. Cornmeal + Milk + Lavender Essential Oil for Dry/Sensitive Skin

  • 2 teaspoons finely ground cornmeal

  • 1 tablespoon whole milk 

  • 2 drops lavender essential oil

We all know that oatmeal is really great for dry skin, but cornmeal is just as great for both sensitive and dry skin and has a lot of additional benefits. Just like oatmeal, cornmeal is an effective yet gentle exfoliant that won't dry your skin. It's has a good amount of antioxidants, including zeaxanthin and lutein, which both aid in healthy skin. Milk is the perfect liquid for a sensitive-skin exfoliating mask, as the lactic acid is a natural and gentle astringent. So, needless to say, don't use non-dairy, lactaid-free milk. You could stop here with this recipe, but if you want to really add to the relaxing effect, lavender is calming not just as a scent, but for the skin as well. And like tea tree oil, it is naturally antibacterial but won't dry or irritate if you have sensitive skin. For an affordable option, try this Plant Therapy USDA Certified Organic Lavender Essential Oil.

3. Brown Sugar + Coconut Oil + Lemon Essential Oil for combination skin

  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

  • 2 drops lemon essential oil

For combination/oily skin, you need effective exfoliation and the right amount of moisture. You have to avoid the temptation to eliminate all of your oil, because over drying your skin will just cause it to produce more oil. Brown sugar has round particles and is softer than other sugars, so while it's very effective at scrubbing away dead skin, it isn't too harsh on normal to oily skin.

Mixing it with coconut oil provides just the right amount of moisture for both oily skin and any dry patches you may have. The addition of lemon essential oil further helps to control excess oil without drying the skin and also helps to tighten pores.

Have you tried using essential oils in your skincare? Let me know in the comments below, and let me know if you have any questions about any of these ingredients.

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About the Author: Krisztina Clifton is the owner and editor at Krisztina Clifton Beauty. She has been testing beauty products and blogging about beauty and wellness tips for over ten years. See more about Krisztina.