Today’s Green Tea Coconut Emulsified Sugar Scrub recipe is a request from Regina, who found a lovely (and pricey!) bright green body scrub that was spiked with matcha green tea and peppermint essential oil. I loved the idea of something green and fresh for spring—a scrub to buff away dry winter skin, leaving my super pale legs ready to welcome warmer days. A quick perusal of the ingredient list sparked a few ideas, and off I went!
If you read the marketing for the original, it’s easy to think it’s mostly made of matcha tea, but the ingredient list tells another story. The matcha is waaaay down the ingredient list, hanging out with the vitamin E, which is typically used at ~0.5%. Ah, typical natural body stuff marketing. The majority of the scrub was sugar and coconut oil, with some peach kernel oil and kaolin clay blended in as well—and that makes sense. Sugar is a great (and inexpensive) exfoliant, the oils help lubricate the sugar so you aren’t sand blasting yourself, and the clay adds some creaminess and a more subtle scrub. The green tea is the star marketing ingredient, and it does bring some antioxidants and pretty green-ness to the mix, but it’s not doing much heavy lifting here!
One of the first things I wanted to change about the scrub was to turn it into an emulsified scrub. The original was all oils and scrubbiness, meaning rinse-off wouldn’t be that great, and if you used the scrub in the tub, you’d end up with some wicked oil slicks. It’s so easy to make a scrub an emulsified one, too (basically just add emulsifying wax), so I really couldn’t resist. The result is a scrub that turns into an exfoliating lotion when used on damp skin, as the scrub emulsifies with the water you’re bathing in. When it comes time to rinse off, the scrub comes off beautifully, leaving your skin soft and hydrated, but not oily. Bazinga!
I didn’t have matcha (I’m more of an English Breakfast kind of lady), so I used green tea extract instead; feel free to use whichever you have on hand! Because green tea extract is a sort of sad ruddy brown colour, I also included a bit of green mica to give the final product a stronger green hue—I also could’ve used French green clay instead of white kaolin, or added something like spirulina. Since this scrub doesn’t contain any water, and we want it to be scrubby, this is a great place to use up any water soluble plant colourants like spirulina or wheat grass that you might have kicking around. They won’t rapidly oxidize and go murky brown without water in the mix (just don’t store the scrub in direct sunlight), and the fact that they’ll be gritty in an oil base is a-ok. You can also just leave the scrub as is—the colour is purely cosmetic!
Once you’ve melted the base oils and emulsifying wax, everything comes together a bit like cookie dough—just use your electric beaters to blend everything together. I didn’t design this scrub to have enough structure to maintain much of a whipped consistency, so I wasn’t really aiming for a whipped sugar scrub—I just find that whipping in the heavier ingredients like the sugar is the easiest way to evenly incorporate them. If you melt everything together you’re left stirring the mixture while it cools to keep the powders in suspension, and that’s a pain in the backside. Beating everything together is much faster and easier!
If you like a bit of tingly freshness, you’ll love the essential oil blend. It’s a simple combination of peppermint, lemongrass, and eucalyptus that is downright lovely. Feel free to double the amounts I used for more of a minty tingle!
The final scrub is a lightweight, creamy scrub that’s all kind of awesome. I melted the base ingredients together one evening, left them to cool overnight, and then whipped in the rest of the ingredients the following morning. It was so fast and easy, and doesn’t cost anywhere close to the $40+ scrub that inspired it! Let’s go make some Green Tea Coconut Emulsified Sugar Scrub 🙂
Green Tea Coconut Emulsified Sugar Scrub
10 drops peppermint essential oil
7 drops lemongrass essential oil
5 drops eucalyptus essential oil
~6/8 tsp green mica (optional—see preamble for alternatives)
Prepare a water bath by bringing about 3cm/1″ of water to a bare simmer over low to medium-low heat in a small saucepan.
Weigh the emulsifying wax, coconut oil, stearic acid, safflower oil, and vitamin E into a small, deep mixing bowl that is heat resistant—glass, metal, or ceramic are good choices. Place the mixing bowl in your prepared water bath to melt everything through.
Once everything has melted, remove the mixing bowl from the heat and dry the outside of it off with a dish towel. Leave it to solidify; I left mine overnight.
When the base has solidified, weigh in the sugar, clay, green tea, and essential oils. Use electric beaters or a stand mixture to beat the mixture until it is light and fluffy, like when you’re creaming butter and sugar together at the start of a cookie recipe.
If you want to adjust the colour, now’s the time to beat in your mica or whatever other green colourant you might be using. Start slow and work up to a colour you like!
Lightly spoon the whipped scrub into a 250mL/8oz tin. To use, portion out a small amount of scrub into a shower-safe container, and take that container into the shower or bath with you. Massage small amounts of the scrub into damp skin and rinse off. Enjoy your lovely soft, exfoliated skin!
I used an 250mL/8oz paperboard container from YellowBee to store my scrub in. So far I’ve been really impressed with their paperboard containers! The tube I put the Puppy-sporin I made back in February in still looks great—there’s been no seeping/soaking that I’ve had happen with paperboard containers from other suppliers. These containers obviously aren’t the sort of thing you should take into the shower, so that’s just one more reason to remember to scoop out a small amount of the scrub into a shower-safe container before use.
Because this scrub does not contain any water, it does not require a broad-spectrum preservative (broad spectrum preservatives ward off microbial growth, and microbes require water to live—no water, no microbes!). Be sure to keep it dry to ensure it lasts as long as possible—don’t let any water get into the container and it should easily last a year. I highly recommend portioning out the amount you want to use into a small shower-safe container for use so you are never taking the master batch into the bath/shower, where it is very likely to become contaminated with water as you’ll be dipping into it with wet hands. If you plan on giving this scrub away, please include 1% phenonip (USA | Canada)—phenonip is an oil-soluble broad spectrum preservative, so it will work to protect this 100% oil-based concoction.