’Tis the season for sugar scrubs—in my opinion, at least. With colder temperatures, any excuse to spend time in a hot bath is very welcome! This cheery orange scrub smells all kinds of tangy-citrussy-fruity, and delivers a fabulous dose of exfoliation in a base that transforms into a silky lotion when massaged into wet skin. It makes a brilliant gift and is our third Cranberry Orange project for the holiday 2019 making season.
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The base of a sugar scrub should be soft and creamy, with self-emulsifying properties and enough structure to support a hefty dose of added sugar. Ours is mostly a blend of cetearyl alcohol, fruity-smelling cranberry seed oil, and inexpensive fractionated coconut oil. The self-emulsifying properties come from a blend of Polawax and Polysorbate 80, creating a luxurious scrub base that quickly and easily mixes with water, turning into a rich, creamy lotion-y scrub.
Our scrubby goodness comes almost entirely from granulated white sugar, with just a touch of bright red cranberry seeds for some added colour and a lovely bit of theme tie-in. If you don’t have cranberry seeds I’d recommend looking for something else small and red, like red jojoba beads or vitaburst beads, for a flash of seasonal red. You could probably even use red sprinkles from the grocery store in a pinch—they’re basically sugar, and we’ve already got a lot of that in here!
To make the base we’ll simply melt everything together in a water bath. You’ll want to cool the base in an ice bath while stirring; I tried popping it in the fridge to cool and found I got a raft of very hard bits on top that never really re-incorporated unless you were pulling it out of the fridge to stir every couple minutes, and if you’re going to do that you might as well just cool it in an ice bath and get ‘er done.
When the mixture is cloudy we’ll whip in the cool-down phase to decadent, fluffy loveliness. One last whip at total room temperature and you are ready to package up the scrub and pamper all your friends and family. Enjoy!
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Cranberry Orange Whipped Sugar Scrub
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 heated phase ingredients into a medium sized, deep, heat-resistant mixing bowl. Place the bowl in your prepared water bath to melt everything through.
Once the mixture has melted, remove it from the heat and leave it to cool, stirring occasionally. You can speed this along by using an ice bath if you wish. The aim is to not allow the mixture to cool completely undisturbed, otherwise a harder layer will form on the surface and you won’t get a thorough, even blend.
When the melted mixture is mostly cool and is quite viscous, but not fully solid, add the sugar, vitamin E, and essential oils, and whip using electric beaters until light and fluffy.
Leave the scrub to fully cool to room temperature and then whip it again—I like to do the last whipping at room temperature to make sure it’ll stay nice and fluffy at room temperature. This is when you’ll add the cranberry seeds, too. Whip ’em in, whip up the scrub, and that’s it!
Gently spoon into a jar—I used a 100g plastic jar from YellowBee for my 100g batch, and that worked well. 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 your skin and rinse off. Enjoy your lovely soft, exfoliated skin!
Shelf Life & Storage
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 0.5% Liquid Germall Plus™ (USA / Canada).
As always, be aware that making substitutions will change the final product. While these swaps won’t break the recipe, you will get a different final product than I did.
- As I’ve provided this recipe in percentages as well as grams you can easily calculate it to any size using a simple spreadsheet as I’ve explained in this post. As written in grams this recipe will make 100g.
- To learn more about the ingredients used in this recipe, including why they’re included and what you can substitute them with, please visit the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia. It doesn’t have everything in it yet, but there’s lots of good information there! If I have not given a specific substitution suggestion in this list please look up the ingredient in the encyclopedia before asking.
- You can use a different complete emulsifying wax instead of Polawax.
- Olivem 300 or Cromollient SCE will work instead of Polysorbate 80, but Polysorbate 80 is cheaper.
- You can use a different inexpensive lightweight carrier oil instead of fractionated coconut oil.
- You could use more fractionated coconut oil instead of the cranberry seed oil, but this will remove the fruity/tangy scent we get from the cranberry seed oil.
- You could try a blend of stearic acid and cetyl alcohol instead of the cetearyl alcohol. I’d probably start with 50/50 and see how that works.
- You can use orange wax instead of orange essential oil.
- You can use a different fragrance/essential oil blend if you prefer.
- You could use salt instead of sugar.
- Read the pre-amble for alternatives to the cranberry seeds.