’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
5g | 5% Polawax (USA / Canada)
4g | 4% Polysorbate 80 (USA / Canada)
17.25g | 17.25% fractionated coconut oil
10g | 10% cranberry seed oil
12g | 12% cetearyl alcohol (USA / Canada)
Cool down phase
0.25g | 0.25% Vitamin E MT-50 (USA / Canada)
0.5g | 0.5% orange essential oil
50g | 50% white sugar (USA / Canada)
1g | 1% cranberry seeds (USA / Canada)
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.
The cranberry seed oil was gifted by Essential Wholesale. The 100g plastic jar was gifted by YellowBee.
Very nice however in your instructions(written) you forgot to add the sugar step.
Found it in the long written instructions but not in the photo instructions. it’s all good!
I’m curious why you don’t just use a premade self emulsying wax from New Directions like the SE wax already a blend of alcohol and emulsifier or a foaming body base? Wouldn’t it just be cheaper and faster than having to source out different waxes and alcohols?
Polawax is a pre-made self-emulsifying wax 🙂
I so want to whip my scrubs! Long story: I made a base (with another recipe, not yours) of emulsified sugar scrub, split it up into 7 batches, and fragranced them. Three of the seven different fragrances are causing separation, even though I’ve added a little more emulsifier. Have you noticed any fragrance separation or does whipping help with this?
Hey Cheyenne! Fragrances and essential oils can be weird (especially with surfactants). Does the base in question contain water? Anhydrous things separate differently than emulsions do, so I”m not entirely certain what type of separation you’re talking about 🙂
This is a product where water from wet fingers will get into it….no preservative?
Never mind! I see what you wrote/suggested at the end!
Love it! ❤️. U should make a lip sugar scrub to go with it . Winter is so harsh on the lips, I’ve made a few but the recipes are meh.. would love to see what your recipe looks like.
I’ll keep it in mind, thank you! I do have a few lip sugar scrub projects already, but they’re all at least a couple years old 🙂
Hey Can I add cocoa powder to make a chocolate Face scrub
I don’t recommend using this as a base for a face scrub—it’s much too harsh. Check out this instead 🙂
I never made sugar scrub. Simply because I don’t have electric beaters. I have a Kenwood, but it is larger than a Kitchen Aid. A small batch will not get whipped properly.
Is it a crazy idea to try to whip them by hand? Of to use a immersion blender?
Whipping it by hand would probably work if you’re very strong. An immersion blender is designed to blend, rather than whip, so it’s not a great alternative—unless you have a whisk attachment for it. That might work! Happy making 🙂
Thank you for your answer.
This post’s going to be long, but what can I say? Been a soap maker for years and I’ve been floating around your site for a little bit now, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to dedicate myself to buying so many new products all at once. However, I decided this year I wanted to put together my own holiday gift baskets and decided to go with the cranberry orange theme for the products I would make myself.
I made a double batch of this recipe using the 50/50 blend of stearic acid and cetyl alcohol suggested. I also used sunflower oil instead of fractionated coconut oil as I already had some. I bought my cranberry seed oil through Amazon and I have to say, it doesn’t have any of the fruity nodes you mentioned in your post. A bit disappointed, but I did use a blend of orange and grapefruit essential oil to give the citrus-y smell. I upped the amount to 1% because I found I could smell the wax with only the 0.5%. Even now, it’s kind of borderline, but I don’t want to risk putting too much either. I’m thinking if the cranberry seed oil would have been fruity, it wouldn’t have been a problem. Anyway, great recipe! It has a nice scrub to it with the sugar, and really does come right off when rinsed in water, which absolutely blows my mind because of the oils in it, hehe. I will be making more, both for myself and for my family.
Thank you Marie and expect to hear more from me! 🙂
Thank you for making with me and sharing your experience! My cranberry seed oil is from Essential Wholesale, and it’s lovely, but I understand that their bottle sizes can be a bit off-putting for anyone looking to do a bit of mid-level dabbling 🙂 I’m glad you’re enjoying the scrub and having fun branching out—happy making!
Hello! How do we use this sugar scrub? Thanks!
There are directions at the end of the formulation 🙂
Hello Marie, I read through the comments and saw your response that this recipe is too harsh for the face. Do you have any face scrub recipe out already? Can I get a link? Thank you so much for making me quite the magician at home. Love from Nigeria.
I have made many over the years! I believe you’ll find them all in this category, but you will have to do some scrolling and reading as that’s generally “facial cleansers”, not just scrubs/polishes/powders 🙂 Happy making!
I have a self emulsying wax from New Directions ,do I still need to add 12% of Cetearyl Alcohol?
Would this scrub stay intact/whipped? Or will it lose its “airy” texture over time?
It stays whipped unless melted 🙂
When you said incorporate half gram of liquid germal plus im like uuu yeh problem solved! It is hard to find oil soluble preservative in my country and i am so disappointed.. Lucky i ve always do my homework by watch your videos and read your blog.. You are such a great teacher<3 thank you marie..
I’m so glad! Thanks for DIYing with me, and happy making 🙂
Hey Marie! I made this, and it’s very nice. However I would prefer a foaming scrub. If I wanted to add a surfactant, say “Baby Foam” for example, would that be possible in this formula? And if so, where would I add it, and what would I have to take out to make room for it?
Nevermind! I looked up your Christmas Tree Foaming Whipped Body Scrub! That will do the trick! Meanwhile, I have to report that the Cranberry Orange non-foaming scrub is REALLY nice. It does actually get creamy and slightly lathery with warm water. And the rinse off is outstanding. 🙂
Could I add orange peel powder into this scrub formulation, and if so, how?