Over the last couple months, emulsified scrubs of all types have become a big favourite of mine. I’ve always like them, but now I don’t want to take a bath without one! A good scrub leaves my skin all kinds of soft and moisturized—I usually don’t need lotion-ing afterwards (good for nights when I truly can’t be arsed) so I’m set to just climb into my bed and snuggle up with my far-too-many pillows. Today’s Passionfruit Coconut Body Scrub is just such a scrub. A creamy base carries a whole lotta white sugar to sweetly buff my skin and transform my bathwater into lovely, silky goodness for a bit of a post-scrub soaking. Swoon!
Want to watch this project instead of reading it?
The creamy base for this body scrub is mostly virgin coconut oil and a small amount of passionfruit oil—very in keeping with our theme! That blend is pretty soft, so it’s thickened with cetearyl alcohol. I like cetearyl alcohol to thicken scrubs as it’s inexpensive and lends a lovely creamy, fluffy skin feel to the end product. A tiny amount of sea buckthorn fruit (or berry) oil gives this scrub its summery orange colour; if you don’t have it you could very easily use an orange mica instead. You’ll still get an orange end product, but you don’t have to invest in a very deeply coloured oil that can be hard to find uses for.
The emulsifier in this formulation is Polysorbate 80. In the past, I’ve shared scrubs that use a blend of Polysorbate 80 and emulsifying wax, and most recently one that uses just emulsifying wax. I figured it was time to share one that uses just Polysorbate 80, so here we are! The Polysorbate 80 ensures the oils in the scrub mix nicely into your bathwater, rinsing down the drain easily and not turning your tub into an oil slick.
For scent, I’m using a mouthwatering passionfruit natural fragrance oil from Essential Wholesale. If you love the smell of passionfruit, this stuff is very drool-worthy! You could also use a different fragrance oil you have and like (something tropical would be very appropriate), or you can replace the fragrance oil with more virgin coconut oil and let the coconutty goodness shine on its own!
To mix things up a bit, I opted not to whip this body scrub. The only difference (beyond not actually whipping the scrub) is the firmness of the base. Because whipped scrubs melt more readily I find the fat/thickener blend needs to be a bit harder (aka have a higher melting point). Knowing this scrub wasn’t going to be whipped, I tipped the hardener/oil balance a bit towards the softer side of things. If you want to whip this one, you can, but you may need to tip it back towards a higher melting point by swapping 2–3% cetearyl alcohol for more coconut oil.
The finished scrub has a lovely soft, rich consistency. Massage it into damp skin in the tub or shower and it’ll transform into a rich lotion-y base as the sugar buffs off any skin that needs to get a move on.
Want to watch this project instead of reading it?
Passionfruit Coconut Body 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 small heat-resistant glass measuring cup. I tried this with a metal bowl, and that was a lot harder as the mixture cooled far faster, so I really recommend sticking with glass over metal or plastic. Place the measuring cup in your prepared water bath to melt everything through.
While the heated phase melts, prepare an ice bath. Take a bowl that is large enough to accommodate the container the heated phase is melting in, and fill it about halfway with ice cubes and cold water.
Once everything has melted, remove the measuring cup from the heat and dry the outside of it off with a dishtowel. Set the measuring cup on a towel or hot pad to insulate it from the counter and stir the mixture with a flexible silicone spatula to combine everything. Add the white sugar and stir.
Place the measuring cup containing the heated phase into the ice bath and cool, stirring constantly, for about thirty seconds, until the mixture has cooled down a bit. Remove the container from the water bath and add the cool down phase. Stir to incorporate.
Continue stirring the mixture in the ice bath until you reach a fairly thick “trace”—the mixture should have enough viscosity that a spatula drawn through the mixture creates a line that holds for a few moments. Refer to the video to see it in action!
Once you’ve reached trace, transfer the to a wide-mouthed 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!). Bare 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. If you are not adding a preservative you must portion 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 or taking it into the shower/bath with you, 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.
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.
- If you’d prefer to use emulsifying wax instead of Polysorbate 80, please refer to this formulation.
- Babassu oil will work instead of coconut oil.
- You can use a different inexpensive lightweight carrier oil instead of passionfruit oil. I used a pricier carrier oil than I’d usually use in this formulation because of the theme; if you don’t care about the theme something inexpensive like fractionated coconut oil will work beautifully as an alternative.
- 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. Do not use a true wax, like beeswax or candelilla wax, instead of cetearyl alcohol.
- Please read this if you want to make the scrub harder.
- Please read this if you want to make the scrub softer.
- You can replace the sea buckthorn oil with an orange mica or more coconut oil.
- If you’d like to play with different exfoliants, please read this.
- You can use a different fragrance oil or essential oil.