I’ve shared a couple emulsified sugar scrubs lately, and in the comments of one of them, Penny asked about salt. Something about her skin loving salt in scrubs, and how perhaps I should try it. Hmmm. Once I started thinking about salt, that quickly led to sea salt… and seaweed… and summer. And the ocean, and bathing suits, and a cold beer (or three) and a good book… and can you tell I’m itching for it to be summer? Ha! Anyhow, back to the scrub—we have ourselves an emulsified scrub with mineral rich sea salt, seaweed, and some great-for-our-skin oils to make a Seaside Emulsified Salt Scrub. That’s pretty awesome on its own—add a chilled cerveza and a great novel to step it up to extra great!
Emulsified scrubs are superior to non-emulsified scrubs for one simple, but oh-so-important reason: they emulsify with your bathwater. This has two major upsides. #1: They effectively turn into lotion on your skin as they emulsify with your bath water, which is obviously all kinds of awesome for your skin. #2: Because these scrubs emulsify with your bath water, getting out of your tub does not become a scene from Most Extreme Elimination Challenge. This is because the oils in the scrub emulsify with your bath water, heavily diluting them and allowing them to rinse down your drain rather than lurking in your tub like an oily assassin.
The oil part of this scrub is a blend of rich shea butter and light, silky grapeseed oil (which also adds a slight green hue). These ingredients are pretty interchangeable, though; you could use mango butter (or another soft butter) instead of the shea, and any light to mid-weight liquid oil (think sweet almond, safflower, sunflower, apricot kernel…) instead of the grapeseed. Just be sure to keep your choices inexpensive—no sense washing pricey oils down the drain!
A blend of two different types of sea salt brings the scrub—I used mostly fine, with a bit of coarse. I used a coarse Dead Sea Salt, but any sort of coarse salt will do—no need to be so posh! If you like a scrubbier scrub, feel free to tip the balance more in favour of the coarse grain salt and use less fine grain. I find this scrub is pretty mild as written, so if you’re attempting to sand blast some serious callouses, I’d definitely suggest tipping the balance a bit more in the favour of the coarse variety.
I wrapped things up with a touch of seaweed powder and some lemongrass essential oil. I used fairly little seaweed powder as I find I’m not crazy about the seaweedy smell in things, but if you like the smell of seaweed, you should be able to increase it up to 10g (or perhaps even more) without any trouble. Just go slowly and take notes! Lemongrass blends nicely with the briney scent of the seaweed and really brightens it up—and citrus essential oil should also work well, but there’s something about the herbal undertones of lemongrass that works beautifully with seaweed.
And that’s it! It’s really just a measure-melt-chill-whip project, which makes it delightfully accessible and simple. Enjoy your Seaside Emulsified Salt Scrub!
Seaside Emulsified Salt Scrub
20g | 0.71oz complete emulsifying wax (not beeswax!)
8g | 0.28oz stearic acid (USA / Canada / UK)
15g | 0.53 oz unrefined shea butter (USA / Canada) (refined or unrefined)
45g | 1.59oz grapeseed oil
2 drops Vitamin E MT-50 (USA / Canada)
20 drops lemongrass essential oil
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, stearic acid, shea butter, grapeseed 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 in the fridge for about an hour.
When the base has solidified, weigh in the salt, seaweed, and lemongrass essential oil. 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.
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 (avoid broken skin—salt stings on broken skin!). Enjoy your lovely soft, exfoliated epidermis!
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. 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.