I’ve got margaritas on the brain these days, and oddly enough, it’s not because I’m drinking them. It’s because of Jimmy Buffett. Most people are pretty surprised to hear that Jimmy Buffett is one of my all-time favourite musical artists. Now, before you revise your mental image of me to include a closet full of khaki shorts, Hawaiian print shirts, and a pet parrot, let me explain! My dad loves Jimmy Buffett, so I grew up with him, and he sounds like summer and nostalgia and happiness to me. And, while his more popular calypso-style hits never fail to make me smile (I may or may not be listening to Margaritaville as I type this), most of my Jimmy Buffett favourites are songs that have never received any radio play, like Savannah Fare You Well and his cover of Bruce Cockburn’s Pacing the Cage (give them a listen!). Anywho, it has long been a dream of mine to see him in concert with my dad, and guys—it’s happening!!! I’ll be joining my family to see him live in Vancouver in October and I don’t know if I can adequately express how excited I am! Ever since I found out I’ve been listening to my Jimmy Faves playlist a whole lot, and counting the days (64!). So, basically, Jimmy Buffett inspired this sugar scrub, and we can all be grateful I took inspiration from Margaritaville for this scrub and not Cheeseburger in Paradise!
I can’t say I find the word “emulsified” to be so sexy that I love it in project names, but I think it’s important to include because emulsified scrubs are superior to non-emulsified scrubs for one simple, but oh-so-important reason: they self-emulsify with your bathwater. This is awesome because not only do they turn into lotion on your skin as they emulsify with your bath water, which is obviously all kinds of awesome for your skin, but also because getting out of your tub does not require having your last rites read to you. That’s 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, planning to ruin the effects of your relaxing soak. Woo!
I used Polawax as my complete emulsifying wax, though Emulsifying Wax NF or Ritamulse would also do the trick. I’d stay away from BTMS-50; not because it won’t work (it will), but because it’s two to three times the price of Polawax or Emulsifying Wax NF, and we’re basically just washing it straight down the drain.
Our oil base is mostly virgin coconut oil as that seemed very fitting for something Jimmy Buffett inspired! There’s also some safflower oil, and stearic acid to thicken. You can’t leave out the stearic acid! It’s what gives this scrub enough structure to whip up—it is not another emulsifier. You also can’t use wax instead of stearic acid—wax is sticky and waxy, and it’ll stay behind on your skin and leave you feeling tacky and gross. You can learn more about stearic acid here.
For scrubby bits I’ve gone with a blend of sugar and salt; pink Himalayan salt gives some lovely colour, while plain ol’ white sugar does the bulk of the scrubbing. I love the inclusion of pink Himalayan salt for purely aesthetic reasons (it was a straight-up impulse purchase at Windy Point due to the oooooh, pretty factor); if you don’t have it, feel free to use a different medium grain salt or sugar instead!
The cheery yellow tint and citrus scent of this scrub comes from the inclusion of some incredibly juicy-smelling orange wax. Mine is very thin (like water) and orange, though not crazy orange. I’ve heard from some readers that theirs is thicker and/or significantly oranger than mine—to the point of tinting skin at low concentrations! If that’s your orange wax, I recommend dropping the orange wax amount to two or three grams and making up that extra amount with more coconut oil or safflower oil—unless you’re going for that infamous Jersey Shore/Oompa Loompa look, of course!
All we’re doing to make this scrub is measuring, melting, cooling, and whipping, so it’s pretty darn easy, and comes together quickly (assuming you’re not waiting with baited breath by the fridge door as it cools, that is!). I’m loving how my skin feels after a bath with some Summer Margarita Emulsified Scrub, and I think you will, too!
Summer Margarita Emulsified 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 emulsifying wax, stearic acid, coconut oil, safflower oil, orange wax, 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. Weigh our the salt and sugar, and add them to the mixture. Leave it to solidify; I left mine in the fridge for about an hour.
When the base has solidified, 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!
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.
- You can use babassu oil instead of coconut oil
- You absolutely cannot use any kind of wax instead of the stearic acid, and I wouldn’t recommend cetyl alcohol, either
- You can substitute another lightweight oil like sweet almond, grapeseed, or sunflower seed for the safflower oil
- If your orange wax is suuuuuper orange (see the photos to see what mine is like, use less (perhaps 2–3g) and replace the missing amount with more safflower oil
- You can use a non-Himalayan medium grain salt or sugar instead of the pink Himalayan salt