Make It Miniseries: Coffee Sugar Scrub

If you’ve never used sugar scrub before, your skin is in for a real treat!  I think it should really be called Skin Polish, because that’s what it does: it exfoliates dead skin cells and leaves your skin silky smooth and soft with emollient oils.  And if you use it instead of shaving cream or soap, you’ll find that it also gives your razor a perfect glide, which helps prevent razor burn and gives a nice close shave.

Unlike salt scrubs, sugar scrub won’t sting the skin if you have any tiny cuts or abrasions – or if you happen to nick yourself while shaving.  Also, plain granulated sugar naturally contains glycolic acid, which is also a mild exfoliant.  It’s quick and simple to make, and you probably have most of the ingredients in your kitchen right now – if you made some coffee oil (I posted a tutorial on August 1) you only need to add sugar to it for a fantastic scrub.

Start with about ½ to 1 cup of oil, then stir in an equal amount of sugar.  You can use white granulated sugar, coarse demerara sugar, brown sugar, or a combination of any of these.  I found that demerara sugar was too abrasive; a smaller grain provided plenty of scrubbing action for my fairly sensitive skin.  My favorite blend is about half white sugar and half brown sugar.  The warm molasses scent of the brown sugar blends nicely with the coffee scented oil.

Add more sugar if you prefer a less oily scrub.  Store your sugar scrub in a jar with a lid, making sure that no water is introduced inside it.  Water in the sugar scrub will provide an environment for bacteria and mold to grow, so use a clean, dry spoon or scoop to take out a portion of it to use.  Apply to damp skin and massage in, until all or most of the sugar has dissolved; rinse thoroughly.  Be careful getting out of the tub or shower because the oils on your skin and tub can be slippery!

And seriously, please try this when you shave your legs: one of my daughters swears by it.  She used to get razor burn almost every time she shaved, no matter how often she changed blades – nothing really helped until she started shaving with sugar scrub.

Make It Miniseries: Coffee Oil

The rich, warm, intoxicating aroma of coffee – before the first sip, your nose has already told you how delicious it will be.  Coffee scented bath and body products?  Yes, please!  Since I strongly prefer to use natural scent, I choose to use only essential oils, resins, absolutes, and aromatic waxes in the products that I make.  Some of them can be pretty costly; coffee essential oil and coffee butter can be pricey.  But if you have some patience, coffee oil is really easy to make.  It can be used as the oil portion of sugar scrubs, or even the Sugar Scrub Cubes I posted about a couple of days ago.  You can also use it to make a luxurious whipped body butter – and if you use unrefined cocoa butter, your whipped butter will be mocha scented.  Coffee and chocolate: now there’s a match made in heaven!

I used a French coffee press to make my coffee oil, but you can also use a regular Mason type jar or a crock pot with good results.  A strongly scented coffee oil can be made by infusing roasted and ground coffee in olive oil, sunflower oil, or grapeseed oil.  I usually make infusions with olive oil because it has a long shelf life and it’s a relatively lightweight oil.  The quality of coffee beans is very important: buy the best quality you can find, and if you don’t have a coffee mill, get them coarsely grinded and start the infusion within 24 hours – the sooner the better.  Using a ratio of one part coffee grounds to four parts oil, I’ve infused as little as 16 ounces of olive oil in a French press coffee maker, which yields about 13-14 ounces of coffee oil.  Of course, you can make larger batches in a crock pot, but this is a great way to start out and yields enough coffee oil to make smallish trial batches of scrubs, butters, and balms. 

Here are the steps for making coffee oil:

  1. Sanitize the French press (or Mason jar or crock pot) and all utensils (a large spoon, 2 glass jars to pour the oil back and forth when straining, and another jar for storing the finished oil, and jar lids) using a solution of 20% bleach; set aside on clean paper towels to dry.  Make sure everything is completely dry before you begin – water mixed with oil can allow mold to grow, even a very small amount of water can cause mold/microbial growth.

  2. Weigh 4 oz. fresh coffee grounds, place in the bottom of the French press.

  3. Weigh 12 oz. olive oil and warm slightly in the microwave with a low heat; pour over the coffee grounds and stir with a spoon until there are no more clumps.

4.  Carefully place the top of the French press over the top, with the plunger piece pulled all the way up.

5.  Set aside for 2-3 weeks, stirring once a day, for a cold infusion.  For a hot infusion, place French press with coffee and oil on a heating pad wrapped in hand towels; leave on heating pad for 6-8 hours. Some heating pads have an auto shutoff function like mine does.  Intermittent heat will still work, just check it every now and then and turn it back on if it shuts itself off. If using a crock pot, heat on “warm” setting for 6 hours, then turn it off and let it sit until it’s cooled.

6.  Strain: press the plunger on the French press to separate the oil from the coffee grounds, or strain with several layers of cheesecloth into a sanitized jar.  (Mason jars are great for this.)

7.  Using clean disposable gloves, carefully transfer the coffee grounds into a metal strainer (sieve) or several coffee filters; gently press or squeeze the coffee grounds above the container of the oil to extract the last bits of oil.  This is the most concentrated part of the infusion, so don’t throw out the coffee grounds until you get as much oil out as possible.

8.  Strain the oil, using a double layer of clean cheesecloth.

At this point you will have a very nice quality coffee oil that can be used at 20-40% of the total oils in sugar/salt scrubs, whipped body butters, and lip balms.    Tomorrow, let’s talk about how to make some whipped body butter and coffee sugar scrub. Mmmm….

At this point you will have a very nice quality coffee oil that can be used at 20-40% of the total oils in sugar/salt scrubs, whipped body butters, and lip balms.

Tomorrow, let’s talk about how to make some whipped body butter and coffee sugar scrub. Mmmm….

Make It Miniseries: Sugar Scrub Cubes

If you are a soapmaker, you may have some soap that doesn’t quite “make the grade” (OK, maybe it’s really ugly, but it smells great) or shreds from beveling your soap bars.  If you’re like me, you hate to throw away good soap, so here’s a project that you can grate up a “cosmetically challenged” bar or use those leftover shreds.  It’s so easy, you can make this with the kids – these last few weeks of summer, it’s so hot outside, and wouldn’t it be nice to pry those kiddos away from the TV and other screens?

The basis of this recipe is very simple and easy to change the size of the batch, just make sure you weigh each part with a scale:

  • 1 part “hard” oil (coconut, mango butter, or shea butter)

  • 2 parts grated soap (CP or HP)

  • 3 parts sugar

I made this batch with different colored soap shreds, so the final color was mostly beige, with a few flecks of color.  If you use one or more bars of soap that are the same color, you can add a bit of the same fragrance or essential oil (EO) in the oil part of the recipe, or you can mix it up and add a complementary scent.  For example, if you use a lavender scented soap you could add an orange EO to the oil portion. 

I have brownie bite silicone baking molds and discovered that each cavity holds about one ounce, with 24 cavities in each sheet.  I’ll be using cold process soap that is already scented and colored, so I will only add fragrance to the oil portion.  I want the cubes to be fairly firm and hold together, so I’m going to use a combination of coconut oil and mango butter.  For a light scent, I’ll use 1% for fragrance, so the formula for 24 ounces (total) of product calculates like this:

1 oz. Coconut Oil

3 oz. Cocoa Butter or Mango Butter

2.5 grams (1/2 teaspoon) Fragrance or EO

8 oz. Soap Shreds

12 oz. Granulated Sugar

.10 - .15 CC Mica (optional)

2 to 3 oz. Sugar (optional) 

Instructions:

  1. Sanitize your microwave safe mixing bowl or container (1.5 – 2 quart size), large spoon, and mold by washing in a dishwasher with a high temperature setting – OR – sanitize everything with a solution of 20% bleach. Allow dishes to air dry.

  2. Clean the work area by washing the work surface with soap and water, then spray with alcohol and wipe with clean paper towels.

  3. Use disposable gloves while handling all materials to avoid introducing bacteria into your product.

  4. Weigh coconut oil, mango butter, and soap shreds into the microwave safe container.

5.   Melt the oils and soap in one minute bursts, stirring after each burst.

5.  When melted, let it sit for a few minutes to cool enough to add fragrance; stir in fragrance.  I added about 3 ml of vanilla oleoresin to make a “sugar cookie” type scent.    6.  Mica may be added at this stage, or you may choose to mix the mica with 2-3 oz. of sugar and roll the finished cubes in it.     7.  Weigh 12 oz. sugar in the same container as the melted soap and oils; combine well.  The texture should be very similar to cookie dough.

5.  When melted, let it sit for a few minutes to cool enough to add fragrance; stir in fragrance.  I added about 3 ml of vanilla oleoresin to make a “sugar cookie” type scent.

6.  Mica may be added at this stage, or you may choose to mix the mica with 2-3 oz. of sugar and roll the finished cubes in it.

7.  Weigh 12 oz. sugar in the same container as the melted soap and oils; combine well.  The texture should be very similar to cookie dough.

8.  Spoon into molds, pressing firmly with the back of the spoon to pack each cavity tightly.  Note: Place a sheet of newspaper or wax paper under the mold to catch loose crumbles to make cleanup much faster.    9.  Allow to cool completely before removing from the molds.  To help the cubes harden up more quickly, put in the freezer or refrigerator for an hour or two.

8.  Spoon into molds, pressing firmly with the back of the spoon to pack each cavity tightly.  Note: Place a sheet of newspaper or wax paper under the mold to catch loose crumbles to make cleanup much faster.

9.  Allow to cool completely before removing from the molds.  To help the cubes harden up more quickly, put in the freezer or refrigerator for an hour or two.

     10.  Roll each cube in sugar.  I rolled some of these cubes in organic granulated sugar, which is a light beige color. Colored sugar can be made by taking a small amount of cosmetic grade mica, and stirring until the color has distributed evenly throughout the sugar.  The pink cubes in the photo are rolled in sugar colored with .10 to .15 CC (small cosmetic scoop) pink mica.

 

 10.  Roll each cube in sugar.  I rolled some of these cubes in organic granulated sugar, which is a light beige color. Colored sugar can be made by taking a small amount of cosmetic grade mica, and stirring until the color has distributed evenly throughout the sugar.  The pink cubes in the photo are rolled in sugar colored with .10 to .15 CC (small cosmetic scoop) pink mica.

Your sugar scrub cubes are ready to package in jars or cello bags and can be used right away.  To use, just grab a cube before getting into the shower or tub – each sugar scrub cube is about one ounce, just the right size for a single use. 

To use, rub the cube into damp skin and continue massaging until the sugar has dissolved, then rinse and pat dry.  Since this formula contains soap, it does lather a bit, but it’s a creamy, lotion-type lather that doesn’t leave an abundance of oils on the skin like more traditional sugar scrubs

Sugar scrub is used for exfoliating dry, dull, or flaky skin – but did you know that it also makes a fantastic shaving “cream”?  To use for shaving, after the sugar has dissolved, shave – then rinse and dry.  The oils help prevent razor burn and soften the skin for a truly luxurious experience.

Make It Miniseries: Hot Oil Hair Treatment

It should be no surprise that after all the wonderful things I’ve told you about plant-based oils, that I’m writing again about oil and what it can do for your hair.  Since all hair is dead above the surface of the skin, you won’t be able to reverse damage or revitalize dead cells.  Oils can be absorbed and fill in areas where the outer layer of hair is often missing cells from damage by heat styling or chemical treatments such as permanent dyes and straightening.  A hot oil treatment for the hair also benefits the scalp by improving circulation and dissolving buildup from sebum and hair products containing silicones.  A quick fix for dry, over processed, or dull locks, a hot oil treatment will do the job.

The best oils for restoring shine and luster to hair:

  • Olive Oil – penetrates deep and absorbs quickly, with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties for strength and shine;

  • Castor Oil – contains anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties to strengthen hair and help balance the scalp’s pH; promotes new growth;

  • Jojoba – contains vitamins A, C & D, its structure is similar to sebum (the natural oil your body produces to protect your skin and scalp);

  • Coconut Oil – is high in vitamin E and other nutrients that are easily absorbed by the hair, making it shinier, thicker, and healthier; helps prevent itchy scalp and dandruff.

Use any of these oils as a stand-alone treatment or in any combination.  To add even more benefits of the treatment, add a few drops of the following essential oils:

  • Bergamot – to promote hair growth;

  • Rosemary – stimulates roots and increases circulation;

  • Lavender – for shine, deep conditioning, and growth;

  • Geranium – strengthens hair;

  • Chamomile – adds softness and shine, and soothes the scalp;

  • Clary Sage – promotes growth and stimulates the scalp.

To mix your hot oil treatment, use about one half ounce to one ounce of oils, depending on hair length and thickness.  (Long and thick hair will need up to two ounces of oil.)  Use 5 or 6 drops of essential oils per ounce of the oil mixture.  You can mix up enough oil for several treatments and store it in a bottle with a tight fitting lid.

Warm the oil by placing the bottle in very hot water and letting it sit for a few minutes.  Apply the oil to the scalp, a little at a time, until the scalp is lightly saturated – you don’t have to drench yourself.  Massage the oil into your scalp for a few minutes with light circular motions with the pads of your fingertips – you don’t want to scrape or scratch your scalp with your fingernails.  Work the oils into your hair by combing with your fingers down through your hair, applying a little extra oil on the ends.  Pile your hair on top of your head (if it’s long) and wrap in a towel or put on a shower cap.  Leave the oil on your hair for at least 30 minutes, overnight is even better.  Wash your hair as usual, and lightly condition it after shampooing. 

Enjoy your soft, shiny, healthy hair and scalp!