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.

Natural Skincare Wonder #4: Coconut Oil

Indigenous people all over the world, from Thailand, Indonesia, India, Nigeria, and Somalia, to the Philippines, Panama, and Jamaica, have known for hundreds of years about the health benefits from eating coconut oil  – and using it on their skin and hair for amazing results.

But in the mid 1950’s, doctors began to advise their patients to avoid all saturated fats, based on a medical study that concluded that eating saturated fats caused heart disease.  Recent research has shown that those earlier studies were flawed, and that not all saturated fats are unhealthy.  In fact, coconut oil is a saturated fat that has many health benefits that are more remarkable than even those native people had realized.

Today, coconut oil is being used by some physicians in the treatment of liver and kidney diseases, osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and even HIV and AIDS.  Medium chain fatty acids (MCFA’s) in coconut oil will accelerate the metabolic rate activity to in turn accelerate healing – and that same activity works when coconut oil is applied to the skin.

Coconut oil as a stand-alone skin softener and conditioner is a “new” trend that just happens to be a very old tradition.  Coconut oil also works well as a leave-in conditioner for the hair – also an old tradition practiced by island natives and people who had an abundant supply of fresh coconuts.  Today, coconut oil is readily available in grocery stores, health food stores, and online.  But how do we know what type is the best?

There are basically two types of coconut oil: unrefined (also called “virgin”) and refined. Unrefined coconut oil has a light but distinctive “coconutty” scent, while the refined version has no scent.  For optimum quality and benefits, refined coconut oil is the best.  Use coconut oil sparingly – a little goes a long way – on skin after a bath or shower to retain moisture and give skin a healthy glow.  Use a tiny amount (pea size or less) on the ends of hair; may be applied to damp or dry hair.

For a more luxurious creamy version, try whipping your coconut oil – here’s how to do it:

Coconut Oil Whip (Makes 8 ounces)

This whip makes an excellent moisturizer for the body and face, a deep conditioning mask for hair, a tamer for hair frizz and fly-away strands, a safe and gentle makeup remover, a luscious lip balm and myriad other uses. In whipped form, coconut oil is much easier to dispense and apply. Only a small dab is needed for most applications.

8 oz. virgin coconut oil, chilled (oil must be solid)

10 - 20 drops essential oil such as lavender, lemongrass or sweet orange (optional)

Place the chilled coconut oil in a 4-cup container. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, whip the oil for 5 – 7 minutes until light and very creamy in appearance. Add essential oil, if using, and whip for an additional minute to disperse evenly. Spoon into a container with a tight-fitting lid and store in a cool, dry place. Ambient temperature of 76˚F or more will result in the coconut oil whip deflating and liquefying, which only affects the texture. (Note: Avoid getting water into the container. Use a spoon or cosmetic spatula to scoop out.)

Tomorrow’s blog post is about lavender essential oil – one of my very favorites!