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The Best DIY Sugar Scrubs To Prep Your Skin For Winter

Lindsay Cohn
October 20, 2016
Lindsay Cohn
By Lindsay Cohn
mbg Contributor
Lindsay Cohn is a freelance writer based in New York City. Her writing focuses on wellness, beauty, travel and design and has been featured in USA Today, Martha Stewart, Domino and several other publications.
October 20, 2016

The sun is setting earlier, there's a chill in the air, and the smell of pumpkin spice is everywhere. Yes, fall is in full swing...and that means winter is coming. With the change of seasons comes a new set of complexion-related concerns—from dryness to irritation. Simply put, skin needs a little extra TLC this time of year. One of our fave ways to give it a little love? An exfoliating sugar scrub.

Exfoliating is the key to soft, smooth skin—from your face down to your feet. For starters, it helps remove dead skin cells, which if left alone can wreak havoc on your skin (we're talking dryness, flakiness, and clogged pores). It also stimulates cellular regeneration, improves texture, and gives good glow.

While we try to steer clear of excess sugar when it comes to our diet, that doesn't mean it's a no-no for our complexion—at least when applied topically. Sugar scrubs are wonderfully exfoliating and moisturizing. Plus, they're simple to make—so you don't have to be a veteran DIY-er. They're especially brilliant when we're in need of some serious skin-sloughing.

From pumpkin pie body scrub to peppermint foot scrub, there are some lovely recipe options that will leave your skin looking and feeling silky smooth—and smelling good enough to eat. Feeling inspired?

Try whipping up one of these seasonal scrubs at home:

Pumpkin Pie Body Scrub

This luxurious body scrub is sure to get you in the spirit of the season. Brown sugar buffs away dead skin. Pumpkin is packed with vitamins A, C, and E; alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs); beta-carotene; zinc; and potassium to improve tone and texture. Jojoba oil moisturizes and helps relieve dry skin. Cinnamon and nutmeg create a wonderful warming sensation—that feels magical. Ginger helps delivers detoxifying benefits. Allspice is rich in youth-boosting vitamins A and C. Vanilla essential oil is widely used in aromatherapy for its uplifting aroma.


  • 1½ cups organic brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup pumpkin puree (preferably fresh, but canned works too)
  • 3 tablespoons jojoba oil
  • 3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg)
  • 3 drops vanilla essential oil


  1. If using fresh pumpkin, steam for 15 minutes—or until soft. Let cool.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon. Add pumpkin puree, honey, jojoba oil, and vanilla essential oil. Transfer to airtight glass jar. Store in fridge. Use within two weeks.
  3. To use, in shower, apply the scrub using wide, circular motions. Rinse thoroughly. Pat skin dry. Follow with your fave nourishing body lotion or oil. Use weekly for best results.

Peppermint Foot Scrub

All fall/winter we hide our feet inside socks and boots. Feet are prone to become especially rough, itchy and callused this time of year. Epsom salts and granulated sugar scrub away rough, dry skin. And studies show that the magnesium in natural salt can actually help improve hydration. Olive oil imparts mega moisturize while peppermint oil refreshes feet with a cool, tingly sensation—plus it reminds us of the holidays.



  1. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together. Transfer to airtight glass jar. Store at room temp. Use within six months.
  2. To use, apply a thick layer to feet and scrub with gentle pressure for 2 to 3 minutes. Rinse thoroughly. Pat skin dry. Follow with nourishing foot cream.

Oatmeal & Brown Sugar Face Scrub

When it comes to your face, steer clear of harsh, abrasive exfoliators. Instead opt for gentler options, like granulated sugar and oatmeal (which is naturally soothing). Coconut oil is a great carrier oil—it's affordable, nourishing, and won't clog pores. Antioxidant-rich raw honey cleanses without stripping and delivers antibacterial benefits (great news for acne-prone complexions). Rosehip oil is loaded with skin-loving antioxidants and essential fatty acids (omega-3 and -6) to nourish and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Frankincense essential oil is known for its healing and anti-inflammatory properties. Not only does this scrub reveal radiant skin, but it reminds us of a fresh baked oatmeal cookies.



  1. Melt the coconut oil in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds.
  2. In a large bowl, mix oatmeal and sugar. Stir in honey and oils until thoroughly coated. Transfer to airtight glass jar. Store at room temp. Use within six months.
  3. To use, massage mixture into face using small circular motions. Leave on for 2 to 5 minutes. Rinse thoroughly. Splash skin with cold water to close pores. Pat dry. Follow with face moisturizer or oil.

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Lindsay Cohn author page.
Lindsay Cohn

Lindsay Cohn is a freelance writer, wellness-enthusiast and yogi based in New York City. She studied creative writing at The University of Miami and most frequently writes about wellness, beauty, travel and design. Her work has been featured in USA Today, Martha Stewart, Domino, NBC Today, and more.