Gift Idea: Homemade Scrubs and Lotions

Here are some great ideas for homemade gifts people will just love! I have used every product I list here, made it myself and can swear on a stack of bibles that each one is easy and luscious. Some are more expensive to make than others so pick and choose as suits you. But each and every one will save you money over the retail version and when you take the time to make it yourself, it just drips with love. The way to rush past any possible negative reaction is to package carefully. Pretty bottles with ribbons and painted decorations are reassuring to “retail focused” consumers. Make sure you cap or stopper the product well and always tell them that there is nothing in it that can go bad or make them sick. None of these are edible, although the scrubs sound like they are! So folks shouldn’t be nervous about using them.

Some of these recipes take less than a half hour to make and can be packaged in a beautiful bottle and given for Christmas with delightful results. Body scrubs are the hot product of the day so make some up and package them in lovely jars. Your friends will love you for it, I promise. Some of these recipes are so awesome, they make your skin feel so soft and new, almost like a baby! Hey, I’m saying this and I’m a middle aged woman with a thyroid problem that makes my skin look like suede. So, if it made me feel good, you know it rocks! The only problem with this idea is once you make this stuff… you won’t want to give it to anybody! Be careful, folks. I ended up with an awful lot of scrubs, lotions and rinses, so much so that I just could not use it all over time. When we’re trying to go green, surplus is undesired. So make some and give it but don’t overdo it! Have fun.

THE RECIPES

All of these recipes will have to be stored in a container after they are made. Choose the prettiest container you can find for the price or dress up a plain one to suit the person you are giving this to. If you choose to use an empty plastic bottle just make sure it’s recyclable and has a cap or stopper that will seal tightly. If you reuse a glass bottle you have used before, boil it for 15 minutes to sterilize before filling. Plastic bottles that you are reusing should be soaked in hot water and lemon juice for the same reason. Do not boil plastic for obvious reasons but the water should be hot to the touch and a small amount of lemon will do the trick. Dry all containers completely before using.

Don’t forget to make up a little card with instructions for use. Never assume somebody knows what to do with your lovely crafted gifts. Everyone appreciates a little guidance but make it short and sweet, not to businesslike. Of course, if you get good at this, it could be a cottage industry. That, of course, would be up to you.

Lavender Sunburn Oil

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This is an easy project. So easy in fact that you can make it up on the fly and use it yourself whenever you get burned. Get a nice bottle for it, an amber vial with a screw on cap is a good choice; it looks like the dark suntan oil bottles people are used to.

Ingredients:

6 tbsp Olive Oil
3 tbsp Cider Vinegar
1/2 tsp Iodine
10 drops Lavender Oil
Plastic Bottle with Screw Cap

Method:

Blend all the ingredients together and bottle. Instruct the user to rub this on any sunburned area. They can do so generously and as often as they need to.

Basic Body Sugar Scrub

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Here is a simple scrub you can make up in a matter of minutes. Get a nice glass jar with a pretty lid and tie a velvet or satin ribbon around it. Hand paint the name of the person you are giving it to on the front side. If the giftee has children, choose a plastic jar to save it from being broken. Just make sure it’s recyclable and has a sealable lid. This stuff will make the skin very soft and glowing. It is so easy to make, you can make it up yourself to use at any time. It can be stored for long periods as long as it’s in a closed container.

Ingredients

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil or organic coconut oil
lemon juice
scented essential oils

Directions

Mix the sugar and oil together in the chosen container. I have used coconut and avocado oil to good effect even though the traditional oil is olive. Olive oil is rich in fatty acids and omega 3s that are super good for your skin.

Dash in a drop or two of the lemon juice. This adds an astringent quality to the scrub and extends the life of the product so it doesn’t just go flat to fast. Choose essential oils based on who you are making this for. A dash of peppermint is zesty and tingly; a dash of lavender will perfume the body; sandalwood is an earthy, spicy scent that almost everybody likes.

Instruct the user to scoop out handfuls at a time and scrub the skin with it. This can be used anywhere on the body with no ill effects. But it should not be used too often; the skin will be soft enough after each scrub to limit usage to about 3 times a week.

Ivy Cellulite Cream

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This is a specialty product, of course, and should probably only be given to women or men you are very close to. Some people will find this to be an insulting gift. But if someone you know has discussed this problem with you, this gift will seen considerate and loving. It is a rich emollient cream that will reduce the appearance of cellulite with frequent use. Bottle it up in a glass jar with a screw on cap. A wide mouth jar is recommended so the user can get their hand in it.

Ingredients:

2 tsp Beeswax
1 tsp Emulsifying Wax
3 tsp Almond Oil
1 tsp Avocado Oil
2 large handfuls of fresh Ivy
2 cups of Water
Double Boiler
2 Small Saucepans
8 drops Essential Oil of Oregano
8 drops Essential Oil of Fennel
8 drops Essential Oil of Rosemary
Clean Jar with Lid
Strainer

Method:

Heat the Ivy and the 2 cups of water in the first saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Lower the heat and allow the liquid to infuse for another 2 hours.

Melt the waxes together in the double boiler. In the second saucepan, warm the oils slowly. Once very warm, add them to the waxes in the double boiler and stir them in well.

Strain out the Ivy decoction and once all of the ivy leaves are strained out, set the liquid aside. Take 4 tbsp of this liquid and add it to the mix. Then allow the mixture to cool completely. Stir carefully as it cools until it is well blended and creamy. When the cream is totally cool, add in the essential oils. Stir these into the mix completely so that it is creamy. Once well blended and cool, spoon this mix into the clean jar and tightly lid.

Instruct the user to dip out fingerfuls and apply to the area with a few fingers. The cream should be massaged in, rubbed sternly enough to get the blood flowing. This can be used as needed but is best used right after a shower, when the skin is most receptive. It can be applied when standing up or laying down and neither position is more productive. Simple, repetitive rubbing of the cream is what will have the best effect. So instruct the user to apply the cream on a daily basis until the desired effect is achieved.

Salt Rub

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This is a simple salt rub that is super easy to make. Like the sugar scrubs, it is just a mix of a few ingredients and should be stored in a glass or plastic jar with a wide mouth. Decorate with ribbons or bows and handpainted art. This makes a warm, homey gift that just oozes love.

Ingredients:

Macadamia Oil
Soybean Oil
Kukui Nut Oil
Sweet Almond Oil
Sea Salt
Essential Oil of Peppermint
Essential Oil of Rosemary

Instructions:

Determine how much scrub you are going to make. Spoon out the desired amount of salt, as much as might fill about 1/2 of the chosen container. Add 1 part each of the four oils to the salt until it is an oily but not soupy consistency. Add back salt if need be until it is the right mixture of dry and wet. You will know it when you feel it. Once it’s right, simply spoon it into the jar. And don’t skimp on the oils. Use the best you can find. The oils are what make this scrub luscious and sensual. If you cannot find Kukui Nut Oil, substitute Coconut or Avocado Oil. After you have the proper balance, add one or two drops each of the essential oils. It should smell divine. This is an invigorating, sensual scrub that will leave the skin so soft it will surprise the user. You will receive compliments on this gift.. and maybe end up with orders for more!

Instruct the user to use this in the shower. They should simply step back from the shower stream and swirl it over their skin. They should massage it in with their hands or with a wash cloth. Use generously over the rough patches on heels and hands. NOTE: Warn the user not to apply this scrub to cut to injured or broken skin. It might be a bit intense for freshly shaved skin as well

Spicy Aftershave

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This is a spicy skin toner and bracer that men will love. Try packaging it in a used half pint liquor bottle. Use a bottle that still has it’s original lid and don’t forget to sterilize it first.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp fresh Rosemary
1 tbsp fresh Mint
1/4 tsp grated Orange Peel
1/4 tsp grated Lemon Peel
1/4 tsp grated Nutmeg
4 fl oz Distilled Rose or Elderflower Water
2 fl oz pure Alcohol or Vodka
Glass Bottle with Stopper

Method:

Place all of the fresh herbs in a mortar and pestle and pound them. Once pounded, place the herbs and all of the other ingredients together in a blender and beat them together until well blended. Once this is well blended and looks like a spicy water, pour into a glass jar or bottle and replace the cap. Then leave it on a sunny windowsill or in a very warm place for at least a week. After the week, strain out the herbs through a sieve, coffee filter or cheesecloth. Once the water is clear and the herbs are strained, bottle the clear liquid in the glass bottle with stopper.

Try decorating this gift with manly holiday trinkets like pinecones and natural raffia. Or simply tie some dried rosemary or peppermint around the neck of the bottle with string or natural raffia. Instruct the user to store in a warm dark place until they want to use it. When they start using the toner, they can store it in the fridge if they want it to be cold and bracing when splashing it on.

Gentle Salt Scrub

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This is a rich, lovely salt scrub that is soft and gentle. It is good for sensitive skin or skin that is thin and delicate.

Ingredients:

3 tb. almond oil
1/2 tb. liquid lecithin
1 capsule vitamin E
1/4 cup fine sea salt
20 drops essential oil

Instructions:

Melt together the almond oil and lecithin. Don’t get it boiling hot, just melt slowly on medium low heat.

Once melted and creamy, remove from the heat and allow to cool. Once the mix is cool to the touch, add in the vitamin E, sea salt and fragrance oil. Add the vitamin E by breaking the jel cap and pouring out the liquid.

Choose the essential oil for the general purpose you wish the scrub to be used for. As an example, an invigorating scrub would use oil of mint or pine. A healing scrub would use comfrey or chamomile. Pick the essential oil for the scent it will provide.

You can turn this scrub into a cellulite rub by using Grapeseed oil instead of Almond oil Try this variation and see what you think.

Package this scrub in a jar with a wide mouth. Glass or plastic will do. Instruct the user to use the scrub in the shower. Allow the skin the get warm and wet. Start using the scrub in a circular motion, rubbing the body in an upwards direction. After scrubbing, rinse off and then wash with a shower gel or mild soap. Warn the user not to use this scrub if they are sunburned, have cuts or scrapes, on broken or inflamed skin or if they have shaved, waxed or had hair removal treatments within the last twenty four hours. This is a gentle scrub but it should still be used with care.

Spicy Body Toner

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This is an invigorating body toner that will have your skin tingling and your blood rushing! It is a real eye opener. Package it in a used half pint liquor bottle or in a small used wine bottle. Make sure you can get corks or stoppers for the bottles you choose and sterilize them before using. Since the user will tend to use a lot of it, you might want to double or triple the recipe and use a bigger bottle. A used bubble bath bottle is ideal, provided you can make it your own with paint or decorations.

Ingredients:

1 tsp fresh Rosemary leaves
1 tbsp fresh Mint leaves
1/4 tsp grated Orange Peel
1/4 tsp grated Lemon peel
1/4 tsp grated Nutmeg
4 fl oz Distilled Rosewater
2 fl oz Vodka

Method:

Blend all the ingredients together in a blender. Pour into a glass jar or bottle and stopper. Place in a sunny windowsill and leave for a week.

After a week, strain through a wire strainer and replace the liquid to the bottle. Stopper, label and store in a warm, dark place until it is to be given. The longer you age it, the better it gets!

Instruct the user to use this in the shower, right before they get out. It gets residual soap off of the skin and leaves the body smelling clean and fresh. It can also be applied to treat oily skin or acne and is a joy used as a facial toner at the sink after washing. Use as often as needed and store in the refrigerator for a fresh, invigorating splash at the end of hot, steamy shower or shave.

Dry Herb Shampoo

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This is a special item and you will know who among your friends might like it. It’s a quick wash for the hair, actually, and will take the oil out and make it shine when there is no time to take a shower. When I was a kid, they had a dry shampoo they sold in the stores and I was a shower hating child so I was combed down with dry shampoo a lot. It really does work. For long enough, anyways. Try packaging this as a gift in an old face powder container or baby powder shaker. Something small enough to fit into a purse, I’d imagine as this would be most appreciated by busy professionals who have oily hair.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp powdered Orris Root
2 tbsp powdered Arrowroot

Method:

Mix the root powders together. Shake them up good and then put them in the container. Another packaging idea is an old salt or herb shaker. The wide mouthed ones with big holes are great.

Instruct the user to part the hair in narrow regular bands and sprinkle the powder along each row. Leave on head for 10 minutes to allow the powders to absorb the grease from the hair. They can then brush the hair out vigorously and shake the head to remove the powder. The hair should be clean, dry and shiny.

Brown Sugar Body Polish

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This is a delicious scrub that makes me want to eat it when I smell it.

Ingredients:

Organic Brown Sugar
Turbinado (it’s a brown sugar that is “crystallized from the initial pressing of sugar cane”)
Organic Safflower, Avocado, Soybean or Olive Oil
Essential Oil of any citrus flavor like Orange, Grapefruit or Lime
– OR- any spice flavor like Cinnamon, Nutmeg or Clove

Use 1 cup of brown sugar to 1 cup turbinado. Add in as much oil as it takes to make it come together but not be soupy or oily. Once you have a gritty rub, you can add as many dashes of essential oil to make it as strong or as subtle a scent as you enjoy. I have made a Cinnamon Rub and an Orange Rub. They were both mouth watering and lovely.

Package this up in a wide mouthed jar. A large canning jar is a nice touch, with the lock down cap. This gives is a country type feel and a foodie feel, too. It works really well. Any container you decide to use should hold about 1/2 to 1 cup of scrub, both ideal sizes for gift giving.

Instruct the user to use this in the bath, rubbing it onto wet elbows, knees and feet. It will soften any area it is rubbed onto so use with care. And please do resist the urge to eat it.

Exotic Yum Yum Body Scrub

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This is another scrub that makes me want to eat it. It just smells like cereal or yogurt, to me. I adore strawberry (any berry, in fact) so this is one of my favorites. It is not such a great gift for a boy or a man. It is best given to young girls. They love the strawberry smell and color.

Ingredients:

1 cup demerara or turbinado sugar
2 oz cocoa butter
1 oz strawberry seed oil
1 T strawberry seeds
20 drops strawberry fragrance oil

Instructions:

Melt the cocoa butter slowly over medium low heat. Once it is melted, add the strawberry oil. Separately, in a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together and stir well. Once they are well blended, then pour the oil mixture over the dry mixture and mix it all in together well. You can change the consistency of the scrub by adding a little more sugar or oil until you have the right balance.

This lovely scrub is nicely packaged in a glass jar with handpainted art and pink ribbons. Get a wide mouthed jar with a lid made to burn pillar candles. Then seal the package by tieing the ribbon around the top and bottom.

Instruct the user to use this scrub in the shower. Apply to the skin in areas that are dry or rough and rub it in. After scrubbing for a few minutes, wash off with a mild soap. Do not wash with soap too intensely as this takes away the smell and lessens the softening effect. This scrub can also be used as an exfoliator for the face.

Deodorizing Foot Bath

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This is the simplest and easiest gift you could give and it is really good for the feet. It has only one ingredient so package it nicely with embellishments and a card with instructions for use.

Ingredients:

12 oz fresh or dried Sage

Instructions:

Package up the sage in a plastic bag with a zipper closure to retain freshness. You can then put this in a nice display box or other container with ribbons, artwork and other embellishments. Add the instruction card.

Instruct the user to place two large handfuls of sage in a foot soaking tub or other container. Boil water and add it to the container, allowing the sage to infuse into the water as it starts to cool. As soon as it can be tolerated, the feet should be placed in the tub to soak. They should be soaked until the water is cool. This is a fantastic deodorizer that should work on the worst foot smells. It is also relaxing and pleasant.

Peppermint Salt Foot Rub

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Ingredients:

4 oz shea butter
4 oz aloe butter
4 oz fractionated coconut oil
1cup dead sea salt (medium ground)
1 cup epsom salt
1.5 teaspoon peppermint essential oil
1.5 teaspoon polysorbate 20

Instructions:

Melt the shea butter over the double boiler until it reaches 175F. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to 130F. At this temperature, add the aloe butter, stirring it in until completely blended. Once this is nicely blended, add the fractionated coconut oil. Now allow this mix to cool down to about room temperature but not so cool that it hardens.

While it cools, mix the essential oil and the polysorbate 20 in a bowl. Before the mix hardens but after it is thickened, add the oil mixture and blend it in. At this point, pour in 3/4 cup each of seal salt and epsom salt. Gently mix this together until blended and creamy. Add more salt if the mix is still soupy or oily.

Package the mix in a glass container with a wide mouth. Allow to finish cooling in the glass container and leave in a warm, dark place until ready to give.

Instruct the user to use on the feet as needed. It is a scrub and a massage cream. It is great for pedicures.

Mint Footbath and Massage Oil

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This is the a wonderful gift that combines two parts. It is super easy to make and will make anyone who spends a lot of time on their feet fall madly in love with you! It is a wonderful foot soak and rub down that anyone will appreciate. Give it to the waitress or nurse in your life.

Ingredients:

12 oz of fresh or dried Mints (peppermint, spearmint, applemint, etc)
12 tbsp Almond Oil
6 drop Mint Essential Oil
Small Glass Bottle with stopper
Small Glass Bowl

Instructions:

Mix the almond oil and the essential oil of mint in a small glass bowl. Stir gently until they are completely blended and then bottle it up in a small glass or plastic bottle. This could be a small cosmetic bottle with a cork or cap. A blue or amber bottle works best.

Instruct the user to keep the bottle of oil in the refrigerator. When ready to use the bath and oil, the user should place the fresh mint in a food processor and add cold water to cover. Process well until it becomes a green puree. Pour the puree into a foot soak tub or other container and add the boiling water. Once the mixture has cooled to a tolerable temperature, soak both feet at once until the water cools.

The user should then follow the foot bath soaking with a good rub down using the massage oil. This can be used whenever the feet ache or are tired. It is invigorating and pain relieving.

Herb and Honey Lotion

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This is a lovely, simple lotion that you can make easily and will be enjoyed by every woman you know. It is rich and healthful and will leave the skin feeling fresh and silky.

Ingredients:

A handful of fresh Chamomile, Meadowsweet, Elder or Lime Flowers
2 1/4 oz Warm Milk or Cream
Honey
Oatmeal

Method:

Soak the flowers and the milk or cream in a covered pan over low heat for 3 hours. After 3 hours, strain out the flowers and return the clean milk to the pan. Reheat slowly, adding in the honey a tsp at a time until you have a thick creamy liquid. To thicken it entirely to a creamy consistency, add a spoonful of oatmeal to the mix and let it stand. If you need to, add oatmeal a spoonful at a time until it is the right creamy consistency.

This should be bottled up in a glass or plastic jar with a wide mouth or a bottle with a squeeze top. An old lotion bottle that can be cleaned up and decorated would be fine. Make it up less than a week before giving it and keep it in the refrigerator the entire time. Instruct the user to keep this in the refrigerator and to use it fairly quickly. If it sits around too long, the milk will go rancid and it won’t be any good. Give this to someone you know will use it right away.

Rich Emollient Skin Cream

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This is a rich, exotic, delightfully perfumed skin cream that women love. It smells expensive and works really well. The recipe utilizes the same ingredients most retail cosmetic manufacturers use and this product rivals anything you can get at the mall. It makes skin soft and leaves the user with a floral smell that will remind you of fine perfume. In fact, it utilizes rosewater and oil of neroli, basic ingredients in most perfumes, so it is no wonder. This makes a lovely gift for ladies of all ages and is easy to use in a wide mouth jar with a lift off lid.

Ingredients:

2 tsp Beeswax
2 tsp Emulsifying Wax
1 tbsp Lanolin
2 1/2 tsp Avocado Oil
1/2 tsp Wheatgerm Oil
1/2 tsp Glycerin
4 tbsp Rosewater
1/4 tsp Borax
6 drops Essential Oil of Neroli
a few drops of red food coloring

Method:

Melt the beeswax, emulsifying wax and lanolin in a double boiler. In a separate pot, over low heat, warm the avocado and wheatgerm oils with the glycerin. Once warm, gradually beat the oils into the wax mix until creamy. Once blended together, remove the mix from heat.

Warm the rosewater in a small pot and dissolve the borax in it. Dribble the rosewater and borax mix into the cream, beating all the time. Keep beating the mix as it cools and thickens. As it cools down and starts to thicken, add the oil of neroli and a few drops of the red food coloring. The result should be a light pink color, like a rose.

Stir the cream mixture thoroughly and then spoon it into the gift jar and label. Instruct the user to use this cream as needed. It is very penetrating if applied before a bath and the skin is allowed to absorb the oils and moisture from the cream while in the warm water. Because of the addition of wheatgerm oil, this cream has a long shelf life and does not have to be used immediately. In can be kept in the refrigerator or in the bathroom, it matters not.

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4 Responses so far

  1. 1

    Debra said,

    Your ideas for gift giving is fantastic. I usually just give herbal bouquets wrapped up nice and pretty for culinary uses. This year I’m going to try a few of your recipes and give lotions. Thanks for the great info.

  2. 2

    […] I mostly read things that will teach me something. Like about cloth diapering or how to make homemade body scrubs. That’s good, […]

    • 3

      spacecoaststargirl said,

      Thanks! I appreciate this coming from another blogger. I checked out your blog, btw, and liked it. I can appreciate the honest humanity in your writing. I think it’s good. Thanks for dropping by and for the pingback!

  3. 4

    jennsanc said,

    Thanks for all the interesting gift ideas! I just thought I would share with you this great homemade moisturizing lotion I found at a local shop in Portland. Its Cabana-Rainand they have lotion and bath products on their website or you can find it at local Portland shops. I personally love their lotion because it leaves your skin hydrated, healthy and softall day!


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