Two sugar scrub jars for soothing and skin-softening treat

Lip Sugar Scrub Recipe: A Homemade Treat for Your Beauty Routine

By: Megan Ratigan

Scientifically Reviewed By: Holli Ryan, RD, LD/N

Smooth skin and soft lips—who doesn’t want that? And there are plenty of products on the market to help you get it, from inside (vitamins and nutrients) and out (lotions, creams and serums). One of the most popular ways to soften and smooth skin—other than going to the spa—is through the use of a body scrub. Similar ingredients are used to make lip scrubs as well (because we don’t want rough or feathered lips any more than we want dry arms, legs, feet or hands!). Even though they fit into tiny tubes and little jars or pots, these scrubs tend to come with a hefty price tag.

But superior skin care doesn’t have to be store-bought—you can make your own sugar scrub recipes at home that exfoliate and moisturize your lips…and the rest of you!

What is a sugar scrub?

A sugar scrub is a physical exfoliant rubbed into the skin (including the lips) to remove dead skin and moisturize the new skin underneath. No-bake scrub recipes can be made with sugar, salt or even coffee grounds. These are mixed—by hand or with a food processor—with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, and essential oils of your choice. Lavender and peppermint essential oils are popular additions, and vanilla extract can also be used to scent your homemade sugar scrub.

Should I use a sugar scrub on my lips?

Yes! A sugar scrub is a gentle way to smooth the delicate skin of your lips and remove any feathering. Apply your favorite lip balm after exfoliating to lock in moisture and protect your lips all day long. If you wear makeup, using a lip scrub is a good way to get your pucker smooth and lipstick-ready.

5 reasons why a sugar scrub is good for your skin

It goes without saying: what’s good for your lips is good for the rest of you, too. Sugar body scrubs are on the menu at many spas for a reason! Not only do these sugar scrub recipes feel good and smell delicious when rubbed on your lips and skin, they also benefit skin health in a number of ways:

1. Exfoliate and help remove dead skin cells.

Your skin grows by producing new skin cells deep in the epidermis layer, which then travel up to the surface and push dead cells off. The rubbing motion and rough texture of a body scrub helps flake off dead skin cells so the new skin can shine through.

2. Clean and remove dirt from your skin’s pores.

A buildup of dead skin cells can mix with debris and clog your pores. A sugar scrub removes both dirt and dead cells from your skin.

3. Moisturize your lips and skin.

The scrub recipes below include both ingredients to exfoliate skin and add moisture through carrier oils such as coconut oil. Other oils, such as jojoba oil, almond oil and vitamin E oil, contribute to skin moisture as well.

4. Help avoid and soothe ingrown hairs.

Scrubs help remove the skin that traps ingrown hairs and causes those unsightly and tender red bumps. Removing the dead skin through exfoliation allows the hairs to grow normally.

5. Brighten and even out skin texture.

The removal of dead skin and dirt helps to expose the radiant new skin growing beneath.

When to use a sugar scrub

An exfoliating sugar scrub with essential oils is an excellent addition to your self-care routine and can be used once or twice a week to support the health and appearance of your lips and skin. The massage-like rubbing of a body scrub is also a good way to pamper your body and relax your mind after a long day.

Can you make sugar scrub with olive oil?

Coconut oil is an excellent base for a sugar scrub recipe, but olive oil has its own benefits. Both coconut oil and olive oil are excellent moisturizers for glowing skin, and they blend well with essential oils like lavender and peppermint. They both contain antioxidants and skin-supporting vitamin E, but olive oil also contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin K and important minerals.

How can I make sugar scrub at home?

Sugar scrubs might seem hard to make at home, but they are simple recipes! All you need is granulated sugar (brown sugar or cane sugar will work) to exfoliate, and a carrier oil like coconut oil, almond oil or olive oil to moisturize. In addition, you can use honey for its amazing regenerative and antioxidant properties and add your favorite essential oils to make it smell just the way you like. Below we have three recipes using different ingredients so you can choose what works best for you!

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Cane Sugar & Olive Oil Lip Scrub


  • 2 tbsp cane sugar
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 drops peppermint essential oil (optional)


  1. Combine the ingredients in a small bowl and stir until combined.
  2. Transfer to an air-tight jar like a mason jar for storage.

Brown Sugar & Coconut Oil Lip Scrub


  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil – softened
  • 2 drops essential oil of choice or vanilla extract (optional)


  1. Put your coconut oil in a small microwavable bowl and microwave in 10-second increments until it is soft but not melted (about 20 seconds should be enough, depending on your microwave).
  2. Add brown sugar to the bowl and mix until evenly combined. Do not dissolve the sugar, just stir until mixed.
  3. Transfer to an air-tight jar like a mason jar for storage.

Sugar & Honey Lip Scrub


  • 1 tbsp cane sugar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 drops essential oil of choice (optional)


  • Combine ingredients together in a small bowl and stir until evenly combined.
  • Transfer to an air-tight jar like a mason jar for storage.

Tips for success

  • Use smaller granulated sugar in your recipe. Stay away from powdered sugar, which will easily dissolve. But fine- to medium-grain brown sugar works well, and brown sugar has more vitamins and minerals than highly processed white sugar. Avoid using coarse sugar with large crystals, which is too rough for a soothing scrub.
  • Salt is a good substitute for sugar in a body scrub, and it might help you say no if you are tempted to taste your recipe. As with sugar, stay away from the coarse varieties.
  • If you choose to use essential oils in your recipe, wash your hands with soap after mixing and packaging your ingredients. Essential oils in general, and peppermint essential oil especially, can sting your eyes.

Go bigger for a body scrub

These recipes all make about 1-2 tbsp of sugar scrub and are perfect for homemade lip scrubs. But if you want to use these as body scrubs or make a homemade body scrub for gift-giving, we recommend doubling or tripling the ingredient amounts in these recipes. You can add food coloring to a DIY sugar scrub, drop in essential oils (peppermint and spearmint are great for fresh lips!), and package them in cute glass jars to turn your scrub recipe into the ideal gift. 

How to use a sugar scrub?

To use your homemade sugar scrub, apply to clean, damp skin or lips. Gently rub in a circular motion, then rinse off with warm water and pat dry with a towel. You can also use your scrub on wet skin in the shower or bath, but your DIY sugar scrubs should not be stored in the shower.
It might be tempting to eat your sugar scrub (a recipe with sugar, coconut and vanilla extract is hard to resist!) but your skin will benefit more from this refreshing and moisturizing combination. You can follow your scrub with a body lotion, face cream or lip rejuvenator for even softer skin!

How to store homemade sugar scrubs

These sugar scrub recipes should be stored in airtight glass containers, such as wide-mouth mason jars, or in glass lip scrub jars, which can be purchased in various sizes (10-30 ml).
These sugar scrubs will stay good for about three months if stored in an airtight container in a cool and dry space.
Scrubs should not be stored in the shower, as the heat will cause your scrub ingredients to separate from the coconut oil or olive oil in your recipe. Try to keep your recipes at room temperature or cooler.

Can sugar scrub be used as soap?

Sugar scrub can be used to clean your skin, but it shouldn’t be used on a daily basis, especially for those with sensitive skin. Optimal use is once or twice a week. On other days, use a gentle cleanser instead.
Use caution if you use your scrub on your face. Whether you include essential oils in your recipe or not, you should avoid getting scrub in or near your eyes.

Other tips for skin health

The weekly use of a sugar scrub or exfoliant is just one step in keeping your skin healthy and new. Other ways to support youthful skin include the following:

  1. Use sunscreen daily. When it comes to anti-aging skincare, an important thing to do is wear sunscreen every day if you will be outside, even in the winter, to protect your skin from UV exposure.
  2. Be generous with your moisturizer. Hydration is important, not only during the day but also at night. Nighttime creams and daytime lotions with hyaluronic acid can help lock in water and fight the appearance of dryness.
  3. Stay hydrated. Drinking sufficient water each day not only keeps your body hydrated and your internal organs functioning well, but is also keeps your skin hydrated and soft.
  4. Fortify from the inside. Water isn’t the only thing that benefits your skin from the inside. Vitamins, healthy foods and nutrients such as ceramides and collagen help your skin maintain a youthful look and feel.
  5. Get your beauty sleep. Make sure you get plenty of Zzzzzs once you put on your night cream. Sleep helps your skin—and the rest of you—relax, replenish and recharge for the days ahead.

About the Author: Megan Ratigan's love for cooking started at a young age baking cookies with her mother, and as she grew older she developed an interest in all things health and wellness. These two loves sparked the enjoyment in the challenge of creating delicious recipes that are made with wholesome, natural ingredients. Learn more about Megan by visiting her website,