salt vs sugar scrub

Salt scrub vs Sugar Scrub| How to choose the best scrub to give you healthy, smooth skin

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There are thousands of DIY body scrub recipes out there. It can be difficult to choose which recipe to try out between a salt scrub vs sugar scrub, especially if you don’t know how the ingredients work.

If you have had a body scrub disaster (I have had plenty of those by the way😁), then you know how important it is to choose the right recipe with the right ingredients to get the best results. 

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The two common ingredients for face and body scrubs are salt or sugar. In this blog post, I would be sharing the difference between a salt scrub and a sugar scrub so you know how to choose the right recipe to get the most out of your body scrub.

But first, let’s start from the basics!

Why you need a scrub

A body scrub or body polish is used to remove dead skin cells and exfoliate the skin. Body scrubs are essential for providing and maintaining healthy, smooth, glowing skin. Here are some of the benefits of using a body scrub to cleanse, exfoliate and massage the skin:

  • Regular exfoliation deeply cleanses the skin. This means that your products can better sink into your skin and do their magic.
  • Exfoliating also removes the dead skin cells leaving you with smoother and softer skin. As a bonus, over time, your skin will get more even-toned
  • If you struggle with ingrown hairs and razor bumps, I have good news for you! Regular exfoliation helps to unclog pores and prevent ingrown hairs and razor bumps.
  • Using a body scrub can be incredibly relaxing. For those Saturdays when you need a stress reliever but don’t want to drive to a spa, whip up a scrub. You’ll sleep like a baby afterwards. Throw in some scented candles, and you’ll be in paradise.

How to make a scrub

A basic body scrub needs two things

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  1. A liquid base: This is typically a body oil. Some of my favourites to use are Jojoba oil (It’s a bit pricey), Sweet almond oil, Rosehip oil, Coconut oil, and Grapeseed oil.
  2. Exfoliating granules: You can choose to make a salt or sugar scrub. If you have sensitive skin, try oats. You can check out my oat rose body scrub recipe. Another option for a slightly more invigorating scrub is fine coffee grounds. 

Extra ingredients to add for a more powerful body scrub

If you want to give your skin a 100% pamper session, try adding any of these extra ingredients

Humectants: I love to use honey. Bonus points for you if you have Manuka honey. Another good option is glycerin. Humectants will leave your skin moistured all day.

Flower petals: You can use rose petals, chamomile, and even lavender. You are in luck! I have a lavender body scrub you should check out. It smells divine and will give you softer skin. 

Gels: Natural gels are good additions anytime you want to make a body scrub. They are especially great for soothing inflamed skin. I have a blog post and video showing you how to make natural gels that will work great on your skin or hair.

Essential oils: To be honest, I don’t use essential oils as much as I used to. Don’t get me wrong. They have amazing benefits, such as giving your scrub a wonderful smell. These days I prefer to use petals, but if you are still a fan of essential oils, almost any essential oil will do wonders for your skin. Some include lavender, frankincense or one of my favourites, Geranium.

Liquid soap: You can add some liquid soap to make an exfoliating body wash. Make sure to go easy on the soap so you still get the right consistency for your body scrub.

Butters: Butters are a good addition if you have dull-looking skin. Some of my favourites are shea butter, mango butter, and kokum butter. Only use small quantities of body butter in your scrub.

Herbal powders: Herbs have been used to give the skin a natural glow. Some of my favourites to use are turmeric, green tea, chamomile, cinnamon and much more.

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Difference between a Salt and Sugar scrub

Particle size

Salt scrubs tend to have larger particles. They are a bit more abrasive and exfoliate more than sugar scrubs. This makes it an excellent option for feet, knees, elbows, and other extra-callused areas.

Sugar is less abrasive than salt and gentler on the skin, and suitable for the face and sensitive areas.


Salt scrub can also be slightly more drying than sugar scrubs. You can add a humectant or natural gel to your salt scrub for extra moisture to combat this.

Sugar scrubs can be particularly beneficial for dry skin types since they rehydrate the skin and keep it moisturized.

Special ability

Salt is also a natural purifier that can draw out dirt and grime, so it’s particularly easy on breakouts and blemishes.

Sugar has alpha hydroxy acid, an ingredient that helps remove dead skin cells and leave you with a smoother finish.

Similarities between a Salt scrub and a Sugar scrub

There are some similarities between a salt and sugar scrub. To start with, both of them are physical exfoliators. 

Secondly, sugar scrubs and salt scrubs are both great for sloughing off dead skin cells. With their rough texture, they really work hard to remove the surface layer of dullness that makes your skin look dull. 

Finally, they are both easy and affordable to make and customize. There are thousands of recipes online that can inspire you on how to get started with either scrub, and you can play with the ingredients to really come up with something your skin will love and appreciate.

How to choose between a Salt or Sugar scrub

If you have sensitive skin, go with a sugar scrub since sugar particles are smaller and less abrasive. In general, always use fine particles in your body scrubs to avoid micro-tears. You can grind the sugar or scrub in a dry mill for a few seconds to make sure the particles are finer and smoother.

How to use a  scrub

Lady using face scrub

You will get more out of your scrub if you use it on clean skin in the morning. 

When it comes to frequency of use, a good rule of thumb is to use a scrub at least twice a week if you have sensitive skin and no more than 3 times a week if you have non-sensitive skin. Using a salt or sugar scrub is great, but like all things, you don’t want to go overboard and irritate your skin.

When to avoid a body scrub

As wonderful as body scrubs are, there are times when it’s better to skip using both a salt and sugar scrub.

If you have rashes, sunburn, or any inflammation or skin reaction, don’t use a body scrub. Using a body scrub when your skin is sensitive could do more harm than good. You’ll also want to skip using a body scrub immediately after shaving.

Key takeaways

When you have to choose between a salt scrub vs sugar scrub, keep in mind that the main difference is the size of particles. You should also consider the part of the body you will be using the scrub on.

If you are looking for a face scrub, stick to sugar. If you want to exfoliate thick patches of skin like your elbows and knees, then a salt scrub is what you need.

Which of these do you use more often, a salt scrub or sugar scrub? Let me know in the comments.

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